And Here I Thought Arizona Had Some Dumb Laws

And Here I Thought Arizona Had Some Dumb Laws

– Calico Rudasill, Porn For Women

Many years ago when I was feeling sorry for myself over some dumb crap (the exact nature of which has long since escaped my memory), my mother sat me down for a talk about life, privilege, struggle and a host of other things I had been hitherto too self-absorbed to contemplate, much less comprehend.

funny porn laws

Read on…

At the top of mom’s “suck it up, kid” exhibits was this thought: Remember that whatever problems you think you might have, other girls in other places are experiencing those same issues right now, on top of living under the crushing thumb of a government and/or society where an obnoxious, unruly shit like me might just find herself stoned to death for spouting off the way I did with regularity.

Granted, mom didn’t express things quite the way I did above, but the gist of the message was unmistakable: You think you have it tough? Try being a woman in any number of countries where being female is almost considered a crime in itself.

My admittedly warped and spotty memory of mom’s lecture has been ringing in my ears lately, after reading about a series of First Information Reports (or “FIRs”) filed in India against adult performer Sunny Leone and seemingly just about anybody else who arguably has violated something known as The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act.

As is often the case with even those most terrible laws, the IRWA is not without its merits – comedic merits, that is.

Granted, I’m a weirdo, miscreant and nerd, so maybe other people don’t find this stuff as amusing as I do, but to me, the appropriate response to a law containing the below definition of “advertisement” is a hardy, even raucous, guffaw:

“In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires, ‘advertisement’ includes any notice, circular, label, wrapper or other document and also includes any visible representation made by means of any light, sound, smoke or gas.”

Any “visible representation” made by means of any “light, sound, smoke or gas,” eh?

While this may seem like sufficient coverage of the advertising mediums available to smut-promoters, I fear the Indian authorities might have left open a major loophole by failing to prohibit advertising porn through indecent ice sculptures.

The more important definition, of course, is the one which lays out exactly what qualifies as an “indecent representation” of a woman. Under the IRWA, indecent representation of women “means the depiction in any manner of the figure of a woman; her form or body or any part thereof in such way as to have the effect of being indecent, or derogatory to, or denigrating women, or is likely to deprave, corrupt or injure the public morality or morals.”

In other words, you can get into hot water in India for distributing essentially any image of a woman which can conceivably be construed as ‘naughty’ by any backwater erotophobic freak who stumbles into a police station with bug up his/her ass. (Ok, so that’s not how a lawyer would explain it, but please bear in mind I’m also not charging you several hundred bucks an hour to read this rant.)

To be fair, the law also provides an exception for “good” nudity, allowing materials “the publication of which is proved to be…. justified as being for the public good” and, unsurprisingly, any depiction which is “kept or used bona fide for religious purpose.”

Still, even with those exceptions in place, clearly the evidentiary bar isn’t set too high during the initial phases of Indian indecency investigations, judging by the fact one of the FIRs filed against Sunny Leone also names Google CEO Larry Page among the guilty parties. I’m not so sure the U.S. is going to be inclined to extradite an influential billionaire over an alleged violation of this sort, but you can’t blame a morally outraged resident of Ajmer City for trying, right?

But hey, at least Sunny’s critics in India have been relatively reasonable thus far, merely calling for her deportation and censorship, rather than besetting upon her home with bags of peacock feathers and buckets of boiling pitch.

It would be remiss of me not to mention a personal bias in all of this, because I’ve met and conversed with Ms. Leone a few times and found her to be quite pleasant and extremely affable – you know, for a woman who is apparently engaged in “corrupting youth” and “insulting the dignity of Indian women,” at least.

While a small part of me (of which I’m not terribly proud) will always resent and envy Sunny for being far, far, far too physically attractive for me to stand next to for more than about five minutes without sustaining a serious blow to my ‘sexiness-ego,’ she was anything but stand-offish or too cool for school.

Granted, back when I met her (first in 2004 and again in 2007), Sunny wasn’t yet the celebrity she has since become, but I have hard believing she developed into some sort of monstrous bitch in the meantime, or someone deserving of being labeled a source of moral decay or societal upheaval.

The good news for Sunny is that if for some crazy reason the Indian authorities do freak the fuck out and kick her out of the country, she’ll be more than welcome back here in the U.S. — where even our most stridently anti-porn people usually stop short of advocating banishment.

Sure, our domestic nutjobs do their best to get the authorities to lock up pornographers on occasion, but as I suspect even the easily morally-outraged folks of Amjer City would concede, Sunny Leone is not exactly Ira Isaacs.

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