When freedom becomes a curse: Thoughts on new porn laws, lad’s mags and Miley Cyrus

We get a lot of bad news as a nation, but recently two particular news items have caused me to cheer rather than to mourn. The first was David Cameron’s announcement of the new ‘opt-in’ pornography laws (see here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23401076), and the second was the crack-down on explicit lad’s mag covers (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23558211). At the very least, these restrictions will help to protect and safe-guard the innocence and vulnerability of children, who don’t need to see naked women on supermarket shelves, much less be exposed to pornography. But I think these new laws, whilst not eradicating the root of the problem, are also a step in the right direction for our society as a whole.

But as I discovered, there are many who don’t seem to hold this view.

A man interviewed about the cover restrictions on BBC News replied like this: ‘Well it’s a beautiful woman isn’t it, who doesn’t want to see that?’

Well, dear man on the news, in the very slim chance that you’re reading this, I’ll tell you who doesn’t want to see that: Plenty of other women, who’d rather see their fellow sex celebrated for actual achievements.

I heard a group of people discussing the new cover rules a few weeks ago, and one man said it was OK because that’s what the internet is for.’

This man was married. I know that porn is pretty much nationally acceptable. In July 2013, The Business Standard reported that ‘Porn sites get more internet traffic in UK than social networks or shopping’ (http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ani/more-people-hooked-to-porn-in-uk-than-social-networks-113072700414_1.html). So I wasn’t surprised by his casual stance on the subject. But I was still disgusted.

Facebook comments regarding the opt-in porn law were mixed, but among the negative reactions were complaints that the new restrictions are imposing on our rights and freedom.

I’m going to disregard how selfish such a remark is, when considering that this law was passed primarily for the protection of children. But I will say this: Pornography is in no way freeing. It enslaves those who watch it, it degrades the people who perform in it and it promotes the objectification of every woman whether they welcome it or not. It can destroy relationships and break up families.

So those of you who think your civil liberties are being stripped away, ask yourselves: Is the freedom to do what you want really greater than freedom from addiction? Or freedom from worry about what your child might stumble across?

In the past week I finally saw the MTV awards ‘scandal’, featuring Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke. Then a hard-hitting video promotion for anti-slavery activists Stop The Traffik (http://www.upworthy.com/who-doesnt-like-to-watch-half-naked-girls-dancing-these-guys-after-they-see-why-its-happening?c=ufb1) reminded me that the problem extends far, far beyond some drunk 20-year old acting stupid on MTV. Miley Cyrus twerking to a song that all but promotes rape culture is just a symptom of the wider issue. I’m not in any way trying to compare suggestively dancing pop stars with girls who have been sold into sex trafficking. But I think both ultimately stem from the same problem- like every other evil, these things are products of our fallen world.

To be honest, I’m not entirely sure of what I’m trying to say here. Sometimes when I write about topics like this I feel very small indeed. What’s one voice against a media that’s infiltrated with corruption?

Thankfully, I know I’m not alone in thinking that the events of late need to at least be acknowledged, if not discussed. I suppose recognition that there’s a problem is the first step towards solving it.

I don’t know about you, but I long for a day when men and women- famous and non-famous alike- realise their own great worth. I long for a day when men see a woman’s value and treat them accordingly. I long for a day when women refuse to lower their standards in return for attention.

I know there are plenty of people who already fit these descriptions. Yet time and time again, they are overshadowed by the Miley Cyrus’ and Robin Thickes of this world, and so the MTV generation are spoonfed more and more garbage. The Sun continues to think that a topless woman is worthy news for page 3 and sadly, I’m sure Nuts magazine will continue to make huge sales despite the cover restrictions.

The question is, do we care?

Maybe some of you reading this hold the view that if a man wants to watch porn and a woman wants to advertise her sexuality for an audience, then that should be their choice. Who am I to argue with that? But I think more and more young people are growing up without truly understanding that they have a choice, as my friend Sadie mentioned in her post: http://a-lover-of-the-light.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/there-is-more.html?spref=tw

For those who think I’m making a fuss over nothing, I’d like to pose some questions to you: Do you honestly think that a woman would want to be on the cover of Nuts if she were aware of her own value? Do you truly believe that she would choose to be lusted over instead of loved and honoured? Given the choice, do you think a man would choose pornography over a happy, committed relationship?

You see, I’m not trying to judge or point the finger of blame. I didn’t write this post to try and make a point about feminism either- plenty of other blogs do that. I’m speaking to men and to women here. And most importantly, I say all this out of love, because I believe we’re worth so much more than this.

I hope this post raises some food for thought. These issues are important. Which stance do you take?

C.

ETA: A friend of mine pointed out that this was a little gender biased. I’d just like to clarify that I am aware that there are women who watch porn too, and in no way was I suggesting that the problem lies with men. I only generalised for the sake of the post, as on the whole, men struggle with porn more than women do.

2 thoughts on “When freedom becomes a curse: Thoughts on new porn laws, lad’s mags and Miley Cyrus

  1. I like this article a lot. I’ve been addicted to pornography so I know what you mean by enslavement. I also know how few of the women in it actually want to be. Thanks for the awareness.

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