The Small Boobs Have Snowballed

Not long after I posted about the Australian Sex Party’s press release that the Classification Board were now banning depictions of women with too-small breasts, my friend Michael Meloni wrote something similar on his blog Somebody Think of the Children.

His post ended up on social networking site Reddit and from there it went beserk, ending up on hundreds of blogs, The Register, Jezebel, Encore, Crikey and the Sydney Morning Herald.

Both Michael’s blog and the Sex Party’s site went down under the strain of so much traffic.

Michael’s post was far less ranty than mine. He also contacted the Board and received this response. They stated that they’re only following “the guidelines” and that said guidelines don’t specifically target small boobs or female ejaculation. They did not, however, say that female ejaculation was NOT urination and have yet to respond to a direct question on that topic.


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Their reply pretty much confirms that the Board are able to arbitrarily ban films and magazines based upon their own interpretation of the almighty “guidelines” and that interpretation is not necessarily based on science or evidence.

The viral response to the idea that “Australia bans small boobs” has been rather fascinating. Almost everyone has responded with horror at the idea. Even feminists who are anti-porn think that banning female ejaculation is sexist and stupid.

Crikey has criticised the whole thing as being a case of Chinese Whispers. But even if the headline was over the top I think it’s done a great job at getting the problem of Australian censorship out into consciousness of the wider world. The plethora of comments I’ve read today suggests that plenty of people understand the issues at stake here and they’re not happy about it. Questions are being asked about why our censorship system is making these kinds of judgement calls about body types and sex acts. I think people are wondering about the accountability of the Classification Board and their ability to be so secretive about their decisions.

The pro-censorship groups who lobbied for stricter applications of the guidelines have weighed in to the debate, arguing that banning depictions of models who “appear to be under 18” is basically about banning certain magazines that allegedly appeal to pedophiles.

While I can understand their concern, I remain an advocate of free speech. If a model is over 18, she is legal. The magazine in question may be offensive in what it depicts but it’s not child porn. Unless someone can show evidence that reading that kind of magazine leads directly to criminal activity, we are legislating against thought crime.

Interestingly, today’s Sydney Morning Herald featured a related story saying that Australian artists are now afraid to depict children in their work for fear of prosecution or censorship. They’ve even released a book for artists called The Art Censorship Guide, detailing what to do when confronted with police. The spectre of thought crime is having a chilling effect on our artists, it seems. I discussed the issue of thought crime and art a couple of years ago during the Bill Henson saga.

To be honest, I feel like the “small boobs” thing is not as important as the female ejaculation ban. This is a real clear-cut issue that feminists can stand and fight for. We need to be vocal and tell the government that banning certain depictions of the female orgasm is sexist and wrong. We need to tell them to stop trying to regulate sexuality and to let adults be adults. We need to say that the personal is the political, that freedom of speech includes sexual speech, that declaring female ejaculation to be “abhorrent” is an act of oppression against women.

Time to draw up the slogans, girls?
Get your laws out of my drawers!
I squirt and I vote!
Female ejaculation is not a phallusy!
Every orgasm a gushing orgasm!
Australian women need the Classification Board like a fish needs a bicyle. (Ok, this one isn’t going to fit well on a sign)

Previous posts:
Female ejaculation films to be banned in Australia
The strange politics of “obscene bodily fluids”
Now Australia is banning small boobs

Update: The Sex Party have posted further comments about the last 24 hours here including a story of a female ejaculation scene being classified RC.
Update 31st Jan: The comments section on the Crikey article has made for interesting reading. In it I’ve elaborated on a few points.

7 Replies to “The Small Boobs Have Snowballed”

  1. I do wonder about your “so long as she is 18, anything is fine” thought process. The OFLC currently rates media that *infers* the model is under 18 (a crude example might be, a model shot with piggy-tails, playing with dolls, wearing a school uniform and sucking a lollipop) as RC (Refused Classification), regardless of the model’s actual age (I have always wanted to test how absurd this could get, with a model clearly aged 40, but it’s off our genre, and prolly a bit risky given my current circumstances).

    The Hustler mags mentioned certainly do have provocative titles like “Barely 18”, and the models are shot with a youth slant. I’m an erotica producer, and (even) I find them questionable. I don’t think it’s clear where the line should be, and from your post, I don’t think you are either?

    Presumably you’d agree there DOES have to be a line somewhere, right?

    1. Garion, you’re right about me feeling uncertain about the whole subject. I support the concept of freedom of speech and thus feel compelled to argue for those types of depictions BUT I do find them to be disturbing and extremely problematic. I’m trying to form an opinion about them based on evidence rather than simple gut reaction. At this point I can’t see any hard evidence to suggest they cause the readers to commit crime so it keeps coming back to the legislation of thought crime. It just doesn’t make any sense to try and stop people from thinking something. Because you can’t assume that a thought will automatically lead to an action. I can think about stealing a car or blowing something up but it’s not a crime until I do it.

      But this is such a difficult topic with so much potential to cause irrational responses, I’d almost rather not get involved in such a discussion. I just know I’ll end up misrepresented. When it comes to drawing a line… well, yes. But where? And by whom? And how do you stop the line from moving once it’s established? While the “appears under 18” rule seems to be intended to censor content that appeals to pedophiles, it can easily be used against more ethical magazines/films/websites. I’m sure there are models on Abby Winters who are over 18 but who may, thanks to their genetic makeup, look younger. The intention may not be to appeal to “base instincts” but the Classification Board can rule that it’s RC – essentially child porn. I think that’s exactly the situation I’m arguing against.

      The line is moving right now. Conservatives are pushing it onward. The mandatory net filter is proof of that. I feel the need to speak up for free speech in the face of that, even if it means I have to put myself on “the wrong side”.

      I guess this argument makes me an “extreme libertarian” in some people’s eyes. I’m not sure that I am because part of me says yes, ban the fuckers. But I do believe in the “marketplace of ideas” and I also try and operate on the principle of “where’s the harm?” If an unbiased scientist can offer me real proof of harm, well sure, draw the line, ban away.

  2. I’ve never really understood how anyone can judge a person’s age and that is the deciding factor if someone is over 18 or not. Its nuts. I know people think I’m much younger than I am.

    While Fiona Patten was blasted in some quarters for bending the truth a bit (well hey, she IS a politician now), it really seems that the Classification board ARE factoring in breast size when making these decisions. One wonders how European and American men cope with stuff like Hustler’s Barely Legal, yet Australian men can’t.

    I’m also none too surprised that Julie Gale of Kids Free 2B Kids has popped her head into the debate at Crikey and actually said her little group has been “helping” the Classification Board. Seriously what the hell do pollybagged adult magazines with only the model’s head and the magazine’s masthead showing have to do with children? Truly, people like Julie Gale are the true exploiters of children. They use them to ban stuff they dislike.

    I would really hate to see the end of R18+ Category 1 magazines in this country. I do love stuff like Paul Raymond’s titles (Mayfair, Men’s World, Club etc). Just the right amount explicitness I like and no hardcore stuff. Plus a wide range of body and breast types (though I would like some more women like Aria Giovanni) as well as a good selection of colours and nationalities (and lots of brunettes!). Except not enough Asian women! Have to hunt down Hong Kong magazines for that.

  3. I dunno. I tend to think that when it comes to any film, if it is legal to do without cameras present, then it should be with them.

    It is legal for adults to suck lollipops; they aren’t just for kids. It is legal for adults to wear school girl outfits, indeed this is a fairly popular costume. It is legal for adults to put their hair into piggy-tails. It is legal for an adult to do all three and have sex at the same time – even with a third adult watching. The presence of the camera should be irrelevant.

    When it comes to depictions, that is text based stories, cartoons and computer generated images, everything should be permitted. You may be able to argue libel or slander, if the depiction is obviously a representation of a real person, but if no actual person is harmed, I don’t see on what basis fiction can be legitimately banned. (There is a potential future problem here: Computers are rapidly reaching the point where they can generate images that are indistinguishable from reality. A computer generated image of child abuse will be a difficult problem.)

    This is why we allow violence depictions in media. While the acts depicted are illegal, it is not illegal to give the impression of violence, nor is it illegal to write or draw about acts of violence.

    Anyway, that’s a little beside the point. I too was impressed with how quickly the story went viral. It is a little bit of a pity that indisputable documentation of the bans occurring hasn’t been produced, although the CB’s non-answer is pretty telling. Overall, I think this is a tremendous boon. It is an easy to sell argument against such censorship.

  4. When it comes to shaping behavior in a sexually abusive manner, there are way more important factors than porn. Things like socialisation, culture, peer groups. .

    Getting aroused by watching something and masturbating to it creates a link in your brain that affirms that thing is sexy, but if you have any idea of the consequences of following that thing in the real world (if it is somebody who appears to be a minor) then you would understand the potential damage you could inflict on others and yourself. (I realise some are unable to tell the difference.)

    Anyway, isn’t porn about stimulating the imagination? Isn’t it our imagination that gets us off? Isn’t the context that sex is in, and the histories that the parties involved bring to it, as important as physical stimulation? In this sense, porn is valuable, even (and I might get stuff thrown at me for this) if it does excite fantasies that would be extremely damaging to people if they were to be carried out in the real world.

    I agree with Ms Naughty that it is bullshit to try to curb thinking about a topic. Everything needs to be thought about. EVERYTHING. Doesn’t a 13 year old kid ask themselves if they would fuck their sister? Isn’t it an important question to be asked and deeply thought about?

    Obviously, I don’t favour sexual intentions directed toward children. But this isn’t really what we’re discussing. What we’re discussing is the idea of it, and that should be thought about, just like any other aspect of sexual imagination.

    Sexual fantasy is a very strange beast, and one that is probably often shoved under the bed out of sight. (But always within arm’s reach.)

    On the other hand, a lot of porn is shit and just plays on our sexual desire to get our dollars.

    Anyway, I’ve blogged about this.

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