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Thread: Oxford Union Porn Debate

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    Oxford Union Porn Debate

    I follow British politics a good amount. One of the stories I've heard about this year was an Oxford Union debate on "the new era of porn" that took place back in February. It turned some heads because the debate's proposition that "We welcome the new era of porn" was actually defeated in a subsequent vote of attendees in a development notable because a similar debate on pornography that transpired at the same Union in 2001 saw the supportive side emerge overwhelmingly victorious. People often assume that younger people will be more individualistic and therefore more supportive of pornographers, and so-called progressive youth at places like Oxford especially so, but here you had the informed verdict of a new generation; the first ever to be raised here in the age of ubiquitous online pornography and it is, surprisingly to some, negative. After observing the arguments for and against the proposition, however, you may not be so surprised.

    I wanted to re-post the entire debate here just so that people can get a sense of why so many younger people today are turning against pornographers. It's divided up by debaters, each of whom spend roughly 8 to 12 minutes making their case, so a viewing of the entire debate will take about an hour to watch. Check it out at your convenience, therefore. I would also encourage you to click on the links themselves after viewing to see the comments people have left on them because I think you'll find the way viewers responded of interest too.


    Debater 1: FOR (Liberty Osborne)


    The aptly-named Liberty presents makes no attempt to defend "mainstream porn" such as the content of Mindgeek-owned sites like PornHub, instead opting to focus on ways that she feels the newfound popularity of OnlyFans specifically is better for performers and healthier to consume, presenting a rather idealized portrait of the platform. I like her spirit, but think she's kinda naive.






    Debater 2: AGAINST (Matthew Dick)

    His name was the subject of laughs, as you might well imagine for the context, but fortunately he had a good sense of humor on display that one will find charming. His core contention is that just because OnlyFans provides a more ethical framework than "tube porn" doesn't make it a good thing that should be welcomed by society. He spends most of his time discussing marginal cases of obvious exploitation that may not convince you to his side by themselves. However, his argument gets much stronger in the final three minutes when he shifts to a focus on the aggregate picture of the situation wherein, through OnlyFans, users generally see the performers they control not as actors, but as their personal partners.






    Debater 3: FOR (Cindy Gallup)

    The biggest airhead of the bunch, the decadently-attired Cindy chooses essentially not to engage with the topic at hand at all, but instead to offer up an 11-minute infomercial for her own indie, "ethical" porn site nobody's ever heard of before. She's not boring though, so a view is still recommended, even if only for purposes of amusement at the completely insane worldview she presents. This is EXACTLY how liberal feminism sounds to me. It's not merely naive, it's utterly delusional; completely untethered from reality. You WILL be entertained!





    Debater 4: AGAINST (Louise Perry)

    A self-described post-liberal feminist campaigner against sexual violence, Perry's contribution to this debate is by far the best and most compelling as far as I'm concerned. (Incidentally, remember Perry because she's EVERYWHERE right now in the UK and her book, The Case Against the Sexual Revolution, is about to see an American release next month that may just yield a comparable reception on this side of the Atlantic. You may be seeing more of her in the near future. I regard her as the foremost intellectual voice of the new women's movement that's emerging today.) Perry presents a sweeping, frank, and utterly compelling case against the porn industry as a whole. Among many other things, she presents a devastating counterpoint to the notion of riches through OnlyFans by pointing out that most performers thereon are likely operating at a net financial loss, and yet will endure the social ramifications of performing there for the rest of their lives. Perry also points to the industry's drug addiction, suicide, and regret rates among performers and adverse consequences for the sex lives of women as an entire group and satisfyingly dispenses with the idea of "feminist porn" as a viable alternative in a brutally frank way. Best speaker in this debate by a mile.






    Debater 5: FOR (Megan Barton-Hanson)


    From a former stripper and reality show contestant who is greeted with particular enthusiasm by the audience, you might expect a more entertaining message delivery, but Barton-Hanson disappoints by holding up some papers and reading from them verbatim for the entire time. Although I just watched it again, I can't remember what her argument even was because it was that generic and forgettable. Seriously, though hers is the shortest speech, clocking in at just 8 minutes, you'll be lucky to remain awake through all the clearly insincere industry PR and cliches of this most wooden performance of the evening. You might even begin to wonder at some point if she's being paid by someone to say these things because she obviously doesn't mean them.





    Debater 6: AGAINST (Sharon Chou)

    Rather than present a prepared argument of her own, Chou focuses on countering the major points argued by the other side. She comes off as a sound debater and as a real and likable person whom I can picture myself being friends with, though she does prosecute a less forceful case than Perry. I rank her performance here in the same ballpark as Matthew Dick's overall, though maybe a little better. Her most distinctively salient moment comes when she's countering the suggestion that restricting the porn industry will drive it underground, exposing performers to more dangerous situations. She counters this contention by asking the simple rhetorical question "...how many of us actually go on the dark web?" In other words, common sense dictates that broad viewership for porn is NOT always there under all circumstances, as industry apologists insist. An important counterpoint well-made.




    Just food for thought all.
    Last edited by IMPress Polly; 08-07-2022 at 12:46 PM.

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    Matthew Dick is against porn?



    Sorry, had to get that out of my system, but I do take the issue seriously. Long gone are the days of the porn stash of magazines under the bed. Access and the exploitation of young people is far too easy on the internet and dark web.
    Your Trump Derangement Syndrome is NOT my problem!

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    I watched this Oxford debate on PBS decades ago. Alan King was brilliant on the American side but I found Steve Allen rather boring. The Brits were quite good and won of course................
    Your Trump Derangement Syndrome is NOT my problem!

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    I doubt the debate would be as good as your insightful analysis, Polly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Young View Post
    I doubt the debate would be as good as your insightful analysis, Polly.
    Aaaaww!

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    Real debates are good to watch, but regardless of who won or had the best speech the evidence is overwhelming that legalizing porn and mainstreaming it has been a disaster for our culture and male-female relations, especially for young people. It 'normalizes' deviancy and desensitizes young males in particular.

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    I’m not a fan of pornography but I’m also not a fan of the government controlling what I do and don’t have access to. I understand there’s some limitations there concerning national security, child pornography etc. but in the big picture the first amendment should win out. I think the risk to freedom otherwise is too great. Hopefully, education, public condemnation etc. will lead to less pornography and exploitation but somehow I doubt it.

    thanks for posting this Polly.
    Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect. -- Woody Hayes​

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    Quote Originally Posted by DGUtley View Post
    Iím not a fan of pornography but Iím also not a fan of the government controlling what I do and donít have access to. I understand thereís some limitations there concerning national security, child pornography etc. but in the big picture the first amendment should win out. I think the risk to freedom otherwise is too great. Hopefully, education, public condemnation etc. will lead to less pornography and exploitation but somehow I doubt it.

    thanks for posting this Polly.
    Pornography is speech like you getting $#@!ed up the ass is speech. This is real exploitation that is happening to real girls and women (and a few men), not something abstract or subjective. It's basically just prostitution on film. It says all you need to know about this industry that childhood rape and battery are leading sources of its "workers". The industry's dependence on a certain, relatively female-specific kind of PTSD is more than ample reason for it to be shuttered forever in my view, to say nothing of all the other reasons. That's my view of the "free speech" debate on this.

    Anyway, you're welcome!

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    Quote Originally Posted by IMPress Polly View Post
    Pornography is speech like you getting $#@!ed up the ass is speech. This is real exploitation that is happening to real girls and women (and a few men), not something abstract or subjective. It's basically just prostitution on film. It says all you need to know about this industry that childhood rape and battery are leading sources of its "workers". The industry's dependence on a certain, relatively female-specific kind of PTSD is more than ample reason for it to be shuttered forever in my view, to say nothing of all the other reasons. That's my view of the "free speech" debate on this.

    Anyway, you're welcome!
    I appreciate your position and certainly respect your right to disagree. Art is speech and/or expression - thus protected by the First Amendment. Rape, childhood rape, batter are all illegal. They are not protected by the First Amendment. i don't think you'd like to live in a world where the government dictates what can and can't be considered art, speech, expression, etc.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DGUtley View Post
    I appreciate your position and certainly respect your right to disagree. Art is speech and/or expression - thus protected by the First Amendment. Rape, childhood rape, batter are all illegal. They are not protected by the First Amendment. i don't think you'd like to live in a world where the government dictates what can and can't be considered art, speech, expression, etc.
    Being experienced in what the sex industry is like, I can say with confidence that I'd very much like to live in a world without it and, barring that possibility, to live in a world wherein it's suppressed about as much as possible.
    Last edited by IMPress Polly; 09-28-2022 at 07:15 AM.

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