Steve Adams: You're the Head of Communications for the BBFC. What does your daily job involve?
Sue Clark: My job is to look after all aspects of communications for the board. My daily job is looking after communications – I deal with media calls, all matters to do with the presentation and publicity of
the BBFC, content for the website, that sort of thing.
Steve Adams: Last year MP Julian Brazier tried to pass a law to tighten BBFC guidelines. What would that have meant for the industry if the bill went through? (Editors note – it failed).
Sue Clark: Yes the Bill was talked out is the technical expression. What would have happened was…chaos to be perfectly honest. What he was proposing was any member of the public who decided they didn't
like the sound of a film the BBFC had classified, could complain to their MP who would then put a block on the film. A committee of MP's would then sit down and review the decision which would have been a complete fiasco.
Steve Adams: So you'd have a film shown in one area fine, and banned in another?
Sue Clark: No it would have been a national situation, but you'd have had individual members of the public who feel strongly about a particular film, and there are always people out there who think we shouldn't
be passing films, simply going to their MP, and saying I'm very worried about this film, I haven't seen it, but I don't like the sound of it from what I've read in the papers, the BBFC shouldn't have passed it… and it would literally be
hauled in and looked at by a committee of MP's. By this time it may well have been seen in certain parts of the country, and then banned from being shown for weeks until the MP's got around to looking at it, and deciding or not if we'd (BBFC)
made a mistake.
The Notorious Bettie Page is a smart, funny and engaging look at the life of one of the first pin-up sensations, the titular Ms Page. Well acted and flawlessly directed (Harron creates a perfect 50's woman's film feel and mixes
black and white and colour without drawing attention to it), the film tells it's story in a matter of fact way that mirrors Page's own outlook and delivers an interesting study of a society on the brink of change.
The Notorious Bettie Page has a British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) rating of '18?. Considering that the 1950's pin ups (and the various 'health magazines that they appeared in) do not even come close to the contents of the tamest
lads mag or even the average music video. The use of notorious in the title is somewhat ironic as it is a label that is projected onto Page rather than a comment on who she is and, accordingly, the film is rather tame when it comes to sex. Yes,
there is nudity but Harron manages to normalise it by giving Betty control and keeping everything in context – this is the polar opposite of the way Megan Fox is filmed/leered at in Michael Bay's 12A rated Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Britain's first female porn director, Anna Span has won a historic victory with the passing of her DVD, Women Love Porn which includes a woman clearly ejaculating.
On initial submission to the BBFC, the board asked for compulsory edits to remove the female ejaculation section, as they believed the woman to be urinating and argued therefore it fell foul of the Obscene Publications Act. Even though most
countries worldwide which allow pornography, do not single out female as opposed to male, ejaculation for censoring, the BBFC historically do not believe in the phenomenon. They have refused to pass previous films such as Ben Dover's Squirt
Queens in May 2001, saying that they had not received a convincing enough argument to support the existence of FE.
Determined to put the record straight, Anna Span presented the BBFC with irrefutable scientific evidence in support of model DJ's ability to squirt, as it is known in the adult industry. Anna says; I am really proud to have changed this
outdated ruling and to have made a difference to women who experience this in their own lives throughout the UK. It was never fair that the BBFC dismissed their orgasms as urinary incontinence
Initially the BBFC stood their ground and refused to pass the film but when Anna pushed for a hearing with the Video Appeals Committee, they later backed down after taking legal advice. They say that their position remains fundamentally
unchanged for future releases although it is difficult to see how they can argue against future claims for DVDs which contain FE, now that this precedent has been set.
It is particularly fitting that Women Love Porn should be so groundbreaking for women in the UK, as it is the result of a competition set by Anna Span to encourage new female directors into directing pornography. Five women won the
opportunity to write and film a scene for the DVD, which includes the contentious FE scene Top Milf by director Paula Porn. The winner of the competition Katie Coxxx then went on to film a full DVD of her own titled Apocalypse Angels
, also for Easy on the Eye Productions.
Women Love Porn will be released at Venus International Adult Trade Fair in Berlin on the 15th October 2009.
Offsite: Do the BBFC now recognise female ejaculation?
Female porn film-maker Anna Span announced triumphantly to the world that she had won a historic victory with the passing for viewing in the UK of her DVD, Women Love Porn which includes a woman clearly ejaculating .
This, she claimed, was as a result of scientific evidence that she had presented to the BBFC to the effect that female ejaculation is a real phenomenon - and wholly different in form and origin from urination.
This distinction is important, as according to the BBFC, depiction of urination in a sexual context (also known as urolagnia) is illegal under UK obscenity law - and they will not pass films for viewing that contain such material.
So the obvious conclusion must be: the BBFC now recognise female ejaculation.
Not so, according to a spokeswoman for the BBFC. She explained: In this particular work, there was so little focus on urolagnia, that the BBFC took legal advice and the advice was that taking the work as a whole there was no realistic prospect
of a successful prosecution under the Obscene Publications Act and therefore the BBFC passed the work. However, were the focus on urolagnia to be more significant in other works, they would require cuts.
Span's partial victory, achieved after she presented the board with a wealth of scientific evidence, is of interest to more than a handful of enthusiasts. Here, the issue is not simply about women being able to gush without blushing, an aspect of
female sexuality is being defined by an argument between censors and pornographers. But are they the most appropriate stakeholders for female sexuality? The BBFC's ban colludes with the cultural default of viewing female sexuality as intangible
and precious, as if the enigma of woman was something beyond the reach of science.
The irony is that Span has fought for the right to show authentic representations of the female experience in an industry famed for its fakery - horribly apt for a culture where female sexuality has been increasingly pornified , and where
sexualities that don't fit this model are swamped and sidelined. Authenticity is less important than acceptability, and what has become increasingly acceptable in the rise of raunch culture are exhibitionist sexualities. With the vogue for
burlesque, lap-dancing and pole-dancing, not to mention the glut of memoirs from sex workers and strippers, the meaning of the word sexuality , when applied to women, has become so corrupted it's practically a fancy way of saying sexiness
The adult industry needs to acknowledge female desire - the satisfaction of it, not merely demonstrations of it for the satisfaction of male desire - and Span's positioning of women as consumers rather than product is radically different. But
have general understandings of female sexuality become so distorted that it's possible for censors to reject authenticity in pornography on the grounds it must be bogus? Many complain that teenage lads gain their sexual knowledge from
pornography. It's troubling when the BBFC seems to learn the same way.
Regarding the proof we supplied - we sent the BBFC the book The Human Female Prostrate by Milan Zaviacic professor of pathology for forensic medicine at the Comenius University Bratislava Slovak Republic (Slovakia). Zaviacic is the
world leader in the medical examination for the existence of female ejaculation. He has written over 500 essays on the subject in various worldwide scientific publications. He has won many international awards from the scientific community for
his work. This book is based on his finding from research conducted from over 20 years' studies focussed on female ejaculation and the female prostrate.
I also enclosed The Female Prostrate Revisited: Perineal Ultrasound and Biochemical Studies of Female Ejaculate by Wimpissinger, MD FEBU, Karl Stifter, PhD, Wolfgang Grin, MD and Walter Stackl, MD.
Another, more recent article from this month's New Scientist magazine was sent to the BBFC as well. It included numerous personal affirmations from readers, which follow the article too.
All three documents provided clear, conclusive evidence of women's ability to ejaculate.
I also enclosed a declaration from the two performers involved in this particular scene that both agree that this was a case of female ejaculation - and not urination - which they have also witnessed in their time. The production staff also
On top of all this we asked DJ - the model in question - to provide a sample which was tested under regulated circumstances and the test came back as definitely NOT urine. We have a certificate for this, hence our claim for irrefutability.
Offsite: Fluid Sexuality: Female Ejaculation and Censorship in the UK
If women believe—as very many women do—that they are capable of ejaculating, then where is the public interest in denying its existence?
Which brings us back once more to the BBFC and what looks to be an increasingly dishonest position. First, they claim that they have no view—but in fact, by taking this stance, yet simultaneously claiming that they have never seen squirting—only
urination—they are inevitably going to censor almost all images of this nature.