March 05, 2016 08:33am
APAC and Sex Worker Rights
Source: Adult Industry News
by: Rich Moreland
APAC and Sex Worker Rights - Part five of the Consent Series by Rich Moreland
Shooting porn is sex work and sex work is filled with preconceived notions that are as much about the performer as about the job.
Natasha Nice explains, "Sex workers really have to work hard to prove ourselves. [We] are stigmatized as not being respectable because we're doing this wrong thing for money."
Tasha Reign expands Natasha's view. Having sex in front of a camera does not make a woman "less of a person." She hasn't lost her rights. Yet many girls think that way which is "why so many women have not spoken out," the UCLA grad says.
When dicey moments do happen on set, no one wants a model to go home and regret anything she did or let happen to her. Too often, girls have worked these things out as best they can, sometimes by saying nothing and soldiering on.
Now, informed consent is on the plate of every adult film set, thanks to the James Deen/Stoya incident. It has opened a dialogue about performer rights, especially in light of Stoya's implication that she was abused.
I talked with some models, here is what I learned.
Allie Haze believes older performers should mentor younger ones regarding consent. This also includes girls coming into the industry for the first time regardless of age. She also thinks the effort should be organized. However, performers do not have a union to address these concerns. The closest organization available is APAC.
Allie recalls her first job as a teenager. She was required to attend a day-long class to get her "fast food workers card." That concept can work in porn, she thinks. "No matter at what age you enter the business, you should have to go through a class [to] learn about your body, what you can say 'no' to." The former minister's wife even offers a timeline. "Before girls make their schedule," they should "come into town early" for the class.
To make the system work, the industry could use testing facilities to conduct "the orientation." When arriving on set, performers would then present their "permit card" along with their personal I.D. and blood test results. Because Allie believes the process is about workplace safety, it should be industry funded.
Turning to Casey Calvert and Ela Darling, we get opinions from active APAC supporters.
Casey believes the permit card is "a positive step in the right direction," mentioning that APAC now offers a "Porn 101" educational tape. The card is proof a girl has watched it and understands what she is getting into. But Casey cautions that the industry must make sure a performer actually sees the tape before a card is issued.
To make it work, the performers, companies, producers, directors, and agents must be on board with the procedure. It's a "three-fold system" and everybody has to be supportive, Casey declares. Right now, getting all parties together is proving difficult. "APAC is having such a hard time making it happen," she adds, but it is slowly pushing forward.
Ela, a member of APAC's board, hopes performers "feel they can come to us" about problems that may develop in a shoot. The native Texan mentions some APAC initiatives, among them a "mentorship program" that uses veterans as guides, a workable idea because girls often turn to friends for advice. She says, "Whether you've been doing this for decades or months, everyone needs someone to talk to when something goes wrong. I would love if APAC was the place you can come in and voice those concerns."
Ela also brings up the "APAC stamp program" which "within the next year" will hopefully include "agents, producers and everybody." The understanding is, "if you don't consistently act right in porn and have performers complaining consistently about your ethics, you don't have that stamp anymore."
As for talent, everyone should be aware they can say "no" at any time. "Your body is your business," Ela remarks, "you have to put yourself first."
Projecting into the future, Natasha Nice envisions a time when porn stars are respected and listened to. Our culture assumes "openly sexual women" are devalued, she believes. Sex workers "have a duty to dismantle that belief system by being equal, not by hating the fact that we're currently seen as not equal."
That starts with enforcing consent industry-wide. Perhaps then the public will toss aside the mythology that porn abuses girls who have no say in what happens to them and embrace that idea that everyone, regardless of their chosen profession, should be treated with dignity.
In the next article, male performers talk about consent.
Watch for Part Six of this seven-part series coming tomorrow! Previous parts of this series are linked in the Related Stories box in the top right of this page.
About Rich Moreland
Rich Moreland is an adjunct professor of history at Frederick Community College in Maryland (USA) and writer in the adult film industry. His column appears online at Adult Industry News (AINews.com) out of Los Angeles. Rich's blog (3hattergrindhouse.com) covers relevant issues, film and book reviews and interviews with industry people.
A Washington, DC metro area resident, Rich has a bachelor's degree from The Pennsylvania State University and a Master's degree from Salisbury University. He finished post-masters work at the University of Maryland with Advanced Graduate Specialist recognition. He is a lifelong educator and a former competitive triathlete.
For a concise history of feminism in adult entertainment get Rich Moreland's book "Pornography Feminism: As Powerful as She Wants to Be" linked above.