Spanking for Liberty

On March 1, Manchester’s Sackville Gardens was the venue for a mass public spanking, or ‘Spankathon’. The event was the brainchild of Charlotte Rose, who was named the Sex Worker of the Year at the 2013 British Erotic Awards. And I know this article was originally published on April 1, but there really is such a thing – honest! Here she is on the day, in the distinguished company of Alan Turing:


It’s appropriate that Turing’s statue should be in Sackville Gardens, because it’s in the heart of the city’s ‘gay village’, but the ‘Spankathon’ was about different sexualities rather than gay sexuality in particular. So it’s important to say up front that, although more people got spanked there than I’m going to talk about here, that’s only because I’m concentrating on the part of the spectrum that interests me, and that omission shouldn’t be taken to imply criticism or prejudice or lack of respect.

A demonstration featuring a mass public spanking is inevitably going to invite comparisons with the great FEMEN spanking protest of 2009 in Kiev, but in fact the two events couldn’t be more dissimilar. The FEMEN event was a structured performance which used spanking as a metaphor for the abuse it was protesting. But the point of the ‘Spankathon’ was, literally, to spank – in public, and for specific political reasons.

We’ll let Charlotte Rose begin to explain:

On the 1st of December, in secret, without debate, and without wider consultation, Parliament pushed through new laws that censor internet porn, clamping down far harder on expressions of women’s and LGBT sexuality than on straight men’s.

Spanking beyond a gentle level is one of the banned activities – ironic, as we all know what MPs get up to. Face-sitting, too; fisting, female ejaculation and other sexual practices, all going back to a heteronormative stance deemed suitable in the Obscenities Act of 1958. But sexual exploration is a lot more diverse in the 21st century.

The Government is using porn as one of the first steps to controlling freedom of speech. It’s an attack on personal liberties and sexual freedom, and we will not keep quiet until something is done about it.

I’m not sure we actually know what MPs get up to (or that, if legal, it’s anybody’s business but their own), but more broadly Charlotte is making a good point about censorship. And she’s backing it up with a series of awareness-raising events across England, which seek to call attention to the issue by doing in public the things that the new law now prohibits in internet videos, and trying to set, or break, records for the number of participants in these activities. It began with a mass face-sitting outside the Houses of Parliament on December 12 last year, and the Manchester ‘Spankathon’ was the second outing.

But as an act of defiance, it has to walk a fine line. After all, there are a lot of things people do in porn videos that they’d be prosecuted for doing in public in most parts of the civilized world! In England, it’s called ‘outraging public decency’, and in practice this meant that participants in the ‘Spankathon’ were politely asked not to spank anyone on the bare bottom. As it turned out, everyone seems to have got spanked fully clothed. But then, it was a cold day in Manchester. Who knows what might have happened if it had been a summer event?!

The first order of business was a photo session for the assembled journalists, featuring Charlotte Rose herself and a glamorous assistant with pink hair and patterned jeans. Charlotte had come equipped with a carpet beater, which wasn’t going to make contact with any carpets that day…

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A carpet beater is all very well, but you just can’t beat the flat of the hand…

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Charlotte does a quick two-handed bongo imitation…

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… but for maximum effect you really need the left hand in  the small of her back, pressing her down:

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Back to the carpet beater now…

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And, as you can see, Charlotte’s finally started making an impression:

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Feeling lucky at the generous amount of photographic documentation of this spanking? Get ready to feel luckier… because somebody videoed it, too:

I particularly like the leg-fluttering on the part of Pinky, but there’s also some unintentional amusement to be had from the background mutterings of a disgruntled sadist, who naively imagined he was going to see some hard, vigorous spanking, and isn’t pleased that the photoshoot involves more pose than punishment. Watching after the event, however, we should be glad it was that way around, because it means the shoot generated some outstanding near-mainstream spanking photos!

The proceedings proper got under way, a little later than scheduled, at 12.30, with speeches, after which the sound of pop music blared out across Sackville Gardens. The song? Madonna’s ‘Hanky Panky’, of course!

A pair of nuns soon arrived, offering spankings in return for charitable donations. But these were no ordinary nuns. ‘Sister Helga’ was an obvious transvestite, while ‘Sister Vendetta’ was of uncertain genital group, but when they gave a demonstration of their services it was Helga doing the spanking.

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Helga then got to work on the lesbian activist who goes by the name of Miss Dennis Queen. There’s no doubt about her gender. Here she is:

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And here’s Helga dealing with her:

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Next up was a Goth girl who got what looks like a Batman belt across the bot:

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And look in the background: now it’s turning into a real mass spanking. Charlotte obviously didn’t make a perfect job of spanking Pinky, because she can still sit down to spank another rather pretty young lady.

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The girl in the striped gloves and denim shorts is obviously very eager to get in on the act:

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Now Pinky’s victim has turned the tables. And Denim Shorts really needs to look behind her…

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That’s a disabled activist named Sharon coming up behind. And she’s armed…

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There are two other girls waiting their turn across our bearded friend’s knee. Both times he’s going to pull a mean trick. A hand spanking?

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No, it’s the bat-belt!

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And the same for you, my dear:

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I said earlier that the ‘Spankathon’ was the second in a series of events, which will stage a range of different banned activities. So, unless you were one of the 50 people who turned up  a month ago, you’ve missed the spanking. There was also a mass whipping in Brighton on Sunday May 3, and Charlotte Rose continues to campaign on a sexual freedom platform. More power to her arm!

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