Evil, Sexy porn

by 1 March 13, 2013

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(Europa and the Bull, A symbol of the European Union...will someone please get a censor bar over those!)

On Monday the Telegraph published an article by Dr. Brook Magnanti (aka Belle de Jour), who is worried about an EU report by the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality that proposes banning pornography in all forms of media. First of all, good luck with that lads. Secondly...WHAT?! Are we slipping back to 1980's Ireland again? Dr. Magnanti explains that while it isn't a legislative measure yet, a majority of "yes" votes (which they got 18-2) could mean it goes that way.

Look, porn isn't the problem. Nearly everyone watches porn. I believe the problem is our attitudes and lack of dialogue surrounding it. There is much fretting over the fact that the average age that children first encounter pornography is 10. The fretting is a valid one; we do not want our children to grow up with unrealistic expectations of what sex is. However, the answer is not to get rid of porn, because then you'd have to get rid of every computer, television, magazine, and copy of Twilight in existence. The answer is putting some extra time into the "birds and the bees" chat that we have with children. And porn isn't the only form of entertainment that promotes fantastically unrealistic expectations of sex and relationships. Not so long ago, when I was growing up and going through puberty in the 90s, teen Rom-Coms were at their pinnacle. I was awkward and unpopular. If films like She's all that and 10 things I Hate About You are to be believed (and being unpopular, I clung to that shit), my hunky, popular Prince Charming would see past my braces, stringy fringe, and unhealthy obsession with Tori Amos and fall in love with me. I found these kinds of expectations to be far more damaging than any porn I might have found with my friends on the internet. What hurt most about them in those formative years is that the ideal of first love being "the best and most exciting love you'll ever have" was and still is (remember Twilight?) perpetuated over and over through every media outlet and classed as "normal" or "acceptable."  But the answer still is not to ban or censor films or songs that hold that ideal on a pedestal. The answer is still the same. Discussion and rational thought. I think one of the most helpful tools I've found for myself in recent years to help dispel myths about Porn is Cindy Gallop's site, Make Love Not Porn. The site is aptly tag-lined "Pro-sex, Pro-porn, Pro-knowing the difference." In it, she explains some of the most common misconceptions that people have when comparing porn with reality. On top of that, she encourages folks to make their own amateur videos and earn 50% of the profits from it. MelissaMakeup Another thing that might prove helpful are these wonderful before and after photos by porn make-up artist Melissa Murphy. It shows what we already know but may not have ever seen, and that's that porn stars look just like the rest of us. While many of them are still very pretty, they all have the same issues with patchy skin, dark circles, and puffy eye-lids that I do. It was so refreshing and such a relief to have those makeupless faces staring back at me from my laptop screen. It has shown me that, I too, could be a porn star. Any woman could look like them with the right make-up artist. To be honest, I'm perfectly happy knowing that under the makeup, those women look just like me. Through open discussion and revelations like these in recent years, there has definitely been a cultural shift in porn and attitudes towards porn, with feminist directors like Tristan Taormino and independent production companies starting to make waves. If countries start to ban porn, it makes it more difficult for these areas to grow and explore the possibilites of evening out the gender inequality in mainstream porn, which is ultimately what that EU commissioned report was all about in the first place. If porn is flat out banned, what kind of precedent does that set for censorship? Would that mean EU citizens who publish videos on Cindy Gallop’s site or sext each other would be in breach of the law? What about nudity in fashion magazines and in art? Where would they draw the line between art and pornography? I really hope that this doesn’t go far enough that we have to find out. If that’s the case, and they want to take my porn away, much like Charlton Heston they’ll have to “pry it from my cold, dead hands.”



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