Tag Archives: pornography

6yo Costs Hospital $200,000


The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that a charity exhibition for Sydney’s Children Hospital has been cancelled because one of the featured photographs is of a six-year-old boy with no shirt on. Archibald Prizewinner Del Kathryn Barton, took the photograph of her son naked from the waist up. Now there is a great turn of phrase. Not “shirtless” but “Naked from the waist up!”. I wonder how close they were to using the term “Topless”.

Organiser Patrick Joyce said the image may not comply with the hospital’s strict rules on the use of images for children and that the rules would apply despite the exhibition scheduled to be shown off hospital grounds.

The collapse of the exhibition, which featured some of Australia’s top artists, is expected to cost the hospital up to $200,000.

Tamara Winikoff, the executive director of the National Association for the Visual Arts,  said that since the Bill Henson scandal, when photographs of youths and children by Bill Henson, one of Australia’s most famous artists, prompted media outrage and a police investigation, authorities were scared to associate themselves with any images of children. ”In our zeal to protect children we are erasing them entirely,” she said, “Nudity is being conflated with pornography, even though representations of nudity had been part of Australia’s artistic tradition throughout history.”

Parallels have been drawn with the Bill Henson scandal in 2008 when images of naked 12 and 13-year-old girls were used in one of his exhibitions. “In our zeal to protect children we are erasing them entirely,” Ms Winikoff said.

This censorship is the continuation of a disturbing trend in the Western World. A logical fallacy in unthinking operation.

“All paedophiles enjoy looking at images of young children.  Peadophiles are people. All people who enjoy looking at images of young children are paedophiles.”

And so art again becomes the plaything of faceless bureaucrats enforcing the rules imposed on us by the fanatical few. Once more we are being strangled by censors.

Pornography; Good For Us?


Reprinted from an article in The Scientist (1st Mar, 2010) and published here as a reaction to the Australian Government’s plan to filter legal adult porn (and political discussion) on the internet.

Pornography.

Most people have seen it, and have a strong opinion about it. Many of those opinions are negative—some people argue that ready access to pornography disrupts social order, encouraging people to commit rape, sexual assault, and other sex-related crimes. And even if pornography doesn’t trigger a crime, they say, it contributes to the degradation of women. It harms the women who are depicted by pornography, and harms those who do not participate but are encouraged to perform the acts depicted in it by men who are acculturated by it. Many even adamantly believe that pornography should become illegal.

Alternatively, others argue that pornography is an expression of fantasies that can actually inhibit sexual activity, and act as a positive displacement for sexual aggression. Pornography offers a readily available means of satisfying sexual arousal (masturbation), they say, which serves as a substitute for dangerous, harmful, and illegal activities.

Some feminists even claim that pornography can empower women by loosening them from the shackles of social prudery and restrictions.

But what do the data say?

Over the years, many scientists have investigated the link between pornography (considered legal under the First Amendment in the United States unless judged “obscene”) and sex crimes and attitudes towards women. And in every region investigated, researchers have found that as pornography has increased in availability, sex crimes have either decreased or not increased.

It’s not hard to find a study population, given how widespread pornography has become. The United States alone produces 10,000 pornographic movies each year. The Free Speech Coalition, a porn industry–lobbying group, estimates that adult video/DVD sales and rentals amount to at least $4 billion per year. The Internet is a rich source, with 40 million adults regularly visiting porn Web sites, and more than one-quarter of regular users downloading porn at work. And it’s not just men who are interested: Nelsen/Net reports that 9.4 million women in the United States accessed online pornography Web sites in the month of September 2003. According to the conservative media watchdog group Family Safe Media, the porn industry makes more money than the top technology companies combined, including Microsoft, Google, Apple, and Amazon.

No correlation has been found between exposure to porn and negative attitudes towards women.

To examine the effect this widespread use of porn may be having on society, researchers have often exposed people to porn and measured some variable such as changes in attitude or predicted hypothetical behaviors, interviewed sex offenders about their experience with pornography, and interviewed victims of sex abuse to evaluate if pornography was involved in the assault. Surprisingly few studies have linked the availability of porn in any society with antisocial behaviors or sex crimes. Among those studies none have found a causal relationship and very few have even found one positive correlation.

Despite the widespread and increasing availability of sexually explicit materials, according to national FBI Department of Justice statistics, the incidence of rape declined markedly from 1975 to 1995. This was particularly seen in the age categories 20–24 and 25–34, the people most likely to use the Internet. The best known of these national studies are those of Berl Kutchinsky, who studied Denmark, Sweden, West Germany, and the United States in the 1970s and 1980s. He showed that for the years from approximately 1964 to 1984, as the amount of pornography increasingly became available, the rate of rapes in these countries either decreased or remained relatively level. Later research has shown parallel findings in every other country examined, including Japan, Croatia, China, Poland, Finland, and the Czech Republic. In the United States there has been a consistent decline in rape over the last 2 decades, and in those countries that allowed for the possession of child pornography, child sex abuse has declined.

Significantly, no community in the United States has ever voted to ban adult access to sexually explicit material. The only feature of a community standard that holds is an intolerance for materials in which minors are involved as participants or consumers.

In terms of the use of pornography by sex offenders, the police sometimes suggest that a high percentage of sex offenders are found to have used pornography. This is meaningless, since most men have at some time used pornography. Looking closer, Michael Goldstein and Harold Kant found that rapists were more likely than nonrapists in the prison population to have been punished for looking at pornography while a youngster, while other research has shown that incarcerated nonrapists had seen more pornography, and seen it at an earlier age, than rapists. What does correlate highly with sex offense is a strict, repressive religious upbringing. Richard Green too has reported that both rapists and child molesters use less pornography than a control group of “normal” males.

Attitudes towards women .

Studies of men who had seen X-rated movies found that they were significantly more tolerant and accepting of women than those men who didn’t see those movies, and studies by other investigators—female as well as male—essentially found similarly that there was no detectable relationship between the amount of exposure to pornography and any measure of misogynist attitudes. No researcher or critic has found the opposite, that exposure to pornography—by any definition—has had a cause-and-effect relationship towards ill feelings or actions against women. No correlation has even been found between exposure to porn and calloused attitudes toward women.

There is no doubt that some people have claimed to suffer adverse effects from exposure to pornography—just look at testimony from women’s shelters, divorce courts and other venues. But there is no evidence it was the cause of the claimed abuse or harm.

Ultimately, there is no freedom that can’t be and isn’t misused.

This can range from the freedom to bear arms to the freedom to bear children (just look at “Octomom”). But it doesn’t mean that the freedom of the majority should be restricted to prevent the abuses of the few. When people transgress into illegal behavior, there are laws to punish them, and those act as a deterrent. In the United States, where one out of every 138 residents is incarcerated, just imagine if pornography were illegal—there’d be more people in prison than out.

Adapted from “Pornography, Public Acceptance and Sex Related Crime: A Review,” Int J Law Psychiatry, 32:304–14, 2009.

Milton Diamond is a professor in the department of anatomy, biochemistry and physiology at the University of Hawaii and director of the Pacific Center for Sex and Society.

Australia, Strangled by Censors


Here in our gloriously free and oh so safe country, Australia, yet another Government is working hard to ensure our happiness, safety and contentment.

Having just been told that our internet is going to be fixed so that we are no longer menaced by internet  nasties that our guardians don’t like we now have a Governmental intent to change the laws on what is and isn’t art.

The New South Wales Government has released recommendations to scrap the defence of ‘artistic merit’ in relation to child pornography.

It is part of a report compiled by police, the DPP and Legal Aid in an attempt to make a clear legal distinction between pornography and art.

So now we will have artistic merit determined by Government Committee.

Just like Germany and Russia during the 1930’s and Eastern Europe in the 1950’s and 1960’s what is considered acceptable in architecture, music, theatre and the visual arts is soon to be decided for us by those who were once our elected representatives.

The talent of Bill Henson has once again been the excuse for this brutal slap in the face for Australia’s arts community.

Regardless of the fact that this law allegedly can only come into force once an item has been declared “Child Pornography”, once that decision is made, apparently by the Director of Public Prosecutions, then “artistic merit” goes out the window and is not even considered. Not a good start for any defense to a crime which is simply “In the eye of the beholder”. There is no objective way of defining “pornography” whether adult or child.

This new law suddenly appears just weeks after Senator Conroy announced in Federal Parliament that the “Great Firewall of Australia” will be fully operational by 2011. If that measure goes ahead in its current form then Australia will be off the internet map. All the little special interest groups will have their special interest desires met.

The “Pro-family” groups will have total censorship of pornography. Not just the “Kiddie Porn” of which those of us who oppose this measure are assumed (by Senator Conroy) to be devotees but adult porn which is currently legal under Australia’s censorship laws. They will also be able to block all sites which mention voluntary euthanasia, safe drug use or abortion.

The “anti-gambling” groups will have succeeded in banning, in Australia, all gambling sites on the internet.

The Religious Right will get their jollies because atheist websites and “alternative religion” websites will be banned, blocked or shut down.

How long will it be until a political party takes advantage of being in office to ban all sites promoting their opposition?

The “Clean Feed Filter” which is going to be used is almost exactly the same as the filter the Chinese Government, a noted liberal regime, was going to use but then decided that it was unworkable.

So, between these two arms of Government, it seems we Aussies are in for – I was going to say, “An interesting time.” In reality we will regress to the drabness of the Puritan regimes in both England and the then new Americas.

The art work comes from, in order; Mike Fitz, Bill Henson, Phil’s Phun, I Am your God.
Visit here for background on this issue.

Click on each image to biggify and run your cursor over the images.

Pornography, Censorship and Art. Same old, Same old!


I am severely lacking in writing inspiration today.

Not that I don’t have a lot to write about. I have a very important subject to write about. It is just that the words wont come out in a satisfying way.

Australians will know what I want to write about when I mention the name “Bill Henson“.

Considered by many to be Australia’s foremost photographer, he is fascinated by twilight, the space between day and night, by adolescence, that space between child and adult. The moment of hesitancy. He has been exhibited around the world and his work is hung in some of the most prestigious galleries.

Online, some of his work is visible and much more can be seen on the net – just google the name and then click on “Images”.

Now to the the subject, the controversy. The best way to follow the developments is through a series of news items.

It began five days ago when police raided a Sydney art gallery. Within hours, the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd weighed into the debate and the police began questioning the photographer. Betty Churcher, head of Australia’s National Art Gallery gave her opinion while some of the subjects themselves spoke out. The controversy widened to another gallery while more than 40 of Australia’s leading writers and artists supported Henson. Today the police have rejected the art world’s outcry, while two prominent politicians have supported the photographer.

In another report today, Louise Adler, the head of Melbourne University Publishing, one of 44 prominent figures who have signed an open letter urging Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to rethink his condemnation of the photos as “absolutely revolting”, calls the controversy a ‘beat-up’.

“I don’t believe that paedophiles and pornographers are going to rush to Roslyn Oxley’s gallery to find Bill Henson’s work for stimulation,” she said. “The question is, is it a private matter, one of taste or is it that the community has to come down and make a judgement?

Do we need to be chaperoned by the state on these questions?” she asked.

I don’t believe we do. Although I know a lot of people will disagree with me.

Everyone’s comments are welcome, although I do reserve the right to adjust the wording, but not the intent of some comments, where those comments may be viewed as offensive by some readers of the archive.

So that truly informed debate can take place, the image which originally sparked this controversy is over the jump.

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