A movement is afoot in Iceland to ban internet porn. Yet, it is currently unclear exactly what that entails, for, depending on the source you use, the movement is either bent on banning all sexually explicit material or only banning sexually explicit material that is violent or hateful in nature.
The reasons given for
banning some or all porn include protecting women and children.
Specifically, the women who work in the porn trade. As for children,
there seems to be a growing consensus in Iceland that viewing porn has
harmful effects on kids and can even lead to violent crime later on in
I would suggest that the Icelandic movement
to ban porn may presage the future in many Western countries. Perhaps
not immediately, but over the long haul. If so, then a major reason for
that might be that internet porn, on the whole, is becoming
increasingly violent and misogynist. That's to say nothing of how the
internet has allowed an especially heinous form of porn -- child
pornography -- to flourish.
Regardless of whether or not
many people think the government should ban porn, very few people, it
would seem, think it's a good idea for children to view porn, especially
violent porn. I have three young nephews and I cringe at the thought
that some day they are likely to come across the stuff. So, a large
part of me is sympathetic to the Icelandic movement.
course, I do not have the honor of being an Icelander, so it's not my
position to tell them how to run their country. But if such a ban were
proposed in America, I would be sympathetic to banning violent and/or
Nevertheless, my sympathies do not
extend to banning all porn from the net. If it were up to me, I would
limit any ban to pornography that was violent or hateful in nature. But
I would not ban porn that was merely sexually explicit.
reason not to ban the merely sexual explicit is that the category is so
broad as to potentially include such things as biological texts on
reproduction. And, if it seems far fetched that anyone would use a ban
on pornography to attack the dissemination of factual information on
biological reproduction, one only has to look at how prudish Americans
can be. I don't know about Iceland, but here in America there are quite
a few people who would gut public eduction of fact based courses in sex
ed. A ban on sexually explicit porn might easily give them a tool with
which to accomplish that. I would argue, however, that people have a
right to know how their bodies work.
Another reason not
to ban the merely sexually explicit is that much great art could be --
and in times past, has been -- defined as sexually explicit. However
preposterous it might sound to us today that at some point in the future
we will be unable to google up a photo of Michelangelo's David, the
fact remains that in some ages past the statue was censored. That's to
say, censorship can be as much of a progressive disease as pornography.
Just as porn ever seems to tend towards the more violent and hateful,
censorship, once allowed out of its cage, ever seems to tend towards a
broader and broader definition of what is objectionable.
it might only be me, but I think that some of what is easily classified
as "sexually explicit" is actually beneficial. I have in mind
especially such websites as DOMAI.
I would not personally characterize DOMAI as a porn site, nor would I
call it's photos "sexually explicit". Rather, I would characterize it
as something along the lines of an often enough liberating celebration
of feminine beauty and sexuality -- which I take to be very much a
positive thing. But I can see how the site would easily fit many
people's definitions of sexually explicit pornography.
At least, that's how I see it. What do you think of Iceland's proposed ban on internet porn? And would it work in the US?
For more reading on the proposed ban:
Iceland Considers Pornography Ban
Can Iceland Lead the Way Towards a Ban on Violent Online Pornography?
Iceland Porn Ban: Minister says Pornography on Net must be Blocked to Protect Children