On Tuesday (12 March 2013) the European Parliament will vote on a resolution working towards eliminating gender stereotypes in the EU. This is not a vote for binding law but can be seen as a reminder and a promise to adhere to over nineteen separate treaties, pacts, and conventions the UK has agreed to dating as far back as 1979. The vote is far from a sudden European prank and was voted positively by 18 out of 21 MEP’s back in November.
The cause of uproar is this line:
‘Member States to take concrete action on its resolution of 16 September 1997 on discrimination against women in advertising, which called for a ban on all forms of pornography in the media and on the advertising of sex tourism.’
So, we already made a resolution back in 1997 to ban porn. Incredible that since 1997 the internet has taken porn and made it available in almost every household in the EU. See how much weight a resolution holds.
Note that the ban is aimed at the media and is not a blanket ban on porn. This would, I imagine, work the same way as we portray smoking and cigarettes in the media, i.e. not at all. We do not advertise cigarettes, we do not have them on show or glorify the habit. Yet people can buy cigarettes. People will still be able to get porn but it will not be so easy. Porn does not kill and it is harmless, advocates will maintain. In part this is true but the viewer has no idea what happens before or after the film is made. Are you watching a consensual sexual delight or a rape victim who has been warned to do the acts and appear to be enjoying it or else? This may not enter the consumers head at the time of orgasm but it should. There is also a growing correlation between young sexual crime and internet porn. We must also consider the negative effects on boys, girls, women and men from the array of sexually explicit images of women that can be found, well, everywhere.
The sex sells addicts will bellow, ‘How dare they tell us to have zero-tolerance for sexist insults or degrading images of women and girls in the media. Why, that would mean the end of us’. Predictably, object adoring rags throw their hands up in disgust over the EU dictating to us on what we can and can’t see and do.
This result may be beginning of the end since the overwhelming majority of porn is degrading to women.
And it is degrading. Having been on a porn journey this week while researching I was subjected to tears, terror and an overwhelming fear of men. This included a fear of my own partner in an irrational momentary panic after seeing some horrific videos online. I was not anti-porn before I discovered the child porn, rape and brutal porn for free and within less than 50 clicks and under 10 minutes work.
What of people who enjoy watching porn? They still can but they just will not have it rammed down their throats everyday, or maybe they will since a majority of porn includes over sized penises being thrust into mouths making the female chag (a new word meaning choke and gag).
This is where decisions are tricky. As a society we need to make it clear that we do not accept degradation of women but it is unclear if this can truly happen without the end of porn. There are women and men who enjoy porn and who work in the industries that may see this as restrictions on their liberty. These issues do need to be further considered. There has to be a balance here. A balance where humans can watch other humans engaging in sexually pleasurable acts that does not involve one type of human making another type of human engage in mentally and physically harmful acts. Back to the smoking analogy, some people like to smoke, others do not. It is unfair to expect all people to breath smoke. What can be done with porn is to allow people who want it to have it, but not at the expense of those who do not, in particular youngsters. Iceland do not agree and intend to ban all violent pornography.
Aside from the porn issue in the resolution, the EU aims to free the female sex from the shackles that still exist in our everyday lives that fuel inequality. Eliminating gender stereotypes is about removing a whole host of behaviours that combine to control and degrade one section of society. No wonder The Sun is crying about our freedom.
This ‘freedom’ is male freedom and liberty overriding female freedom and liberty. Those who are against the resolution are against gender equality.
In order to do the job properly the European Parliament is being asked to scrutinise the following areas that affect girls and women
- Media and culture, recognising that girls and women are portrayed in sexual ways.
- Education and training, recognising differing aspirations related to subjects such as science.
- The labour market, recognising continued existence of sexism at work and unequal pay.
- Economic and political decision making, recognising females continual battle with the glass ceiling.
The report put forward by Dutch MEP Kartika Tamara Liotard brings together the aims of Child Eyes, No More Page Three, Object, Let Toys Be Toys and various other campaigns. Child Eyes delights in its recognition that:
‘children are confronted with gender stereotypes at a very young age through role models promoted by television series and programmes, discussions, games, video games and advertisements, study materials and educational programmes, attitudes in schools, the family and society, which influence their perception of how men and women should behave and which have implications for the rest of their lives and their future aspirations’.
YES, exactly what we are saying.
However, do we expect this resolution to lead to a ban on porn? No, I seriously doubt it. We are still in for the long haul as attitudes do not change overnight. Sadly, a lot of people’s pockets are lined by turning girls and women into pieces of meat to be slavered over, devoured and abused.