13 April 2006

Sex and censorship

It’s silly of me to write about censorship of sex. If sex had been censored long ago, I may not have been here writing this blog.

Jokes aside, it’s not sex per se – not even the sexual themes in literature, art, film and photography – that I connect with censorship, but it’s the display and expression of the degradation of human sexuality which I feel needs monitoring. Not because I’m a moral high priest, but because I feel young minds are sensitive and can be severely influenced by pornography without proper guidance.

Arzan, a fellow blogger and whose views I respect, cautioned me on taking this moral stance (please read his comment on my previous post), pointing out that self-governance is better than adopting the role of moral police. I agree with him, but with a small condition: that there should be guidance for children; because, young sensitive minds may not have the maturity to understand the ‘severity’ of pornography.

By ‘severity’ I go beyond the normal expression of sexually-explicit images (I know, why allow this also?) and into the domain of material that eroticises violence, humiliation, degradation and other explicit forms of abuse. Some aspects of pornography not only presents their subjects (particularly women) as sex objects, but goes further to show them as being physically harmed, as enjoying pain, humiliation, torture and rape. Some material even depicts the actual killing and dismembering of their subjects during explicit sexual scenes.

The Nicolas Cage film, ‘8 MM’, directed by Joel Schumacher and written by Andrew Kevin Walker, gives us a window to such pornography, although the film itself does not discuss the issue in any detail. Is this kind of sexually-explicit material objectionable? To me, it is. Particularly, if it is easily accessible to children. It simply sends wrong signals. Ask yourself: what would an adolescent or a teenager, with access to such material on the Internet or on his mobilephone, make of it? Is it ok to humiliate your partner during sex? Is rape a normal expression of sex? Does satisfying sex mean leaving your partner battered, bruised and bleeding?

Should we censor this kind of pornography? That’s the moral question.

Yes, I feel we should; but I’m not sure how to or how much of it to. No, I cannot prove that pornography causes violence. Nor can I prove that such pornography poses overt physical threats to women in our society. Nor can I prove that a teenager growing up watching BDSM videos will grow up to be a rapist or a misogynist. So, Arzan, you’ve got me there. Perhaps, self-governance is the right path to follow. But I do believe that pornography that links sex with violence is unlikely to bring in great benefits to our society and culture. Then again, who am I to take this moral stance?


Bombay Addict said...

Sir, I agree with your view.

runawaysun said...

Thanks for your comment, bombay addict.
Had dropped in on your blogs. Was wondering why you had two similar blogs running at the same time.

Lakshmi a.k.a. Lotus Eyes said...

Your blog is great. Got a link to this from Desipundit. I also posted a comment on your "Homeless in Bombay" post.
I agree with you on censorship needed in pornography. Young teenagers and children might want to experiment with what they see on the screen, with disastrous consequences. In fact, many years ago, a man who raped and killed a young girl (she was a child), said that he had wanted to do what he saw in a blue film, if I remember correctly. In another incident about which I read somewhere, a group of boys who had also committed a similar crime on a young child, said that they were trying out something they saw in puerile movies. So, there is some evidence that it does affect children and some impressionable minds. Besides, what about those who already have a propensity for such behaviour? Does this act as a trigger?

runawaysun said...

Glad you liked my blog so much, Lakshmi. Have responded to your other comment as well.

You’re right, young minds cannot always decipher what’s going on around them. What they see, they believe to be true. And, if there’s enough of it, they believe it to be the normal thing – the standard. With sex education, it’s even more complicated. One can’t expose an adolescent or teenage boy to pornography – say, a film on rape – and teach him that that’s not the standard. Then, of course, there are those who have a propensity for such behaviour (your quote).

In the western countries, the Church takes up this problem and tries to deal with it. In India, and in many other countries, this problem is left to fend for itself.