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‘If You Think Ban On Porn Is Going To Solve Any Problems, You Are Dead Wrong!’

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By Tanuja Aundhe:

What is pornography? Wikipedia defines it as “the portrayal of sexual subject matter for the purpose of sexual arousal”. Okay then. Let’s talk about this definition. The portrayal, meaning the depiction, meaning the showing, that is the visual – then what? Also written? Also sound, pictures, and live shows? Portrayal of – ah, here’s the hitch – sexual subject matter. Sexual subject matter. So, sexual acts – intercourse, foreplay, masturbation? An extension of these, in various themes? And all this for the purpose of sexual arousal. Arousal of the viewer.

one-does-not-simply-ban-porn

Fine? Blushing a bit? Okay.

First thoughts: what’s wrong with porn?

According to me, not much.

We watch/read/see pornography to, oh I don’t know, have a bit of fun.

And really, it isn’t bad. As it turns out, porn might actually be good for you. It allows you to become comfortable with your needs and desires, and provides a safe and healthy outlet for those desires. Sexual health is also important for overall health, and porn may help people achieve that. It is safe (please note, I’m talking about consensual, adults-only stuff), because it lets you enjoy whatever floats your boat.

Well, according to this petition filed in the Supreme Court of India by Indore-based lawyer Kamlesh Vaswani, porn does a lot more than that. Such as:

– Putting the country’s security in danger
– Putting society and public order in jeopardy
– Making innocent women susceptible to rape

And much more.

This petition has been wandering around the courts for a while. It was heard in May, and more recently, in August. After the proceedings on the 29th of August, 2014, the matter was referred by the SC to the Cyber Regulations Advisory Committee. Now, we aren’t here to poke fun at Adv. Vaswani’s well intended petition. Let’s just point out the fallacies.

In his petition, it has been stated that pornography causes violence against women. Is pornography the only reason why violence against women occurs? The psychology of the individual, the socialisation, and the environment do not matter at all? This has not been answered in the petition, because of which it is at a danger of disintegrating into binaries. The question, “does watching porn make you violent against women?” has not been answered at all. And even if you try and answer it, it isn’t so straightforward. You can’t say a yes or a no here.

Adv. Vaswani pointed out in his petition that China has also banned pornography. However, what he fails to consider is – China has one of the largest internet-censorship machineries in the world. It does not make sense to compare a country like India (yes, world’s largest democracy, yes, we’re proud) with China. China also bans Google. Would you go to that limit?

The petition even has a dedicated Facebook page. The petitioners are trying to build popular support – but for what? Will it help?

Porn, like so many other internet commodities, is not good or bad by itself, in my opinion. As long as you use it for your personal purposes, I don’t think it’s anyone’s business to stop you from enjoying it. Banning pornography is akin to banning Facebook. Yes, it has the potential to be harmful, but that doesn’t mean you stop it outright. You cannot. That’ll only breed outrage and dissent, and as every good boss and leader knows, that is not a good idea.

However, it seems that our leaders may be forgetting this. Reports have been received that the Central Government will try to block adult websites. They’ve stated that this is because porn viewing is against Indian culture and decency and is making today’s youth degenerate and morally reprehensible. Really now?

Why is this bad?

Let’s go back to China. They’ve historically found out that censorship is a bad idea, and users come up with ways to circumvent the system anyway. For more words which are blocked on SinaWeibo, users post more and more alternatives to show their opinions.

Why can’t this happen with porn too?

For all the professionally-made porn which is banned (or expensive, haha!), users have come up with amateur porn, images, and posts. Torrenting has replaced ordinary downloading in a lot of instances anyway – you can use that method to get your little kick too. Additionally, there are several proxies or alternate methods which we can use to walk around the censorship protocols. Any hosteller whose hostel provides controlled WiFi can tell you that.

And we haven’t even talked about the implementation part yet!

There are 25 million porn sites online right now. How is a censorship program big enough to cover all of these in its ambit to be made? The scale of work itself is staggering, even after assuming that the number of porn sites will not change too much within the time frame required to make the program and put it into action.

How is the Government planning to put into force such a scheme without the hearty disapproval of the populace? I mean, this isn’t just emotional, you know. This is, technically, a violation of our Fundamental Rights. I don’t think the exceptions to the Freedom of Speech and Expression, enshrined in Article 19 of the Constitution of India, allow for “lets people get their rocks off and thus against Indian culture”. As to the exception allowing for stuff to be censored which harms decency and morality, well, honestly – don’t watch it if it makes your culture feel bad. Porn isn’t immoral.

It may give you unrealistic expectations about sexuality, romance, your body, whatever – but almost all popular media will. Don’t tell me that Twilight, Mills and Boon, or Gone with the Wind didn’t give you unrealistic expectations. The idea that porn, specifically, is the only reason why people feel bad when their sexual experiences don’t live up to the hype is rather silly. You’ll see amazingly sensuous and erotic scenes even in Hindi movies today. Think everything’s that nice and smooth all the time? There’s your unrealistic expectation. Go talk to the Censor Board or something.

And as for all your concern about the youth of India, there’s so much more you can do, rather than banning one of our few sources of amusement and pleasure. I mean, ban IIT tutorials. That’ll make kids hang around at home with their parents a bit more, and also, study a bit more than usual. Aren’t parents and studies a part of Indian culture, too?

There are three porn sites in the top 100 most-visited websites in India. Estimates say there are about 90 lakh mobile users of these, purely from India, and around 30% of all Indian Web traffic is porn.

(Oh, by the way, to know more about Indian porn-viewing, go here.)

If you really think that a ban on porn viewing is going to solve any problems, you’re wrong there. Really, really wrong. #SorryNotSorry

Here’s a hilarious video by AIB on this which you might like:

You must be to comment.
  1. Arjun

    for all those who likes to compare themselves with west.

    Online pornography to be blocked by default, British PM announces
    bbc.com/news/uk-23401076

    1. Fem

      And for a huge majority of us who do not like to *follow* (I guess this is what you meant….comparison is not bad….comparison gives you parameters on what you want to and don’t want to do) the West? What news item for us you have?

  2. just a human with no gender,no religion and no nationality

    Ban on porn is not going to change anything as you said. For a change, each and every person’s mentality is to be changed.
    I am not talking about whether to ban porn or not. I am just talking about the effects.

    1)As you said as long as you use it for your personal purposes, I don’t think it’s anyone’s business to stop you from enjoying it.

    2) But one thing what i do not like about porn is that, it shows women as just sex objects which obviously women are not.

  3. rebel

    porn is surely something that promotes rape ,disregard for women , loss of morality etc , on the other hand it can be also said that abolishing porn does not put an end to the above said social evils.Our job as a responsible generation is to cut off anything that supports or supplements anything that are promoting the social evils stated above , and one of the elements that supplements these is porn.

    according to a survey , most youngsters who watch porn have selected the rape,cougar,forced, etc as their favourite genre of porn.and surprisingly all these show women in a negative and supressed face.

    so i think its about time to cut off anything and everything material that supplements the crime in our society.

  4. Anupam

    Porn is bad. Bad. Bad. And more bad. For some temporary pleasure, it creates an even deeper hole within us. Merging lines between sex and porn is today’s new evil. Remember if one feeds off on their carnal desires for temporary fulfillment; a day will come when this desire feeds off on you. Sex is liberating. But porn isn’t. It’s enslaving. Maybe the writer needs to look at a larger picture than being trapped in a small shell. Opposing everything isn’t life. There are more pressing issues to be opposed.

  5. Prabhjeet Singh

    If you open any of the pornographic websites , the home page consists of MMS’s or videos shot discreetly .

    In few of the videos women are literally crying but they get views which gets money and thus encouraging people to make more such content .

    The restriction is only temporary, until the government finds a more permanent way of dealing with the issue.

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