This morning, twitter tells me two things:
Now, had I been The Government and wanted to bury some news, this would be the day I did it. I’m certain the internet porn ban is not something they want to bury, as this is pure Daily Mail headline policy making: unevidenced and unworkable nonsense.
I’ve read more than one blogpost raising questions that surely should have been asked before this policy was made public, and have a few questions of my own for a friend.
Apparently households that are already online (there must be quite a few of those, no?) can opt out of the ban. If you opt out, does your name get written down in a special book? Do we have to explicitly state that we want access to porn? Which member of the household decides this? The mum? The teenage son? Heaven forfend, there may be some households where one member is unaware that another member is looking at porn. Or reading porn, because not all porn consists of visual images. And does it only apply to households with children, because it’s not clear whether this is to prevent the “corrosion” of childhood, or to mend broken adults.
How do you define porn? The articles I’ve read only refer to child porn (which is already illegal) and online pornography depicting rape. How do you define rape? Where do we stand with fictional accounts of domestic violence? Is all SM porn now illegal?
Why limit it to online porn? Or are parents expected/allowed to control access to other depictions of violence against women (e.g. certain videogames) or sexualisation of children (certain Nabokov books)?
Why limit it to porn? My son appears to believe that when you die, you just go back to your spawnpoint, and if you get drop-kicked in the face, you lose a few health points but can make them back up by taking a magic potion. Or something. He also likes to wear a baseball cap backwards, and prefers Haribo to vegetables. All of these things are, in the long run, bad for society, and therefore should be legislated against.
How can it possibly still be okay to show the bare breasts of teenaged girls on Page 3 of The Sun? The government seems deeply uninterested in this matter. Perhaps they assume children cannot be corroded by this because they won’t be able to prise the family’s copy of The Sun out of their slathering uncle’s grubby hands.
Isn’t it fantastic that Facebook already bans any image of female nipples? Oh, apparently they don’t. Only breastfeeding images. And they do allow jokes about rape. And I just googled “facebook breastfeeding rape,” and am now waiting for the knock at the door…
If we ban all depictions of non-consensual sexual acts, will we no longer have to teach our children about consent? Because then, as Orwell said, a heretical thought will literally be unthinkable.