Saturday, September 15, 2007

We Need Censorship

These days, mainstream North America seems to believe that censorship is always bad, that adult pornography is perfectly legitimate, and that the only real problem with porn sites is that they may leave annoying cookies on your computer. Do you agree? If so, do me a favor: go to google and type porn bondage. Open the first site in the long list, which I think will be yobt. Take a long look at what's there.

If you look through the links on this site you'll see things that will give you nightmares. Some of it, like the blood and whip marks, may be make-up. Some of it, like the electrodes attached to genitals, is probably fake. But some of it is not fake: the lack of blood circulation, distended orifices and objects stuck inside the women. These women are not into pain and humiliation: in real bondage, the person being dominated is asking/paying to have it done and has a safe word to make it stop. These women are porn models who are being posed, and being hurt while the filming is done. And it's part of a mainstream, huge porn site, used by millions of men.

When I saw this site, my first thought was to call the RCMP and report it. But as far as I can tell it's completely legal to do this to women as long as they're adult. In a few minutes of clicking I found dozens of similar sites, and yet I have never heard a peep of criticism about it - in the media, from friends, on other blogs. Think of the outrage if a horse is shot in a movie, and there is no notice assuring us that "no animals were harmed in the making of this film." I have even seen movies say that no insects were harmed.

The damage is not limited to the women. The men who look at this stuff are also being desensitized. I don't know much about pornography, but I suspect that men who look at softer porn that humiliates and degrades the models are led slowly to the hardcore stuff.

I'm not saying that we should go back to the days when Robert Mapplethorpe exhibits were raided. But we need to apply some tougher legal standards to adult pornography. We need to start acknowledging that it has harmful effects on the workers in the industry. If we didn't have laws, poor people might do all sorts of things for money that caused them harm, like sell their internal organs. Pornography has become a sacred cow and that needs to stop.

It's true that it would be difficult to get this stuff off the internet. It's tough enough to track down the creators of child pornography. But we're miles away from trying to stop this hardcore porn: we're still at the stage of saying there's nothing wrong with it. That complacency hurts our children and our culture.

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7 comments:

KC said...

Two words: Slippery. Slope.

Yappa said...

To KC -

I believe there is a difference between repressive censorship and liberal censorship. For more on the subject, see http://www-personal.umich.edu/~wbutler/kristol.html.

KC said...

I dont see why some people make such a big deal about pornography. The simply reality is there are a lot of people out there who--for one reason or another--are not having a lot of sex. Imagination might suffice to some extent but when it doesnt the only exposure to sexual content is pornography.

I also think the "women are oppressed in the making of porn" argument is overexagerated as well. Who are you to say that some women out there simply dont mind having sex in front of a camera for money? I dont think you can.

I'd rather avoid legislating taste as much as possible. There is no good reason to criminalize ordinary porn.

Graeme said...

They can do a lot of things nowadays with computer animation. I read somewhere that there exist "kiddie porn" web sites where they use adult models (probably just barely adult, but still) and then use computers to adjust the images so that the participants look like they're much younger. That way the people who like kiddie porn are, ahem, satisfied, and no actual children are being used.

I'm not trying to defend that kind of stuff, but it's possible that the sites you saw use computer enhancement to simulate the violence. It's also possible that I'm naïvely choosing to believe that because the alternative, that the pictures are 100% real, is too uncomfortable for me.

Yappa said...

Hi Graeme,

I hadn't thought of that. It's a huge relief to think that some of those pictures might be compter-generated. I wouldn't like to just assume they are, however.

I wonder if this raises another issue: the distinction between animation that is obviously a drawing and computer-generated photographs that look real.

Studies have shown that men who lust after children and who look at child pornography are more likely to commit pedophilic acts than men who lust after children but stay away from pornography.

Likewise, does this sort of photograph motivate sadists and rapists?

Thanks for the comment!

Mindea said...

Yappa Ding Ding is on to something really important. I work with women who have been arrested and are now incarcerated following a conviction for a drug offense. These women are addicted to illegal drugs. To understand addiction of this sort one really needs to look at the history of their lives. In almost every case these women have experienced trauma and abuse, starting at extraordinarily young ages. They use often to escape the sordid reality of their lives, and at some point they find their way into the sex trade/industry (read ‘porn industry’) to pay for their addiction. It is a horribly predictable cycle. They get ‘caught’ for using and since the drugs they are using are illegal, they are sent to prison. Meanwhile, as Yappa Ding notes, why the hell is the industry which pays for these addictions not criminalized rather than sanctioned? Computer simulation or not, the porn industry is debasing and has far reaching deleterious outcomes.

msc said...

I'm do tired of people pretending that porn has something to do with normal sex. When a woman is reduced to three holes and two hands and every aspect of the sex act is portrayed in a contrived, fake and extreme manner, it's no longer sex - it's sickness.