Mon, Sep 14, 2015 - Page 8 News List

Taipei’s patronage of pornography

By Chen Chao-ju 陳昭如

EasyCard Corp’s decision to feature images of a Japanese adult video star on a series of special-edition cards is probably the first time that so much public money has been splashed out on overseas pornographic products — not to mention the 24-hour media coverage, especially when nobody is denying that the cards are almost exclusively serving “male interests.”

This is what the so-called “white force” political arrivistes — a group that gathered around Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) during the election campaign — have managed to accomplish. The white force has become very fashionable and it has succeeded in becoming the third political force in Taiwan. With political players of all weights pandering to it for support, who knows how far Taipei’s patronage of pornography will go?

The “devil” and “angel” images on the new cards are the kind of provocative images of women that you can see just about everywhere. Even groups advocating wholesome social values could not find too much fault in the images.

The pictures would not have been so controversial if the person featured in them did not represent pornographic culture and the pornography industry. Therefore, the controversy is not about the photographs per se, but rather in the sexual fantasies that they evoke due to their association with the pornography industry.

Critics who want to protect social values say that these values will be harmed should these cards — bearing the images of an adult video star and all the associations to sexual fantasies that come with it — be distributed around Taipei.

Sexual rights advocates counter this argument by saying that there is nothing wrong with sexual fantasies. They also say that sexuality should not be demonized and that these images should not be discarded in the name of protecting children and minors.

The critics are viewing this as an issue of morality, saying that the pictures ought to be suppressed, whereas sexual rights advocates see this as an issue of freedom and think that society should be more open to the use of images of this nature.

A balanced view would be that there is no need to suppress sexual images that do not promote discrimination, but that any sexual oppression that leads to inequality should be opposed, and that deregulation will not necessarily counter oppression.

Therefore, the questions that need to be asked are: What kind of sexuality is the pornography industry producing? Does it foster freedom of sexual expression or does it create harmful sexual oppression? Whose sexual freedom and whose sexual oppression is involved in the fantasies of men who grope women on public transportation?

This kind of freedom of sexual expression is, in fact, a form of sexual oppression. Not all forms of sexual expression lead to discrimination or harm.

Pornography is an issue of gender discrimination, but it has long been mistaken for an issue of social mores or an issue between the sexual majority and sexual minorities.

The Council of Grand Justices’ Constitutional Interpretation No. 617 allows for the freedom of expression with sexually explicit material and says that sexual minorities’ rights of freedom of expression should be protected, but only when it does not harm the values and sensibilities of the sexual majority.

At first glance, this would seem to protect both the majority and the minority, but in fact, the more you say it — sexual morality and guarantees for minorities — the more problematic it becomes.

This story has been viewed 2951 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top