It won’t even cost you a dime. Promise.
Elizabeth Wood, my partner in creating the online community Sex in the Public Square, has proposed a panel for SXSW Interactive with herself as moderator and me, Lux Nightmare, Violet Blue, and Rachel Kramer Bussel on the panel.
The title of our proposed panel is Pink Ghetto Blasters: Destigmatizing Sex via Online Community Building. The term â€œPink Ghettoâ€ is one that I first became familiar with through Lux’s writing:
When you work in sex â€“ as a sex blogger, a sex educator, a pornographer, whatever â€“ and youâ€™re trying to promote both yourself and your work, you are pretty much guaranteed to come up against some very hard walls.
Ask your friends to subscribe to your RSS feed: they canâ€™t have the word â€œsexâ€ on their work computer. Ask your blogger friends to promote your project: they canâ€™t, itâ€™d fuck with the vibe theyâ€™re going for. Try to get advertisers, try to promote your work, try to sell things using Paypal:
You have now entered the Pink Ghetto….
Even when itâ€™s not porn, itâ€™s sex: and sex alone is enough to earn the label NSFW. Sex, even academic sex, is something we canâ€™t always discuss in polite company. Trying to build your life, your career, around a discussion of sex means accepting that you will always have a fringe identity. That no matter how academic, how smart, how clean you keep it, you will always be on the edges of polite society. You will always be in the Pink Ghetto, and you will never be able to escape it.
Some of my best writing can’t even be listed on a resume or C.V.; one of my best-ever essays is titled â€œLooking at My Cock.â€ Even after all these years, I really like it, and am really proud of it. It’s here on the site, and if you haven’t checked it out, do so. But just to put the title on a list of publications is sure to make most employer toss my application into the trash.
One of the principles behind Sex in the Public Square is that by putting the sexual aspects of our lives off-limits and keeping discussion of them â€œprivate,â€ we lose a valuable component of democracy. The category â€œNSFWâ€ diminishes us as individuals and as a society because large chunks of both are kept in the closet. In short, we’re all about busting the Pink Ghetto, and this panel is a great way to get some of the sharpest minds in the field together to get beyond the basics and into the practical matters of what the real implications of fencing sex off from the rest of society are.
Which brings me to you. Yes, you.
SXSW chooses their panels by a survey method; they put descriptions of all the proposed panels up on the web, and allow people to vote on how likely they’d be to attend each. You don’t have to commit to attend SXSW, but you do have to make up a login ID. You can find our official entry right here.
As the late, great Al Capone said, â€œVote early, and vote often.â€ I also recommend that you put in a vote for Lisa Vandever, the founder of Cinekink, and her panel, The Porn Police: Know the Rules. Besides having had to maneuver through the law just because of having to manage Cinekink, Lisa’s friends with Barbara Nitke, who’s one of the best erotic photographers in the business, and has fought one of the most important battles for erotic free speech on the internet. In addition, Lisa’s husband is a lawyer, so any panel she does on the subject is going to be smart and comprehensive.
Other interesting-looking SXSW-Interactive Panels to check out and vote for:
- Sexual Privacy Online (Violet Blue): Can anyone really be sexually anonymous online? How private is your sexual privacy? Outed â€œanonymousâ€ sex bloggers, porn laws resulting in performers being stalked; Google’s history logs tracking all of us, paying for adult goods and services online safely: blogging, online forms, Craigslist personals (i.e. the â€œCraigslist Experimentâ€), comments, email, etc. Internet sexual privacy affects everyone.
- When No Means 01001: Sexual Ethics and Interactivity (Cory Silverberg): New forms of online sexuality are presenting new ethical issues. We’ll tackle these issues from the perspectives of designers, public health workers, and content producers, exploring issues such as the nature of consent in a virtual world, the ethics of STI/HIV status disclosure on line, and the role of individuals and corporations in developing global sexual ethics in on line worlds.
- Social Network Coups: The Users are Revolting! (Annalee Newitz): The â€œuser revoltâ€ has become one of the most promising (and terrifying) community activities on social networks. Perhaps the best-known user revolt was the mass protest on Digg over publishing the AACS key. But other revolts have broken out on LiveJournal, Lifehacker, Facebook, and many other networks. This panel explores user revolts from both sides of the fence: panelists discuss how users can stage successful coups to get what they want from social networks, as well as the best ways for community organizers to respond.
Listening to: The Sonics – Strychnine