Incite by Design

Caustic visions and shared thoughts on design, marketing, creativity, philanthropy, pop culture and business philosophy by Toronto design firm, Ricksticks Inc.

2005-05-17

Keep your sex to yourself

I'm not a huge advocate of mass censorship - not because I don't appreciate some of the aspects of anti-porn discourse - but I am concerned about just whose morals we'd be upholding and using as the backdrop of censorship. Namely, what wingnut would want to censor legitimate sex ed in schools or outlaw gay and lesbian magazines.

The concept of censorship in the case of how sexually graphic materials are used to market a product, however, is completely within my understanding.

Regina Lynn's 'Put Smut in Its Place' article on Wired is a great exploration of the use of sexually graphic images in our shared space - either through spam, advertising, commercials, etc. The saturation is enough to make even the most sexually liberated say, "Enough!"

"Right about now I can sense some First Amendment hackles rising. Let me assure you, this is not about eroding our civil rights. It's about upholding them.

When you live in a community, you have to make some adjustments that aren't required if you live 10 miles from your nearest neighbor. It's rude to let your car alarm blare all day, to play your music at top volume late at night and to send your dog down the street to defecate on someone else's lawn.

Likewise, it's rude to force your sexual expression on folks who don't want to see it. I doubt you would be thrilled if I barged into your house and wallpapered your dining room with Michael Brandon posters without your permission.

Yet that's what it feels like when you drive down a city street and every billboard leers or propositions you. Or when you check your e-mail and you have spam sporting subject lines about incest, bestiality and statutory rape."

Amen, sister. I have been appalled by the virtual smut that shows up in my mailbox, and without the subject line to notify me of what I am about to see. And it isn't just some giant penis or pair of breasts, anymore. Oh no - it's usually illegal or violent. Apparently, we are no longer impressed with plain old sex.

Parents have been discussing the topic for a while now, trying to figure out the impossible feat of keeping their kids from getting pornographic materials online, or even being exposed to sexually graphic materials on television, etc. But we as childless adults should also be joining in on the discussion. I am personally tired of the visual assaults. I mean, at least send me a coupon for a free dinner if you want me to look at that!

It's entirely within our power to legislate how the online porn biz operates. There is money in finding ways to monitor it in the same way we pander it. Coming up with basic domains, as Regina suggests, for xxx content is a great start - and really find ways of tracking and penalizing spammers.
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