Porn, Politics and Power; Is it possible for men to respect Women whilst engaging with ‘hard core’ porn?

I’ll never forget my fury when I heard back in October last year that a Senior Advisor of the Victorian Liberal Party had allegedly been running a porn ring. Apparently Don Coulson’s office was being used as something of a drop off, pick up zone.During an interview with John Faine Coulson admitted to having pornography in his office, describing the material as being ‘hard core’.  According to a number of reports it was alleged that some content included acts of bestiality.

At the time Planning Minister, Matthew Guy, dismissed the claims as speculation, assuring the public that this was not an issue as there was nothing illegal about watching or sharing pornography.

Victoria’s Shadow Attorney-General, Martin Pakula, announced that the Labor party had asked police to investigate the matter to determine whether there were images or videos of bestiality, saying “I think most Victorians would be horrified by the notion that animal pornography is being circulated in the Premier’s office.”

In January this year the Federal Police concluded their investigation into the matter advising that no illegal material had been found and the case had been finalised. No illegal material, so no animals then.

I don’t recall our Minister for Women stepping up and saying anything.

Yet on November 25th 2013, almost a year before this scandal came to light our Prime Minister Tony Abbott, our Minister for Women, and a White Ribbon Ambassador, was reported as saying, “We cannot rest until we entirely eliminate violence against women. In any form – physical, sexual or psychological, violence is never, ever acceptable.” He went on to say, ‘It is particularly unacceptable when it is employed against people who are inherently vulnerable.” What is it I wonder, that makes our PM think that women are ‘inherently vulnerable’?

According to White Ribbon, Ambassadors are formal representatives who have the knowledge, skills, attributes and determination to influence Australian men to critically evaluate their attitudes and behaviours toward women.

There are around 2,000 White Ribbon Ambassadors in Australia today, I can’t help but wonder how many of them watch pornography.

Indeed I can’t help but wonder how many men across Australia are watching pornography and thinking it is fine, thinking that sexually objectifying women, dehumanising them for their own pleasure, isn’t influencing their regard for women more broadly. Sigh. ~ Kate

The world has never yet seen a truly great and virtuous nation because in the degradation of woman the very fountains of life are poisoned at their source. ~Lucretia Mott

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Further Reading ~

Porn Leads to Violence “Unlike violence in regular movies where someone gets punched, gets mad, and fights back, 95% of the victims of aggression in the porn scenes either were neutral or responded with pleasure. And while the targets were women 94% of the time, when a man was the victim, he was four times more likely than his female costars to be upset at his attacker. In other words, in porn, women are getting beat up and they’re smiling about it.”

The truth about the porn industry. About Gail Dines ~ “Activists in the audience were newly inspired, and men at the event – many of whom had never viewed pornography as a problem before – queued up afterwards to pledge their support. The scene highlighted Dines’s explosive charisma and the fact that, since the death of Andrea Dworkin, she has risen to that most difficult and interesting of public roles: the world’s leading anti-pornography campaigner.”

What You Can Do ~

Think and reflect. Talk about this issue with friends, family, colleagues. Do you think it matters that men in powerful positions, men who make decisions effecting all of our lives, our well being, are watching pornography? If so, why? If not, why not? Do you think it is possible to objectify and dehumanise women for sexual gratification and on the other hand respect them and have their best interests at heart?

Write a letter to our PM, the Minister for Women’s Affairs. Don’t forget, he is also a White Ribbon Ambassador, he has signed the pledge. Demand more of him. When was the last time he came out and stood up for the rights, the safety of women? We all have to do our bit to bring about cultural changes so that women can be safe. Surely he could be doing more….

Sign this petition asking White Ribbon to

•Listen to, and act on advice from female advocates for women.
•Acknowledge there is a toxic culture behind two women a week being murdered by male violence in this country.
•Take a pledge to challenge this culture and help change our current paradigm of masculinity, including personal actions and words.
•Implement a respect and responsibility policy for all ambassadors and partners, and reassess partnerships with organisations who do not comply.
•Include guidelines for men, on how to turn away from, stop the demand for, and stand up against this culture, extending these guidelines to all fundraising events.
•Circulate female survivor literature regularly among your pledges, supporters and social media followers.
•Publicly support women led campaigns and acknowledge our work and the language we use.
•Publicly support women’s rights advocates when men use abusive language and threats of violence to silence us.
•Start naming the problem, male violence and male sexual entitlement, NOT intimate partner violence.
•Meet the standards set by White Ribbon in other countries by immediately implementing all of the above.

An Open Letter to White Ribbon.

Related posts:

In Response to Owen Jones – Rosie Redstockings on porn

We should all just stop complaining and start mindlessly accepting

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