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EU To Vote On Proposal That Could Ban All Online Pornography 853

An anonymous reader writes "The European Union is voting on a proposal next week that could lead to a blanket ban on porn in member states, and it seems the measure may well be approved. The proposal, called 'Eliminating gender stereotypes in the EU,' mentions issues such as women carrying a 'disproportionate share of the burden' when raising a family, violence against women as 'an infringement of human rights,' and gender stereotypes that develop early in life. From the proposal: "Calls on the EU and its Member States to take concrete action on its resolution of 16 September 1997 on discrimination against women in advertising, which called for a ban on all forms of pornography in the media and on the advertising of sex tourism." Update: 03/07 19:05 GMT by T : Pirate MEP Christian Engström writes on his blog that citizens writing to the European Parliament about the proposal are not necessarily being heard: "Before noon, some 350 emails [on this topic] had arrived in my office. But around noon, these mails suddenly stopped arriving. When we started investigating why this happened so suddenly, we soon found out: The IT department of the European Parliament is blocking the delivery of the emails on this issue, after some members of the parliament complained about getting emails from citizens."
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EU To Vote On Proposal That Could Ban All Online Pornography

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  • by alphaminus ( 1809974 ) on Thursday March 07, 2013 @01:46PM (#43106345)
    I understand that it is a legal document that exists in several languages including english, i guess I'm just wondering if the EU definition of the term is any less nebulous that the US's "I know it when i see it."
  • Ban the Bible (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 07, 2013 @02:06PM (#43106633)

    It doesn't only depict gender discrimination; it even glorifies it, presenting it as law, albeit an antiquated one. You can call it history, or art, or fiction, or material for cultural studies, but it's no less "discriminating" than pornography.

  • by sycodon ( 149926 ) on Thursday March 07, 2013 @02:07PM (#43106655)

    Back in 1993, the European governments got together and said, "we don't have enough politicians making up useless, feel good, and inane laws. So let's create a ginormous bureaucracy that can do it for us." And then they created the European Union.

  • As usual (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Vinegar Joe ( 998110 ) on Thursday March 07, 2013 @02:14PM (#43106761)

    "the dark night of fascism is always descending in the United States and yet lands only in Europe." - Tom Wolfe

  • The Big Picture (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SirGarlon ( 845873 ) on Thursday March 07, 2013 @02:23PM (#43106881)

    Just from TFS, the headline of the proposal is "Eliminating Gender Stereotypes in the EU." I am not sure that is even a goal that is worthy of support. Are they trying to say that the gender roles that developed over the last 2500 years of European history are without value and need to be expunged from 21st century civilization?

    I'm all in favor of correcting historical inequities like giving women equal pay and practical equality before the law. I also will go so far as to admit it's possible that women as a population might benefit from certain changes in workplace culture or other aspects of society.

    What I don't accept is that everyone is supposed to pretend women are indistinguishable from men. I embrace my role as the bug-squasher and fix-it man, and my wife embraces her role as the cook. Social equality is not the same as mathematical equality. The language of "eliminating stereotypes" is worrisome for that reason. What we need is not a world without differences, but a world where the norms are inclusive of differences.

  • by ThatsNotPudding ( 1045640 ) on Thursday March 07, 2013 @02:28PM (#43106971)

    I travel in Europe occasionally and some of the commercial billboards I have seen in airports would be considered pornography in the US...

    Says far more about the US than Europe.

    A sick society can be aptly defined as one where the human body and the act of lovemaking are considered purient filth *BUT* violence and abject greed are promoted, celebrated and praised as aspirational virtues.

  • by BasilBrush ( 643681 ) on Thursday March 07, 2013 @02:33PM (#43107043)

    And libertarians and child pornographers are in agreement that an unrestricted internet will make the world better.

    See how stupid it is to associate people based on one particular thing they agree on?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 07, 2013 @02:35PM (#43107069)

    As I recall, Canada tried this maneuver, with Dworkin advising on the law.

    Of course the issue of lesbian porn came up, with the same people, in a truly awe inspiring display of mental gymnastics, explaining how lesbians couldn't possibly be exploitive when their porn was banned.

    The law was quietly withdrawn.

    I expect the same the same level of hypocrisy with yet another attempt at the same, forgetting exactly who is exploiting whom with porn.

  • by clam666 ( 1178429 ) on Thursday March 07, 2013 @02:47PM (#43107225)

    "Calls on the Member States to establish independent regulation bodies with the aim of controlling the media and advertising industry and a mandate to impose effective sanctions on companies and individuals promoting the sexualisation of girls;"

    Thank God. I was worried because we hadn't had a strong government control over the media since the 1930s in Europe. I look at this as positive signs of a strengthening EU, and the champion of this should be Germany, what with them having the only sound economic basis.

    I wasted time reading the whole "proposal". I'm not sure why they couldn't have just used the word "citizens" or "people" instead of micromanaging it to "girls" and "women". Next you'll need every other damn subgroup there is. Why the hell can't they just say "We seek to limit discrimination and sterotyping of citizens based on religion , national original, gender, whatever"...why do they always have to divide and conquer? Other than the obvious reasons.

    This proposal sucks. Not the least of which they keep spelling it "Labour". They sound like a bunch of damn Canadians.

  • by fustakrakich ( 1673220 ) on Thursday March 07, 2013 @02:48PM (#43107233) Journal

    Ah, but turning porn into contraband will produce wild profit margins, like with drugs and weapons. Somebody is looking for a great opportunity here.

  • by mister_playboy ( 1474163 ) on Thursday March 07, 2013 @02:49PM (#43107247)

    This is garbage science, just as credible as the studies 100 years ago, done by white "scientists", that proved whites were the superior race. The parallels to Intelligent Design and Global Warming denial are obvious.

  • by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Thursday March 07, 2013 @03:05PM (#43107489) Homepage Journal

    And if the USA hadn't done that. If they'd been independent states, they'd never have become a world superpower. So much as it's very fashionable theses days to be libertarian and hate the federal government, you Americans wouldn't have had the success you have had without it.

    We don't so much hate it, as we want to contain and control and limit it better, so that it is more answerable to the people, and that states have MORE of a say in things, much like it was originally designed, and allowed for such rapid growth and power.

    Growing beyond its constitutional bounds is a major contribution to our decline currently

  • by tqk ( 413719 ) <> on Thursday March 07, 2013 @05:13PM (#43109211)

    ... a lot of women and men, who espouse essentially egalitarian ideals, avoid the feminist label and find sexism uncomfortable (most of whom would picket for, say, suffrage) avoid the "feminist" label.

    "Feminist" == "for females, to the exclusion of pretty much everything else", so it's no surprise that many consider it a distasteful concept. It's hardly fair. Perhaps, it's somewhat justified to make up for milennia of (percieved?) wrongs, but it's still not right.

    I like females who consider me their equal, and I prefer them to consider themselves my equal (or better; that's cool!). I do not understand face-painting Barbies who think their cleavage will get them anywhere any more than I understand First Squad football quarterbacks who think the same. We're all just people. If you can think, you're my kind of person; full stop. You've got some odd physical configuration stuff going WRT me (and vice versa) and we should just enjoy the difference. That's what Nature intended.

  • by jopsen ( 885607 ) <> on Thursday March 07, 2013 @05:19PM (#43109281) Homepage
    Until confirmed by a serious news outlet, this is all hype.

    Read the interesting section

    17. Calls on the EU and its Member States to take concrete action on its resolution of 16 September 1997 on discrimination against women in advertising, which called for a ban on all forms of pornography in the media and on the advertising of sex tourism

    It calls on the EU to do something, which means more talk and talk :)
    This, sounds like a call for concrete action, not an actual concrete action. There's a huge difference... Calls for action usually leads to discussion..

    Whilst, I wouldn't be surprised if "the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality" wanted to take action against to ban porn, at least partially or in public spaces.
    I seriously doubt European countries such as Denmark, the first country to legalize porn is going to ban it...
    (One of the few things I can take "pride" in as a Danish citizen).

  • by Samantha Wright ( 1324923 ) on Thursday March 07, 2013 @05:41PM (#43109577) Homepage Journal

    I believe feminist theory uses the term "intersectionality" to describe the problem of dealing with other issues and how they react with women's rights. Usually this is couched in terms of racial disparities (for example, intersectional feminism purports that black women in the US face face more challenges than black men and white women combined, and even if they don't, that's a heckuva lot of challenges.)

    Transgender (I hesitate to say "transgenderism" as though it's some kind of movement—too bad "transsexual" is no longer vogue, or I could say "transsexuality" and avoid it altogether, so I'll just reify "transgender" as though that makes sense) is an interesting problem for feminism, because it tangles with the boundary between sex and gender. Early feminism was built on cultural assumptions about what was female, which were unmovable and positivist in their foundations. A major priority was on demoting cultural ideas that were harmful (by branding them stereotypes) and isolating them from the rest of what it meant to be part of the female sex. This was done without concern for the value (socially, personally, and so on) of these stereotypes—or the value of what was being accepted.

    The conceptual threat of TG is as follows: here are newly-remade women and men who are not merely a little across the line, but far across the line. All of them are outliers, because the people who are only a little TG never admit it to themselves, or come out, or go through changes, mostly because the social stigmas are strong enough to keep them in their assigned genders and sexes. The people who do own up to their status then go on to reveal that, surprise, the stereotypes of their new position are natural consequences of their real psychology. Or, at least, they manifest easily under the right pressures.

    Residual traits from childhood caused by early socialization are then mistaken for an underlying nature. For transwomen, it's often an analytical or militaristic leaning (because of the bias in education and children's toys), and for transmen who are more consciously tomboyish when young, it might be a dependent attitude (transmen are much less likely to self-treat before visiting a doctor than transwomen.) These traits are (wrongly) vital social cues to gender, and they end up being assigned more importance than they deserve.

    And this is essentially the content of the Reconsideration of Gender Slumming: to someone hypersensitive to gender boundaries, but unequipped with real data about how gender identity develops in children, it looks like a grotesque media-fuelled parody, even though the psychology of the transgendered is actually desperate and deeply personal.

    ...and it would be nice if that were the only barrier facing transgender acceptance by feminists, but unfortunately you can still find a number who are socially conservative in other respects and only consider their own cause worthy. These are dying out, but their legacy can be seen in those who grew too narrow-minded and unwittingly adopted F1 views.

  • by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Thursday March 07, 2013 @06:40PM (#43110397) Homepage Journal

    No, that's recognition of the reality that a woman has a lot more at stake in a pregnancy than a man.

    Up until the moment of birth, yes, but that's only 9 months out of the 18.75 years in which the parents are responsible for that child. For the other 18 years, both parents' roles are equal, and given that statistically, men make more money than women (even in the same jobs at the same companies), you could even argue that the father plays a greater role for the remaining 18 years. You can't just look at the first nine months in isolation, because the decision of whether to abort a child, give that child up for adoption, or keep that child continues to shape the lives of both parents for a lot longer than that.

    From an ethical perspective, there's actually something to be said about giving the father the right to terminate child support if the father objected to the mother keeping the baby prior to its birth. Here's why: There's a small minority of women who, when a relationship is on the rocks, stop taking birth control pills in the hopes that having a baby will fix the relationship. If the father had a legally enshrined right to say, "Give the baby up for adoption or I won't be obligated to pay any child support," those sorts of pregnancies would be significantly rarer, and the abortions that often follow a few months later would also be significantly rarer.

    Indeed. One person cannot force another to undergo an invasive and traumatic medical procedure. Truly they are being oppressed ! On the flipside, a woman who does not want children cannot force her husband to have a vasectomy or be castrated, so it seems that balances out.

    Not really a fair comparison. One is a procedure that ends a single pregnancy, the other is a largely permanent procedure that ends the possibility of future pregnancies. For that matter, non-surgical abortions (RU-486) have been legal in the U.S. for more than a decade, so it's more on the same scale as forcing a man to take Viagra.

    Not that I'm advocating abortion, mind you—personally, I think it should be avoided to the maximum extent possible—but if you're going to make an argument from a safety perspective, it ought to at least be a valid argument. For example, there's a much stronger case for allowing a woman to abort an child without the father's consent, given that there are very real safety risks associated with having a baby, and very real safety risks with telling some men (the abusive kind) that you're going to abort their baby.

The road to ruin is always in good repair, and the travellers pay the expense of it. -- Josh Billings