If pressed, delegates like to argue that women are the power players in the porn industry, equivalent to football stars, well-paid and able to create global brands. But this cheerful characterisation is dismissed by Roz Hardie, chief executive of Object,
who points to one site, whose owner is at the conference, based on the theme of exploited African immigrant women. We don't believe those women are well-paid. Industry representatives try to present themselves as no more saucy than a Carry On film,
but it's a very superficial gloss. Some of these sites are very disturbing.
Everyone here is anxious to analyse the impact of new UK regulations that require owners of sites to conduct an age-verification check before allowing
browsers to access hardcore material. There is considerable bitterness from the audience, because this has been the death knell for the already struggling industry. Age verification costs the website provider around £1.50 a visit, and discourages a
large proportion of browsers. Since sites based outside the UK don't require it, people simply hop to another international site.
Gentleman's piece in the Guardian's interesting, if predictably a bit po-faced. Couldn't she have found some female pornographers to interview? (I understand that a while ago somebody from the Graun
interviewed Pandora Blake, but she mentioned on her blog several weeks later that nothing had appeared in the paper.) Gentleman also seems to take what the Object spokeswoman says as gospel. There does exist an exploitedafricanimmigrants.com website, but
Rabbit's porn reviews slates it for not living up to its title.
Also worth noting, perhaps, is that in the same newspaper, within a few pages of Gentleman's less than enthusiastic article about porn, there appears Pamela
Stephenson Connelly's sexual health column, with a letter from a bloke whose GF doesn't like giving him a blowjob, which might have appeared in Mayfair circa 1980, and an article about the photographer William Mortensen, some of whose work might fall
foul of the Dangerous Pictures Act. (But it's in black and white and very arty - so that's OK, then.)