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Porn Panic!: Sex and Censorship in the UK Kindle Edition
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If you’re looking for a book with up-to-date research and information about current times and how porn and censorship are within modern UK society, then this book is the one for you. Jerry discusses how movements such as Page 3 have been used as a form of sex censorship and how many of these movements have been misused to censor sexual expression. He takes a look into internet censorship and even has written a piece about Twitter and other social media outlets, and how these are becoming more and more censored over time. Politics plays a large role with in the book, and even mentions the likes of Corby. It’s an excellent look into how feminism has evolved and how there are various forms of feminism and how these can be pro-censorship and others anti-censorship.
The book feels very relevant right now, particularly with current events such as Frances burqa ban, where recently a woman was forced to remove clothing in public due to wearing one in the beach (censorship is about telling people what they can and cannot do, whilst normally censorship tells women to cover up, telling them to remove clothing for whatever reason is just as bad). What Jerry Barnett writes within his book feels particularly relevant right now with the news of Keith Vaz, where he was willing to admit that he had slept with sex workers (a completely legal act), yet he came under fire and was made to step-down from his position. Barnett sites many sources and cases where similar events have happened throughout history and how they have been used as a tool of censorship for sexual expression.
As a sex educator within the UK I have personally seen how censorship of sex has affected people. Working with 18+ I have witnessed many people who are ashamed of their sexualities and bodies due to censorship not only from their homes but from social norms and expectations put onto them through society. I have seen how the media has been used to scare people from perfectly normal sexual acts making them taboo. It is sad today that many of these outlets purely wish to cause moral panic rather than helping people feel happy within themselves, whether that be sexual or non-sexual. Having experienced firsthand what the media will do to sell papers is unsettling. I was personally asked regarding sex addiction and whether too much sex was bad, as a trained educator I believe no as I have seen and studied that there is no evidence for such an addiction, if anything it can become a compulsion but not a dangerous addiction. Sadly the day of print, the newspaper itself warped all my views, censored my evidence and beliefs and used it regrettably as a way to cause panic and make people believe that sex addiction is real and it is bad. Reading through the Porn Panic, I was able to read about other people’s experiences regarding the media and how generally many are more willing to cause moral panic, rather than stating the truth.
I’d recommend the book to anyone interested in current affairs, sociology, sex, feminism, and censorship. You don’t have to be within the industry to find this book an insightful and good read. Heck, I’d even recommend reading it if you are pro-censorship as Jerry addresses both sides rather well. The book reads incredibly well. It is outstandingly intelligent yet keeps a lovely flow throughout, which makes it particularly easy to take in in-depth information without being mentally daunting.
A parallel case--cited in 'Porn Panic'--was Brooke Magnanti's 'Sex Myth', which professionally exposed grossly overinflated statistical assumptions about trafficking and incidence of sex attacks in the vicinity of adult entertainment establishments but which led not to a reassessment of these figures by anti-porn campaigners but rather their attempt to suppress her book. The point being that many have built academic careers and political power bases on sensationalist claims and weak/flawed scholarship and have too much to lose by engaging honestly with critics like Barnett and Magnanti.
Barnett is most convincing when he points out the campaign against porn is a Trojan horse for a broader, almost wholly unaccountable armamentum of state censorship. We seriously need to ask 'who regulates the regulators?' because at the moment, it's looking like no-one is.
In a lively and wide-ranging text, Mr Barnett looks at the history of UK censorship and shows how the liberal left and and feminism in particular has been subverted by a vocal new generation of authoritarians intent on banning anything that they don't like or can't understand. He also underlines the fundamental hypocrisy of those who are fostering this new porn panic, since while they claim to "protect" women, they are only too pleased to remove the right of women to make decisions about their own lives and destroy the livelihoods of those who create adult content.
There is also an excellent discussion of the authoritarians' project to impose a crushing censorship on the internet for UK residents, which has been quietly developed behind the scenes, with next to no public debate. As the author notes, both here and on his website, this has huge ramifications that go far beyond pornography.
This is a courageous and much needed book, which is worth £13.99 of any real liberal's money.
Barnett presents a case that suggests censorship itself is a movement against freedom of all types of expression. This isn't simply pages about the porn industry but pornography provides the central subject on which censorship is magnified on.
Extremely factual and well paced, the subject matter (and breadth of topics) means I will be recommending this to everyone!!
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