Many of us view watching porn as a harmless activity…

Many of us see watching porn as a harmless activity – and many  more who don’t, still watch it while scorning the actors. I agree with PT in this comment, I think watching porn would be fine if the act is consensual and there is no exploitation involved, and no involvement of minors in filming it.

Now if a ‘blue film’ was made in India, how likely is it that those being filmed are not being exploited, blackmailed, coerced or being raped?

Bhopal, Jan 6: Two weeks after a minor girl committed suicide, an MMS that featured the girl being gangraped by four did the rounds in Harda town, Madhya Pradesh

….the CD showed four people involved in gang rape, as they took turns to rape the girl, the victim can be heard screaming. The accused too can be heard in the CD of threatening her that they would circulate the MMS and upload it on internet. [link]

Even when the film is not violent – are the actors/film makers aware of the social and legal consequences and implications? If they are not, then would the filming still be considered a consensual act? I would like to ask the Karnataka ministers who were filmed watching a rape video in the Assembly – do they see Sunny Leone as immoral and perhaps asking to be forced into a non-consensual act (i.e. asking to be raped)? So, do they believe, that the activities of porn actors remain ‘wrong’ unless they were forced, exploited and harmed?

Anybody who supports watching of porn in India – do they see the viewing as an innocent, liberal activity, but making of the films as wrong? Or do you feel that if participants are willing they are immoral, if they are not they are being exploited – so making of porn is wrong both ways?

The most shocking are those videos where the criminal (the rapists) film themselves committing a crime. What does that say for our society? Why don’t these criminals have any fear of the law or social stigma?

Shouldn’t there be a more information and consequences for young (or old) Indians involved in rape, molestation, making, viewing and circulating of rape videos?

GHAZIABAD: A software engineer, who runs a coaching institute in Ghaziabad, has been arrested for allegedly raping his (minor) student and blackmailing her into stealing cash and jewellery from her parents and relatives. The victim in her complaint has alleged that the accused made an MMS clip to blackmail her. However, the accused has refuted all allegations and said that their sexual relationship was with mutual consent and she had given him the jewellery for safekeeping. [TOI - link]

Noida rape victim becomes a recluse, skips board exams – “They blackmailed me, saying they have an MMS clip featuring me and insisted I go with them or else they will make the clip public,” she had said. [link]

One reads about webcams being fitted in girl’s rooms/flats/trial rooms. Some of these videos are sold as porn – Anara Gupta and DPS, R K Puram student, and another minor in Bombay, the NOIDA gang rape victim are some of the victims.

Here are more links from NDTV.

1. Young girl raped, blackmailed with MMS – The boy first raped the girl along with a friend at knife point, made an MMS clip of it and later used it to force her into have sex with friends and neighbours.

2. Minor girl gang-raped at gun-point; accused make MMS clip Meerut: A 12-year-old Dalit girl was sexually assaulted at gun-point by three men who also made an MMS clip of the act in Daurala area of the district, police said today.
4. Duo raped 15-yr-old, circulated MMS

                                      ***
Radhika emailed to ask what the readers thought of Dharun Ravi, a college student in New Jersey facing ten years in prison for for ‘allegedly watching and surreptitiously webcasting his roommate Tyler Clementi’s sexual encounter with another man‘.
I think, like an average rapist in India, Dharun Ravi did not understand the seriousness of his crime.
Why? Because we are too busy blaming the victims to consider informing potential criminals about a victim’s rights, and finding time to put the fear of law in their minds.
.
Do you think it might help if we shifted the focus on potential  sexual offenders – with campaigns against tolerance of sexual crimes and with exemplary and well publicized punishments for sexual crimes?
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54 thoughts on “Many of us view watching porn as a harmless activity…

  1. The problem with Rape Crimes is that they are encouraged by the Rape Culture that we have so proudly developed in India. Sex is still considered a dirty act that should not be done consensually before marriage. This results in sexual bottle necking and tension. The legality is never called into question. Many people still beleive consensual sex is illegal in India. I raise this discussion in college once and was surprised to find that 90% people in my college thought pre marital sex is illegal.
    Now there is no way most of these people are getting laid, so they start to think: pre-marital sex is illegal,nothing happens though, never seen anybody go to jail from sex. So rape is also illegal….and the assumption is that there is nothing wrong with Rape either.

    Pre-marital sex and rape are essentially seen in the same light by many people.

    http://slaith.com/2012/03/19/she-asked-for-it-fail/

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  2. I think the moralistic legislation that we have in force in India is a huge barrier to effective protection against trafficking and forced pornography.

    It is no secret that Indians watch a lot of porn, and it is also no secret that India has its own underground porn industry. Rather than criminalizing it, and enforcing this criminalization in a random and utterly illogical manner, the government should legalize it and focus on regulating it, so that non-consensual activities, rather than some absurd public morality, becomes the focus. The federal laws on depiction of sexual acts in the United States are a good model.

    As for secret recordings of consensual acts, I think it is a travesty that the women who are the victims of such illegal recordings end up becoming criminals in the eyes of society, and no one gives a second thought to the people who actually perpetrated the act. I have mentioned this before – In patriarchal societies, it is a bigger issue to be caught having pre-marital sex than it is to be caught filming that act for the purpose of blackmail and/or personal profit. What a horribly skewed system!

    There is nothing immoral about having consensual sex. There is a lot immoral about making a video of a person’s sexual activities and distributing them on the internet without their consent.

    The former is a private act that no outsider has any business intruding into. The latter is a CRIME which should attract the harshest penalties available under law.

    I am conflicted about the publicity aspect. Many cases of rape do receive massive publicity. In most cases, journalists must balance their public duty with the fact that shrill media reporting is often traumatic to victims themselves. It puts the spotlight on them in a regressive society, and makes it that much harder for them to resume their lives, that much harder for them to walk through a street without hearing muttered comments and well-meaning, but jarring questions.

    One of the reasons that rape isn’t often reported to the police is that the victims do not want the whole thing to become public knowledge.

    Law enforcement agencies are duty-bound to protect the public, and therefore must always investigate a crime as serious as rape whether or not the victim wishes it. But the media is not so duty-bound. Must it publicize everything?
    Perhaps the answer isn’t just more publicity, but BETTER publicity, in terms of more sensitive handling of delicate issues. I am not enthralled by the way Indian media reports rape. It could do with some reduction in sensationalism and a bigger focus on the official (mis)handling of the crime itself.
    Maybe if we could ensure victims that their privacy and personal lives wouldn’t be violated, they’d be more willing to step forward. And maybe, if we could make those bureaucrats publicly accountable for their responses, we’d see some improvements.

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    • I have to agree on the BETTER publicity part. If you look at the headlines in each of the 10 cases, except in two (no. 3 and 5), you get more information about the victim rather than the criminals. Just changing this will be a huge thing.

      @IHM, may be you could ask your readers to rewrite each of these headlines such that it is indeed better publicity.

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      • Interesting exercise, must thank you for that.

        At the risk of telling journalists how to do their jobs, I think I’d probably make the headlines something like this:

        1. 22 year old man rapes cousin, blackmails her with MMS clip

        2. Three men gang rape minor in Daurala district, make MMS clip of the crime

        3. Inspector’s son rapes teen, makes MMS video of the rape

        4. Duo rape minor, circulate video of the crime

        5. Delhi teacher arrested for rape and MMS

        The 6th news piece is apparently the same as the 2nd.

        7. Trio rape minor, circulate video of the rape

        8. 47-year old Congressman rapes “second wife”, circulates MMS of the crime

        9. Duo rape girl, coerce her into not reporting the matter

        10. Pune sex MMS suspect arrested for rape

        Many of the changes are subtle, but I think they are important.

        It is important to highlight that rape is a CRIME, just like murder, theft and physical assault. It is also important to highlight that these people are circulating videos of a heinous crime, not some enjoyable act they had fun with over the weekend.

        I had to dig fairly deep into some of the articles to get details on the perpetrators, while information on the victim is presented from the very first sentence. This, of course, says something about how reporting goes on around here.

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        • Love these changes PT. These changes are only possible by the media if they see rape as a crime and not as a sensational news. And like another commenter above said, if they also understand that rape is not the same as premarital sex, or sex between two consenting but committed elsewhere adults or something some women deserve for not respecting patriarchal rules.

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    • the makers of indian home-made porn videos are a law unto themselves. everybody who has a digital camera or phone camera has become a porn maker and these scavangers get paid by porn sites to deliver.
      most vulnerable are women who do not know the consequences of being filmed by their partners, women and men forced/raped to partake and even some old men who do not realise that they are being recorded.
      when will the indian government act?

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  3. I am replying to the heading of the post and not to the remaining questions raised within the post. I wonder if watching porn is completely a harmless activity. Many marriages are affected by porn. Many people who are addicted to porn, prefer watching porn than having sex with their spouses. Most Indian youngsters get the knowledge of sex and get to watch the bodies of the opposite sex in porn. Continuously watching air brushed and enhanced bodies may turn off the person when he or she actually gets to see a real body with fat,cellulose, hair etc. I am no psychologist to know how much is too much to make it a problem. But I am guessing at some point the viewer may be out of touch with reality. Yes, if the movie is filmed on consenting adults it does not affect anybody else. Doesn’t it still affect the individual and their partner? Of course, the problem is much smaller and may be nothing compared to the crimes you mentioned in the post. I am just trying to foresee if the individual’s problem could someday snowball into a bigger problem for the society.

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    • Everything is harmful in excess.

      Too much Oxygen is poisonous, Hyperhydration can kill you, and too many French Fries definitely shorten your lifespan.

      Let us give some credit to people. I don’t think there is anyone who actually believes that watching porn all day is completely harmless.

      If people end up watching more porn than is good for them, it is their lookout, just as it is their lookout if they choose to smoke, drink, not exercise and eat a poor diet.

      In any case, pornography is not a new concept. It has been around for centuries, ever since the time that humans grew technologically advanced enough to create such things. In my school days, it used to be books and written material (with highly pretty, and highly unrealistic pictures for effect). Now it is high-definition videos available to anyone with a broadband connection.

      Banning porn is not a serious option. It never, ever works and never will. Google rates Pakistan as the world #1 in porn searches per capita. This is the same country which banned 13,000 pornographic websites, and where it is illegal to watch sexually explicit content, even in private. Go figure.

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      • I think even moderate porn-watching leaves viewers with unrealistic expectations and self-esteem issues that damage sex lives. But as you say, banning is not a realistic option at all – and not even a desirable one in my opinion.

        Educating people about what real bodies look like and how to have sex without degrading women (physically or verbally – I can’t think of the last time a woman wasn’t referred to as a “slut” and “whore” in a porn video) is the much better option. We need to make sure porn is not functioning as sex education or even the primary way people explore sexuality, because that is seriously disastrous.

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      • Well, I did read quite a few pornographic novels back when I was an obsessive-compulsive student in the UK with no social life to speak of, and I do not think it damaged my sex life or self-esteem. But I suppose the limit varies between individuals.

        As for sex education, it’s actually a bit funny.

        Most Indians – most male Indians, at any rate – seem to have watched porn flicks at some point in their lives, and also seem to be well aware of how freely such material is available to teenagers today.

        However, these same Indians resist sex education tooth and nail, because they somehow think it will lead to “moral decadence”.
        Incredible imbecility, not to mention incredible national hypocrisy.

        And while I think sex education would be beneficial, the only real cure to objectification and unrealistic expectations is actual experience. Let teenagers and young adults mingle with the other sex, and let parents advise kids on how to stay safe while they experiment.

        I sometimes visit law schools and universities as a part of the recruitment process at my firm, and I am always shocked by how stuffy and Victorian the environment is. Males and Females live on opposite ends of the campus. They do not sit on the same bench. The little social groups that you see are either all male or all female. It’s all straight out of the 1800s. Some institutions are better than others, but they’re all horribly stuffy.

        And it shows.

        Young interns/associates sometimes need a lot of attitude adjustment to get used to the far more liberal atmosphere at actual law firms, where you often have to work in close conjunction with people of both sexes, and bizarre gaffes are all too common. They do adjust, though, and for some reason, women tend to adjust a lot faster. This gives me a lot of hope. Given the right environment, young Indians, even those brought up conservatively, can flourish into smart, informed individuals and can become proactive about their own happiness, which is great.

        I think the most important thing is to treat young adults as adults, and giving them the freedom to be themselves, to live their own lives as they wish. Until we do that, we’ll see the same old stilted elder-worshipping, woman-hating culture that’s been flourishing for far too long now.

        Just my own view.

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      • Oh I totally think the kind of porn you read is almost completely harmless.

        It’s the watching I am concerned with: the photos of flawless plastic women with no hair, no cellulite, and no *pores* even… the videos depicting sex only in ways optimised for the camera rather than pleasure, only through the male gaze, and as I mentioned in ways that are exceptionally degrading to women..

        You make an excellent point that the best cure is actual experience. I agree completely… I’ve caught a lot of flack for saying in Indian feminist spaces that parents ought to encourage their kids to have lots of (safe and non-coersive!) sex before marriage.

        But also, considering how early kids get started on porn and porn-like entertainment (video games, TV, movies…) I think it’s important for parents and teachers and feminist media to talk to kids about what’s real and what’s not.

        Many of the problems with porn are not confined to porn after all: magazines show us the same pore-free women, and I know I used to spend hours looking at those photos when I was a pimply teenager wishing and wishing and wishing my skin would look like that. If I had had the money I would have splurged on the make-up or facewash or whatever they were hawking!

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      • BTW: the first sentence of my comment comes across as if I know what you, personally, read. LOL this is not the case, obviously. I meant to say the kind of porn that is read is almost completely harmless..

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      • I love what both PT and Nandini have to say.

        “Most Indians – most male Indians, at any rate – seem to have watched porn flicks at some point in their lives, and also seem to be well aware of how freely such material is available to teenagers today.

        However, these same Indians resist sex education tooth and nail, because they somehow think it will lead to “moral decadence”.
        Incredible imbecility, not to mention incredible national hypocrisy.”

        “And while I think sex education would be beneficial, the only real cure to objectification and unrealistic expectations is actual experience. Let teenagers and young adults mingle with the other sex, and let parents advise kids on how to stay safe while they experiment.”

        “I think the most important thing is to treat young adults as adults, and giving them the freedom to be themselves, to live their own lives as they wish. Until we do that, we’ll see the same old stilted elder-worshipping, woman-hating culture that’s been flourishing for far too long now.”

        @PT, I am borrowing parts of your comment. Will be duly credited :)

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      • And @PT, I feel the objection to sex education is because girls/women will also receive such education. As far as those who object are concerned, porn is freely available to only boys/men, not the girls/women who are supposedly the torch bearers of the family honor and culture.
        On the aftermath of the internet ‘revolution’ when anything could be accessed freely from homes, an adult male told me, “Imagine how bad things are. Porn is freely available”. Thinking he was referring to children, I agreed how it was that with computer illiterate parents could not keep a check on what young kids who needed supervision would watch. Heck no, the man wasn’t worried about too young children. He said, “No! Imagine, now every *woman* can watch porn too!” :roll: I was too polite to answer him. I badly wanted to ask him, when he expected his wife to have sex with him, why did he think it so shocking that she could watch some action? Really! I know most men (and many women) wouldn’t turn a hair if their sons/brothers/fathers watched porn, but would be shocked and would be up in arms if the daughter/wife/ as also the the sister/mother did it. That’s why these people object to sex education too. They want their women “pure” (sic!)

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      • Nandini:

        I agree, it’s very important for parents to talk to kids.

        From my own experience, I can tell you that my parents never talked about it at all. Not once. Never have, to this day.

        For me, the epiphany came when I came to know that at one point, I was pretty much a solitary cell inside my mother. I looked at her in a different way after that, I can tell you. My parents had been feeding me all this religion-inspired nonsense about how kids happen (“god sends them to you if you pray hard enough”), and I remember confronting them with this latest finding, only to be shut up and told that I was too young to understand.

        The whole thing was buried and I forgot about it too.

        Then, when I was fourteen or so, I began putting these questions to my sister. She was (and is) a bit of a maverick within the family, and I had realized by then that I was kind of a misfit as well, so we ended up spending a lot of time together. She was older than me and female, so I figured she might know something about how one turns from a cell into a scrawny teen, and how that cell gets there in the first place. After a lot of coaxing, tantrums, polite blackmail and diplomatic manipulation, she told me. And once sh did, I got curious enough to smuggle a few books science-type books about sex and reproduction in from the library, and voila, it all clicked. From that point, the evolution was pretty rapid, and I’m thankful I didn’t have to rely on porn for sex education.

        Unfortunately, none of this taught me a thing about actual romantic relationships, and I ended up having a whole string of meaningless, almost entirely physical relationships with women who didn’t have a clue either. I was too work oriented to care about romance proper, and I guess I attracted people just like me. I got from experience what my parents should have told me. I don’t regret it, because it was good while it lasted, but I could’ve done without all those mutually-agreed-upon breakups.

        So yes, it’s very important that parents talk to their kids about relationships and sex. It’s very important that they talk in a way which does not demonize what is possibly the most natural thing in the world. It’s important that they tell kids what to look out for, the red flags, for abusive patterns.

        It’s absurd to think that people automatically learn when they get married or get in a relationship. They don’t. They can take years to find their footing in an unfamiliar situation, to learn things that are obvious to anyone who has had some experience with any kind of romantic relationship. Why Indian parents don’t try to ease things out for their kids is beyond me. I really wish we could stop, as a society, being so horribly prudish.

        Shail:

        Yes, I agree.

        Patriarchal societies tend to have a very hard time accepting that female sexuality is real, and that sex isn’t all about men (duh!). In fact, patriarchal societies find it hard to accept the very concept of women actually enjoying something that men find enjoyable.

        If women want to dance and party, there is a problem. (no issue for men)

        If women want to have a beer to chill off after a long day, there is a problem. (no issue for men)

        If women want to have a night out on their own, there is a problem. (no issue for men)

        If women want to watch some “action”, or even read a mildly erotic novel, there is a problem. (no issue for men)

        If women want to relax on a sunny beach, there is a problem. (no issue foe men)

        If women want to just sit back and laze around for a day, there is a problem. (no issue for men – they work hard all year round)

        It’s all part of the dehumanization and objectification. Women aren’t really considered “people” in the same sense that men are people. Their desires and needs don’t really count as much as male desires and needs do.

        I could rant about this all day, really. It’s all interconnected.

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  4. I am against porn depicting paedophilia or bestiality, but anything other than that if done “legally”, I am fine with it. By legally, I mean consensually, and people working on it are not exploited. I do not see why this moralistic attitude against porn, when porn has been, is, and will always be there. We just need to deal with it, and protect the interests of the service providers as well as the service users, instead of using it as an excuse for rape. Come to think of it, people can rake up any issue and cry “rape!” But rape is only in the mind of the perpetrator, nowhere else. It originates from there, and nowhere else.

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      • Sorry, I was not raging at something you had said but in general how people perceive the matter. Rape as porn is very similar to some so called legal movies (which imo ought to be banned) where the female gets molested by the villains and then the hero comes along and bashes them up. Then he hands her a dupatta or shawl to cover herself as if to emphasize the reason for her molestation. Remember Salman and Bhagyashree in Maine Pyar Kiya?

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        • I have to agree with Fem, a lot of hindi movies and serials do blame imply dress as the reason for rape. Countless hindi serials have depicted the rebelling female meet a sad incident and then become a docile “adarsh beti” in acceptance of the notion that her dress caused the incident.

          What with millions of people watching this, it becomes stereotyped and even accepted that short dresses are a license to rape.

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      • I remember watching a movie with Aamir Khan and Madhuri Dixit. Dont remember the name. The hero and the heroine have some kind of a fight which escalates. At one point, the hero almost threatens to rape the heroine to teach her a lesson. And then goes on to say “… (some) ladki ka mu nahi lagta”. And the heroine suddenly becomes all “good and Indian”. What was that really? I was in class 5 when I watched that. Now when I think of it, the idea that such a scene was seen by so many men and boys as if that was nothing, scares me. And such sick scenes are present in movies of all Indian languages.

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  5. Let me confess that like most young ppl I had watched and enjoyed porn in my youth. At the same time I completely against exploitation not only in porn industry but every where.
    I feel in some ppl it has a positive effect as way to vent off sexual energy. In some couples with marital sexual problems, we Drs sometimes even recommend watching soft porn together.
    So controlling it strictly to prevent exploitation may be the answer.
    Filming rape and circulating it is an issue which is part of rape culture and I feel should be punished as severely as possible.

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  6. The categories of exploiter and exploited have to me always been unclear as in most circumstances it is extremely difficult to determine who the real victim is. so i really do not have a clear take on issues such as these. there are clear cases however, such as a rape and the manner in which this (someone’s) tragedy is made into an item for consumption where i feel deeply disturbed!

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  7. I agree with everything that PT has said. What we need is legalizing and regularizing of the porn industry so that people are not victimized, minors are protected..

    Totally agree to what you say ‘Because we are too busy blaming the victims to consider informing potential criminals about a victim’s rights, and finding time to put the fear of law in their minds.’ Absolutely! Until the criminals start fearing the law, it is going to be difficult to control anything..
    Filming rape and passing it around will only stop when the rapists feel the danger- right now, they know that nothing is going to happen to them -it is all about the victims..

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  8. What kind of an idiot rapes someone ( Crime) and captures it on camera !!!
    Shouldn’t the MMS be used to catch the culprits, no need of proof, no need of witness no nothing, Lock them up and throw away the key.. It should be one easy case and as soon as anyone sees the MMS the cops can close the case.

    Me – Exactly my point!!!!

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    • The kind of idiot who doesn’t think he’ll ever get caught.

      A lot of them don’t even think they’ve really done anything wrong.

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  9. sorry.. I didn’t know that those videos will appear on the comment box. Please moderate the comment if you feel like the videos are too gross to view.

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  10. I beg to disagree with your statement, “I think watching porn would be fine if the act is consensual and there is no exploitation involved, and no involvement of minors in filming it.”

    The whole porn industry thrives on the fact that there are SO MANY people who pay to watch it. It is a multi-billion dollar industry! Those rogues catch the poor young girls and lure them with money. It is easy to make a 18 year old “major” girl who is badly in need of money to sign a form that she is consenting to this act and exploit her. If you read articles on what led to people act in porn, it would invariably be poverty!

    Also, please read Jenna Jameson’s statements (please use your discretion to open this link when at work):

    http://www.antipornography.org/Jenna_Jamesons_25_Reasons.html

    There is a hardly any porn movie shot without the performers being doped! I think there is nothing called “porn without exploitation”. It is like saying a horse with 3 horns!

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    • Also, many women in porn come from broken families, have a history of child abuse and substance abuse.

      Here’s a simple test:

      If porn were so unproblematic, then a parent would support their daughter’s decision to choose a career in porn over medicine or accountancy!

      I have never heard of that happen.

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  11. Tricky debate. As far as I know sleaze sells because there is a market for it. Why? because as a society we are sexually repressed.
    Will legalizing porn, prostitution help? I’m not really sure. As a society are we ready for it?

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  12. the viral mms thing is very scary. although porn is harmless, excess doses of it has truly brought about moral decadence in terms of voyeuristic and sex-tape fetish. people get all kinds of ‘ideas’ and stick cameras into living rooms, bathrooms, change rooms, hotel rooms etc. gross! problem with Indian law is cyber-crime is so badly defined that mms uploaders cant be traced and even if so, cannot be punished.

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  13. Educational campaigns, even though powerful, will fix nothing as long as the rapist is granted excuses. It should not matter if he was feeling lonely, if he lost his job, was a substance addict or a porn fan. At the end of the day, rape is rape and it should not look any “better” under any circumstances.Instead of focusing on personal details of a victim the media should literally destroy the rapist’s chances for an idyllic life ever after. More dangerous than porn itself is the culture of denial – the culture that India is practising steadily over the centuries.

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    • This culture of denial is practiced because it is convenient for everybody.

      Everyone except the victim.

      Rapists KNOW that rape is morally wrong, it is just that this culture of denial offers them escape routes.

      Also rape functions to keep women in their place.

      One woman’s rape sends shivers down the spine of every woman who hears about it.

      It reminds women that men are all-powerful in India. It could be them next if they are not careful.

      So it curbs any signs of rebellion and stops women from demanding their rights.

      How many families impose restrictions on their daughters after every sensational rape case hits the news?

      How many women find their chances of employment reduced as a result of rising sexual crime?

      How many girls are pulled out of school and college because of rising rapes?

      Rape is not a crime because it does not affect men. So society does not care, the government does not care and men do not care.

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  14. IHM, kudos to you for bringing up the idea that in India there can be no such thing as “consensual” female porn actors. In my opinion there are vanishingly few of them anywhere in our world.

    I believe there are some things that are outright immoral to commodify and barter, because doing so leads to a gross exploitation of the desperately poor. Most people already agree with this principle when it comes to things like organ donation: we recognize that to commodify and trade organs will lead to harvesting organs from already oppressed people for the benefit of the privileged.

    All sex work falls into the same category for me, for the same reasons.

    In an ideal world where sex workers are not driven into sex work solely due to not having any ‘better’ options, are not beaten up by pimps and johns alike, do not face deadly infection as a routine workplace hazard, are able to access regular and good quality medical care, and are not routinely raped and exploited by the very police who are supposed to protect them… why, in that ideal world I would be all for porn and prostitution.

    But we do not live in that ideal world. And until porn actors and prostitutes are treated exactly like office workers – by our society, by the media, by the police, by their co-workers, by their parents – we should not be watching porn or visiting prostitutes. Doing so means we are directly exploiting them. Instead, we should be working to offer better lives to people in the sex trade in the short term and destigmatizing sex work in the long term.

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  15. Two points:
    1) On whether watching porn is harmless or not: It depends on the person and the extent of watching it. Yes, porn does affect our mind, It does release some chemicals in our body which make us feel a particular way BUT, how strong is your mind to to have control over yourself once those chemicals are released. If young school going children, young teens watch porn and they start looking at the opposite sex in terms of what they have seen in the porn, it is going to be harmful. It will change the equation between the opposite sex. Atleast till the point where they will learn to go beyond just what is portrayed in the porn. So, I do not believe everyone who watches porn has the maturity to deal with the aftereffects. That does not mean banning it altogether is an option. Maybe, more open discussion about sex with children when they reach puberty will help? Talking to them that sex is rarely what is portrayed in porn and that one must go beyond porn for triggers of excitement. And in an ideal case, stop looking for external triggers for excitement!
    2) The people who scoff at porn and look down upon the porn-stars are nothing but hypocrites. They fail to understand that porn exists because the society has takers for it. And they (un)fortunately are a part of the same society. So the holier than thou way some people talk about morality and porn stars really irritate me!

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  16. I do think that consistent exposure to pornograhaphy increases the chances that men will objectify real women and use them as props in their sexual fantasies.

    I was introduced to pornography by my ex-boyfriend (no surprise there). I soon realised that our sexual encounters were sometimes direct re-enactments of some porn he would have watched earlier.

    I played along then. I was young and eager to prove to myself that I was no prissy fuddy-duddy.

    I now wonder — if pornography can influence real-life sexual encounters to such an extent that the actual woman basically stands in for the porn actress, how is that good?

    What happened to creating our own repertoire of sexual responses based on OUR experience, not based on porn watched earlier.

    My biggest grouse with commercial porn is that it is ALWAYS male-centric.

    Think of the money shot. Which real woman enjoys having that done to her? It’s always focused on male pleasure. The woman is just a sex-aid and a live doll.

    Her sexual enjoyment is non-essential and based on the pleasure she offers to the man.

    In short, in pornography, female pleasure is derived from pleasing the man, so apparently women orgasm while giving BJs.

    Porn is the source of sexual education for most young men in India; we then wonder why they objectify women and why sexual violence is through the roof.

    Young boys watch rape porn which tells them unequivocally that women like being raped.

    They also live in a sexually-repressed and woman-hating culture which always blames the woman.

    isn’t this a disaster waiting to happen? Then we wonder why rapes are skyrocketing!

    Pornography, misogyny and sexual repression mix to give us a deadly cocktail of spiraling sexual violence.

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  17. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/14/amina-filali-morocco-rape_n_1345171.html

    Rape Culture.

    I remember watching an old (90s) Tamil movie on TV, where the “heroine”, who gets raped by the “hero”, have a happily-ever-after ending with him. This article triggered that memory.

    I also remember going “I want a guy like Ajay Devgan” after watching Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (Didn’t like the movie as a whole though, Salman was fingernails-on-chalkboard and Aish was too high-pitched and shrill).

    Not too long ago, I was fuming about Surya and SRK in those wretched Emami fair and handsome ads. Now men get objectified too. Hi handsome, hello handsome, yada yada yada.

    Why can’t these “heroes” make some fun public service ads redefining Mardangi instead? They have a lot of “reach”, don’t they? Can’t the likes SRK condemn street sexual harassment and rape, show that what is perceived as “fun” and “normal” by the masses is actually very wrong? Or convey that rape MMSes should evoke disgust towards the maker of the video? Or hype how they’re JKGs at home and super-happy about it – that it’s the new “normal”? There could be a whole series of “Real men do/don’t do this.. “

    Sometimes I think inactivism is better than armchair activism. I get so frustrated at sitting on my butt and doing nothing, spouting ideas all the while.

    Please excuse me while I go bang my head against my desk.

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    • //Sometimes I think inactivism is better than armchair activism//

      Thumbeline, I think armchair activism is basically the first step – it acknowledges that a problem exists, so it’s a good beginning.

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