I am currently in college for Human Services (essentially a stepping stone for a number of careers like addiction counselors, mental health counselors, social workers, etc) tonight our seminar was about pornography and prostitution, and was truly appalled by how many people supported legalized prostitution and considered the banning of something like porn unreasonable. However, interestingly enough my classmates were more critical of the porn industry and were actually shocked that no “age verification” is required for porn sites. I am disappointed that so many women have fallen victim to this illusion that prostitution and porn are lifestyle choices no different than being a “paid athlete” (that was an actual comparison someone used.) One of the stats in our text book mentioned that the average sex worker had 694 partners a year-I am not sure how any woman can interpret that as empowering experience “that’s totally not exploitative.”

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Jan 18Liked by Meghan Murphy

Thanks Meghan, this is excellently written and spot on. Hopefully more voices and legislation are similarly raised to eliminate this horrible scourge. Always liked your work, and this made me a subscriber.

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I think I might get 'anal sex is not speech' on a t-shirt. It's insane that pornographers managed to get videos of sex acts designated free speech or expression.

To all those saying banning porn isn't possible and anyway porn can't be defined, how about starting by banning certain types of porn? Rape porn, for example, and porn in which the actors purport to be children. Making it illegal to produce fake child sexual abuse material is hard to argue with, right? From there you could move on to Holocaust porn, slavery porn...the list is truly endless.

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i love this article. it reminds me of a friend bridget who (this is back in the early 1980's) was jumping up and down in the backyard smoke billowing... she was burning a playboy magazine she had found and jumping on the embers. back in the day we all thought this was very wise. we being a whole pile of teenage boys and girls. hurrah for bridget!! hurrah for meghan!!

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Thanks Meghan. It's a well-written piece. I'm going to have to read more and watch the comments. I'm in an uncomfortable place: I agree with your points in this article, but am secure in my conclusion that government or big-corp-government censorship is a huge loss of liberty, and not in a this-is-an-unfortunate-trade-off kind of way. How to protect the vulnerable without transforming the government and the powerful into authoritarian moral arbiters?

I understand your points about men (I make no apologies for being one). But, for the record and to offer some anecdotal balance, I've said "no" a few times to women who have encouraged or outright requested sexual acts from me that I felt were shameful or would compromise me in really stupid ways. Men aren't the only perverted sexualists out there.

Finally, I share your wide-eyed distress about the lack of boundaries between porn and children. I'm at a loss. So much tech, so much bad content, so many ways to get around filters and controls. My wife and I talk with my son as much as possible about this stuff. As he matures, we try to discuss porn and sexuality with careful regard for what's out there and who he is. Ignoring it probably isn't the best answer for us.

Again, tough topic. Thanks for writing.

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Jan 18·edited Jan 18

Big Tech would seem to be the only group that could actually enforce a porn ban, so banning porn would require giving Big Tech even more censorship power than they already have, while also putting those ever more powerful Big Tech censorship tools even more firmly in the hands of politicians.

Right now we seem to have the worst of both worlds - an internet filled with the dregs of humanity but also Big Tech overlords arbitrarily swinging the banhammer at a few token targets, deserving or otherwise.

That mix of anarchy and random drive-by censorship arguably still seems better than if the censors actually pull ahead and establish hegemony. If they can fully ban porn, they can fully ban TERFs too.

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