Paypal drops a censorship bomb.

As you may or may not be aware, recently Paypal has strong armed a lot of indie erotica presses into discontinuing “unacceptable” titles.

For a lot more info head over here to Banned Writers and read around.

If you don’t want the specifics basically any erotic works that involve anything Paypal thinks is gross or awful can’t be paid for via paypal.

Now, on one hand I knew this was coming. Paypal has been notoriously anti-“adult” anything. I’ve heard stories upon stories of paypal holding funds for “questionable” things. Everything from cam girl payments to menstrual blood art.

I’ve heard varying stories about why Paypal does this and it boils down to them saying, well we don’t like X thing so you can’t use our services to engage in X thing.

It’s a load of shit. As many other bloggers have pointed out, if we wanted to get real about obscenity and perversion I do hope that Paypal wouldn’t accept payments for the Bible and many great literary works.

But wait, of course. Literary=not prurient and therefor “okay”.

Some authors have said that paypal doesn’t want you reading erotica which I don’t entirely agree with. I believe that it’s the age old if it turns you on, and the creator intended to turn you on it’s a problem. More of a problem if it’s “icky” as in rape fantasy, bestiality fantasy etc.

The problem I have is that Paypal is assuming that the consumer is not consenting to view these materials and is acting in a hugely patriarchal way.

My other problem is the idea (again we come back to this over and over) is the conflation of writing about something and actually doing it. Or wanting to do it.

I honestly believe that this is the problem. When we write “literary” fiction about murder or rape etc, it is “just fiction”. Isn’t it? If it’s literary doesn’t that mean that if the reader is turned on and puts their hands in their pants, it’s okay because we didn’t mean to turn them on.

Once we get past all the Big Daddy (not used in a fun sense of the word) Paypal nonsense, isn’t that at the root of these arguments about erotica vs porn vs literary and what is and isn’t okay to buy and write?

It’s problematic for writers to ever confess to something so awful as really wanting to turn someone on. If we do that we’ve magically lost legitimacy. We’re somehow suddenly less than, not because our writing has suffered or because we’re just shilling crap. It’s all because we all know that to willfully and wantonly provoke desire in another human is the worst thing you can do right?

It’s a more terrible thing to do if one is a woman because we all know women never want to make anyone want to fuck. Women are not supposed to ever want to create something that makes other people hard/wet in the pants.

Truly awful.

In case anyone reading this doesn’t know me, I’m being really sarcastic.

Early in my getting things published part of my writing career, someone told me I had to use a penname for my erotica porn. Actually I must digress for a moment here. I say porn joyfully because when I am writing sex, if my reader is not getting tingly in their special area I’m disappointed. My interests when I write erotic fiction is absolutely unabashadly prurient. Let’s be clear about that.

Moving on.

The assumption behind this advice is that if anyone ever found out I wrote porn, porn written specifically for people to whack it to, they would never believe I could write “well”.

That’s the assumption isn’t it? If it’s written to spank it to, or get a good special tingle from then it obviously can’t be beautifully written or literary in flavor. Of course.

Here’s the thing fellow writers.

There is a good chance 99% of the people who read this will never write about calling a woman Daddy while sitting on her face and insisting on being called boy. A lot of you won’t write in lengthy and delicious detail about sucking the cock of a man who calls you boy and holds a knife to your throat and  how wonderful that is. A lot of you reading this won’t write those things and hope with all your little heart that someone gets a raging boner and has to stop reading in order to deal with it.

That is just fine with me.

I know a lot of you won’t eroticize rape or violence.

That’s also fine.

I do ask that you writers who don’t write all these nasty things, take a minute to stand up for those of us who do. Understand that I’m super pumped if you don’t like it when I write about dominating a cross dressing man in a slip, that’s fine. I’m not so pumped if you don’t understand why all of this is pretty devastating and targeting those of us who do.

Support the ability of readers to support the authors they like.

What do we do?

I don’t know honestly. I don’t trust petitions to change corporate policy. I don’t know what to do other than talk about it. I have already written to paypal. I have written to the credit card companies.

I will continue to support my fellow perverts armed with pens.

I will continue to write whatever the fuck I want to and if need be find ways around this paypal problem until they either give a straight answer or other alternatives are found.

I feel like I don’t have that much to add to the whole conversation. I’m tired of talking about it or thinking about it.

Can’t we just write our stories and maybe sell them?

I am as tired of this shit as I am when I hear/see writers wanking about genre.

That’s all. I digressed all over. Later this week I have news. Also in honor of this whole paypal debacle I may write some “icky” smut for free for everyone who likes it icky.


5 thoughts on “Paypal drops a censorship bomb.

  1. Pingback: Shannon Barber: Paypal drops a censorship bomb | Banned Writers

  2. gkparker

    It is something we all need to fight. I don’t write any of the things Paypal doesn’t approve of, but what if that approval extends? And quite probably it will. When they decide gay romance is not acceptable? Or menage? I’m with Shannon 100%. What you write is no one’s business but yours and whoever wants to buy it.

  3. I love this post. It reflects a lot of my own views very well.

    Isn’t the point of literature to make the reader feel /something/? I don’t understand why making a reader feel sexy – especially women – is a bad thing. Aren’t men always complaining in the mass media that wives don’t put out ‘enough’?

    Will taking away one of the few things that the majority of women can feel comfortable using to get turned on really help men and women as a whole?

    I mean, sure, it’s ‘just icky erotica’ at the moment, but there’s nothing to stop Paypal from banning all erotica just to be on the safe side.

  4. Pingback: Femmedia - Blog Roundup

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