Debbie Does Discipline: The European Parliament and the Banning of Pornography



For the love of… can’t a woman get happy in peace? This week MEPs have been voting on a the contents of a report that would allow the banning of pornography in all 27 member states based on findings that fail to define “pornography” or “the media”, or elucidate on the extent to which censorship might be implemented.

Anyone who favours dystopian literature can see the potential problems. In various works, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and George Orwell’s 1984 being two of the most prominent, the apparent protection of women’s rights becomes an excuse for puritanical restrictions and the ritualization of sex.

So what would happen in the EU? The delicate prose of Anais Nin and The Vagina Monologues branded filth overnight? Yet the production or “torture porn” and vivid cinematic depictions of actual violence continues unmolested? Porn made by women for women is worse than the glorification of gun crime? Not saying exactly what you want in life creates problems outside the bedroom as well you know.

Yes, there are studies that suggest a correlation between pornography and violent sex crime. There are also studies that indicate no link, and there is an equal amount of research indicating that making pornography accessible would decrease the number of rape or sexual violence cases. The research is inconclusive. I work in academia and have seen professionals of various disciplines grumble perpetually at each other over this very issue.

Be honest about what worries you. If your worries are about women, make it illegal for companies to implement gender-based wage discrepancies and offer equal paternity leave. If you’re worried about porn, offer tighter controls because fair enough, some of that stuff does not need to be seen by minors. If you’re worried about women in porn, police the industry and offer free legal advice.

Don’t you dare use feminism to justify something that clearly has other motives. The manipulation of women’s rights is not an excuse for groups or governments to establish themselves or implement sanctimonious opinions that restrict the freedom of consenting adults.

Porn is a fantasy. If the issue is the portrayal of women in pornography the look at the position of women in society. Adult entertainment is prohibited the majority of Arab World nations, but I would not consider them the most liberal-minded of territories. There are no strip clubs in Iceland, but there’s plenty of violent sex crime. China says no to boobies but yes to a gender gap in almost every conceivable area of life.

Such policies are also based on archaic assumptions that only men watch porn and those that do are driven to imitate. Here’s the thing, lots of people like porn. To suggest otherwise would be to indicate that Fifty Shades of Grey became the fastest selling paperback of all time based on the quality of its prose.

Girls, hands up in the audience which of you are familiar with Nabokov’s Lolita? Porn. Moll Flanders and Fanny Hill? Porn. Giacomo Casanova’s Histoire de ma vie? Beautifully written, emotive porn composed in praise of women.

Porn does not demean women, it is the reflection of a society that demeans women. It is also the mark of a fearsome female confident in her sexuality. Behave European Parliament or I shall come and give you naughty MEPs the spanking you so richly deserve.


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