photo for porn laws2You hear a lot about the potential evils of the online pornography epidemic.  Now some governments are starting to make moves to seriously regulate the availability of pornography.  Their attitudes and rationales are all over the map.

There are laws in the U.S. and elsewhere against pornography involving or depicting children.  But there is increasing concern about pornography in general.

Porn is under attack from various angles in the United States and the West generally, including that it is damaging to children, who typically first see online porn around age 11, that pornography is “the crack cocaine” of sex addiction, that viewing porn is a leading cause of marital break-up, that porn is becoming increasingly violent and promotes crime.

The porn explosion seems to parallel a shift in the “ideal” image of feminine attractiveness. In addition to the greater prevalence of sexualized images of young girls in media and advertizing, there has been a reported trend toward increases in women shaving pubic hair, high school girls getting breast surgery with their parents’ permission, and a notable increase in vaginal cosmetic surgery (I won’t go into the details.)

UK Porn Law

The UK has been grappling with the idea of anti-porn legislation and last year there was legislation on the table that would have created an “opt-in” system which would block porn at the level of internet service providers.  This law failed to get enacted and only a watered down version passed which required parents with children in the home to install filtering software when obtaining internet service.

The British legislation is the most conservative in that it is based solely on the idea that pornography is damaging to children and that legislation is needed to protect them.  This is by far the easiest argument to make.  But other countries are beginning to talk about it in terms of its social and moral corrosiveness.

Icelandic Porn Law

Iceland is reportedly now planning a widely supported proposal to block porn addresses, use web filters and make it a crime to use credit cards to access pay-per-view porn.  Although Iceland counts itself as a liberal society it already has recent laws against printing and distributing porn, a law that criminalizes the customer rather than the sex worker and a 2010 law that closed all strip clubs.

Iceland’s argument against porn is different.  They argue that it is the violent nature of pornography that we need to shield children from and further that porn goes against the idea of gender justice and gender equality.  A government spokesperson states:

“We are a progressive, liberal society when it comes to nudity, to sexual relations, so our approach is not anti-sex but anti-violence. This is about children and gender equality, not about limiting free speech…Gender equality is highly valued in Iceland … In the Global Gender Gap Report 2012 Iceland holds the top spot, closely followed by Finland, Norway and Sweden.”

Egyptian Porn Law

In today’s LA Times (4/5/13) it is reported that Egypt now has a plan to implement a court-ordered ban on porn websites.  This will be done by targeting each individual website and will cost about $4 million.  This is a big and controversial expense at a time when Egypt is undergoing economic deterioration.

Egypt’s Islamist controlled government ordered the implementation of the ban after anti- porn demonstrations last November.  The rationale for the ban supporters say is that porn contributes to moral degeneration. A proponent is quoted as linking porn to the former regime which he blames for undermining “every value in this society and [driving] it toward secularism and Westernization.”

Ironically Egyptians are big consumers of internet porn the biggest of Middle East countries according to Amazon web services.

The United States

Opinion regarding pornography in the U.S. seems to me to be highly polarized.  Nobody thinks child porn is OK but as to adult porn it has its very vocal defenders who fear a puritanical encroachment on our freedoms.  And rightly so; isn’t that what is happening right now in Egypt?

Is there any middle way in the U.S.?   So far there are only a few tentative experiments. There are some porn production projects which attempt to shift the depiction of sex in a nonconformist or “feminist” direction.  They attempt to dislodge the media stereotypes of sexual attractiveness and sexual arousal.

Another experiment is being attempted by the online project make-love-not-porn.tv which provides a platform for the production and viewing of home made films.  These are intended to be very liberated depictions of real sex between ordinary people.

Outlawing porn is surely a long way off in the U.S. but perhaps we will “evolve” in our thinking.  Find Dr. Hatch on Facebook at Sex Addictions Counseling or Twitter @SAResource

 


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    Last reviewed: 6 Apr 2013

APA Reference
Hatch, L. (2013). New Anti-Porn Laws on the Way. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 18, 2014, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/sex-addiction/2013/04/new-anti-porn-laws-on-the-way/

 




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