Don’t Bring Your Sex Positivity to Your Blog — If You Want a Few Bucks for Your Hard Work
Menstrual Poetry, as you see it now, has been active since December 12th, 2007. Before then, it served primarily as a collective of random, angsty teenage poetry that I had accumulated over the years and wanted to stick somewhere because hey, all the cool kids were doing it. Menstrual Poetry started out as yet another domain I bought yet didn’t know exactly what I was going to do with. I have had several domains over the years, because that’s just what happens when you’ve been part of the “blogosphere” for ten years, but this is the one that I ultimately stuck with and through the years, I turned it into what it is now.
This website isn’t merely a hub of information; there are websites out there dedicated to merely being information hubs–and a lot of them make a damn good living doing it. Menstrual Poetry however, is personal and it always has been. Instead of merely posting about whatever the “breaking news” in the world is with a one-sentence description of what I’m quoting so I can feel like I wrote something meaningful for the day, I have always chosen to make this more of a personal space. That’s probably also the reason why I haven’t had the same amount of time I once had to dedicate to it. Sure, you can find a lot of information here, but you won’t find it without somewhere around 500 words at the very least about what I think about the topic at hand. I choose not to post about something unless I feel as if I have something meaningful to say about it or something of substance to add to the already on-going conversation. What can I say, I like to rant and I like to have a space where I can be myself and share just a small part of myself with anyone who chooses to read this website.
One topic I feel very strongly about, on a social issues level, as well as on a deeply personal level is sex-positivity. I have brought up the topic of sexuality as a whole, most frequently about church groups counseling women in porn and sex addiction only to come up with the conclusion that these groups are brainwashing women into believing that their sexuality in its entirety is shameful. I have posted information as well as a video review for Babeland’s not-so-recently-published but still very awesome book, Moregasm: Babeland’s Guide to Mind-Blowing Sex. I spread the word about Babeland donating 20% of their revenue throughout the month of April to Grist to celebrate Earth Day. Each of these three posts went over well and I felt that they were not only really informative and important, but I felt that they were also very much necessary.
Earlier this month, also known as the last time I blogged here, I wrote a review for Courtney Trouble’s Seven Minutes in Heaven 2: Tender Hearted. This post also went over well, which made me a happy little feminist blogger. Like I briefly stated in the beginning of the review, feminists have long been very much divided when it comes to porn and the sex industry as a whole. I don’t personally feel as if those who identify as feminist should be oppressing the very same people they claim to want to help. It feels very much like the pro-life debate when someone who identifies as pro-life states that bombing abortion clinics, killing doctors who perform abortions, nurses who help that doctor and the women who are there to see that doctor is what it takes to “help women” or “help fetuses.” To quote myself because I put it perfectly the first time–I don’t like that kind of negativity in my movement and I don’t like it being used to oppress my people.
Obviously, writing about Courtney Trouble’s Seven Minutes in Heaven 2 was something I felt very strongly about and I took it under careful consideration before posting it. I know that I have a pretty fabulous group of sexual assault survivors who frequent this website and because I’m considerate and know what it’s like to click over to a website only to become triggered by the content, I hid the entire review from the main page. Not only that, but I also hid the image accompanying the article and I included an adult/trigger warning in bold at the very top of the entire post because that’s just what it means to be considerate of the people who happen to stumble upon your space not knowing what, exactly, to expect. Everything above the fold was completely safe to read and you had to click over the jump in order to see the content. I figured that would be the best unspoken compromise I could have, considering that Courtney Trouble’s film is very much a woman-friendly, body-loving, feminist piece of work that I loved and felt compelled to share.
Luckily, I did not receive a comment, an email, Tweet, Facebook message, instant message, or anything else people use to communicate with me telling me that what I wrote was in any way inappropriate, misguided, offensive, or triggering. That is, until I received an email from my ad network.
I used to have BlogHer ads both in my header and sidebar. You will notice that obviously, I no longer have network-supported ads on this website. The reason for this is because I received an email from the producer of the BlogHer Publishing Network informing me that my ads had been suspended and would remain suspended until my review of Courtney Trouble’s film was moved to a page that did not contain the BlogHer Publishing Network code. Ultimately, my entire post would need to be removed from Menstrual Poetry and moved elsewhere because I was told that not one of the advertisers working with BlogHer would feel comfortable with their campaigns running alongside “graphic adult content.”
The review did at first contain screenshots taken directly from the film itself and they were pretty graphic. That was fine, I removed them and moved on. No big deal. I emailed this woman back and told her the graphics had been removed with the exception of the image of the DVD cover; that is important and by removing it I would not only be censoring Menstrual Poetry, I would be censoring Courtney Trouble. The DVD cover does not contain anything super graphic, it merely pictures women’s breasts in a pretty non-sexual way. I also informed them of the measures I had taken to keep the so-called graphic content off of the main page of the blog, therefore the only people who would see the content in question are those who are interested in reading the post. I also took the time to remind this woman that Menstrual Poetry is listed under the feminism and gender section of BlogHer ads and because of that, I thought that those same feminist ideals and nice, warm feelings of sex-positivity goodness would also be held by the people of BlogHer. Turns out I was wrong.
After sending my pretty lengthy email, my ads were reinstated for exactly one day. I then received yet another email from the same woman, informing me that they were suspended again because I did not remove the image of the DVD cover. I thought that I had compromised enough and I’m generally not willing to bend over backwards to appease the ad network gods. In the end, I feel that the content I wrote and published on this website was important and again, very much necessary. It’s about time that we start to remove the stigma from porn, especially porn made by women and starring diverse casts, safe sex practices and everything we expect from feminist directors; because that is what Courtney Trouble is. But one thing was very, very clear; my review of Seven Minutes in Heaven 2 and my BlogHer ads could not live happily ever after on the same website. We had irreconcilable differences. So I took them down and now, approximately 12 days later, I still feel like this was the best decision I could have made.
If I learned one thing from this entire experience, it is that writing about sex and sexuality and the positive, enriching experience it brings to one’s life can get you into trouble. It can make big businesses, corporations and the ad networks that depend on them quick to censor someone because they rely on the incredibly uptight and naive. More than anything, I find this to be severely devastating and I’ve never been one to play that game and I don’t intend to start now.
I chose to incorporate ads on this site because frankly, money is good. I like money and I would like to have more of it. As many of you may know, I work from home and spend all day, every day blogging, doing sporadic web design and development and freelancing where and when I can. If I could make a few bucks from the hard work I put into this blog and have put in here over the years, then why not? I think bloggers who dedicate time to their websites and share a little of themselves with the people who choose to click onto their sites deserve something in return for their dedication; especially since most of the people out there doing amazing work shedding light on important things and talking about things that not many other people have the guts to talk about aren’t getting lavish book deals, appearances on morning television and opportunities to write for the biggest publications.
I was going to keep the name of the ad network out of this blog post, but I chose not to when a good friend of mine and fellow blogger who is consistently fighting the good fight told me about a recent altercation with the same ad network recently and how it was completely unwarranted and I found it downright ridiculous. So remember this–when an ad network tell you that they like what you’re doing and they are lucky to have you as part of their network, it’s only until the corporations they work with say something differently and they are always, always willing to back peddle for the money they make. You are but yet another number and the amount of money you make every month from your ads is only a considerably small fraction of what they are making. They need you as much as you need them. Perhaps more people should let the people behind these ad networks know that.
So, if you enjoy reading Menstrual Poetry or merely agree with what I have to say on this topic (and of course, want to read more about what I think of sex-positivity), I have added a donation button to my sidebar and I would greatly appreciate it if you could donate to keep this website, as well as myself, up and running.
Also, if you’re in the market for some great sex toys, or yes, porn, please consider purchasing from the awesome companies that I am an affiliate of–Fascinations, Good Vibrations and Babeland. They are all fabulous companies with hard-working, loyal and appreciative people behind them. The only other avenues in which Menstrual Poetry makes money is through Blogads, so if you have a website, book, independent film, or anything else you think the readers of Menstrual Poetry would be interested in, please consider purchasing an ad. Menstrual Poetry will not be making any income aside from these sources from now on because it isn’t easy to censor someone who is on a mission and I won’t compromise what I believe in when it comes to this website.