The Latest from the Eros Association

Rachel Payne

Can you believe the year is almost over? For some of us, the end of this year cannot come fast enough and for others it has been highly invigorating. Whatever position you take, it must be agreed that 2016 has definitely been an eventful year.

To wrap up what we have accomplished in 2016:

On a tangible level, we have seen the re-launch of both the publication and the website.

The New Eros Journal has been extremely well received amongst industry professionals and advocates alike. I am so pleased to hear the positive responses of members who have enjoyed the content and an opportunity to see the latest products advertised. It has also been humbling to receive international attention, with many overseas contributors and manufacturers taking interest in the publication. This is the third edition and it continues to grow in popularity and substance with each release. I think it is incredibly important to have a professional publication representing the industry and something that we can all enjoy and benefit from.

The re-launch of the website has taken some time, however I feel the end result has been well worth it. Making sure online resources are available to members in an easy to follow format and retrieval has been the priority. The aim was to keep the website clean and concise, with key points of entry: the directory, member’s services, media and advocacy and latest news. Content has been well thought out to accommodate the specific needs and requirements of members, and we continue to develop more specific content based on member feedback and queries received in the office. The next development is to take the website one step further and provide members with online training services, and opportunities for engagement through online forums, both with other members and the Eros office. I welcome your feedback on content, and how best to make this website work for you.

When it has come to campaigns, we have had some movement of the classification front; appearing before a senate committee, media airplay, and meeting with the Department of Communications who were interested in a less-adversarial approach by working with the industry in reviewing the X-classification. I recently appeared on a C31 program ‘The Leak” to discuss the stifled and archaic state of the classification system as it stands. What I find most interesting is when you start to relay the classification system to the general public (and journalists for that matter) there is an overwhelming sense of bemusement – that it is still illegal to sell X-Rated films: acts of consensual non-violent erotica.  I can almost see the penny drop – but it’s online?

I feel that it is important to keep pushing the envelope with the Department of Communications in moving forward with the laws surrounding the X-classification, especially when you consider the emerging technologies and the subsequent demands of consumers. In the UK (where it is legal to sell X-Rated material) consumers are moving away from DVD’s to buying porn on a lockable USB. Consider this, you go into your local adult store and you can pick a number of titles from a viewing kiosk (much like what we see with movie kiosk in a shopping centre).  With a simple transaction, you are provided with a lockable USB containing all of your purchased titles. These number sequenced locks are something similar to a bike lock. Simple, safe and secure. Although there is so much content online, there is still a demand for content offline. Consumers like the idea of going and picking a title, not having material on their computer drives or in their search history, and having something secure to reduce the risk of minors getting into it. It also encourages ethical consumption of porn as the material would be classified, sold in an age-restricted premises, and the consumer is paying for it!

Maybe one day this could become a reality here in Australia too.

Speaking of porn, it has been getting some media attention yet again. Articles for and against are going viral online, Toowoomba is trying to ban it, and conversations of ‘critical thinking’, ‘ethical porn’ and ‘feminist porn’ have become common rhetoric in the debate.

I recently had the opportunity to be a panelist at a Q & A discussion on ‘the proliferation of porn’.

Other panelists included ABC reporter Madeleine Morris, medical practitioner and relationship therapist Dr Anita Elias, project coordinator of Reality & Risk: Pornography, young people and sexuality Maree Crabbe and RMIT University research fellow Anastasia Powell.  The diversity of both the panel and the sell-out crowd of a hundred invited a lively debate, with questions and comments emphasising both the positive and negative nature of porn. One thing that we all agreed on however, was that porn is not going away.

Interesting was again the rhetoric that is becoming commonplace in these discussions. Terms such as ‘revenge porn’ and ‘child pornography’ have been rejected by professionals across almost all sectors, and rightly so, as it has become understood that the very nature of porn stipulates consent between adults. This separation needs to be clear if we are going to have any meaningful discussion about pornography and its place in society.

What is troubling however, is the evidence used to emphasise what some call the harmful effects of pornography – that 88 percent of porn depicts aggression, overwhelmingly towards women. These figures are undoubtedly damaging and outright incorrect, however continue to be used to substantiate these fallacies. It has to be questioned whether this research is at all meaningful when you consider that out of the plethora of evidence that has been collected over the last 40 years, no figure even close to this has been reported. Something that should ring all the alarm bells is who is behind this particular research – anti-pornographers and religious institutions.

The Eros Association is taking this matter very seriously and creating a positive and informative campaign around counteracting these arguments. Watch this space in 2017.

Finally, I would like to congratulate Eros members and contributors who received awards from the Australian Adult Industry Awards, hosted by Maxine Fensom. Keith Boswell of Be Daring won best chain of adult retail stores, best adult podcast winners Eva Sless and Angelo D’Costa for LLF, and finally Club X for best retail stores. It was a fun night had by all and I was so happy to be there to wish you all my congratulations.

I look forward to seeing member’s at the Member’s Meeting, hosted at Sexpo on Friday 25 November 2016, and for those who are unable to attend I will be recording the meeting for all of you to access.

Another year almost over and all the best for the new year.

I look forward to working with you all in 2017.

© Ellen Duffy 2015

Rachel Payne, General Manager.
Focusing on client services, public policy, project management and executive support, Rachel worked in various roles within the public service before joining the Eros Association in January 2016. Most recently, she worked with Fiona Patten in the Victorian Parliament, with previous positions held in the Family Court of Australia and Centrelink. Notably, she assisted federal government executives in developing innovative projects and services.

Rachel holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Newcastle University, majoring in sociology and politics and a masters in policy and human services from RMIT University. Her other interests include fighting censorship, drug law reform, gender, sex, eroticism and equality. Rachel also has a passion for performance art and burlesque which has seen her perform at many venues across Melbourne, Paris and London, including being part of two sell-out seasons of the ‘Living Museum of Erotic Women’ and in  ‘Empress Erotic’ as part of the Australian Burlesque Festival.