Banning Porn: Should we do it?

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A tiny island of only 320,000 people, Iceland has been grabbing international headlines with the governement’s latest proposal to ban pornography, both in print and online. Technically, pornography is already banned here, though print editions of Playboy and Penthouse can be purchased in book stores, with more hard-core material available in sex shops.

What is being defined by this new proposal would be violent or degrading content that could pose a harm to children.

This isn’t the first time a country has debated the issue of pornography, how accessible it should be, if it’s harmful, and whether or not the government has a responsibility to protect its children. Known for being a center for Scandinavian free-speech whose social experiments often have a global impact, Iceland’s decision in this could have ripple effects far beyond it’s own borders.

Does the right to free speech trump a child’s right to be protected?

Or as one Icelandic political advisor asked,“Is it freedom of speech to be able to reach children with very hardcore, brutal material? Is that the freedom of speech we want to protect?”

One argument in favor of little to no restraints on pornography is that it’s merely another expression of art. Yet unlike the Van Gogh hanging in your nearby museum, pornography tends to garner quite a bit more attention and controversy. Is it because we instinctively sense that there’s more to pornography than just naked bodies engaged in a human activity?

Is there anything harmful that warrants our intervention, not just for children but possibly adults?

I’ll give my take on that question next week, but I’d like first to hear from you.

What kind of danger or risk might there be when it comes to viewing pornography? Is Iceland’s attempt to ban violent or degrading content an overeach or bold step in protecting its youngest citizens?

Image via Photobucket

8 thoughts on “Banning Porn: Should we do it?

  1. While I respect the intent, the only issue I have is that it seems to throw the baby out with the bathwater. There are many adults who’ve been exposed to pornography at early ages, and they’ve grown to lead responsible and productive lives. Some of those adults still appreciate porn to this day. It not only punishes responsible and productive porn aficionados, but it criminalizes them as well.
    Not only that, but I read recently in an article (Can’t remember the link, or I’d spam it) that says that the countries that surf for the most porn is in places where it is illegal to have. Making it illegal can be said to in fact, increase demand for it.

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    1. I can definitely see what you’re saying, especially when it comes to driving the demand underground. At what point is legislating behavior unsuccessful because it’s really a heart issue of the individual?

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      1. That’s… that’s really a tough question to answer. Believe me, I’ve tried and failed a few times to type a decent answer here!
        I think the problem might be that there’s no quick and easy answer to the question. I could in fact say that legislating behavior is never successful because criminals aren’t the type to adhere to legislation in the first place (That’s what makes them criminals). but by that logic, it’s easy to turn around and say “Okay then, let’s just go ahead and make murder legal then, since people are going to do it anyway”
        The problem, in my eyes, comes when we try to legislate feelings and desires that come naturally. For example, we as a species, love to sex each other up. A few of us happen to love watching others sexing others. Granted, there is a line we have to draw (Take for example, child pornography). But as long as the behavior is kept in the privacy of one’s home, and is not negatively affecting others, why legislate against it?
        Yeah, there are flaws to even that answer. But like I said, there’s not a quick easy answer to this.

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      2. I appreciate you trying to answer the question! It’s a sticky subject for sure. Do you think it’s really possible for someone to view pornography and it not affect the way they interact in their relationships, how they view sex & relationships or live out their sexuality? In all of those cases, private decisions would then be impacting other people in some way or another

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  2. If there only seems to be a risk for the young people who’s innocent minds will be tainted by easy access to pornography, I don’t see why a whole country needs to ban porn from ALL citizens. I don’t doubt that porn can be unhealthy to the young and perhaps make them have an unhealthy view of sex, but legislation will not prevent anyone from watching porn just like you can’t prevent the millions of illegally downloaded music/videos online. And plus, I think for some, porn might be helpful and perhaps healthy. I know of individuals who are socially inept and have been single for over 40 years. They don’t believe in sleeping around (or perhaps want to but can’t) so their only “outlet” is through porn. I believe that watching porn is like masturbation which I think is a healthy form of releasing sexual tension. If society is so worried about corrupting young minds then instead of legislation against porn there should be more initiatives to educate kids about what healthy sex is. Sex itself is already a taboo subject but healthy sex talk needs to happen more so than the readily available UNhealthy porn. It’s like what the anti-smoking campaigns have been doing. Even though it’s illegal to smoke under 18, there are still huge numbers of kids smoking. However, the more prevalent the information of the healthy choice is the more it can be an advantage.

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    1. I absolutely agree that education is important in helping kids and even young adults understand the possible risks and dangers of pornography. Do you think there is a point when consumption of pornography can become unhealthy for an individual? Could they become addicted or it actually keeps them from forming intimate relationships because they’re already getting their sexual release through another means?

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