Quantcast

David Cameron Wants to Ban Porn For All the Wrong Reasons

When we have a topical wound, we treat it with disinfectant and place a bandage over it, but when we have a viral infection, a bandage isn't going to help. Yet politicians try to use legislative bandages to salve viral social aliments. This week, British Prime Minister David Cameron made a speech about cracking down on internet pornography, because it is, in his words, “corroding childhood.” Households in the UK will now have pornography blocked by their internet provider by default, unless they actively choose to receive it. Pornography depicting rape will also be banned. Cameron has taken a stand against internet pornography while continuing to see the topless "page three girl" as a consumer choice, rather than a symptom of Britain’s patriarchal sexism.

The fact that radical feminists and conservative politicians are joining together on this issue sends a shiver down my spine, but it isn't the first time they've done so. Andrea Dworkin once wrote, "pornography incarnates male supremacy. It is in the DNA of male dominance.” She also gave evidence during the Meese Commission, aligning herself with Richard Nixon (hello patriarchal authority), a conservative who wished to ban abortion except in cases of interracial pregnancies or rape. Look no further than Texas or Ohio, where state governments declared that they were looking to protect women by placing stringent restrictions (now known as TRAP bills) on clinics that provide contraception as well as abortions. We know all too well that government concern trolling is not actually beneficial to women.  

I do not support the UK ban on pornography, because no government can be trusted to restrict its use of firewall-like censorship to a stated purpose. Look no further than China's ban of all mentions of Tiananmen Square to see a government's ability to control knowledge through censorship.   

In May, Mark Bridger was convicted in the UK for the murder of five-year-old April Jones. Newspapers, conservative politicians, and anti-porn feminists suggested that there is a causal link between the viewing of exploitative child pornography and the proliferation of violent assaults on children. The Guardian's Ally Fogg writes that, while there is no doubt that the internet has widely propagated such images, “rates of child sexual abuse appear to be either remaining constant or declining, sometimes significantly. In the US from 1990 to 2007, cases of substantiated sexual abuse dropped by 53%. In 12 years to 2005, sexual assault against 12- to 17-year-olds fell by 52%. Research in American schools has shown the same trends, with falls of 28-30% in self-reported abuse since the mid-1990s.”

Child abuse is not a modern problem. In 19th-century Victorian England there were widespread campaigns to stamp out incest and child prostitution. Child abuse is not a problem that goes away by slapping a Band-Aid over it. Images that feature child sexual exploitation are being viewed as the problem, rather than the acts involved in the creation of the images. Banning a set of people from viewing those images does not stop the exploitation of children. Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre boss Jim Gamble told BBC Radio that it is important to "get to the root cause" of illegal pornography by catching those responsible for creating it. Many pedophiles don't use search engines to access child pornography, but maintain a set of contacts with whom they share such images. Child pornography is already illegal in most of the developed world, and Google already has a zero-tolerance policy for it. Electing to create redundant legislation that duplicates failed policies is not an ounce of prevention. It is closing one’s eyes and saying that the bogeyman does not exist, even as he lurks under your bed.

Like us on Facebook:
Join the Discussion
New Response

Be the first to comment

Top Responses ()
All Responses ()
Load More Responses Show All Responses

Loading Responses

CLOSE | X

Do you agree that our
generation needs a voice?