Flat White

Why aren’t we including porn in debate over ‘toxic culture’?

7 April 2021

4:00 AM

7 April 2021

4:00 AM

The Canberra Bubble has become the unlikely setting for a conflict that had to come – between the desiccated descendants of the sexual revolution – victim feminism and the pernicious impact of the flood of free internet pornography. 

It’s clear that, while average Australians know instinctively there’s a real problem, modern feminism can’t deliver the solution. For that, we have to look to our history and re-establish moral and social norms that demand more of ourselves in public and in private.  

On one side we have Brittany Higgins, standing in a brilliant white addressing the March4Justice outside parliament, the purest emblem for modern victim feminism: an alleged rape victim. 

On the other side, we have the pixilated penis of an ejaculating Liberal staffer, symbolising the rising tide of men engaging in unsavoury and/or unwelcome and/or criminal sexual acts, acting in ways that are only acceptable in that parallel world: pornography.  

Australian women, from the street corner to the Ccabinet room, have risen as one to call out this ‘toxic culture’, albeit without linking it to the impact of widespread use and acceptance of pornography. 

Now they are demanding their leaders in the feminist movement, and wider politics, enact real change. 

Can they pull it off? Signs are that modern victim feminism – what’s left of the movement that made real progress for more than a century, starting with women’s suffrage – has neither the resources nor the inclination to tackle the root cause of this toxic culture. 

You might say this should be no contest: modern feminism has long captured and held the treasury benches of governments across the land, commanding many hundreds of millions of dollars in annual spending, to say nothing of the rivers of gold from the charitable sector, flowing into women’s causes.   

But now consider the global pornography industry. 

Far from bootleg VHS tapes and magazines in black plastic covers, pornography took a Viagra in the late 1990s, when German internet entrepreneur, Fabian Thylmann, invented software that enabled website operators to track users’ clicks on advertisements and links, so that they could be paid commissions. 

To maximise revenue, all one needed was enticing and free content; soon pornography came out from behind the paywall and engulfed the world.  

Today we, both men and women, are living with the consequences.  

In the two decades since, it is no exaggeration to say that pornography, and specifically porn addiction, has changed the way many men and adolescent boys view women, sex and relationships.   

Consistent viewing of pornography leads to a distortion of perceptions, damaging the ability to form lasting and meaningful relationships, destroying moral and social norms, turning sex into a role play or worse, a crime. Many women (and men) are dealing with changed rules of engagement in the bedroom.  

Thylmann went on to sell his company (unsubtly called Manwin), in 2013, for 73 million Euros.  


Today the porn industry generates tens of billions in profits each year. Free porn sites occupy two to three spots in the world’s most-visited websites.  

Porn’s supporters are everywhere – look at the person in the next seat, office, over the fence or across the street – chances are many of them regularly use and abuse pornography.  

It’s estimated 70 per cent of men aged 18 to 24 visit a porn site at least once per month; 30 per cent of visitors to online porn sites are women; the average age of first exposure to online porn is 11, according to prevalence studies.  

It’s an unregulated global industry, driven by naked profit motives, and no Australian governments appear willing to bring it to heel.  

Contrast with films and computer games, the makers of which must first clear hurdles at the government censor’s office before being released in Australia. Meanwhile, the most debased makers of gonzo, violent porn from cellars and barns across the world’s moral sewers can pipe their product into iPhones and computers across Australia, willy-nilly. 

With the alleged attack on Brittany Higgins – millions of average Australian women and men are declaring ‘enough’.  

But why would today’s feminist leaders even want to take on pornography?  

Both modern phenomena (distinct from their previous incarnations) were born into the Sexual Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s, pushed by leaders who wished to overturn traditional sexual morality, social norms and interpersonal obligations.  

They succeeded and today children grow up in a laissez-faire society where almost anything goes, and you can watch it free online – diversity is our strength.  

That’s the history.  

But it is clear that today’s feminist movement is set up to create, and profit from, a rising sense of crisis among, and about, women.  

By fostering a sense of victimhood and helplessness among women, today’s feminist movement leverages higher and higher government and non-government funding and political support. 

Like any effective political outfit, victim feminism quickly harnessed the latest controversy around the ‘toxic culture’ in parliament, parlaying it into more women in Cabinet and more women-centric portfolios. More taxpayers’ dollars will follow. 

In short, victimhood is good for business. Meaningful solutions are not the objective.  

Feminism’s impotence in the face of global pornography is sad because the signs of a porn-addled society, splitting at the seams, are all around us. 

As cited above, The Project last month revealed a young male parliamentary staffer ejaculating onto a female MPs’ desks, no doubt emulating the hijinks witnessed in professional and amateur pornography. One staffer has been sacked, to date. 

Last week, NSW Nationals MP Michael Johnsen was forced to quit, following revelations (from leaked text messages) of his parliamentary hard-ons for a prostitute. He offered the woman $1000 to enter Parliament House for sex. She accuses Johnsen of rape, which he denies. 

Last month, a 21-year-old man who had recently attended treatment for sex addiction at a local church, went on a killing spree in Atlanta, Georgia, targeting prostitutes. Many media outlets spun it as a race crime (six of the eight victims were women of Korean decent) but get real – this was a terrible crime, driven by self-destruction through addiction to sex and likely, pornography. 

Other murderous outrages in recent years, in Canada and the United States, by self-identified “Incels”, or involuntary celibates, highlight a growing young male population obsessed with sex and sexual conquest, and dejected because of their lack of value in the modern sexual market.  

How does a democratic society right itself?  

It’s been done before. For example the many valiant ‘temperance societies’ that emerged in the nineteenth century across the West, in the face of widespread drunkenness and social destruction. Importantly, it was led by women.  

It’s already happening – anti pornography self-help groups, counselling and international campaigns such as NoFap, are on the right side of the issue. 

Part of the answer might have been staring us in the face, briefly, last month.  

As the Morrison Government sank deeper into the controversy, dozens of Labor and Greens staffers, both male and female, assembled in the Parliament House Meditation Room, and were photographed and interviewed by the media, protesting the room’s apparent role as a rendezvous point for casual sex.    

Getting past the transparently sanctimonious and blatantly hypocritical point-scoring (Labor and the Greens are not pure, when it comes to sexual harassment and alleged sex crimes), the sight of all those bright young people in a place of moral and religious reflection and rectitude, was arresting. 

It may not be those women and men, or that prayer-room, but it is surely time for Australian women and men to re-occupy a higher social morality, demanding more of themselves and each other, beyond today’s laissez-faire. 

Without such a move, the debate about our ‘toxic culture’ will never rise about the professional wrestling matches staged by modern victim feminism. 

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