Moral Scolds Turn Their Eyes to Porn

Moral Scolds Turn Their Eyes to Porn

Moral Scolds Turn Their Eyes to Porn

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
April 18 2011 10:28 AM

Moral Scolds Turn Their Eyes to Porn

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With all this talk lately of " Planned Barrenhood " and suggesting that women who don't want to conceive should only consider closing their legs as a contraception option, men might start to think that the moral scolds of America have no interest in controlling their sexuality.  Think again!  The spilling of your seed has also become a matter of grave concern to our Senators, 41 of whom signed a letter scolding Attorney General Eric Holder for paying insufficient attention to the grave national problem of the materials perused by those having a private moment with their Internet browsers.  Holder has moved to close down the Obscenity Prosecution Task Force that was established under the Bush administration for the purpose of legally harassing porn producers, prompting this alarmist response, even though the task force has mostly failed to do much beyond harass its targets, as most juries are understandably unwilling to violate the First Amendment by convicting adults making material with adults for audience of adults, no matter how weird and/or misogynist said material may be.

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To be clear, I'm not a mindless defender of porn who insists that it's all perfectly great and not misogynist. While there's plenty of porn out there that's just about sex and doesn't traffic in cruelty to women, most mainstream porn is built along the "dirty slut gets what's coming to her" theme.  (Which, incidentally, strikes me as reason for the moral scolds of America to embrace porn, since the Christian right and porn producers share this fascination with dirty sluts and the punishing of them. Though the recommended punishment differs, with the moral scold camp recommending deprivation of reproductive health services and the porn camp sticking to a shot of semen in the eyeballs.)  But simply promoting misogynist ideas isn't reason enough to curtail someone's basic right to freedom of speech.

Anyway, it's not like porn has a monopoly on woman-hating.  Romantic comedies that ritually humiliate their heroines and then marry them off to men who have little on offer come to mind as a form of toxic misogynist propaganda that no one in government seems interested in censoring.

Of course, some porn producers are truly sleazy characters, and I don't object in the slightest to arresting them when they break other laws, such as using underage girls in their porn or filming women without obtaining the proper legal consent.  But obscenity prosecutions strike me as a clear violation of freedom of speech, and the government should cease to be involved with them at all.