Pornography promotes violence against women


Donated by Peter Stanley

Museum of Australian Democracy collection

In Australia, pornography is regulated by Commonwealth and state legislation. Part of the industry is regulated by the Commonwealth’s Classification (Films, Publications and Computer Games) Act 1995, which created the National Classification Code and Board of Review. The Act is complemented by legislation enacted by states and territories. State laws uniformly prohibit the sale, but not purchase or ownership, of X-rated material, with the exception of the Australian Capital Territory, where X-rated videos can be sold. Online pornography is regulated by the Broadcasting Services (Online Services) Act 1999, which came into effect in 2000 to prevent the distribution of X-rated material.

Opposition to pornography has come from religious organisations and social conservatives, who argue that pornography is against religious views about sexuality and that it is disruptive to established traditional social mores. Feminist perspectives on pornography, as represented by this badge, focus on the exploitation and objectification of women. Such viewpoints draw attention to the experiences of women who suffer physical and psychological harm in the production of pornography, and regard the consumption of pornography as reinforcing sexual and cultural attitudes that are complicit in sexual violence against women.

Support for pornography is generally led by the argument that the ability to produce, buy and use pornography is an expression of freedom. Some supporters argue against censorship and actively promote pornography that depicts female sexuality positively, without objectifying or diminishing women.

The donor of this badge Peter Stanley writes:

I bought this badge to document the idea that pornography perpetuates sexist violence. I didn’t wear it, though I believed at the time (and still think) that pornography, especially in its more violent and misogynist manifestations, promotes violence against women.