Archive for May, 2014

Trigger Warnings – Is Your Privilege Showing?

Image courtesy of “fawad’s art, sketches, etc.” http://www.conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php/32855-fawad-s-art-sketches-etc

Before I started writing this, I picked up the closest book to where I’m sitting. For me, it happens to be “Star Wars – Tales from Jabba’s Palace” that toddler brought me from my bookshelf. This book has a number of features that helps classify the writing inside.

There’s the title in the characteristic Star Wars font across the top. If I didn’t like Star Wars, I probably wouldn’t have read this book. That title on the cover page in no way disallows me from reading it. I would simply choose not to.

There’s an editor name – Kevin J Anderson. If I didn’t like Kevin’s work, I probably wouldn’t have read this collection of stories. His name on the cover in no way disallows me from reading it. I would simply choose not to.

There’s a price on the back – £4.99. If I didn’t agree with that price, I probably wouldn’t have bought it. That price listing on the cover in no way disallows me from reading it. I would simply choose not to.

While this collection of short sci fi stories does not contain a trigger warning, just like the other descriptors listed above, it would not disallow me from reading it. I would simply choose not to.

Even if I did choose not to, those descriptors wouldn’t prevent you from reading it, either.

Listing a title, author’s name or book price is not censorship. Listing a trigger warning isn’t censorship either. It’s simply a way to classify the text inside. For some, this ‘controversial’ descriptor is more necessary than for others.

A lot of what I’ve said above is echoed in this post from “Sometimes, it’s just a cigar”, where jemima2013 goes on to say that “The idea suggested by the Guardian that trigger warnings are censorship is just laughable…” I’d take it a step further – to say that it’s insulting to those dealing with actual censorship (the practice of officially examining books, movies, etc., and suppressing unacceptable parts) issues.

I think that’s what’s upset me the most about the ‘anti-trigger-warning’ posse. You’ll keep your WordPress blogs and Facebook accounts and post your videos to YouTube, but heaven forbid if someone wants to get a warning that there’s a rape scene in the text they’re about to read.

But there’s another argument that I’ve seen echoed in some circles – the ‘slippery slope’ of trigger warnings as a future method of censorship. Adding that descriptor as possibly triggering to rape victims, military veterans, child abuse survivors, or any other group which may have an adverse reaction to the material could be used to suppress the material from the general public.

Sure, that could happen. So could book burnings based on a title, or author name, or price range. Why do we not call for the removal of those descriptors, as well? It’s because those descriptions serve a valuable function, just as trigger warnings do.

I also worry that the specific issue highlighted in the Guardian & New York Times piece is getting blown way out of proportion. (I’ve called it the Chicken Little Syndrome in the past.) Groups of students at some American universities are asking that trigger warnings be placed on the course syllabus.

They are not asking for these books to be removed from the course or from the university itself.

They are not calling for publishers to have mandatory trigger warnings on all texts.

They are not asking for these books to have ‘ratings’ which prevents the sale of these books to certain age groups, demographics or locations.

They are requesting additional information so they can make informed decisions about their reading.

For those who are saying “well surely no one needs trigger warnings on the classics / well known authors / usual college standard fare (because everyone already knows what’s going on with those books)” – check your privilege.

For those who think that trigger warnings aren’t necessary because “life is traumatic” – check it again.

Trigger warnings have a valid place in written material, just as the title, author name, and price listing do. I do find it rather strange that those who want to banish trigger warnings from existence are doing so on the basis of those warnings censoring the works. The ones making the fuss are in fact suppressing what they have deemed ‘unacceptable parts’ themselves.

Sinful Sunday – The Soak

The SoakImage is clickable.

Since so many have asked how this image was taken, I’m updating this post. Mrs has a Canon Rebel T2i and used a basic 55m lens using manual focus to zero in on my chin. She lowered the camera right to the same level as the water – the base of the camera was as close to the bathwater as possible. The reflection in the water naturally occurred but by adjusting the brightness, contrast, and saturation in the photo I was able to bring it out more. I also wore rather dark lipstick so that my features didn’t completely wash out with the contrast changes. Hope that helps! 

See who else is being sinful this week.

 

Sinful Sunday

Doing my community duty and giving you a head’s up to something I came across today. I was contacted today by a sex toy retailer that I use as a sponsor for some of my affiliate sites. They were switching tracking programs and moving to Webgains.com, and I had less than 24 hours to swap out my links. I hurried over to the signup page on Webgains and their TOS was displayed part way through the process:

Webgains

The highlighted portion of the TOS was my concern. Let’s review the two main hiccups.

Pornography – I know quite a few sex toy blogs also feature porn site advertisements. (And why not? Sex toys and porn go together so well!) If you have porn clips, porn sidebar ads or anything else deemed ‘pornographic’, you’re violating this TOS. If you have sexual images of yourself using said toys, this may be considered pornographic.

Obscene – What a huge grey area this word is! In the past I’ve seen this language in a TOS used to violate sites that have full frontal nudity and sexual imagery – even erotic texts.

Nevermind “offensive“. Anything can be offensive, can’t it?

So what happens if you violate a TOS on Webgains?

Webgains 2

Pretty self explanatory. You’re booted out of the program with zero obligation for Webgains to send you any unpaid funds it holds. (This is a common clause in most affiliate program TOSs, by the way.)

At any rate, if you planned on joining Webgains you may want to keep this in mind. I did get in contact with the sponsoring program to discuss my concerns with this TOS. I was told “you will be fine – Webgains have said they will push through all account requests that come through…”, but I’ve heard this song and dance before. Shortly afterward, Webgains did email me directly, reiterating the fact that they would “ensure that [I was] accepted onto the network”. My worry isn’t getting into the program – it’s staying in it and getting paid, even with the pornography and obscene material on my sites!

While they did mention that  “they are in the process of updating [their] TOS to allow more flexibility for […] our adult publishers”, I know that these TOS changes can certainly take some time, especially when lawyers are involved. I’ve asked them to let me know when this TOS change is in place, and will update this post accordingly.

 

June 10, 2014 – UPDATE: After being contacted once again by Webgains asking me to swap over my links I emailed asking if the TOS was now allowing pornographic materials. The affiliate manager confirmed that this is the new language in the TOS.

“5.4.         You warrant that the affiliate website does not display or transfer any material which is obscene, racist, offensive, defamatory, threatening, blasphemous or in breach of any third party Intellectual Property Right(s), provided that websites and campaigns that include pornographic or adult content which is not obscene are permitted but only where affiliate’ products and/or services are also categorised as pornographic or adult content, but not obscene, and only such affiliates are permitted to join such programs with such advertisers.”

I then asked for clarification as to what the word ‘obscene’ means to Webgains, and got this reply.

“So obscene for us is the following; under-age content, racist, offensive, defamatory, threatening or blasphemous.”

It appears Webgains is now allowing websites with pornographic materials, but with a few catches. First, you can only use your ‘adult’ sites to promote ‘adult’ products. You cannot use your adult site to promote ‘mainstream’ products. This might get iffy when it comes to items like lingerie and performance-related pharmaceuticals, as they straddle that adult / mainstream divide. But, for purely sex toys, I’d look at this updated TOS and be comfortable using them.

Sinful Sunday – Lacing

“I want to see you in a corset and thong. And nothing else.”

I actually couldn’t decide if I wanted to post the black and white version, or the color one. You can mouse-over the image to decide which is better yourself.

See who else is playing along this week by clicking the lips below.

Sinful Sunday

Sinful Sunday – A Different Kind of Confidence

I don’t typically post two images from the same shoot for Sinful Sunday, but the theme this week works so well with the pictures I took last week of Mrs Goodnight wearing her packing dildo. I asked Mrs what she thought about the terms ‘masculine’ when it comes to packing, this is what she had to say.

“Wearing a packer shows ‘my’ masculine side. I still consider myself a woman, and I don’t want to change that. I’m just not a girly type of woman. Wearing a packing dildo makes me feel different in a good sort of way. It’s a different side of me that I can connect with that I haven’t been able to before. It gives me a different kind of confidence.”

Pack and Play 2The image is clickable.

Sinful Sunday