35 GENIUS INTERVIEW Andrea Barrica
you’re getting is current, let alone accurate. It’s like going to a grocery store where there’s no nutritional information or the expired food stays on the shelves. Search algorithms aren’t as good as we imagine. Say you’re searching for information about bisexuality. You might get something that’s medically accurate, but depending on the terms you use, you could just as easily get a Newsweek article from 2005, a socially conservative rant in Breitbart, or porn. Now, we’re not anti-porn by any means, but if you’re a teen looking to understand your sexuality, these aren’t the most reliable resources. It’s important that there’s a brand and a platform that can be relied upon, and a community with which to engage. The same goes for social media. There’s some amazing stuff out there, but depending on who you are and where you live, you might never find it. Instead, if you’re in a small, conservative town with few sex ed resources, you might never have access to it, or it might be outnumbered 10-to-1 with what other people are sharing. Just as with politics, it’s an echo chamber. If you see something being retweeted or posted enough, you might just come to accept it. FEED: What are your thoughts about where adult video content is now? Do you see any trends that are interesting or useful? ANDREA BARRICA: It’s an interesting moment, because there’s just so much adult content available right now. As I said
BODY LITERACY O.school wants people to get to know theirs - and their partner’s - parts. This 3D model of the clitoris has become quite a talking point
WE HAVE ALL THIS PORN , BUT WE DON’T HAVE A WORLD THAT’S PORN LITERATE
FEED: The UK is in the process of passing a law which will require ID to access adult content online. What are your thoughts about restricting or controlling access to adult content online? ANDREA BARRICA: Well, first of all let me say I’m all for restricting porn to adults only. But how do we do that without blocking everything that’s actually good about sexuality? Social media platforms are already struggling with this. Their default is to overblock. Even informative conversations about sex and sexuality can get classified as porn. We see this with the big tech companies as well. A few months ago, we checked out Apple’s new parental filter, a porn- blocking mechanism, and it blocked not just porn but LGBTQ resources, including a suicide hotline for gay teens. O.school was blocked. Wikipedia pages related to safe sex were blocked. We’ll have to wait and see how this works out in the UK, which I understand has at least made an attempt at a more nuanced approach.
before, we’re not anti-porn. It can be a tremendous resource for understanding, accessing and expressing your sexuality. I think the availability of adult content has really generated a lot of conversations about sex and gender identity that were hidden, or understood as niche. It has enabled people to see themselves and their desires reflected. This doesn’t mean that it’s the same as sex education. A lot of people are getting their information from porn. In some cases, that’s better than what is out there otherwise. In others, it can be really misleading. We have all this porn, but we don’t have a world that’s porn literate. We don’t teach people how to talk about it or how to consume it or how to integrate what they see into their lives. We pretend it doesn’t exist, at least as far as young people are concerned. The more interesting companies are grappling with that. They have data about human sexuality that no one could have imagined even ten years ago and it has turned a lot of our conventional wisdom on its head.
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