Pamela Anderson Speaks Out About Porn’s ‘Numbing Effects’ – Why Won’t Hillary Clinton Sign Petition to Tackle Violent Porn?

In her weekly column, Jo Fox rounds up the news and views that might have flown under your radar.

This week, it’s all about porn, and whether ex-Playboy cover model Pamela Anderson is a hypocrite for crusading against the adult industry. Also, should porn be shown to school students — just like Jane Austen literature? And, should porn stars be legally required to wear condoms on set?

Pamela Anderson, anti-porn activist

This week was porn week. It started with Pamela Anderson. Many of you will remember her as pneumatic Baywatch babe, holder of many Playboy covers and accidental sex tape star, but — do please keep up — the Pamela of this century is a campaigning vegetarian and anti-porn activist.

Speaking at the Oxford Union this week with unlikely mate Rabbi Boteach, an American author and speaker, Anderson spoke against pornography for its numbing effects and said her aim was “to encourage intimate, loving relationships which are safe and inspiring”.

She had herself been the victim of bad sex, she said, and treated poorly because of her past:

“It’s scary. I’ve been treated in a sexual relationship very violently and crassly and it’s an awful feeling.”

The duo were in the UK as part of their campaign to get people to kick porn or, as they said in an article for the Wall Street Journal, to “educate ourselves and our children to understand that porn is for losers — a boring, wasteful and dead-end outlet for people too lazy to reap the ample rewards of healthy sexuality”.

Of course, it might be easy to think Pamela Anderson hypocritical for criticising an industry she has been a feature of — wittingly or unwittingly. But she’s not the only one worried.

Should porn be shown to kids in school?

Dame Jenni Murray, host of the flagship 70-year-strong BBC radio program Women’s Hour, this week said that pornographic videos should be shown to boys and girls in school.

She said the videos should be analysed as they would a Jane Austen novel so “at least those girls know and all those boys know that not all women are shaved, that not all women make that bloody noise, they are only making it because they need a soundtrack”.

Her belief is, like Pamela’s, that porn is damaging to women’s sexuality.

Of course, the downside of porn is not just poorer relationships and dodgy sex.

Research shows a significant association between high levels of pornography consumption and attitudes supporting violence against women — which is hardly surprising when an analysis of popular mainstream porn clips found that 88 per cent of scenes contained some form of physical aggression directed at women.

Porn and… Respectful Relationships

So it was good to see last week that the Victoria Government has considered this, as well as other issues, in the release of its new school curriculum, Respectful Relationships, to start next year.

The aim of the program is to reduce family violence and forms part of their response to the Victorian Royal Commission into Family.

While porn, unsurprisingly, does not get a mention in the Government’s media releases and websites, the curriculum for year 11-12 students does provide material to help guide teachers through conversations on how pornography might affect the way boys and girl treat each other.

Media player: “Space” to play, “M” to mute, “left” and “right” to seek.

There’s no point moralising about porn or being worried about what children may see in these classes.

In Australia, children are, on average, 11 years old when they are first exposed to pornography — it is one click away.

Parental controls are imperfect. Porn language and sex acts are normalised in popular culture through song lyrics, videos and magazines.

Porn looks have been normalised by beauty rituals and cosmetic surgery — from Brazilian waxing to labiaplasty.

Even the US presidential election seems to have been overcome by Donald Trump’s verbal equivalent of gonzo pornography, with his practice of grabbing women by “the pussy”.

So, isn’t it best to try to address this head on (forgive me) with future generations?

Porn stars could be required by law to wear condoms

But that’s simply not enough porn chat this week. As it happens, Californians are shortly to vote on condoms in porn as part of the state’s ballot measure process.

Proposition 60 would require all porn performers to wear a condom during filming, pornography producers to pay for certain health requirements and check-ups, make financiers liable for non-compliance and — most controversially — allow anyone in the state to sue if the state didn’t act.

Wearing condoms is already a US federal health and safety issue in this particular workplace, but this measure would give it more teeth in California.

Opposition to Proposition 60 has gathered broad multi-partisan support from major newspaper editorial and political parties, given it essentially enables private citizens to sue adult performers (who, these days are often also producers, thanks to the proliferation of webcams, websites and other materials), and predictably, those in the porn industry are campaigning to vote “no”, some quoting commercial reasons.

“We’re selling entertainment, and it’s not entertaining for people to see a sex scene shot with rules and restrictions that make it less exciting,” said John Stagliano, a Los Angeles-based producer and distributor of pornography.

As The Mercury News reports, performers say condoms are an impractical alternative for the rigorous hanky-panky they perform on set.

“This is Olympic-level sex,” said Ela Darling, president of the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee. “It’s much more vigorous, lasts longer and it’s not being done for pleasure, it’s being done for the camera.”

And so we circle back to Pamela Anderson.

As the 14-time cover girl for Playboy said this week about the magazine’s falling circulation and consequent decision to drop photographs of naked women: “Porn killed Playboy. It was somewhat innocent and titillating and girl-next-door, it wasn’t very explicit.

“As we get more access via technology and the internet people have become desensitised. It takes more and more for people to get aroused and, even in romantic relationships, it is really taking its toll.”

Jo Fox is a former ALP political advisor, including on the status of women. She is currently on maternity leave, learning how to fumble a newborn and looking at the gendered world with tired eyes.

READ MORE:

Hillary Refuses to Sign Anti-Porn Pledge – Parents Wonder Why Hillary Won’t Protect Their Kids from Online Porns?

 

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