Archive for September 24, 2008

Pornography Bill: Obscenities

Posted in Political Focus with tags , , , , , on September 24, 2008 by Bonni Rambatan

People have been asking me what I think of the Pornography Bill — me not only being a cultural critic but also a passionate researcher of pornography. For me and my personal enjoyment, I think it is a wonderful idea and I love it: I would still be able to enjoy all the pornography (with proxies, P2P, etc. — I’m good at them) while others are busy stupidly hiding all their porn stashes and killing each other in Bali. It adds the sense of pride and thrill of being a winning criminal — who does not like enjoying their sexual pleasures with an added sense of sin, crime, victory, and the last laugh?

The Bill is by now already over-discussed that it seems embarrassing to do it further. But let’s get more serious and take one obscene point of the Bill not many notice: the Bill has very strong potentials of condoning sexual harassments. When one regulates the object instead of the subject, does one not precisely create a space for dramatically reducing subjective guilt by transferring it to the object? A society with free porn circulating everywhere presupposes a very strict moral restriction that maintains sex to be kept only in porn, and in a curious effect radically desexualizes social life (unless, of course, the porn watched consist of mainly bad porn that condones rape and maintains stereotypes). There may very well be an abundance of swinger parties and BDSM festivals, but not many harassments and rapes. The obvious is also true: is not the rape statistics of Amish tribes and pedophilia statistics in priesthoods our ultimate proof?

Reading in a purely Žižekian turn, the bill is thus not at all restrictive: on the outside, it is saying, “We should stop the sins and restore moral order by eradicating all pornographies!” Secretly, it promises, “Let us stop all the porn so we can enjoy real women on the streets (because it will be their fault to dress like that, because we can always provide an excuse that we hate pornography, etc)!”

I’ll leave you with this interesting video (still good, though it has early-2007 statistics):

NOTE: One very depressingly laughable aspect of the Bill is its categorization of oral sex as an obscene perverse act on the same plane as zoophilia and necrophilia (others on the same list include anal sex and homosexuality). Speaks volumes of how sexually uneducated the Indonesian government is… And to think that they are even debating this while I am supposed to be attending a presentation on dildos that vibrate on earthquakes, how heartbreaking!

UPDATE (10/13): I now have a writing on The Jakarta Post regarding the Pornography Bill.