Volume 92, Issue 65

Friday, January 22, 1999


Porno degrades more than models

One of the great fallacies

Porno degrades more than models

Re: No one is above ridicule, Jan. 19

To the Editor:
I was appalled by some of the comments of Warren Flood when he wrote to The Gazette concerning Canadian Heritage Minister Sheila Copps and the banning of an edition of Hustler magazine. I would like to address three areas of his letter which struck me as completely absurd.

What is the purpose of pornographic magazines? Is it for men to satisfy themselves with fantasies and masturbation? If so, it promotes sexual self-gratification rather than mutual satisfaction between a couple. It encourages men to dominate and control women rather than sustain a relationship.

Women are portrayed as objects to be "used" and manipulated. Pornography is, in essence, degrading to women. The women it degrades are not necessarily the women in the photographs, but rather all women are degraded by it – this includes the wives, girlfriends, female acquaintances and neighbours of pornography readers.

The women who were first abused by men like Ted Bundy or Paul Bernardo (serial sex murderers) were women in the pages of pornographic magazines. Studies have proven, conclusively, that there is a link between sex crimes and pornography.

Ironically, Warren Flood states "satirists such as Hustler are essential for establishing and maintaining a just society." Hustler magazine is not satire – it is a voice that degrades women.

The fact that Flood writes "no one or nothing is above ridicule" is utterly unfounded and misses the point of the censorship of Hustler. Criticizing a political platform is appropriate, but humiliating and degrading a duly elected and appointed national politician is not appropriate. Sheila Copps has not been deified by this action. She is merely getting the respect she deserves as a minister of the Canadian federal cabinet, a public figure and a woman.

I am not preaching feminism, but I am upholding the obvious fact that being a successful politician and being a woman require a great deal of determination and hurdle jumping. Copps is being publicly degraded on the basis of her femininity, that is, the fact she is a woman and therefore can be degraded sexually as all women are in pornographic magazines. The censorship of this material is not an "abuse of political power" but rather a response to the abuse of the power of media.

Warren Flood makes mention of Hitler-like oppression as an analogy to further establish his argument. The problem is, people who denounce censorship and permit the degradation of others are in fact the ground work for Nazi oppression.

The Jews in Nazi Germany, for example, were publicly humiliated and degraded by media and film prior to the war and the Holocaust. "No one is above ridicule," is a legitimate argument in allowing "hate" propaganda. Why not publicly mock the physically handicapped or the mentally challenged?

Copps is a woman, possibly a mother and a wife. She is a successful politician and leader. Banning the derogatory content produced in Hustler against her is not an act of Nazi oppression and "iconization." It is quite the opposite. Instead of allowing misogynist garbage to be spread, it is putting an end to it. If only the same had been done in 1930's Germany – things might have been different.

Jeremy Johnston
English II

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Copyright The Gazette 1999