Madison Young, a Hardhat on a Construction Site is Not an Empowering Personal Choice
Tracy Clark-Flory interviews porn performer and producer Madison Young about condoms in porn. Young argues that individual performers should be allowed to decide whether to use condoms on set:
CLARK-FLORY: What do you think of the push to mandate condom use in the industry?
YOUNG: I think it could be a mistake. Making condoms mandatory for all adult films is just as confining and dis-empowering as eliminating condoms as an option for performers. There needs to be an element of choice, and the choice shouldn't be that if you want work you don't use condoms and if you want to use condoms then you don't work.
Clark-Flory's question is based on a false premise. Condoms are already mandatory on all porn sets in California. Porn producers are subject to the same bloodborne pathogens standard as every other employer in the state. Porn doesn't have some special license to to endanger just because it's porn.
In practice, it's difficult to enforce the condom rule because the Cal-OSHA process is complaint-driven. Complaints are rare because performers are afraid of repercussions if they stand up for their rights and players who are scrupulous about safer sex are less likely to be hired in the first place.
Many actresses won't even ask to use condoms for fear of losing work.
Younger told Clark-Flory, "I use condoms when they are made available to me in a scene." That sums up the problem right there. Even a big name like Madison Young doesn't feel like she has the clout to demand condoms on every shoot. She thinks they're a good idea, and she uses them when her employer offers, but she doesn't insist.
I don't blame Young. She wants to keep working. Everyone knows that insisting on condoms can get an actress blacklisted. The founder of the Adult Industry Medical Health Foundation, Sharon Mitchell has said in interviews that she always used condoms during her 2000+ film career because she was a big enough star to demand them, but that these days, most women in the industry don't have that kind of clout.
"Queen of Porn" Jenna Jameson said it's "sad and disgusting" how much pressure women face to go without condoms in the industry.
This is a great example of why occupational health and safety laws aren't up for case-by-case negotiation, not on construction sites, and not on porn sets.
The government has to set standards and enforce them consistently. Without an impartial regulator to level the playing field, unscrupulous employers will take advantage of desperate employees to gain a competitive advantage over more ethical competitors. Without regulation, you get a race to the bottom.
The "empowered personal choice" to bareback negates the "empowered personal choice" to demand condoms because the barebackers get all the work. It's hardly surprising that there are plenty of performers in the industry who are comfortable working without condoms. The widespread bias against condom players ensures that relatively few people can make a living in the industry while practicing safer sex. So, the whole discourse is skewed by the employers' power to hire and fire.
Employers must not be allowed to subject their employees to entirely preventable risks of injury or death, even if they can find workers who will comply in order to keep getting paid. Also keep in mind, we're talking about communicable diseases, here. One person's "empowered personal choice" to refuse a condom can be another person's death sentence.
It's a cruel joke to say that it's the "employee's choice" to use safety equipment when it's the boss's choice to fire the employee. These are not two equal adults negotiating safer sex in the bedroom. This is strictly business.
Porn is a legal industry in California and performers deserve the same protection as any other workers.
We don't empower workers by saying: "You get to decide whether to be safe and unemployed, or unsafe and employed. Good luck!" We empower workers by setting safety standards and enforcing them.
[Photo Credit: Rick Lawrence, Creative Commons.]
Explore how alcohol affects your brain, from the first sip at the bar to life-long drinking habits.
- Alcohol is the world's most popular drug and has been a part of human culture for at least 9,000 years.
- Alcohol's effects on the brain range from temporarily limiting mental activity to sustained brain damage, depending on levels consumed and frequency of use.
- Understanding how alcohol affects your brain can help you determine what drinking habits are best for you.
If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx a team of DNA sequencers has figured that out.
- A team at UMass Amherst recently sequenced the genome of the Canadian lynx.
- It's part of a project intending to sequence the genome of every vertebrate in the world.
- Conservationists interested in the Canadian lynx have a new tool to work with.
If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx, I can now—as of this month—point you directly to the DNA of a Canadian lynx, and say, "That's what makes a lynx a lynx." The genome was sequenced by a team at UMass Amherst, and it's one of 15 animals whose genomes have been sequenced by the Vertebrate Genomes Project, whose stated goal is to sequence the genome of all 66,000 vertebrate species in the world.
Sequencing the genome of a particular species of an animal is important in terms of preserving genetic diversity. Future generations don't necessarily have to worry about our memory of the Canadian Lynx warping the way hearsay warped perception a long time ago.
Artwork: Guillaume le Clerc / Wikimedia Commons
13th-century fantastical depiction of an elephant.
It is easy to see how one can look at 66,000 genomic sequences stored away as being the analogous equivalent of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. It is a potential tool for future conservationists.
But what are the practicalities of sequencing the genome of a lynx beyond engaging with broad bioethical questions? As the animal's habitat shrinks and Earth warms, the Canadian lynx is demonstrating less genetic diversity. Cross-breeding with bobcats in some portions of the lynx's habitat also represents a challenge to the lynx's genetic makeup. The two themselves are also linked: warming climates could drive Canadian lynxes to cross-breed with bobcats.
John Organ, chief of the U.S. Geological Survey's Cooperative Fish and Wildlife units, said to MassLive that the results of the sequencing "can help us look at land conservation strategies to help maintain lynx on the landscape."
What does DNA have to do with land conservation strategies? Consider the fact that the food found in a landscape, the toxins found in a landscape, or the exposure to drugs can have an impact on genetic activity. That potential change can be transmitted down the generative line. If you know exactly how a lynx's DNA is impacted by something, then the environment they occupy can be fine-tuned to meet the needs of the lynx and any other creature that happens to inhabit that particular portion of the earth.
Given that the Trump administration is considering withdrawing protection for the Canadian lynx, a move that caught scientists by surprise, it is worth having as much information on hand as possible for those who have an interest in preserving the health of this creature—all the way down to the building blocks of a lynx's life.
The exploding popularity of the keto diet puts a less used veggie into the spotlight.
- The cauliflower is a vegetable of choice if you're on the keto diet.
- The plant is low in carbs and can replace potatoes, rice and pasta.
- It can be eaten both raw and cooked for different benefits.
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