The sharp prospect of the governmental chopping blade is a frightful thing, but its something we will all endure. Whether the coalition are right to cut so deep, so quickly, is a matter that can be debated for ages, but the unsavoury realisation is that it is going to happen and we are powerless to stop it. However I believe the one department that should be protected more so than others, is education.
We all realise that in order to maintain our proud position on the international stage as a hub of potential, promise and initiative, we need to sort our finances out. Yet within this lies the problem of why reducing the reach of the state’s monetary arm especially in education is counterproductive. Education is the bedrock of social mobility, the generation of new ideas, and the advancement of understanding. So reducing the finance it receives, reduces its importance in the eyes of young people, and starves them of realising not only their full potential, but that of our nation.
In today’s news a leaked source suggested that there could be funding cuts of up to £4.2 billion for universities in the next Spending Review. A few days ago Lord Browne’s report suggested that education will now become a prospect for the wealthier classes. And the threat of many universities caving in is one which has gathered speed. Politicians scrap over the definition of fairness, this isn’t fair- this is placing education on a pedestal and kicking the less well off further into the wilderness.
Following the recent HIV scare in LA’s “Silicone valley” all prominent US porn companies have suspended business until those at risk can be quarantined and carefully checked. Once again the question of condom use in the industry has been raised by The Adult Industry Medical Health Care Foundation.
Meanwhile South Africa’s first porn film to feature an all black cast was produced this week. In a nod to the growing AIDS-awareness campaign both male actors wear condoms throughout.
Health-concious porn is highly important for three reasons. Firstly because diesease can spread through the worldwide industry very quickly and affect a huge amount of people. Secondly because it’s often the first exposure young people have to the act of sex itself, and therefore has a duty to educate. Thirdly because the good health, self-respect and self-worth of porn actors are crucial to bringing the idea of legitimate sex work into the 21st century and promoting a dialogue around safe and healthy stripping and prostitution.
Feminism needs to acknowledge that putting paper bags over lads’ mags in shops is not going to make sexuality go away. Extensive legislation is necessary to protect those involved, but also necessary are a greater awareness and a broader dialogue of and around the subject. Tarring the entire industry with the brush of “chauvanism” is not doing anybody any favours, because it makes it difficult to tell what is sexist and what is simply sex.
To end with a quote from the wonderful Wendy McElroy: ”What I am saying is that truth is usually more complicated than any one perspective can capture. Prostitution is not a monolith. Each woman experiences the profession in a different manner. And nothing can be gained by having different groups of feminists or prostitutes — all of whom are probably telling the truth of their own experiences — attempting to discredit each other.”