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Opting in to Pornography: The Ins and Outs

By Periscope @periscopepost
Opting in to pornography: The ins and outs

Smut: out of access. Photocredit: Hryck.

Pornography has for long been freely available on the internet; David Cameron is now unveiling plans which will see subscribers to internet service providers (BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin) having to “opt in” if they want to look at porn. This is part of a repsonse to a review by Reg Bailey into the commercialisation and sexualisation of children; Cameron will also announce moves such as restrictions on advertising campaigns and billboard images, as well as a new website, Parentport, which will allow parents to complain about anything they deem inappropriate.

The benefits of pornography. But is porn really that bad for us? asked Anna Arrowsmith (herself a porn film director) on The Guardian’s Comment in Free. Since equating feminism with anti-porn, we’ve been “neuro-linguistically programmed to equate porn with harm.” But actually, there’s a “fair amount of evidence” to show that porn is “good for society.” In countries with “liberal attitudes to sex”, women’s rights tend to be “far stronger,”; also US states with faster broadband (and therefore more porn) have decreased rape offences. Porn is helpful in marriages, too, allowing sexual pressures to be released. Men too feel the need to keep their porn use secret – which would be impossible if you have to opt-in in “PC World in broad daylight.” Sexual desire needs an outlet – if the government really wants to prevent children from gettin hold of porn, it should step in and take down porn torrent sites, which are an assault on the producer’s copyright.

As long as we don’t have to listen to Katy Perry. Rowan Pelling in The Daily Telegraph said don’t be silly, it’ll be a relief. It used to be easy to screen pornography from children: but now, from the “potty-mouthed idiots on Big Brother to the lewd lyrics of pop princesses”, sex is literally everywhere. It’s hard being an “unfettered liberatian” when eight-year-olds are singing Katy Perry’s California Girls: “ ‘Kiss her, touch her, squeeze her buns.’” But nobody’s saying that people who like porn are wicked – just that the young need to be protected. “What’s not to like?” It’s very hard to judge what’s porn and what isn’t, so far better put the choice in the hands of the consumer. Indeed, “the only thing to regret” is that these proposals aren’t also aimed at violence.

There are more important things to worry about. Alice Thomson in The Times said the David Cameron’s measures, intended to win the women’s vote, are ridiculous in a climate where children won’t be able to buy a house till their mid thirties, and even if they do get a job, will be worse off than their parents. Simply curbing porn and “outlawing girls’ T-shirts saying ‘Jail Bait’” won’t help at all. We don’t care about such things when we’re recyling school shoes just to scrape together enough for the fuel bills. “Mothers may well be concerned that their children can see hard porn on the internet , but they are more worried that their graduate children will never be able to get on to the property ladder.”

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