This amazing non-revelation was uncovered by the BBC
earlier this week. Like the existence or otherwise of the Man Upstairs and the meaning of life, the truth about women and porn is one that could be discussed until the end of time, but there are some people who want to preempt the discussion by branding everything they don't like sexist
and banning the lot.
Anyone who remembers the hysteria generated by the loony feminists
in the 1970s will take the point. This went on all through the 80s and 90s, but then with the spread and now the universality of the Internet, they and all the other control freaks lost the battle and then the war, at least as far as watching the damned stuff is concerned.
The issue of pornography raises more dishonest arguments than that of capital punishment
, but broadly there are those who believe it degrades women; those who believe it encourages rape and other sexual crimes; those who believe the war against porn is or should be part of the class struggle, and then there are the Puritans - who are not necessarily Christians - who take the moral high ground from a religious perspective.
If porn degrades women and they believe this to be the case then there is a simple solution: don't do it. That suggestion is of course far too simple for those supposedly so liberated females who believe men always call the shots, and thus women have no free will on matters sexual.
As for the bit about encouraging rape, one person who claimed that was Ted Bundy, and he said so in his last interview, from death row. Gee Ted, you mean you murdered 39 women
because you read dirty books? Guess what, you're still gonna burn.
The same argument can of course be used against religion - and is - although Mary Whitehouse
was never phased by this sort of thing when it was directed against her faith.
Returning to Miss Arrowsmith, she has put her money where her mouth is, and runs a website called We Consent Dot Org
. In her recent BBC interview, she claimed 30% of all on-line pornography is viewed by women.
She might have added that actresses aside, some of its greatest champions and those of sexual liberation generally have been women, including editors of major sex magazines, academic as well as titillating ones (no pun intended).
There is also an active anti-censorship feminist lobby
, although you'd hardly have thought so if you paid any attention to MPs like Dawn Primorolo and Harriet Harperson. But who does?
The proof of the porn pudding is in the eating, the Internet is awash with the stuff, and it is far from all controlled either by mega-corporations or by men. In fact, there are countless dedicated sex websites run by women, most of them small operations.
For some time it has been politic to allude to prostitutes as sex workers - whatever happened to the Biblical harlot? The sex industry is now far, far wider than that. Many of its workers are anything but prostitutes. Aside from the tech guys and gals - the webmistresses, programmers, script writers, prop department, etc, a lot of the aforementioned dedicated sex websites deal with fetishes and other things which most people would not regard as sex. There are for example wrestling sites where girls wrestle girls or men, usually getting the better of them. Yeah, some men do like to be dominated. Then there is bondage, spanking and so on. There is it is true some material that is utterly depraved, but this is a minority interest. Most people will view this sort of thing once or twice if at all before going on to something less depraved or even edifying.
None of this matters one whit to the loony feminists
or their fellow travellers; evidence and reason never do to fanatics, but cyber-sex workers especially have nothing to be ashamed of, they are contributing to the economy and allowing people to have fun.
There is one aspect of pornography that is seldom touched on by the moral crusaders. There are some people in our society for whom it is the only sexual gratification they have. These include the disabled, some severely, people who are disfigured, and others who have a wide variety of mental health issues. Most of these people - women as well as men - live sheltered, unfulfilled lives. A few people have recognised this, including female sex therapist Tuppy Owens who founded the Outsiders Club
in the pre-Internet days.
Yes, pornography has its downside, but again if you don't like it, don't watch, or listen, or participate.
We will still have moral panics, currently there is a big one in the UK which has led to a number of high profile arrests
, which are unlikely to lead anywhere, but because children are involved (or not as the case may be), it is grist to the mill for those who (like the late Mary Whitehouse) tar all porn with the same brush - after all, we must protect the children at all cost. A year or two down the line it will be something else: alcohol, drugs or whatever.
The bottom line is that pornography has been around since the year dot (remember those dodgy
ancient Greek vases?), and because the sexual censorship battle has been lost, it will be here long after we are not. Women have been involved in the sex industry just as long, and many of them are working happily in it today, either making a living or just having fun, many are doing both. Get used to it, or get a life.