One the earliest known page 3 girls

One the earliest known page 3 girls

British PM, David Cameron, has refused to back a ban on the publication of  photos of Page 3 topless models in The Sun tabloid ‘newspaper’. He argues that to do so would be to an invasion of consumers’ right to personal choice.

By implication, he sees no fundamental harm in pictures of semi naked women being used to sell papers.

It’s interesting, and ironic, that this story has broken at the same time as his party announce legislation to censor online pornography.

I see these two issues as intrinsically connected in a way that Cameron and the Conservative Party do not.

Allow me to explain.

There is nothing illegal in what The Sun chooses to publish and, since it is the UK’s top-selling newspaper, it is arguable what they print is wholly in tune with what the great British public wants.

Governments cannot legislate against bad taste, nor should they attempt to do so.

I'm coming.....to censor you!

I’m coming…..to censor you!

In my opinion, Page 3 pin-ups are anachronistic and pathetic but these images could only be classed as pornographic if you think that any photos of naked, or semi naked, woman are automatically pornographic; a position which, I would maintain, is patently absurd.

Much as I loathe The Sun and everything it stands for, I would never call for it to be banned.

The arguments that apply to the tabloid and Page 3 also apply to the question of online pornography.

The vast majority of the porn industry is founded on films and images of consenting adults engaged in perfectly legal sexual activities.

Critics of porn frequently refer to extreme examples of photos or films depicting torture, bestiality and other forms of degradation (I don’t need to go into lurid detail). These images are not only despicable but illegal and the purveyors and consumers should be subjected to tried under existing laws.

This is not the same as proposing across the board censorship which is what the proposed legislation announced by Cameron amounts to.

Articles I have read talk in terms of this censorship primarily in terms of child abuse and victims of rape. But is this really what the legislation is aimed at?

Pedophilia and rape are both criminal offences so any persons engaged in and/or  filming either are breaking the law and can be tried accordingly.

I would also add that it is always men who presented as getting their rocks off on sexually explicit material. This ignores the fact that there are also growing numbers of filmmakers making ‘porn’ specifically for women; the only difference is that this is usually classified as ‘erotica’.

If you argue women are not interested in fantasy sex, how would you explain the huge success of Fifty Shades of Grey and countless other ‘erotic’ titles.

Ok, I know these are just novels, but not for much longer.

The first of these books is currently being made into a movie and more will surely follow. If this adaptation is any way true to the novel (and what otherwise would be the point of filming it?) the adult content could be classified as equivalent to most porn movies. After all, it will depict plenty of ‘kinky’ sex including sadomasochism in the Red Room of Pain; that’s to say, images which are predominant in the porn industry..

If the UK government is determined to press through this censorious legislation I would at least ask them to answer three questions:

  • Do movies and images depicting legal sexual acts fall under the state’s definition of pornography
  • Is this anti-porn legislation to be targeted only at online sites or is it envisaged that it should extend to other forms of ‘entertainment’ e.g. pop videos, tabloid newspapers, popular fiction?
  • Since legislation already exists to forbid the commercial distribution and consumption of images of child abuse and rape, why is there a need for a new law?