Nonsense, horsefeathers, and idle musings from a decade in South Korea (2002-2012).


26 October, 2012

The ROK Government's War on Porn

By Aaron
26 October, 2012


Korea has a curious relationship with sex. On the one hand, the nation's cities are covered in houses of ill-repute (anything from a massage parlor to a karaoke room to a barber shop could be a front for prostitution), which Koreans largely accept, even if the government occasionally goes through the motions of cracking down. On the other hand, however, the country is a net importer of pornography, as the production of its own domestic industry is largely stymied by laws prohibiting the exhibition of naughty bits and, by extension, penetration. All of which just goes to show that you can never quite predict where the lines separating prudery from permissiveness will be drawn.

In its latest attempt to move those lines, the Korea Times reports the Korean government has recently been cracking down on online porn, which it says is responsible for a recent wave of sexual assaults around the country. Of course, the government has, to my knowledge, offered no evidence demonstrating causality between porn and the assaults (and no, simply showing that the assailants had previously seen a blue movie would not serve as proof). I, for one, would certainly be curious to know whether sexual violence is up, down, or the same over the past five, ten, or twenty years - that is, in the time since Koreans have had easy access to online smut.

Perhaps, sometime in the near future (ahem, over here), someone will bring to the government's attention the stacks of empirical evidence which suggests that porn and rape are, in economic terms, substitutes, not complements. That is, a man who has access to porn may be less, rather than more, likely to force himself upon anyone else. I think that might be interesting and, more important, relevant to the folks in charge of drawing up this crackdown on porn.

For now, however, the Korean government will badger private companies into doing the state's bidding, forcing internet companies, for instance, to install anti-porn software on their websites and locking up those who do not comply. If I were a betting man, though, I'd wager that Korean males - being, well, males - will find a way to watch other people bonk online.

Regular readers will have already guessed that I'm not smitten with the Korean government's attempt to "protect the children" (where are the parents?). That said, it has resulted in sentences such as this, from the Times story:

Last year, nearly 55 percent of male students in middle and high school said they watched porn online...

Meaning, of course, that 45 percent of male students in middle and high school simply lied through their teeth or were still relying on their dad's old stack of magazines.

 
And since we're on the topic of porn, here's an episode of Penn & Teller's Showtime show Bullshit!, which tackles the hysteria around just this topic. It is, I should warn you, not safe for work or young ears, though YouTube also doesn't permit the display of naughty bits, so you'll note that the best scenes have been blurred. I'm sure, however, that you know where to find those sorts of scenes if you're so inclined.


Penn and Teller: "Bullshit!: The War on Porn" (NSFW)