The problem with porn

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Can pornography be given free play when the state remains an integral expression of male power?

There are many things we need to know that we wish we did not have to. The existence of domestic violence against women and children is one of them. The use of pornography as a tool for learning and justifying such brutal behaviour, is another. We have lived in denial of links between the two for too long, despite ample evidence that patterns of abusive sexual dominance are often first picked up by males at home and then honed through viewing porn that furthers the idea of the inferiority of all females. Recent cases of gangrape also verify what feminists and criminologists have been saying for a long time: violent abusers of young women and female children are mostly repeat offenders, and known area bullies. Such men will become even more prone to abusive predatory behaviour after bouts of heavy drinking and collective viewing of pornographic material with similarly inclined male friends.

Despite this, the moment the issue of banning pornography or regulating the sale of alcohol comes up, loud protests erupt, citing the constitutional right to earning a livelihood and the basic freedom of speech and expression.

Think, for a minute, that material containing propaganda justifying the killing or torture of specific groups on the basis of caste or creed were made freely available. Would we not become outraged, knowing that such propaganda precedes and justifies casteist and ethnic violence? Why, then, should the easy availability of pornographic material depicting the grossest forms of violence against women and children, remain an exception, and Article 19(1) be invoked for its continuance? Even in a liberal state, can pornography be given free play, even when it comes at the cost of the free speech of women victims who, as it is, do not have full freedom of speech within homes?

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