Pornography is a growing trend that is strongly correlated with the use and availability of the internet, increasing amounts of leisure time and increasingly blurred lines between pornographic material and mainstream culture. Pornography’s penetration into the European culture effects the EU’s economy, law, politics and culture; as well as it’s image. Ultimately, the consumption, content and availability of pornographic material is driven by demand, and with the increasing availability of pornographic material, it is safe to say said demand is quite large. The availability, demand and normalization of pornography has affected or been affected by people living in the European Union.
Whenever economies are booming and incomes are flowing, people start to venture off into many different categories of leisure. Come home from work, kids are still at daycare for another few hours (because you can afford it), and thousands of free porn sites are just waiting at your fingertips ready for your viewing pleasure. Prosperity does not necessarily create new issues, rather perpetuates existing issues into the social, political and global spotlight. The European Union has been at peace since the second world war, so issues that are more nitty and gritty have surfaced, such as the viewing of pornography and how the industry should be regulated. Before the internet, pornography was much easier to regulate. Since the internet (which was arguably innovated around the idea of sharing pornography), the porn industry has taken off, become popular, normalized and accepted by a majority of our populations.
The next step for the EU, and the rest of the world, is to figure out how to regulate this industry without impeding on the rights of its citizens. Pornography has penetrated deep into the European culture, and not one single person, company, region, country or continent can be solely blamed. Erotic material has been a human “thing” since humans have been human, and the way us humans deal with that reality is the only thing that has evolved. During our current time in human history, that erotic nature is displayed in the form on free online porn.
Why is this an issue?
There are a few reasons why the bottomless supply of pornography might pose a problem for the EU (and the rest of the world). The methods of delivering this adult entertainment to anyone in the world who has the at least the slightest bit of internet connection are advanced and advancing. Since the technology is there, and difficult to regulate without censoring the internet from people’s freedom of speech and expression, a few walls still have to be built in order to make sure the industry does not cross into forbidden territory. An example of this is the ban of child pornography. In the year 2000, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography.
In a nutshell, it requires all states to prohibit the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. An example of a European Union member state that complies with this protocol (among all others) is Germany. Germany does not explicitly state that an internet service provider must report to any mandated agency; however, it is a punishable offense for any ISP that knows of any child pornographic material on its website to not delete the illegal content.
So why doesn’t Germany, along with most other countries that have laws banning child pornography, just force ISP’s to report to law enforcement? Well, this brings us back to the rights of the people. If, by law, ISP’s were forced to report anyone who might be suspected of say, viewing child pornography, a lot of people who either accidentally come across something of the sort while browsing the internet or key in the words “child porn” a bunch of times in order to write a research paper, would have a little bit of dignity stripped away while they are being interrogate by police.
To wrap it up
Child pornography was just one example of the many implications the presence of the porn industry carries around. My point is, erotica is, and always has been a part of human nature. It dates back to the early days of human history; petroglyphs have been discovered demonstrating sexual behavior dated back over 25,000 years ago. It is not something that will go away because a law tells people its not allowed. It is a reality that the European culture has to define for itself- either let it be or shove it back into the closet.