Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Well, Duh...

Of Course abortion rates drop if you insist on parental notification for women under 16 years of age. How uninformed are you Angela Watkinson, MP for Upminster? Parents are then able to assume complete emotional and physical control over their pregnant daughters and compel them to birth a baby that they did not want. Which situation, you appear to think, is no bad thing. However, in the unfortunate and not that rare occasion that the parents and offspring endure a difficult and/or abusive relationship, this parental notification rule could prove disastrous.

Ms Watkinson: please do not assume that all young women have loving, gentle, open minded parents with whom they are able to communicate freely. Please do not assume that every young woman is safe in her own home and with her family. Please do not assume that all young woman can articulate their pain and emotional distress. Please do not assume that young women are never assaulted and made pregnant by their own fathers.

The bill applies also to the provision of contraception...of course this only has any impact on young women who choose to ask for the pill, since anyone can buy a pack of condoms on behalf of anyone else. I will be writing to Angela Watkinson, telling her what I think of this misogynistic bill. I will also be writing to my own MP, urging him to vote against this appalling, woman hating bit of proposed legislation. I hope you will do likewise.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

My Porn Dilemma...

Don't panic. I haven't switched sides, suddenly enlightened as to the "truth" regarding some women's agency in sex acts for money; I haven't had that particular epiphany and I never shall. No, it's this: one of my friend's sons has been caught out looking at online porn. His worried mum told me all about it, then went on at length, explaining that it was only "tame" porn... nothing violent or unusual, and therefore her 14 year old son is normal. She told me that she had chatted to him about the possibility of him stumbling across such deviant activities as (horrors!) gay porn (the male kind, not the acceptable and normal fake female, male gaze sanctioned kind), BDSM and fetish stuff and violent porn. She cautioned him that once he has seen these images, he cannot wipe his eyes clean.

No. He can not. He can not wipe from his eyes the kind of humiliating and degrading images that he has already seen and his mother and father have normalised and contextualised for him. Now he thinks that porn is good. When I suggested that it might be good to question any kind of porn, I got the "normal, sexual development" argument.

I expect solidarity against pornstitution from my women friends and as a result I am often disappointed. I am, however, rarely stuck for words and don't often back away from a debate. When the subject arises I shall continue to argue with my friend against this normalisation of porn because I think our friendship is worth it. But now I am in danger of losing that friendship because I can't accept her argument that what all this amounts to is normal adolescent development. Well, yes it IS normal for teenage boys and the men that they become to objectify women. It IS normal for boys to think that women are sexually available meat. It IS (I hear) normal to decorate your son's bedroom with posters of nubile naked women in an attempt to help him formulate "safe" sexual fantasies. It just fucking shouldn't be.

And we can't seem to get beyond our respective positions on that. I don't have a son, and I don't know how I would behave if I was torn between my absolute conviction that porn is wrong and my desire to have a son that "fits in" with his peers. I think I do know what I would do. But I can't voice this and be credible because in any hypothetical situation it is always easy to stay behind moral conviction.

I just don't know how far I go with this. I suppose what I'm asking is: should I just shut up? Is this going to have to be one of those subjects that she and I agree to keep off limits?