July 22, 2013

Asking for a friend

This morning, twitter tells me two things:

  1. It’s a crappy time to be a pregnant princess.
  2. The government intends to ban internet porn.

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.


29 thoughts on “Asking for a friend

  1. Interestingly I was browsing @JackOfKent‘s twitter conversations when this was posted.

    Several conversations with him saying this is all about men. (1, 2, 3.)

    Two tweets stood out.
    1. It’s only men complaining.
    2. All the techies saying this wont work are men.

    Obviously I don’t disagree with those points. However given two recent gender discussions by/with me (1, 2) it did make me think.

    Anyway not particularly making any particular point. Just saying I find some of the views of people messaging @JackOfKent interesting and it made me think.

  2. Is it only men complaining? I’m complaining. I don’t think it will work. I’ve seen plenty of tweets from women pointing out that the evidence doesn’t support this initiative. I did hear Cameron making an arse of himself on Women’s Hour just now, though.

  3. I’m not saying it is only men complaining, but from JofK’s feed some people clearly do see this as a male issue. (The complaining that is, and potentially the porn watching). It does show there is a perception split somewhere.

    Personally I don’t think it will work. And evidence generally shows that. Unlike say clear branding on cigarettes which there is evidence to show it does work. Which the gov dropped.

    I think my point was, was that reading JofK’s timeline made me think about it a little differently. And clearly there are some people who feel this is a very important issue to deal with. (Not the PM mind you, I feel this is clearly just populistic by him).

  4. Yeah I know you’re not. I think there is always going to be a set of people who believe porn is only of interest to men. But even in those households, if the men are using porn, then it’s not just a male issue.

  5. I mean I think the biggest problem is, is just that it’s entirely unworkable. Which means the time and money spent is a waste of economic energy.

    But this seems really really important to some people.

  6. Oh I’m not saying women don’t care.

    But I’m saying some women clearly see the objections as “pretty much a male thing”.

    Some women who clearly see them selves as pro women, feminists etc.

    Given I’ve twice been called out for comments I made as a man, neither of which I thought were particularly anti-women, it have me pause.

  7. And the thing that’s making me pause to think is that my own streams are full of women speaking for themselves and not making out that this is a male issue. I’m not posting these to prove you wrong.

  8. Surely that implies a lot of self selection in both the people you follow, and the people talking to JofK saying “the poor menz”

    And if that’s the case, surely the breakdown is that those women who are pushing for the legalisation do thinking that it’s a women want the block men don’t, and aren’t hearing from or listening too the women who disagree.

    I don’t know who the PM is trying to appease with the legislation, but it’s certainly not me or anyone I know.

    (Unlike say fiscal policy where I have friends with view points on both sides and many in favour of the austerity measures)

  9. I listened to Woman’s Hour too, whilst slapping my forehead repeatedly.

    I’m even more alarmed by the plan to ban “vile” search terms. This is going to be bad news (as I’ve already wittily pointed out on Twitter) for any ornithologists called Richard who live in Scunthorpe and support the Gunners.

    Can I wager a crisp fiver now that this policy proposal will be dropped/watered down/quietly forgotten before the autumn?

  10. The thing is, if the PM says “I’m protecting the children”, he already has the highest moral ground, even if the method and policy are otherwise totally flawed. Watch Labour and the LibDems do their very best to avoid opposing this policy.

  11. You’re probably right Graybo.

    I’d take double or nothing though that it resurfaces every 5-8 years regardless of who is in power.

  12. @Graybo, you’re right (on your 2nd point).

    I just wish someone had the guts to call him out.

    “Yes Prime Minister we hear what you’re saying. But are you really protecting the children, if what you’re proposing is proven to be ineffective, and instead you’re wasting time that could be better spent on effective ways to stop actual child pornography, rather than blocking consensual adult material? Also while you’re at it Prime Minister can you explain why you think Page3 is not harming the children when it’s more accessible than anything else? And finally, do you not think your forehead is a little to big, and potential scares some people? I mean who has a forehead that fucking big? Really?” *mic drop, walks off stage*

  13. With the birth of a royal whatever, is anyone really going to stand up and oppose a policy to PROTECT OUR CHILDREN, no matter how laughable it is?

  14. This way little Prince Insert Name Here doesn’t have to be supervised when he browses the internet.

  15. Browse the Internet? Don’t they have people transcribing it onto illuminated manuscripts?

    Swisslet on July 22, 2013
  16. (On vellum, some bits are even kinkier…)

    Swisslet on July 22, 2013
  17. Everything is kinkier on vellum. I might make that the motto on my family crest. Well, if I had one. Perhaps in Latin? Panton est kinkier in vellum.

    Swisslet on July 22, 2013
  18. Actually, I think that’s the kind of search term that the PM is talking about.

  19. You should know that, if you type “kinky vellum pantaloons” into google.co.uk, the first result is for the website of a “bisexual, kinky sub/dom switch”.

    We may have scored an own goal.

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