Musings of an antipodean contrarian

Archive for the category “pornography”

Too sexy, too soon

Opponents of the sexualisation of women applauded news this week that men’s magazine FHM is to cease publication.

Meanwhile, leading psychiatrist Professor Louise Newman has warned that the emphasis on “sexiness” among children (linked to self-esteem and the ability to make friends) can cause emotional damage.

“I have seen young children becoming quite confused about how to behave with older children and becoming victims of sexual exploitation,” she said.  This is happening in our primary schools, and censorship should be an option because childhood is being eroded.

Professor Newman said research indicated that premature sexualisation in children could have damaging long-lasting effects which impact on future relationships, cause gender role problems, and lead to an inability to make sound judgments.

The demise of FHM magazine may be a victory for women, but the primary reason for falling sales is that more explicit material is available free online.  Our children deserve better.

Broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 18 Mar 2012.

Porn is my saviour. Really, Cotton On?

As parents and students prepare for the return to school after the long summer holidays, those who saw a back-to-school catalogue put out by Typo, the stationery store owned by Cotton On, got more than they bargained for.

In among the pads and pens, there was an image of an A4 notebook with a photo of a naked woman, and the word “DIRTY” in large capitals, along with the subtitle “Entertainment for men.”

And there was a travel mug with the slogan, “Porn is my Saviour.”

Responding to the public backlash, the company said Typo was reviewing its merchandising policies “in order to be more sensitive to the fact that children may be present in our stores.”

But as Ruth Limkin observed in an article in The Courier Mail, those images displayed in the workplace would constitute sexual harassment, women are not objects to be trashed, and companies should not be in the business of sexually exploiting women for profit.

Broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 22 Jan 2012.

Melinda Tankard Reist and the feminism debate

You may have heard/read comments, many of them hostile, about Australian anti-porn campaigner Melinda Tankard Reist flying thick and fast in recent days. This attention was generated in the wake of her “outing” as a pro-life feminist with alleged connections to Canberra’s Belconnen Baptist Church, which to atheist bloggers and tweeters appeared to indicate MTR was a traitor to the feminist cause and a worthy target for verbal abuse (even, so I hear, threats of physical violence). I have my own views on feminism, and on MTR’s stance and tactics, which I may share later. But for now, here are the links to some of the main stories. Feel free to add your comments.

Original story by Rachel Hills in the SMH Sunday Life mag (8 Jan)

Blog post at No Place for Sheep that started the fight (10 Jan)

Follow-up blog post at No Place For Sheep (14 Jan)

Blog post at Mamamia giving some context (18 Jan)

Bianca Hall in the SMH (18 Jan)

Jill Singer in the Herald Sun (18 Jan)

Eva Cox on New Matilda (18 Jan)

Melinda Tankard Reist responds in The Canberra Times (21 Jan)

Julia Baird in the SMH (21 Jan)

Crispin Hull in The Canberra Times (21 Jan)

Anne Summers in the SMH (22 Jan)

Miranda Devine in the Herald Sun (22 Jan)

Rachel Hills follow-up post on her blog (23 Jan)

Renata Klein & Susan Hawthorne on ABC Religion & Ethics (25 Jan)

Cathy Sherry in the SMH (25 Jan)

And this interview by Jane Hutcheon (11 Nov 2011)

Your thoughts? Any significant articles/interviews I’ve missed? Let me know.

The addictive web of pornography

At the Sydney launch this week of a new book, Big Porn Inc: Exposing the Harms of the Global Pornography Industry, speaker after speaker stood and described, sometimes in shocking detail, the proliferation and normalisation of pornography, the way it’s become a global industry, and how it shapes our culture and harms us all.

The 38 contributors have done an excellent job documenting and analysing different aspects of the pornification of our world.  Again and again at the launch, I heard the phrase, “Something’s wrong.” “Something’s wrong.”

Naming the evil is important, but it can avoid the painful reality of naming the root causes – not patriarchy, not capitalism, not organised crime, not fascist attitudes and values, but the moral bankruptcy of human nature that urges us to subvert the good, and do wrong.

Which is why I’m glad the book ends with strategies of resistance, and holds out the possibility of hope and renewal for anyone caught in the addictive web of pornography.

Broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 23 October 2011.

Big fat lies about sex

A new book with a provocative title caught my attention this week.  Big Porn Inc: Exposing the Harms of the Global Pornography Industry, edited by Melinda Tankard Reist and Abigail Bray, reveals the ugly side of a powerful global industry that trades in violence, crime, degradation, and the wellbeing of millions of men, women and children.

At the official launch in Sydney on Thursday, Julie Gale, activist and founder of Kids Free 2B Kids, said Big Porn Inc was “a brilliant exposé on how the porn industry has sold us big fat lies about sex and sexuality.  No previous generation has had to navigate such a flood of porn-inspired imagery and concepts.  Essential reading for everyone, especially the deluded defenders who remain wilfully blind to the harmful impacts.”

We can blush, we can try to ignore it, but the relentless objectification of women, and the increasing sexualisation of our children, demands a courageous moral response from consumers and from government. 

Broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 23 October 2011.

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