By: Putri Fitria
The plan to ban Blackberry service voiced by Minister of Communication and Information Tifatul Sembiring (the one who blamed Michelle Obama for shaking hands), has been an ongoing headline in Indonesia of late. The crux of the matter is that the company that produces the Blackberry, Research in Motion (RIM), has not installed any software to block access to porn sites. The upheaval is based on the Constitutional Law No. 44, 2008 on pornography—a controversial regulation that remains to be.
The Danger that is Porn
Talking about pornography, a research by the University of Montreal on the effects of pornography on men shows some interesting results. It was funded by the Interdisciplinary Research Center on Family Violence and Violence against Women. After two years of investigation in Canada, the University Associate Professor Simon Louis Lajenuesse came to disprove the view that people try to achieve what they see in porn, in daily life, which was believed to lead to sexual harassment or the act of disgracing women.
The research concludes that 90 percent of porn is consumed through the Internet and the other 10 percent is obtained from video rentals. On average, unmarried men watch porn three times a week for a total of 40 minutes. Those who are committed in a relationship average 20 minutes of porn consumption a week. All the men that were questioned during the study affirmed that they uphold gender equality, and admit that they feel victimized by the rhetoric condemning pornography.
The study further finds that men only watch parts of porn that fit the picture of sexuality in their mind. They often skip scenes they consider offensive or “disgusting.” Based on this fact, Lajeunesse refutes the argument that porn consumers are trying to mimic what they see on screen in real life, or that they watch porn to indulge their abnormal sexual desire.
It is not relevant to pin the blame for the growing number of harassment-related cases, especially sexual to women, on pornography. This is now a social fact, built upon a strong theoretical structure. What is advocated by the moralists can therefore be considered delusive.
The Anti Pornography Bandwagon
Pornography has been believed to be a major factor behind molestation. In fact, it may be just a case of false reasoning, very much like Tifatul’s motive to ban RIM Blackberry. It is so obvious that Tifatul’s statements are meant to cause a sensation and to attract public sympathy, to build an image of himself as an anti-porn soldier. A campaign that is much needed, as Tifatul’s blunders seem to finally catch up with him.
Tifatul’s statements on pornography are likely to make President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono think twice whether he wants to keep Tifatul through the planned cabinet reshuffle. The anti-pornography masses will have believed Tifatul Sembiring is a sincere Islamic figure in the government and a minister that always stands on the frontline in war against pornography. Not an unlikely scenario.
From that perspective, pornography has turned into a completely different thing. It is a commodity. Many government officials have tried to jump on the anti-pornography bandwagon, to ‘take a stand against pure evil’ and smooth their way to power.
There are many other problems that need our full attention, among the most serious is corruption. It would be better if we try to construct an image of corruption, instead of pornography, as the most dangerous demon. We should ask ourselves: What is more dangerous, pornography or government officials using pornography to climb up the political ranks?