The Berlin branch of Germany’s Social Democrats, #Merkel‘s coalition partners, agreed on the need for public funding of feminist porn films. Health and equality concerns were behind the move: https://t.co/5Kqc4T3Am5
— Bojan Pancevski (@bopanc) June 6, 2018
The center-left Social Democratic Party has been slipping into irrelevance for two decades now:
To try to get some attention — any attention at all — the Berlin branch of the Young Socialists (called Jusos), the party’s youth organization, calls for state funding of “feminist” pornography, which is apparently something Sweden (of course) already provides. The reason? To combat non-state-funded pornography, which they claim is degrading to women and trades in racial stereotypes.
And thus German political discourse is diverted into yet another whirlpool of pointless debate (g) on trivial issues, something which happens every week, sometimes more than once.
But the most revealing thing is how out-of-touch these self-styled Young Socialists are. All of their arguments could have been made, and were made (g), in the 1970s. And back then, they might have had some force. But anyone not living under a rock today knows a few things:
- The Young Socialists complain about “male-dominated” porn studios, but professionally-made porn is on life-support these days thanks to the huge increase in the amount of amateur porn available online. Turns out when cheap filming becomes possible, lots of ordinary folks are more than happy to copulate (or do even more exotic things) on-screen for little or even no money.
- The era in which women were routinely “forced into” pornography against their will (or at least claimed that this was the case) is long past. Aside from some isolated incidents, most women doing porn these days in advanced countries like Germany know exactly what they’re getting into and have balanced the pros and cons. They have Twitter and Instagram accounts (NSFW!) in which they share their mundane political thoughts and post pictures of their dinners.
- The notion that “feminist porn” needs state funding to survive is laughable. Thousands of hours of women-created and/or explicitly “feminist” porn is just a Google search away. There are even Feminist Porn Awards.
This proposal permits us to examine a few aspects of German political culture more closely.
First, we note the lack of originality: The Jusos didn’t come up with this idea, they copied it from Sweden.
Second, this is pure symbolism. Even were it to be implemented, this proposal would result only in a tiny droplet of cash being sprinkled on a few lucky winners. Nothing will change for Germans, 99.9999% of whom couldn’t care less (except for perhaps wondering why the state would need to support an industry devoted to showing naked ladies, something humans have always been happy to pay for). Yet words like “feminism” and “pornography” are catnip for the swollen ranks of opinion-mongers in the German mainstream press, who are already treating this proposal as a license for endless bloviation.
Third, we see the childish truculence common on the German left (which prizes the “critical” pose). The Jusos have proclaimed that they’re in favor of pornography! Yes, we Jusos are proudly standing up in favor of government funding to show naked people, and we don’t give a good goddamn what you squares and realos and fundamentalist fuddy-duddies think about it. You’ll sputter in outrage, but we spit on your outdated social conventions!
Meanwhile, the rest of the world (which has actually seen a Game of Thrones episode) chuckles in bemusement.
Fourth, this is how the kind of strait-laced, rule-following German who would actually join a political youth organization tries to appear hip and relevant. A friend of mine once remarked that when the mild-mannered dowagers who run Goethe Institutes want to show they’re in touch with the cutting-edge youth of today, the result is usually a poetry slam. Or perhaps a hacky-sack tournament. Maybe a rave!
This is all a bit annoying, but then again, it’s a privilege to live in a country which can afford the luxury of these debates.