Pornography can be a terrible thing.
Ever since the invention of the Internet, its presence has infiltrated our lives, surreptitiously occupying the screens of our computers and phones. Nudity and perceived lewdness has presented itself in a range of forms, from the most accepted and traditional of formats to the societally deemed grotesque, in an almost violent mishmash of instant sexual gratification.
For a lot of parents and guardians who are aware, and whose perceptions of nudity are such that the naked human form and what it does with another similar naked human form is as private and shameful as they come, this is a terrifying prospect.
Their children, and the children of their children, can ever so easily find themselves typing in a few letters to be exposed to a whole new world of perversion. Type in a few naughty words, add a “dot” and a “com,” or just turn off the filter in Google, and voila, there is sex -- SEX -- in all its notoriety.
For them, being a witness to sex that one is not part of, and the self-pleasure that follows, ie, pornography, is not meant to exist. It is representative of how low we have stooped, how, as a society, we have fumbled with the key of purity and let it slip through our fingers; it is a sign of the End.
Pornography, they reiterate, is a terrible thing. Though research is minimal, some of its effects have been documented. Repeated use of such material can cause an over-dependence, leading to addiction, which can have, subsequently, grave physical, mental, social, and financial consequences.
It can cause erectile dysfunction, instil depression, decrease productivity, and social isolation, among other things. Some have even said that it can reduce respect for the most holy and pure of social conventions: A monogamous marriage. Lord, indeed, have mercy.
So, it comes as no surprise that India, recently, banned 857 websites exhibiting pornographic material. And one hears through the unreliable grapevine that Bangladesh is on its way to do the same. This, after all, doesn’t seem unlikely, considering its history, which has included the shutting down of both YouTube and Facebook.
But is that really the reason our respective countries have gone to such lengths to get “off the air” (or at least think about getting it off the air) websites which featured material of such nature? Have they really used scientific research and analysis for the betterment of their respective people? One thinks not.
The Department of Communications in India has stated that this was an attempt to prevent “pornography (from) becoming a social nuisance,” and that the sites were blocked “on the grounds of morality and decency.”
Since then, however, Modi’s government has lifted the ban, after criticism from freedom of speech activists and the liberal media in general, citing issues of censorship, in addition to going against current Indian laws. They have also, since then, claimed that this was primarily to curb child pornography, which is understandable, but does not quite explain why such a blanket ban was implemented in the first place, covering websites which boasted pornographic material as a whole.
In Bangladesh, though, if such a ban were to be implemented, it is hard to imagine the government going back after constructive criticism, considering its track record. Criticism would be met with the silencing of the critiques, and the cycle of oppression will continue.
For a country whose proudest (if not the only) achievement is one of becoming independent and free from its language-banning oppressors, it is anything if not ironic to see its officials do the same, and its citizens support those decisions, especially when it comes to the issue of sex.
Yes, pornography can be a terrible thing. So can eating a fatty hamburger. Banning pornographic sites will lead to an increase in the suppression of sexual desires in an environment that is already teeming with sexual frustration.
How to have the s-word, in a safe environment with adequate protection, by putting the p-word in the v-word is still a myth to a lot of the young population, not to mention that, when they do become aware of their inherent desires, they are unable to express themselves fully, furthering a culture that thinks of sex as forbidden fruit.
This is not an excuse for the rapists, the molesters, and the harassers to cling on to, but this indubitably creates an environment in which they revel in, where the female is not a form of beauty to be appreciated, but to be had and consumed. And vice versa.
Banning porn from our lives will not get us anywhere, even if one were to ignore its anti-freedom implications. Sex will happen, no matter what. Porn will exist, whether one likes it or not, and our youth will gain access to it, whether on DVDs or via proxy websites on the internet.
What we really need is proper sex education in schools and in our homes, so that when people are exposed to it, they are not overwhelmed, and they are better prepared to deal with these desires, and the situations that follow.