"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Friday, January 23, 2009

What do people like about porn? Everyone knows the answer to that

"A liberal is a conservative who's been arrested. A conservative is a liberal who's been mugged." - Wendy Kaminer

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What do people like about porn? Everyone knows the answer to that

"Ignorance is bliss, yes? When considering the introduction of laws, or setting up government bodies to implement them, it's important that the people involved in public debate, in legislation, and in enforcement, should know nothing about the area in question...

It's John Laws' position when he states with pride in his radio program that: "I have to confess to not having looked at any pornographic movies" - and takes that as his credential for talking long and loudly about precisely what he thinks is in them...

What's actually in the pornography that Australians are buying? Who's making it? Why? Who's buying it? And what do they think about it?

Of course, I could answer all of these questions simply by drawing on the stock of common sense that Manne, Laws and many other public figures employ. The answers would be, in order: slim blonde large-breasted women being objectified; criminals and prostitutes; probably because they're drug users with no self esteem who are desperate for the money; dirty old men in macs who can't sustain relationships; and, they believe it's reality and it leads them to be violent against women. Easy...

We set up a content analysis of 50 of the best-selling porn videos in Australia, measuring the body shapes of the people shown, the kinds of sexual acts presented, who was involved in them, and how they related to each other.

It quickly became apparent that pornography is one of the more open-minded forms of culture when it comes to sexual attractiveness. Compared to women's magazines, fashion shows or advertising, pornography finds all kinds of people attractive - skinny people and normal-sized people and generously proportioned people. In the range of videos we have seen, "big racks" are popular - but so are smaller-breasted women. Interestingly, fake breasts are not hugely popular - pornography shows natural breasts as the most attractive...

Women in these videos are not objects in any recognisable sense. We have measured how much they talk, how often they are in control of a situation, and how much attention is paid to their pleasure. On every count it seems that porn videos place women in the driving seat...

Some people do it purely for the money - not necessarily because they're desperate or can't get it any other way but because it's relatively safe work that pays well.

One issue that keeps recurring - and doesn't feature in our common sense view of pornography for some reason - is the importance of exhibitionism...

About the only thing they have in common is that the gender politics of these consumers is overwhelmingly pro-feminist. Only a single respondent to this stage has stated that he doesn't think women should be allowed abortion on demand; every other respondent says yes to this, as well as to women being encouraged to remain in the workplace after having children should they wish. Not a single respondent believes that women ever deserve to be raped. Most think that pornography has either had no effect on them, or improved their lives slightly - most often by making them realise that they're not perverse for wanting sexual pleasure."


Addendum: In other words, there is a lot of diversity in pornography - in both supply and demand, pornography does not objectify women (but instead prioritises them), is a good job and pornography consumers have classical feminist views
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