April 6, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 98  

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Pornography tax ill-advised

In the realm of university life, certain things are plentiful: essays, alcohol and pornography. From magazines to homemade videos, most students have tested out one form or another.

Is there anything wrong with seeking out sexual pleasure through pornographic materials? The Manitoba-based social concern group, UNPAC (United Nations Platform for Action Committee) seems to think so. The group suggests that pornography be taxed and the funds donated to women’s shelters.

Such a proposal implies that pornography is harmful to women; however, if a woman gives her consent, why is she considered exploited? Acceptable forms of pornography is anything that involves consenting adults partaking in various forms of pleasure.

UNPAC’s proposal assumes that any woman who puts herself in a sexual position is degraded. It also assumes pornography is like prostitution. However, pornography is not synonymous with prostitution. While prostitutes may not have another option, women in pornography may actually enjoy performing their line of work. Women will audition for a pornography if they are confident and comfortable with their bodies, and willing to show it off. Although porno are frequently filmed from a male’s perspective — to satisfy the market — the male “actor” usually serves as nothing more than an apparatus. Besides, we all know female pornography stars bring home more bling than their typically unattractive male costars.

If the government taxes pornography, where would they draw the line? Would taxable pornography include magazines? Rentals? Toys? What about the places one can download free pornography all day, every day, including weekends and holidays? Taxing Internet pornography, as well as deciding which products to tax, would generate even more problems.

It is understandable when the government tax things such as tobacco and oil: they cause health problems, costing the health care system, and are detrimental to the environment. However, pornographyography does not generate similar effects — it does not harm the environment nor does it cause disease. Therefore, it is unclear as to why a tax should be applied. Pornography is not immoral, nor does it exploit women.

If a pornography tax is created, then shouldn’t the government instill a few more taxes? What about a sugar tax? A fast food tax? It is easy to recognize the potentially harmful effects of fast food, but pornography definitely does more good than harm. A little bit of sexual pleasure gained from pornography is healthy, but since some viewers stare fascinatingly at their computer screens and indulge in massive quantities of pornography, it actually becomes an atypical public service: it keeps the hardcore perverts off the streets.



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