Three cheers for Canadian content:
A Canadian pay-television pornography channel — which is pledging to show least 50 per cent domestic content at night — has been approved by federal regulators this week, but it must now try to convince cable and satellite companies to carry the service.
The digital channel, which is to be called Northern Peaks, was approved Wednesday by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, after Alberta-based Real Productions first applied for the licence in October, 2007.
In its application, the company said the proposed service would be “Canada’s first adult video channel offering significant Canadian adult content.” Northern Peaks [charming!] will produce its own movies, in addition to events and series from Canada, the company told the regulator.
“During each broadcast year, the licensee shall devote not less than 50 per cent of the evening broadcast period to Canadian programming,” say CRTC documents outlining the decision.
Before Northern Peaks will be given its licence, though, it must show the CRTC that at least one cable or satellite carrier has agreed to pick up the service. The channel has three years to find an agreement or risk losing the licence.
The channel is a Category 2 pay television service, meaning cable and satellite carriers are not required to pick up the channel and the company must negotiate with each carrier.
The CRTC said it did not receive any interventions at hearings held in May, meaning there were no other broadcasters or interest groups who registered their opposition to the bid.
According to the licence, Northern Peaks is restricted to certain genres, including: drama and comedy, long-form documentary, mini-series, theatrical feature films, game shows and human interest programming. It will not carry any high-definition programming, according to company documents.
Based in Sherwood Park, Alta, Real Productions produces adult content for Starz, Playboy TV and HBO. “Northern Peaks’ broadcast day will start at 6 a.m. and run a full 24-hours,” the company told the CRTC in its application.
If it launches, Northern Peaks will be required to spend a minimum of 25 per cent of its subscriber revenues on Canadian programming, including at least $1-million in its first broadcast year. All programs must be closed captioned, as per CRTC rules.
In approving the licence, the CRTC also issued a reminder to cable and satellite companies that “due to the adult nature of the programming, this service shall only be distributed at the specific request of the subscriber.”
For various reasons that I consider good, I’m not a pro-censorship feminist. But neither am I pro-porn, as if it isn’t one giant, creepy slur on the bodies of women and girls. Home grown porn ain’t nothin’ to crow about. If men weren’t addictive consumers of this misogynist crap there would be no buyers or subscribers. The fact that so many men can’t or won’t see past their own self-indulgence is. just. so. sad. But it also makes me angry. If there are any Canadian men out there who give a shit they might at least take this opportunity to organize a boycott of this slime and take it upon themselves to educate their brothers, our sons, about the harm they do to their sisters and our daughters (and themselves, of course) when they insist on keeping porn in its secure position as a billions of dollars a year profit industry in this country, of which cable porn is actually just a small part:
The pornification of culture is something that we encounter at every turn: it’s in Snoop Dogg and Pussycat Dolls videos; it keeps the Girls Gone Wild franchise going strong; it guides the fashion trends of females six to 60; and it’s behind prime-time reality shows, like the E! Network’s The Girls Next Door chronicling the life of Hugh Hefner. But when it comes to explicit materials, nothing compares to the Wild West of cyberporn. There’s been an explosion of pornographic websites in the last decade, with tens of millions of sites literally a click away, according to Frederick S. Lane, author of Obscene Profits: The Entrepreneurs of Pornography in the Cyber Age. Lane estimates the North American cyperporn industry brings in about $2 billion dollars a year.
It’s not quite as difficult for parents to regulate the exposure of their children to porn via cable networks, if they’re so inclined. The same can’t be said for internet porn. But if we’re not prudes, why should we care? Or, since many women already do, why should men care:
“Pornography in all its permutations affects developing sexuality,” writes Paul in Pornified. “The younger the age of exposure and the more hard-core the material, the more intense the effects.” These effects can include everything from a skewed sense of sexual norms to difficulty maintaining a healthy, loving relationship; an unrealistic view of women; and potentially, pornography addiction, which can interfere with school work, friendships and family relationships.
Many people scoff at the notion that pornography is harmful and resist with the notion that people who object are Victorian-age prudes. There are enough of those around to lend this view some credibility. But surely it strains that same credibility to cling to the belief that the objectification of women and the often violent misogynist characteristics of the overwhelming majority of porn images isn’t harmful to us, grown men and women as well as girls and boys:
Sex therapists, like Toronto-based Robert Burgoyne, have a term for what these young men are up to: cybersexual auto-eroticism. In itself, says Burgoyne, it’s not a problem. The danger with pornography in general is that it encourages users to isolate sexuality from emotional intimacy. “It becomes problematic if it interferes with other aspects of life such as school, work and relationships or if these young men are getting harmful information or locked into objectifying women sexually,” he said.
We are ripping ourselves off and poisoning our children with these severely limited and limiting images of human sexuality and relationships:
David Marcus, a psychologist at the San Jose Marital and Sexuality Center in California, who treats men of all ages struggling with pornography addiction, says one of biggest problems with Internet porn in particular is that people’s tolerance to it becomes accelerated. “What people really, really don’t get is that what was enough yesterday — and exciting yesterday — is not enough today,” he says. In other words, very soon a naked woman is old news, and users are seeking out different, increasingly graphic, and in extreme cases criminal, content — things that will continue to shock and arouse. “They have to keep getting more and more, so it becomes this insatiable thirst for it.”
Marcus says that when the men he sees look back on their own childhoods, there are often two common indicators of future trouble. The first is early exposure to particularly graphic or disturbing sexual images. “As an analogy, it’s like trauma in that people can only tolerate a certain degree of intensity,” says Marcus. Especially for very young or immature children. “Their central nervous system can only take in so much. And so if the experience is so intense or so mind-altering, what happens is it really affects their sense of social norms — what they can expect from a partner and what their own desires are get so flooded that they can’t really make contact with what would be a more ‘normal’ progression of sexual desire.”
The rigidity of male and female gender roles can be seen even in the explanations for what appears to be the acceptance of pornography in the lives of young males:
For Burgoyne, this is all part of growing up male in the digital age: they’re unlikely to talk “love” with each other. “If teenage boys admit to having romantic fantasies it could be social suicide,” he says, “like saying you’re passionate about your stamp collection.”
We haven’t come a long way, baby:
He does not think parents who discover that their sons are accessing pornographic websites should necessarily panic. “We shouldn’t assume that a teen boy who self-pleasures while looking at erotica on the Internet isn’t, at heart, just a hopeless romantic,” he said.
Holy crap, then it’s okay with us that our young men are forced to translate their longing for self-pleasure and their romantic feelings for others (men or women) into a need to view women being exploited? Sounds real healthy to me.