There are wide cultural differences in the attitudes towards pornography. Main-stream videos from Europe, South America and Asia treat sex completely different than we here in North America. To most of the world sex and the depiction of sex in popular culture and art is commonplace and acceptable. Pornography is not an issue for most of the world. In fact, I believe that pornography is not an issue for much of us here in London or Canada. Anti-pornography however is an issue.
It seems that whenever thousands of consenting adults gather at the London Sex Show or similar events across this country there are a few mal-contents who object to the choices others make and try to control them through by-laws or legislation designed to bring their sexual appetites more in line with the extremely small minority of people who consider sex and its depiction as somehow immoral.
When hundreds of millions of people from all walks of life purchase and view porn every second of every day there always seems to be that one person who considers what vast numbers of people are doing in the privacy of their homes distasteful to the point that they feel the need to publically try to humiliate them and legislatively stop them.
Buying adult erotica or pornography is just fine if that is what you like. In fact if you view porn you are doing what people, both male and female have been doing since we learned how to draw on the walls of caves. In fact one of the oldest human artifacts known is a sculpture of a buxom naked woman.
The argument that pornography and the depiction of consenting nudity or sex are abnormal or immoral is simply wrong. It can be dismissed easily. But we are still left with the anti-pornographers and their agenda. So how are they going to push an agenda we know to be false? They have made up a lie. They tell us that porn leads to violence, that men who view porn are more likely to kill their wives and to rape strangers and run amok wreaking havoc on the streets.
These are of course patent lies. “But,” they say. “We have correlations and studies that show it to be true!” Well as we all know, a correlation does not necessarily demonstrate causality. The fact that literally billions of people, men and women, consume porn and the fact that we live in a relatively peaceful society should demonstrate the falseness of their claims.
The linking of violence with sex and pornography is the most insidious and yet obvious tool of the anti-pornographers. While it is true that there are genres of pornography that involve themes such as bondage or rough sex the fact that the acts are consensual should remove any notion that violence is involved at all.
The same distinction between consenting violence and consensual physical force can be seen in a karate dojo. Few people find the blood and gore of a boxing match objectionable because they know that the participants are adults acting consensually. Why then when consenting adults participate in pornography, most of which does not offer more physical force than say an enthusiastic slap on the behind, do these anti-pornographers claim that violence is involved?
The answer is that it suits their goals to equate sex with violence. It suits their argument to falsely suggest that the women in the pornographic industry are being abused or are being mistreated when the opposite is true.
There are a few people in the anti-pornography coffee clutch (I won’t call it a movement since a coffee clutch is more appropriate to their numbers) who are writing books and trying to dominate the discussion and who hold conventions on the subject for their own personal goals. They are trying to sell books. They are trying to drum up business. They are asking governments for millions of dollars to be spent so they, as expert anti-pornographers, can become highly paid consultants to school boards, and abused women clinics, and various levels of government. They are in it for themselves.
They can’t be in it for women because the anti-pornographers are actually doing more harm to women than good. One of the bromides they usually spout is that ‘pornography objectifies women for the sexual pleasure of men’ well when the anti-pornographers get up on their soap boxes and tell women to cover up and stop degrading themselves how do you think these women should feel? They are trying to shame them. They are trying to tell them that sex is bad and that their natural tendency to show off their good looks is evil and will cause men to kill and rape. What this warped sense of life does to the minds of some young girls who might actually listen to them can only be damaging.
If there is absolutely no erotica tolerable to the anti-pornographers the natural conclusion to anti-pornography is the clothing of women in burkas. Perhaps this is why when asked why they have not become critics of Islam and the way countries like Saudi Arabia or Pakistan treat their women they change the topic. It is precisely because the consequence of their anti-pornography campaign is the subjugation of women.
They wish to control one half of the population by telling them that consuming porn turns them into rapists and killers and they wish to control the other half of the population by telling them that they should cover up their bodies lest they tempt the other half of the population to rape and kill.
If we continue to give credence to these people we are aiding in their objectification of women and in the objectification of men. Women will be objectified as sluts and men will be objectified as potential rapists.
It would be easy for anyone to say that anti-pornographers are prudes or are perhaps not good looking but not only is this a cheap shot it also probably incorrect. No, the anti-pornographers have a low sense of life and an unnatural view on the sexual appetites of their neighbours. They fail to see what most of the world understands, that consensual sex is good and healthy and that the depiction of nudity and sex is good and healthy and happily enjoyed by millions. The only reason television, radio stations and newspapers ask for the opinion of these anti-pornographers is that the media know this one thing…the public loves a good freak show.
(Originally broadcast on Just Right #203, June 9, 2011.)