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The Forum > Article Comments > Is there a difference between good pornography and bad pornography? > Comments

Is there a difference between good pornography and bad pornography? : Comments

By Alan McKee, published 24/5/2011

Gail is an anti-pornography activist who has been touring Australia promoting her latest book Pornland: how porn has hijacked our sexuality. Is there a problem with her position?

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According to Gail Dines porn makes men hate women, and so on that basis she is against all porn. If her logic is reasonable, which I would doubt, then I wonder how her logic applies to porn that doesn't contain women.
Posted by MikeyBear, Tuesday, 24 May 2011 10:12:04 AM
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It's odd to see an anti-porn crusader who is apparently not motivated by religious motives. At least, there is no mention of religious affiliation on her website or Wikipedia entry, so either she is keeping it very quiet or she genuinely believes that a) porn is bad and b) we can stop it. I'm not sure about a) -- I tend to think that getting sexual relief from porn makes people happier and less likely to do stupid things in real life -- but I'm quite sure about b). It's ridiculous.

As a horny teenage boy I didn't have access to porn, so I got off on comic books and mainstream novels, where the dirty bits would always have the dogeared pages. Take away porn and people will go back to reading Harold Robbins and lusting after Superman and Marvel Girl. Take those away and people will draw their own rude pictures and masturbate to them, or pass around models of the Venus of Willendorf (Oooh, those curves!). The human imagination will use whatever materials it has, and if the purveyors of porn have to disguise it as something else -- as they did for centuries -- it will barely cause a blip in their sales.

Let's block and ban exploitation of others by all means, but not because it produces porn; because it's inherently unfair and dangerous. But let's also block the techno-wowsers, and for the same reason: people should be allowed to do whatever they want as long as it doesn't hurt anyone else.
Posted by Jon J, Tuesday, 24 May 2011 10:51:36 AM
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Please cut the arrogant tone Alan. It's so predictable (and boring) to suggest that Gail Dines must have a personal problem simply because her strongly held views are different from your own. I know nothing of her personal life and neither do you, so where do you get off saying "Her personal pain is real and must be respected"? Personal attack is a time-honoured tactic of men when they are intimidated by a woman.
When I have heard Gail Dines interviewed over the last couple of weeks, her message has been clear. So-called "good" porn and bad porn are all unacceptable for two reasons: 1) because all porn exploits and degrades women (ALL women); and 2) the negative lessons about sex learned via pornography by boys and young men stay with them all through their lives.
A big 'thank you' to Gail for her clarity and courage. You are so right!
Posted by CofaB, Tuesday, 24 May 2011 11:36:43 AM
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Professor Mckee, must you stoop to patronizing and pathologizing someone you don't agree with?

'I donít know what has happened to Gail to bring her to this point in her life. She is clearly driven by deeply held, passionate responses to sex. Thatís completely understandable. But Gail doesnít just want understanding and support. ..... Her personal pain is real and must be respected. But it isnít a strong position from which to make decisions about public policy. When we hear someone in the media telling us about the pain that they feel when they think about sex our response should be, of course, understanding. We should offer all the support that we can. But the correct response is not to say ĎHow would you like public policy changed so that you feel better?í.

How is this a rational, informed, intellectual argument? Or is it your opinion that Gail as an individual is so dysfunctional that the only legitimate academic response to her work is this pitying dismissal?
Posted by Frida Kahlo, Tuesday, 24 May 2011 11:44:37 AM
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I had never heard of Gail Dines until I heard what she had to say on Q & A last night. While I am against all forms of censorship, it concerns me a little that there is such a demand for what I consider the more "unnatural sex" that seems to be portrayed in pornography and presumably demanded by the viewers.

For the very young, it could be an influence that anal sex and aggression is a natural part of human relationship and I think that is a pity. Perhaps it is a latent part of male requirement in the same way as the fashion for "Brazilian waxing" seems to indicate to me that there is a preference for prepubescent girls. On the other hand it might just be an aid to oral sex.

As already mentioned, there will always be a market for pornography and in many ways I feel there is nothing unhealthy or unnatural in in portraying it in a mutually but wanton or licentious way. It is a very basic and atavistic trait.

It was interesting to note that at least one female member of the audience reminded the panel that it wasn't only men that liked to watch it and that many women found it appealing. Judging by the amount of females performing on line, which must run into hundreds of thousands, there must be a good number who are quite happy to engage and enjoy it. After all many women really enjoy being photographed by their partners.... So they are exhibitionists...whatever turns you on.
Posted by snake, Tuesday, 24 May 2011 12:52:29 PM
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The embracement and promotion of the porn industry indicates how perverted our society has become. People who prostituted themselves in the 60's and 70's now encourage kids to be sexualised younger and younger. Teen suicide continues to increase, families have become less and less functional. All so sick hearts and minds can gratify sick desires and pornographiers make huge money. There is no difference between 'good'and bad porn. It is all filfthy and putrifies good sex designed to be had by a man and a woman in a lifelong commitment. It is no wonder that very few men and women are now able to keep a marriage vow as they are bombarded by this vomit.
Posted by runner, Tuesday, 24 May 2011 1:39:51 PM
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