Porn loving MPs don’t get my vote

Reports of an MP watching pornography during a House of Commons debate have elicited a huge backlash. The accusation, against a male Tory MP, is understood to have been made during a meeting of the 2022 – the female grouping of the Conservative Party’s 1922 Committee. Women across the political spectrum have since decried the alleged actions as “shameful” and “misogynistic”.

I quite understand their anger. A man watching porn in full view of female colleagues is egregious, and poisonous, male behaviour. Behind this incident lies the same brutish male attitude that laughingly approves of cat calling, sexual remarks, and uninvited touching. Sadly, women MPs are keenly aware of the consequences of such laddish attitudes, in their own lives and wider society.

Watching porn in full view of other people is egregious, and poisonous, male behaviour

This incident is even worse than laddishness though. Watching porn betrays a lack of empathy in general. It is well-documented that the porn industry has profited from illegal exploitation. Porn sites, and platforms like OnlyFans, are rife with underage and non-consensual sex, violence, and sinister, misogynistic themes. If you click on videos and visit sites, you’re boosting a business model built on exploitation.

Watching porn also shows a complete lack of concern about its impact on young people, especially girls. In June last year, English schools’ regulator Ofsted warned sexual harassment has become “normalised” among school-aged children. Schoolgirls who spoke to inspectors alleged that boys are replicating sexual behaviour they’ve witnessed online. Around the same time, Everyone’s Invited, a website set up to allow anonymous reporting of harassment, hit the headlines.

Anyone enjoying porn is doing so at the expense of people who have been exploited for profit

Scrolling through the thousands upon thousands of testimonies on this site, you regularly come across references to porn. Like the testimony of a girl raped at the age of 12 by a neighbour, who stresses that it was porn which “led him to act the way he did”. Or the girl assaulted by a male friend who notes that boys her age “openly discuss violent porn” and “objectify women”. Or the girls forced to watch porn on their school bus by other male pupils, “pestered for photos or to meet up”.

An MP who was truly aggrieved at the suffering of female constituents would surely think twice about enjoying the very content that is motivating such suffering. Yet this MP – and many others if you consider research showing 20,000 porn searches on parliamentary computers each month – hasn’t the slightest concern. Porn is something to enjoy, despite the suffering of individuals on and off screen.

Call me old fashioned, or prudish, or pearl clutching, I don’t care. I think it’s right to expect high moral standards in politicians. And a politician who enjoys vile pornography does not have such standards. Porn loving MPs won’t be getting my vote any time soon.

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