Archive for sacred other

Pornography Between Pedophilia and Rape

Posted in Posthuman Perversion with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 24, 2008 by Bonni Rambatan
Airi and Meiri, Japanese pornstar twins famous for their underage look.

Airi and Meiri, Japanese legal pornstar twins famous for their deceivingly underage appeal.

Is it possible that the ban against child pornography condones violent, aggressive, and degrading behavior towards women? Surprising as this may seem, the answer may be a resounding yes.

I have never met anybody in my entire country who is as libertarian, porn-loving, and sexually-positive as myself. That being said, one may find it hard that there are some aspects of pornography that I do not agree with. For one usually accuses me of being incredibly libertarian — so libertarian, in fact, that I am ready to challenge the ban against child pornography.

Don’t get me wrong. Of course, by all means I am against pedophilia. I am even ready to go as far as supporting death penalties for sexual assaults towards children. What I challenge in the ban against child pornography is instead its disuse of logic: are we not today, practically, taking the flimsy age line of 18 to decide whether we can enjoy sex or not? Of course, there are all the standard claims: there is logic behind this, it has been deeply researched, and whatnot, but is it not rather more true that we are taking this rule more as a take-it-for-granted societal taboo which does not necessitate logical reasoning? Is it not rather a rule we follow almost religiously and unquestionably in this so-called age of sexual freedom?

Disuse of logic is always harmful. Its apparent protection always serves more as a symbolic gesture with nothing more than structural usages that we do not like to admit or question — more like a neurotic symptom than clear thinking. Furthermore, as the Lacanian lesson, the fundamental promise of the law is not one that bans but one that allows (“If God exists, everything is permitted!”). What, then, does the ban against child pornography allow?

There is no better site to illustrate this than the famous TamedTeens.com (totally NSFW) website, who picture dozens of 18-year-old girls in all sorts of possible sexual degradation imaginable. The tagline says it all — “Teen initiations into porn,” and later, “by having the roughest sex they will ever have.” Another basic question gonzo pornographers today ask is of course the obvious one that tries to figure out how many dicks can go down a woman’s body at a single time, or how to make the next innovation after some hundred continuous insertions (with penises as well as bizarre foreign objects), or several dozen creampies by several dozen men — basically, how to do a better obscenely degrading circus act.

What does this have to do with the ban against child pornography? As the above mentioned website suggests, the ban does not at all say, “Do not harm children and teenagers under 18 since they are too fragile!” Instead, it promises, “Let us make a deal and pretend that we are good people who care about children, and in return you are allowed to degrade and be violent towards women over 18 in any way you like!” Is this not why child pornography is elevated as the ultimate crime in the Western culture today: because we want to continue degrading women, but we disturbingly need to continue to pretend to be an innocent nation with this flimsy, almost religious number of 18?

Canon Sensei Tobashisugi (probably NSFW)

Canon Sensei Tobashisugi (probably NSFW)

There is a porn sphere in which child pornography is highly popular and tolerated: hentai. Some hentai (from games to anime to manga) are satisfied with portraying underage-looking characters (as most of the live pornography), but some, such as Gorgeous Takarada’s Canon Sensei Tobashisugi (cover pictured right) are ready to go as far as to explicitly state that the age of the main girl character is as young as 12. (Perhaps unsurprisingly, hentai tolerates so much more of what the West — fetishist long tail notwithstanding — does not, such as incest and love). What do statistics say about the rates of rape in such free nation? Well, Japan has 20 times less rape than does the United States.

The ban against child pornography has always been a very suspicious one, but it is almost a sacred taboo today that very few dare to question it. Of course, it may be structurally impossible to live in a society without taboo, as Freud was already well aware. But when we feel better about seeing a 21-year-old getting force-penetrated by six dicks in a double-anal, double-vaginal, and double-oral scene (not to mention the bukkake and forced semen-swallow afterwards) than a 15-year-old having sex lovingly with her partner, we clearly have something wrong in our sexual libertinism. Perhaps we are censoring the wrong things for the wrong reasons.

On Pedophilia and Posthumanity

Posted in Posthuman Perversion with tags , , , , on June 30, 2008 by Bonni Rambatan

This lecture of Žižek’s hit something that I have not yet, prior to this realization, developed on my theories of posthuman sexuality. To get right down to it, the question would be this: isn’t it interesting that in a society where almost every consensual sexual act is not only condoned but solicited — and even to the extent of using violence, corpses, and excremental objects — child porn still has to remain as a very strong taboo? Of course I by no means condone pedophilia, but what I find very ridiculous is the flimsy argument of age that is taken as a symbolic line separating those able of having the socio-cognitive function of consensus and those unable. I mean, we are today more than ever very diligent people when it comes to teaching children of consensus and openness — say for determining a weekend trip — and didn’t we say we believe Freud when he said children are really not asexual creatures? So shouldn’t the golden rule of postmodernity of “If all sides agreed, and it will bring pleasure to all sides, it’s only politically correct to do” also apply here? What is going on?

With Žižek, I would assert that this fear of pedophilia is not as much a moral obligation as it is an excuse necessary in the construction of a sacred other. To put it frankly, one is able to commit all sorts of crimes and indulge in all sorts of obscene debaucheries and still mentally function only when one has faith that there is some part of the society that is still pure and innocent. This “sacred other” in today’s society is very well served by, of course, children. This total negation of the notion of child sexuality is precisely the move that enable us to exploit all kinds of perversion within us — as long as we love innocent children and keep them away from these dangers until they reach their 18th birthday, we can feel free to do anything we want to do.

What does this have to do with posthumanity? Extrapolating Žižek’s claim further, I notice that a very much celebrated online way (or perhaps the way) of this protect-the-children movement is — you guessed it — age verification. It is as though human society is allowed to become posthuman only after they reach a certain age. What is going on here? It is easy to dismiss this as logical protective gesture, but when you see the amount of discourse circulating that in essence worry about what effect a world inhabited by subjects of fluid, arbitrary identities will have on human children, you would understand why I prefer to take this as a sign that something highly traumatic is going on in the process of identity (hence sexuality) construction in cyberspace.

What is this trauma, and how should we read the discourses of child protection? I’ll keep you updated with more findings and resources. Stay tuned to The Posthuman Marxist! :)