Recently, two articles regarding the by-now popularised debate over pornography and its social effects, particularly in the Internet and smart phone age, gave me some hope that a measure of complexity is beginning to replace the previously black-and-white, sensationalised and often misleading treatment of this discussion by some anti-porn activists.
The first was a piece in The Age entitled The problem with porn
It prompted me to write a one thousand word Facebook comment, which I’ve included below – largely because I feel that such a long essay rant, composed spur of the moment when I should have been doing more constructive things, deserves at least a blog airing.
Now, this piece features observations from Marree Crabbe, “an expert on young people and sexuality.” In many ways, it continues some of the more simplistic approaches to discussing and critiquing porn’s role in society. For example, as I discuss below, it repeats the oft-cited reference to statistically prevalent violence in today’s pornography, without discussing what is actually defined as violent or degrading behaviour when compiling such data.
Nevertheless, it does at least gesture toward the idea that pornography itself – the depiction of sexually explicit activities for pleasure and entertainment – is not inherently bad. Rather, as Crabbe says:
“The point is not whether anal sex is good or bad, or that it’s no good to get ejaculate on your face or parts of your body. It’s that the script of pornography is normalising and misrepresenting the experiences of pleasure of lots of people, particularly women, and shaping a sense of what is expected as part of the sexual experience for many young people when that is not actually what a lot of people want to engage in.”
The second piece, refreshingly, makes this gesture more explicit. Heh.