A good article about pornography bill
Selama ini saya selalu menghindari posting soal ini, tapi artikel yang saya baca (dan akhirnya saya kutip di sini) terlalu menarik untuk dilewatkan begitu saja.
Who will the pornography bill protect?
Bonni Rambatan, Malang, East Java | Mon, 10/13/2008 11:35 AM
What is the practical danger of pornography? Is the infamous saying, “pornography is the theory, rape is the practice”, really true? Have no illusions: Recall the statistics of family rapes in Amish tribes, homosexual pedophilia in monasteries and domestic violence towards females in Middle Eastern societies.
And compare them to the statistics in liberal societies. Does the opposite not then ring loudly true: The more sexual liberation you have in a society, the less rape and sexual harassment there will be? A good, quick Freudian theory will speedily erase the paradox of this notion, but since we do not have very many Freudian supporters around, let us do ourselves a favor and skip such erudite discourse.
Imagine the typical image in a liberal society in which women can jog around a park only very scantily clad in perfect harmony alongside adult men. Is that condition what one would call “too free” (in terms of clothing)? Would it not be more logical if this image is seen instead as a society with very strict moral codes already in place? For the women to be able to feel safe alongside men even in such clothes, they must first presuppose that the men already follow a very strict code of conduct that regulates even the movement of their eyes so as not to offend the women.
Without such a strict moral code that a liberal society obeys, they would not have the freedom to wear any clothes they want to in first place. In this sense, within this ethical societal context, their scanty clothes are not at all a statement of sexual invitation, but rather a statement of total sexual indifference: “I do not care if I dress this way, because for me, your sexual desires do not even exist!”
Whenever I bring this topic up in any discussion or a class, I get a uniform response: “The Indonesian culture is not yet ready for such kind of morality, which is why we still need a written law!” It is hard to look for an idea that is more miserable than this one: If our culture is not ready, then why celebrate its unreadiness with a law? Why not educate our people to respect women more instead of by erecting a big, long bill?
Are we not, then, basically saying out loud that our culture — if there is any — is a primitive one that can never be ready, a backwards culture whose men are wild sexual predators who get aroused by the slightest hint of a genital? And even if we do need to be educated by law, why not make a law dispensing stronger punishment for rape, or basically just regulating sexual harassment?
Why not make a law that would make it easier for women to report on men who are harassing them instead of making it easier for men to report on a woman who they feel just has a beautiful butt that is slightly too exposed for the public to see? Would the former not be much better for society?
With the bill in place, are men not then practically free to stare at any voluptuous body part on any woman on the street — first, because we have no pornography to stare at, and second, because it is the woman’s fault for dressing too sexy anyway?
Does not the Pornography Bill, in this sense, promise a greater, much more obscene sexual freedom — not a freedom to express, but a freedom to harass — which is supposed to be the long lost freedom of our liberal world?
Clearly, this is a violent masculine backlash against feminism and liberal political correctness. But there is much more to it than meets the eye.
There are two types of laws/regulations: One that condemns the predicate, and another that condemns the object. The majority of examples belong to the first group: One must not kill, one must not steal. Others belong in the second group: Cigarettes and alcohol are forbidden to minors, we are forbidden to use recreational drugs.
When predicates are regulated, it is because it does harm to another; when objects are regulated, it is because it does harm to oneself. So now we are practically back to the first question: What harm does pornography practically do? Practically speaking, it is generally not harmful to the self. And if it is harmful to others, i.e., it causes sexual harassment, is not trying to regulate pornography to get rid of sexual harassment like trying to regulate thriller movies to get rid of murder?
There is a more fundamental logic at work: When you are on trial for mutilating a person, nobody else is to blame but you. Imagine now a society in which mutilation is discussed based on whether or not the victim is tempting enough to be mutilated, and a suggestion that a law should prohibit video games because the criminal actually did it while under the influence of video games.
It turns out that our society is perfectly fine in our current way, and if there are some people who want to justify mutilation, they will just be shrugged off as crazy people. Should the same not also apply to sexual regulations?
Would it not be perfectly better to live in a society in which rape and sexual harassment are fundamentally wrong, regardless of how sexy the victim was or whether or not the criminal was under the influence of pornography?
Does not the current elevation of sexual regulation into a law precisely increase the chance for a double-sided discourse — such as a justification for rape or sexual harassment — by moving over half the sense of legal guilt from the criminal to the victim and the media? Who are we trying to protect in this kind of society?