Possession of extreme porn to be made illegal this week.

// 5 May 2008

The BBC reports that the bill outlawing the possession of “extreme pornography” becomes law this week. The law forms part of a new Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill, and defines extreme pornographic images as those which include any of the following:

(a) an act which threatens or appears to threaten a person’s life,

(b) an act which results in or appears to result (or be likely to result) in serious injury to a person’s anus, breasts or genitals,

(c) an act which involves or appears to involve sexual interference with a human corpse,

(d) a person performing or appearing to perform an act of intercourse or oral sex with an animal, where (in each case) any such act, person or animal depicted in the image is or appears to be real.

I’m divided on this one. While I do think that much pornography that could come under the category of extreme as defined above will no doubt promote misogyny, could well harm those used to make it and, to be honest, is totally unnecessary and antithetical to civilised society, I agree with those campaigning against it that the definition set out in a) and b) above is open to a whole range of interpretations and could therefore criminalise consensual and non-exploitative imagery and those who possess it. Having said that, I really can’t see the predictions of Backlash’s spokeswoman ever coming true:

How many tens or hundreds or thousands of people are going to be dragged into a police station, have their homes turned upside down, their computers stolen and their neighbours suspecting them of all sorts?

Do you really think the police have the time, resources or inclination to undertake this kind of operation? I seriously doubt it.

While I fully sympathise with the mother of Jane Longhurst, who campaigned for this bill after her daughter was murdered by a man who compulsively watched porn depicting women being abused and raped, and while I don’t think it is unreasonable to suggest that perhaps his use of porn influenced his actions, I think there is so much misogyny (and potential for exploitation and abuse) in so much porn – as well as in other areas of the media – that I’m not sure whether this bill would really make any difference. As I wrote a few weeks back, I do believe that porn use can have a number of very negative effects, but these effects certainly aren’t restricted to “extreme porn”, so if criminalisation is the route to be taken it makes no sense just to target this category.

But I’m not convinced that censorship is the answer. Misogynistic porn won’t go away because patriarchal law says it is illegal; it will only disappear when there is no longer a demand for it, when society and sexuality changes, when male dominance no longer reigns supreme. In the current climate, if porn were suddenly banned, people would still want it, continue to make it, and those involved, particularly women, would be subject to even more unscrupulous and abusive practices than many already are.

Red Pepper has a series of responses to the law from a number of perspectives, all of which are worth reading, though I really must take issue 1) with Backlash’s assertion that only a very small minority of porn is made under coercive conditions and 2) with the apparent need for writers on lefty sites to earnestly point out that they aren’t prudes if they make a statement that could in any way be interpreted as anti-porn. Sex, sexual freedom and porn are NOT intrinsically linked, and this need to make it clear that one is not a prude when speaking out against porn reinforces the assumption that they are.

Comments From You

Zenobia // Posted 5 May 2008 at 3:58 pm

I kind of wonder if the most extreme porn would be the same as the porn made under coercive conditions. I mean, it would be possible to make a film about rabbits hopping over rainbows in coercive conditions.

A different Helen // Posted 5 May 2008 at 8:21 pm

I welcome this new law.

Laura says: “Misogynistic porn wont go away because patriarchal law says it is illegal; it will only disappear when there is no longer a demand for it, when society and sexuality changes, when male dominance no longer reigns supreme.”

But how is society and sexuality going to change? Surely by making extreme porn illegal, we are making a step in that direction because as a society we are now trying to say that such images are not acceptable. Unfortunately attitudes in our society are mostly determined by the media, which these days is strongly linked to the pornography industry, and consequently has an interest in keeping the porn culture going. To win elections, Governments need media support, so they are hardly going to start making the necessary challenges. Perhaps we need a law to say that people who own pornographic magazines/TV Channels etc may not simultaneously own other forms of media, but is this practical, and would any government that tried to decouple the media from the sex and porn industry in this manner survive? It seems to me that legislation is currently the most effective means available.

Amy // Posted 5 May 2008 at 8:23 pm

The porn/prude thing is bizarre, isn’t it? If I voiced my disapproval of exploitative sweatshops to people, I doubt they’d come back with “oh you just hate clothes. You just want to stop everyone wearing them, you clothes-hater!” Similarly no-one who champions fair trade would be accused of not liking food. Just another example of the maddening stupidity of patriarchy…

Emily // Posted 6 May 2008 at 12:08 am

I consider myself a feminist but am I submissive masochist. Some things criminalized by this law such as breath play or needles or what-not is fun and just because one man’s insane doesn’t mean that everyone who fantasies about such things or even watches such porn is a misogynist.

There should be distinction drawn between having sex with animals or corpses or anything unconsensual and two adults engaging in s&m however extreme or distasteful it might be. This should be there in actual sex and also I think in legalization of porn.

People are going to do awful things and think awful things. This happened before porn and it will happen if we ban all porn ever. That poor girl was murdered by a man who used porn but many murders are committed by people who don’t watch porn.

There are many many things wrong with porn. A possible lack of consent from the participants the main problem (another being the sheer rubbishness of most porn available) the answer isn’t to ban a particular brand of it. It means those of us who have taken photos of our own experiences are criminilised for having them on our computers. I think this is a bad law.

Jennifer-Ruth // Posted 6 May 2008 at 9:41 am

I’m divided on this issue. On the one hand, I don’t think porn (*any* sort of porn) causes a person to do anything. I don’t believe reading American Psycho will make you a serial killer, that playing GTA will turn you into a criminal or that watching Billie Piper play a hooker will convince you to be a prostitute. We are all reponsible for our own actions and should be treated as such. Anything else is just a scapegoat to pin our blame on.

Extreme porn is more likely to *appeal* to someone who wants to do that sort of stuff anyway. There isn’t any cause and effect. Probably 99% of people who watch it aren’t going to act out what they see in a non-consensual way.

HOWEVER – I think there is a *lot* to worry about in how this porn is made. There is a lot of coercian in the porn industry and explotation of women – often very young women and sometimes even trafficked women. I think it would be more productive if there was a crackdown on how porn was made in order to protect women.

Personally though, I wonder – will this law be enforced? Will it actually make it difficult to buy extreme porn? It isn’t hard to buy most illegal things…so, what difference will it make? Perhaps it will make porn showing violence towards women seem even more illict and taboo.

Anne Onne // Posted 6 May 2008 at 11:07 am

I sort of agree with Jennifer-Ruth.

On the one hand, people are people, and should be fully capable of separating fact from fiction, and fantasy from reality. It’s true that if they weren’t already holding very warped views on women and sex, they wouldn’t desire very degrading porn in the first place, On the other hand, I think there is a sort of Pavlovian conditioning going on in society, where repeated exposure to porn and the way it portrays women does condition people to view sex and women in certain ways. It’s not ‘respoinsible’ for misogyny, because misogyny is far older than porn, but it adds to and reinforces the subtle conditioning of society more explicitly.

I don’t think we have enough of a focus on consent in pornography of any sort, or in public perception of non-conventional sex is very, very influenced by misogynist porn. I don’t know whether this law is a good thing (I suspect it won’t actually DO anything, so will be neither here nor there). On one hand, I would welcome any coverage of porn as a harmful thing the way the industry and depiction of women stands today. If it opens people’s eyes to how misogynistic much of porn can be, how exploitative, and establish the idea that porn is not necessary for sex (ie not linked intrinsically with sex), nor a human right, it may be a good thing.

On the other hand, it probably won’t actually do those things. I don’t think that consensual kinks should be criminalised, though of course they are fair game for feminist analysis. It doesn’t look like something easy to enforce, and I suspect if anybody is charged for something like this, it will be in addition to other crimes, to try and get a bigger sentence.

I think we need more regulation, in the case of extreme, consensual stuff, to ensure it’s actually consensual, and then you get into the issue of coersion, and which women are most likely to resort to work in the sector, but that’s an issue with the whole industry, and society itself. There isn’t any easy way of dealing with this. Let’s hope that this might be a start, or at least gets a discussion going.

Amy, I know! It’s like, OK, I think rape is wrong, therefore I don’t like sex?

Coco // Posted 22 September 2008 at 9:17 pm

I think it is ridiculous to play down the harm that abusive porn inflicts on society. Bottom line: It is not NORMAL for people to enjoy watching a young woman get slapped by 4 men, calling her a slut and a pig while they take turns penetrating her. Its also not NORMAL to enjoy watching someone throwing up their own bile after chocking on a man’s penis. It is certainly not normal to enjoy watching them drink concoctions of semen and puke and bile from a cup while being slapped in the face. Yes. THAT is the type of porn that all people should be against – its all out there for anyone to watch at anytime. Are the women consenting? Sure. But its not the women I’m worried about, so much as the men who are getting used to this type of imagery. Women can play the “porn is ace” card all they want, and this is true for ‘normal types of porn’ but at the end of the day, what’s wrong is wrong. Legal or not. You don’t have theatre in which people paint their faces black and call themselves Sambo (surely, there were a few afro-Americans who consented to that idea for the money too) because THAT is considered offensive, for all the right reasons. Isn’t it time we stop hiding behind our backseat feminism, shouting ‘woop woop! sex for everyone!” and stand up for ourselves – its NOT okay to ask a woman to have sex with 6 guys who slap her in the face, no matter if its ‘her’ decision to do so.

James // Posted 23 September 2008 at 5:22 pm

I agree with Coco. I mean it isn’t NORMAL to say the Earth is round or to think we are descended from apes. It certainly isn’t NORMAL for a person of ethnic minority to sit at the front of the bus or for a womans place to be OUTSIDE the kitchen…

In case it isn’t clear, i am trying to prove a point. Whats normal is not exactly what is ethical it is just a matter of opinion or popular consensus. What is ethical should be a result of logical reasoning.

I would personally agree that many of the things that Coco mentioned are not exactly my cup of tea but that doesn’t make them wrong. I think the biggest thing that makes something unethical in the world of pornography is a non-consensual act.

The bill i think partly attempts to outlaw such acts such as by disallowing porn involving sex with deceased individuals or with animals. These acts are not wrong because i have been told all my life they are they are wrong but because no consent has been given. It is arguably against the person’s/animal’s will.

There is a famous example in moral philosophy where it is argued that if one woman is being raped by a hundred men that action is not wrong because it makes more people happy than unhappy. We probably all agree however that this of course does not make the action ethical. When forming laws a government cannot be SOLELY led by public opinion or even by popular vote. It also cannot be made for solely emotive reasons (such as the contempt i hold for Jane Longhurst’s killer).

I believe the bill is a step towards limiting the freedoms of the individual when at the same time i believe it is helping us outlaw all acts that limit a persons freedoms such as rape.

Joseph // Posted 27 September 2008 at 10:44 am

Simple.Some malicious acts have been done based on viewed media.Or thay say it was becouse of it.Ether way.solve the problem. Remove the excuse.Simple

Charley // Posted 22 October 2008 at 9:53 am

Yay more thought police actions[/sarcasm]. I enjoy watching porn, I enjoy BDSM and as such I enjoy looking at consensual images of BDSM. I am not a warped individual.

Sadly Ms Longhurst’s daughter would probably not be alive if this ban had been in place. Violent porn is not responsible for the actions of some severely disturbed people. If you do not know that rape or murder are wrong already then banning violent images is not going to magically make you realise this. The internet didn’t exist when George Heath committed a sexually violent murder in the early 20th century and access to pornographic images, particularly violent ones, was far, far more difficult than it is today.

This law will serve no useful purpose except to criminalise people who are doing nothing wrong. It will not in any way prevent violent sexual crimes because the people committing these crimes do not appear to realise that what they are doing is wrong.

Cara // Posted 22 October 2008 at 10:32 pm

I’m with Coco.

That kind of porn is just misogynist and wrong. Sorry, but I care less about free expression and women’s ‘right’ to engage in sex work, whoop, than I do about the exploitation and abuse in the making of porn and the way it shapes men’s views of women and what they want sexually.

When men see women ‘enjoy’ being *graphic stuff here* called insulting names like slut, bitch, whore etc., hit, urinated and defecated on, ejaculated on, penetrated by several men, etc. – HOW CAN IT NOT INFLUENCE THEM?!

James, I’m sure you think you sound clever but, sorry if this comes as a shock: anti-pornstitution feminists *do* arrive at that position on the basis of logical reasoning.

Furthermore, racist and sexist tropes you mention were never ‘normal’ but the result of certain very specific societies in very specific periods of time (the American South and middle to upper class white western societies). You equate the ‘brave’ pro-porn people with actual fighters for the rights of women and non-white people, which is sort of insulting, not to mention wrong – being pro-porn is actually a deeply reactionary position, as in, ah well it doesn’t hurt anyone.

Well yes it does.

And puhlease, there is NO thought crime. You can *think* about what you like. Everyone has the right to do that. They even have the right to ask sex partners to do it. It is NEVER anyone’s ‘right’ to have sex or a certain sex act, because when it goes out of your head and other people are involved, hey, *they* have rights too!

Jenny from the block // Posted 23 October 2008 at 9:02 am


“When men see women ‘enjoy’ being *graphic stuff here* called insulting names like slut, bitch, whore etc., hit, urinated and defecated on, ejaculated on, penetrated by several men, etc. – HOW CAN IT NOT INFLUENCE THEM?!”

The above are not banned by the new law.

And I as a woman have enjoyed some of what you described when I was younger. I was not doing it for money or anything. I just liked crazy threesomes, and I really don’t like the implication that what I’m doing is bad.

Rachael // Posted 23 October 2008 at 11:45 am

Cara – here here!! I am so tired of every type of violent sexual expression being excused under the “consent” label.

Men see these violent images and reason that that’s what women really desire…and I know because some men that I have slept with have tried them on me and are genuinely shocked when I object!

Also “consent” is a patchy issue anyway because many, many women in porn (but not all) have been sexually abused as children or throughout their lives so in their minds they are just going through the motions: ie: “Well being treated like this is all I am good for anyway so I may as well get paid for it”.

And having been severely sexually abused as a child myself – I know this is how many abused women think. It took me years of therapy to start to fight those thoughts off sucessfully.

Where is a woman’s basic rights to self-esteem here? When you agree that violent porn is ok you are just filtering into society that it is ok to treat most women badly.

Shea // Posted 23 October 2008 at 3:36 pm

I’m with you Cara.

“Sadly Ms Longhurst’s daughter would probably not be alive if this ban had been in place.”

How can we know this? As Joseph said if violent porn is the excuse for an action then remove it. Simple as.

“Violent porn is not responsible for the actions of some severely disturbed people. If you do not know that rape or murder are wrong already then banning violent images is not going to magically make you realise this.”

This is true to an extent. we are all responsible for our own individual actions. But if you are a man or woman with a propensity to directing violence or sadism towards others and these images reinforce this belief, shouldn’t you avoid them the way an alcoholic should avoid pubs? Also how do any of us know rape and murder are wrong? Alot of my moral compass is culturally influence, for the images and beliefs of those around me. If you grow up in a culture which sexualises and commodifies women and sends an explicit message: raping women is not wrong–then how will you know that rape and murder are wrong?

“The internet didn’t exist when George Heath committed a sexually violent murder in the early 20th century and access to pornographic images, particularly violent ones, was far, far more difficult than it is today.”

The technology has facilitated the crime. Nuclear weapons weren’t around in the 18th century, mass murder still took place. What is the point here ? There have always been those who were prepared to commit horrific crimes, we have facilitated their access to images that encourage this. Hurray.

I think alot of the over reaction (thought police- ha!) has happened here. We are talking violent, violent images, the kind only the very committed would be able to find. I also engage in BDSM and I don’t feel in the least bit threatened by this.

All of these moves, criminalising extreme pornography, buying sex from prositutes etc are aimed at protecting people, if that infirnges a supposed right to enjoy the degradation and exploitation of another human being then so be it. To my mind no such right can be said to exist.

Laura // Posted 23 October 2008 at 4:43 pm

While I share Cara and others’ concerns about the effect of misogynistic porn on viewers, particularly young ones, I agree with Jenny that it is unfair and unhelpful to imply that certain acts are in and of themselves misogynistic, or that women are coerced/brainwashed into participating in and liking them. For me, the problem lies with the intention behind the acts and the context in which they are performed.

Yes, in much porn the intention is to degrade women and to facilitate the viewer’s getting off on female humiliation/degradation and/or violence against women, but this needn’t be the case in either porn/erotica or real life and I think this distinction needs to be recognised, particularly when it comes to upholding women’s agency, autonomy and sexuality.

This strays from the original debate, but I think it’s an important issue nonetheless.

JENNIFER DREW // Posted 23 October 2008 at 6:37 pm

It is not that women are ‘coerced or brainwashed into accepting violent porn as ‘natural.’ What is the issue which this goverment still refuses to address is the fact porn reinforces not only misogynstic beliefs concerning women, but it also naturalises male sexual violence against women.It is not about ‘the intention behind the acts’ but rather it is the fact violent porn depicts women as wanting and needing to be violently raped, and sexually tortured by men because this is what women supposedly are. Certain acts are not open to different interpretation because they are clearly abusive. So, if one sees an image of a naked woman being whipped by a fully dressed man – would this be open to interpretation. Yes, if the viewer was male and perceives this act as showing male power over women. A different interpretation would be if a woman was the viewer and she was seeing the normalisation of women as inferior to men. The same excuses were used to justify racism because whites did not perceive racist acts/images as ‘racist’ whereas non-whites saw such images a ‘racist.’

So, it is not about ‘individual rights’ but should violent porn be acceptable when one group – namely women are the ones portrayed as men’s dehumanised objects. Criminalising extreme porn is a step but it is a very small one and more importantly will the police and legal system implement and enforce this new law. I do not think so, given many users of porn are men who hold positions of power.

Porn is all about degrading women and attempting to merge erotica and porn into one definition is absurd. Erotica is not about systematic sexual dehumanisation of women instead it is about mutual and respectful sexuality which portrays women’s sexuality not as a commodity for men to abuse but as owned by the woman herself. Porn has two aims only, one is to make huge profits for producers of pornography and the other is to reinforce many men’s views that women are not human and therefore it is acceptable for them to be raped and sexually tortured for so-called male entertainment.

Laura // Posted 23 October 2008 at 7:44 pm


I wasn’t trying to justify the type of porn in question; my remarks were related to Jenny’s comments which highlighted the fact that some anti-porn arguments attempt to frame certain acts as essentially misogynistic when this is often not the case.

I agree that the way in which certain acts are used in extreme (and much “mainstream”) porn is misogynistic, I just wish we could move away from saying xyz are inherently anti-women, because this demonises, patronises and / or denies the existence of a wide variety of female sexualities.

Cara // Posted 23 October 2008 at 10:01 pm

Thanks for the backup, Rachael, Shea, Jennifer Drew.

To clarify, I wasn’t saying that any sex acts are inherently misogynist, or even that porn/ erotica is.

But *the way these acts are shown in 90% of porn* and *the way about 90% of porn currently is*, IS misogynist.

I was referring only to the kind of porn I described.

I don’t care what consenting people do in the privacy of their bedrooms…or wherever…I DO care how male and female sexualities are portrayed in the public sphere.

As Rachael points out (and I’ve had similar experiences) yes porn DOES influence our sexualities.

The trouble I have with ‘some women like these things’ is that each individual’s sexuality isn’t formed in a vacuum, but in the context of a misogynist society.

Surely being degraded in that way has got to be a niche sexuality? I’m not judging anyone – if that is really what gets you off and you’re doing it consensually and safely, go for it. And yes women have agency, and their own sexualities…the problem I have with porn is that *that is totally ignored or denied* and woman are portrayed as enjoying being degraded and what amounts to assaulted and raped.

It’s just strange that 90% of porn involves degradation of women, when surely 90% of all women aren’t into being degraded? Where are all the men who have a submissive sexuality? Not represented in porn.

Even on relatively mild porn sites, women are called ‘sluts’ etc, it’s very phallocentric and ignores the woman’s pleasure (or assumes it comes from pleasuring her man). Yes, I do know that from experience. I would love to find some kind of erotica that is actually egalitarian. Like the wonderful Girl with a One Track Mind says, there is *nothing* for women other than a. sexless Madonna or b. pole-dancing porntastic sex object. There IS almost nothing out there that shows women actually owning their own sexuality and enjoying that with (a) partner(s) as equals.

I’m not calling for anything to be banned, or judging anyone’s private sexuality. I am commenting on how sexuality is played out in porn, and I’m thinking about it and questioning why.

chem_fem // Posted 24 October 2008 at 9:50 am

One thing that confuses me when feminists discuss these issues is, why don’t the feminists who enjoy porn, especially violent porn, speak about their inner conflicts between what they enjoy and the wellbeing of the women involved. I’m all for anti-censorship, but what are we doing about protecting women who participate?

Do feminist even think about these issues when they use porn? Does it play on their minds while they enjoy it?

The lack of this sort of conflict in the ‘pro-porn’ comments speaks volumes.

Pete // Posted 24 October 2008 at 11:25 am

Cara where does your 90% of porn being misogynist figure come from?

This is a pointless law and yet another Labour bite at the juicy apple of civil liberty. If there are women being coerced into making these films the the police should deal with the scum abusing them, not consenting adults with a healthy sex life.

chem_fem // Posted 24 October 2008 at 8:07 pm

Pete, that’s a very simplistic way of looking at it.

While I’m not a porn user, I buy food and clothes and I believe that I have a duty to make my purchases as ethical as I can. I can’t just throw my hands up in the air and say, when challenged, that ‘it isn’t my responsibility to police those who exploit those who make or grow what I buy’.

It IS my responsibility to make sure I make ethical choices.

Now the government isn’t about to ban food and clothes, but if we can’t garrauntee that the porn people buy is ethical, then people shouldn’t buy it.

Simon // Posted 26 October 2008 at 7:03 am

So what is extreme porn?

To a puritan a picture of a women showing a bit of ankle is extreme.


One thing I don’t get.

IF they want to do ban porn ( kinkier nature ), then how can some of the more violent video games be allowed.

I am hoping that with a change of government next year this law will be scrapped. UNtil then the human rights law may have something to say on this.


Fran // Posted 26 October 2008 at 6:22 pm

I’m no fan of censorship, but I’m amazed at the comments here defending the “right” to watch women being degraded, humiliated and abused. Acts that appear to risk death or serious injury are quite different from “showing a bit of ankle”.

“then how can some of the more violent video games be allowed.”

Because violent video games DON’T DEPICT REAL PEOPLE, for a start.

Pete // Posted 26 October 2008 at 6:42 pm

Perhaps we need fair trade porn? Someone should give Bono a call…

Or not.

Anyway I dont see what is that simplistic about it, freedom of expression means that people can watch some pretty unpleasent things. And if you can ban extreme porn then whats next, normal porn? Ultraviolent movies? Undesireable movies? Undesireable books? Uppity blogs?

Noone seems to have presented any evidence that this pornography is harmful or that large numbers of women are exploited to make it. Of course even small numbers of women being coerced into these films is wrong. However I dont see how banning the genre as a whole will stop it, and can see it making the situation worse as production moves underground and only the most desperate/vulnerable women can be convinced to participate.

Of course the other side of the coin is that plenty of people who enjoy making kinky videos will be criminalised for innocent activity.

This law will help noone, innocent people will get in trouble with the law, the needy will be pushed further away from it. On top of that its another worrying move againt civil liberties and freedom of expression and all for what? So the authoritarian faction in the Labour party can keep Mr Dacres relationship with Brown going.

Stupid law, stupid timing, with no real case made in its favour.

Anna // Posted 26 October 2008 at 9:19 pm

I think porn depicting necrophilia, violence, and rape (real or ‘staged’) can be safely counted as extreme by pretty much everyone, don’t you, Simon?

Shea // Posted 26 October 2008 at 10:59 pm

erm Simon, there is no human right to porn. You might as well scream that you have a right to cable TV, still doesn’t mean it exists.

Human rights laws were born out of the Holocaust in Europe, where the rights of Jews, Roma and other minorities as well as political dissidents were violated in the worst ways possible by the majority. Human rights exist to protect minorities and the disadvantaged in society, in this case women who might be victims in a society that through its tacit endorsement of violent porn sends the subliminal message that women can be treated as sub-human.

I don’t mean to give a lecture, but I find it deeply offensive that you would equate violent porn with video games or equate that with some perceived infringement of a spurious liberty (to enjoy porn).

And this?

“So what is extreme porn?

To a puritan a picture of a women showing a bit of ankle is extreme.”

Oh mummy its a huge straw man!

lucy // Posted 27 October 2008 at 8:39 am

whilst i absolutely hate the idea that censorship is the best way forward here, i have to agree that this law makes sense to me.

As a woman involved in submission, exhibitionism and related kinks, i am still opposed almost all of the pornograpy produced in this genre. Whilst we are living in a world where sexual abuse of women and children is so common that one in four of us is going to be sexually assaulted at some point in out lives, I don’t think publicly eroticising the abuse of women any further is a good thing.

BDMS explored as a kink between individual people who are getting each other off is cool, however mainstreaming this kink, and selling it to a lot of people who are getting off on the abuse aspect, without regard for the women involved, is just not cool.

Fran // Posted 27 October 2008 at 10:11 am

“Noone seems to have presented any evidence that this pornography is harmful”

Did you see the part that mentioned death or serious injury?

re Emily’s concerns: does the law clarify what is meant by “serious injury”, at all? It would be a shame for this law to criminalise depictions of consensual kinks, while doing nothing about the majority of porn that’s abusive and degrading (which, face it, it won’t).

To those who deny that the majority of porn is misogynist, read this: http://uts.cc.utexas.edu/~rjensen/freelance/pornography&cruelty.htm

Sabre // Posted 27 October 2008 at 2:29 pm

@ Simon,

your comment almost made me fall off my seat in rage- human rights?! You would consider your human rights to be violated if porn was regulated to ensure less harm to those involved in making it and to the women of society who have been treated violently by men as a result?!

The human rights of women being violated in extreme porn and as a result of porn, are more important than anybody’s right to have something to wank off to.

Because I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, I will hope you made a mistake and meant to refer to freedom of expression rather than human rights. Which is only slightly less bad.

It will always be difficult to regulate porn and define what is and isn’t acceptable because everyone has a different opinion. But to say that this difficulty means we shouldn’t even bother to define the boundaries is sheer laziness at best. Remember the old saying ‘all evil needs to succeed is for good people to do nothing’? Are we so worried about getting it wrong that we would rather do nothing at all?

As for video games, I do believe that the more violent and misogynistic ones should also be banned. They may not use real people but the impact they have on the minds and actions of some users is undoubtedly negative. And I wouldn’t cry much for the ‘rights’ of people who believe they should have unlimited access to violent games either.

Sarah // Posted 28 October 2008 at 7:26 am

“Because violent video games DON’T DEPICT REAL PEOPLE, for a start”

I think this is a very important point – it’s not the whole argument, but it’s very telling how it gets overlooked. The comparison with video games etc gives away that the person has actually forgotten that the women seen in porn are actual real living breathing human beings with lives and feelings and rights and needs of their own. Not animated characters that have been conjured up for their viewing pleasure.

‘Feminism is the radical notion that women are people’ – it’s amazing and depressing that this still needs to be pointed out, but seemingly it does.

Qubit // Posted 28 October 2008 at 11:50 am

What I find odd about this is nobody is saying it is illegal to watch things such as a person being beaten until they bleed; someone swallowing another persons bodily fluids such as sick, urine and faeces; someone being tortured; a simulation of someone being forced to have sex by one or multiple people; someone being humiliated and crying for whatever is happening to stop … let alone consensual sex between a group of individuals over the age on consent.

While I am trying to understand the points made about how this law interferes with human rights you are talking about someone being permanently damaged in a private area (it seems permanent damage on other parts of the body is legal) or being close to death. I think doing that to somebody is wrong. I guess I would assume they have a right to life. I would be interested to see what rights people think the ‘star’ should have. Can you sign away your right to life or if someone kills you with your permission is it still murder?

To be honest hearing what people say about the number of innocent people who will be harmed by this worries me as I previously assumed most people would be horrified by watching someone nearly die or being seriously injured however it seems there are a large proportion of people who enjoy watching the severe suffering of others.

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