Monday, September 14, 2009

What to do about Internet Pornography: One Approach

[until the Internet entered the lives of millions of people, making pornography--women's exploited and/or raped bodies, accessible to men 24/7]

What follows is a link to a PDF document, which is an outline, table of contents, and summary of a thesis paper on how best to tackle the problem of Internet pornography. Click here to read this PDF document. The thesis it describes is titled: "Regulating Internet Pornography as an Issue of Sex Discrimination", by Michelle Evans.

The argument put forth by Evans is that a censorship approach to dealing with pornography, which is a form of sexual discrimination negatively impacting women's civil and human rights, as a class, is misguided and inadequate. An approach that cannot even see what pornography is and does, cannot remotely remedy the serious problems its existence presents. Offered as an alternative, by Evans, is a civil rights-based legal approach to combating the harm perpetrated by the makers, marketers, and consumers of pornography.

I wish the whole thesis paper were available online, but until I find that, we have a sketch of what Michelle Evans proposes.

I fully support approaches to ending white and male supremacist exploitation and violence against women that names what is being done rather than pretending "pornography" is some abstract, vague idea in the liberal imagination, a matter of sexual taste, or a bunch of naughty pictures of people being sexual. If you think pornography is any of those things just listed, you are not really examining the content and consequences of pornography as a white heteromale supremacist industry earning billions of dollars annually.

Can you name me one industry that earns billions of dollars annually run by pimps, rapists, and drug dealers that does not harm humans and non-human animals is some way?

What is uniquely harmful about pornography as a practice of sex discrimination, as a practice of oppression, is that it makes sexual violence, sexual exploitation, racist sexism and sexist racism seem like it is simply apolitical little ol' sex, at least to its consumers. It isn't. It is, among other things, virulent misogyny and racism created in such a way as require incest and rape. No other billion dollar a year industry I am aware of so effectively makes hate and harm both invisible as such while managing to sell its product as a kind of sexual stimulant. The result is that people believe hatred of women is sexy, and that racism is hot. How this negatively impacts white women and women of color cannot be understated.