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800 Odd Criminals: A Reflection

25 April 2017 Posted by No Comment

25th April, 2017.

By Sharanya Sekaram

A few weeks ago – bakamoono.lk released a report entitled ‘800 Odd Criminals: Watching Porn in Sri Lanka’. This report displayed the results from a survey they conducted that asked over 800 people how they view porn online. The report is titled regarding the fact that despite Sri Lanka topping the world in the number of Google searches for ‘sex’ with regularity –  as per the law “Every single person who has ever watched, glanced at, stored, shared, or searched for porn, is in the eyes of the Sri Lankan law – a criminal”. How apt – we do it, we’re not supposed to do, but everyone does lots of it anyway.

The data from the survey was occasionally cliché (anal and big tits predictably ranked highly in the most watched categories), male and English/Colombo dominated, and at the same time raised some interesting and arguably alarming questions.

It is difficult when looking at some of the figure not to ask what this means as to how those who view porn online by extension view sex and sexuality. What does this mean for young people with easy access to porn coupled with little to no sex education? What stereotypes about people’s sexual orientation and preferences does main stream pornography reinforce? What (if any) are the issues with consuming mainstream hardcore pornography regularly?

Pornography has been around for eons, and for as long as any other art form. Erotica was created in every era of history, and today it is an USD 97 billion industry. There is a ridiculous amount of porn, catering to every fetish imaginable available – and it is incredibly easy to find, even if you aren’t actively looking. All you need is a device that can access the world wide web and you’re there. The reponses given in the survey came from every district in Sri Lanka – except for Kilinochchi, a range of age groups responded and they used PC’s, tablets, and phones.

There were a couple of key stats that caught my eye – and spurred on questions I have been asking about the objectification of women, gender binaries and role, and of course the equality of the sexes – feminist questions. What role does porn (if any) play in these arbitrary, hotly debated upon, ideas? What link does a school boy masturbating to a video of a girl having sex with several men (filed under ‘gangbang’) have to do with catcalls and rape?

Here are some extracts of the report that jumped out to me in relation to all this, and what it means in the bigger picture.

Kids as young as 13 are accessing and watching porn on a regular basis: Cindy Gallop authored ‘Make Love Not Porn: Technology’s Hardcore Impact on Human Behavior’ where she writes about her experience being an older woman engaged in sexual relationships with younger men. Trough personal experience and research, she describes how by accessing hardcore pornography as their primary source of sex education – young men and women have developed warped ideas that real life sex and intimacy is what is portrayed on screens. They fail to or struggle to understand that these are performances, and are not always reflective of real life wants and needs. 800 Odd Criminals asks, “With people accessing porn as young as 13, has online pornography become the primary source from where people draw their information about sex and sexuality?”. Women are portrayed as little more than sexual objects, ready to go at a moment’s notice, and men are shown as constantly dominating and aggressive figure, it is difficult to argue that this will not have an impact on real life intimacy and relationships.

Download the full report here

Courtesy bakamoono.lk 

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