Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Pornagraphic Censorship and the Sexualisation of Women.

The Government have announced backing for a campaign to keep Internet based porn away with an innovative "Opt in" system, and the Liberal Democrats want to remove Nuts magazine and Page 3 from the Sun. Are we now living in Victorian England?

The Nuts and Page 3 model Sophie Howard
The answer is No... and this is why.

I shall divide this into two parts, the one I agree with and follow it with the one I don't.

The Liberal Democrat Conference held in Birmingham had some very interesting headlines and debates, none more so than Dr Evan Harris' speech on the sexualisation of women and the soft core pornographic images that were available for children to see in our newsagents.
This was quickly followed by a lot of Media hype about how the Lib Dems wanted to ban Page 3 and Nuts magazine! This is a direct attack on freedom of speech and expression! How dare they threaten the "British institution" of page 3!
I hate to break it to those Sun readers but Slavery was a British institution and that was overturned.
Anyway, the point is the Lib Dems don't want to ban page 3.

The actual motion read;

Tackling the projection of women as sex objects to children and adolescents by restricting sexulised images in newspapers and general circulation magazines to the same rules that apply to pre-watershed broadcast media.
and that is what was proposed.

Printed media like the Sun's page 3 and lads mags which include vast amounts of soft core pornographic images and sexulising text that do encourage the idea that women are sex objects or that they are all promiscuous. This paints a false image of women to the young and impressionable.
I do agree that banning these publications is an attack on freedom of speech and action. Should a model, like Sophie Howard, choose to take her clothes off for money then that is perfectly fine. Many models use the money to support their family, lifestyle or education. Others use their status and fame to raise money for worthy causes. Peta Todd has worked tirelessly for "Help the Heroes" including doing tours of Afghanistan and Iraq, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and other sponsored events.

What we are arguing is that the publications should not be in general view in the newsagents and instead should be placed on higher shelves.

Could you imagine the outcry if a topless woman appeared on day time TV where any child could see?

It is the same principle.

Now news has hit the Twittersphere that the Government is thinking about a new inbuilt censorship of the Internet. The scheme, supposedly put to the Government by a Christian Mothers group, would rely on service providers setting up automatic censorship so that Pornographic images and sites are automatically blocked and that you need to "Opt out" to get the full Internet.
"Excuse me... I'd like Pornography on my PC please."
Not something many people would say!

Now this, I'm not to fond of.

The Internet is a great tool and resource but it does have pornography, politically evil sites, some horrific imagery etc that you wouldn't want a child to see or any right minded person would want to see! However censoring it straight off isn't the answer. and that is what was proposed.
My daughter Sophie and I

Firstly, if you're a parent and you are worried what your child will discover then why not do some actual parenting and sit with them whilst they do their homework?
I'm all for letting Sophie, my daughter, exploring and growing but the same with any parent I don't want to see her in danger. I want her to know that knives are sharp but that doesn't mean I let her play with the Bread knife. Thusly my wife and I will be monitoring her Internet usage when she is old enough to use it and she certainly won't have a computer in her room.

Also, the values being pushed are from a Christian Mothers group that even cited Jesus' values. What of us that aren't Christians? Are we having someone else's moral code pushed upon us?

Finally there I must raise genuine research. When I was at school and again at university I often found that the network "filter" would filter out massive amounts of genuine URLs that I was going to use as research for no apparent reason. I wrote my dissertation on the Luftwaffe at war and so many sites were banned because the word Nazi appeared on them... very problematic when writing about the Nazi regime. There were also sites that had pornographic content that were not blocked as the URL name was not obviously pornographic! How accurate will this new filter be? There is also the fact that teenagers are better than adults when it comes to working the Internet. They can do all kinds of technological wizardry and nothing can get in the way of a teenage boy and the search for naked women!

So there you have it, a double edged sword of censorship. Both designed around protecting children from overly sexualised imagery but one way, placing it out of harms way and the other banning it altogether. But as citizens the choice is ultimately up to you.

1 comment:

  1. I love this post, and I was absolutely thrilled to see the other links that you published that go along with this topic. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I am happy to be a new follower. :)