Parliamentary Debates & Porn

Nov 10, 2012

Sounds steamy, eh?

The college’s litsoc meets every Saturday; today being one, we got down to the dirty. Extempore, PIs, one-on-one debating and then four on four.

I, along with three others, was asked to speak for the motion, ‘A lady in high heels is no more free than one in a burqa‘. This was a topic for debate in the World Debate Finals, where the world’s best speaker tackled it on mike.

In all honesty, I clammed down. I worked at nudging my brain and noted down a few points with regard to the topic. And then we debated (will get down to the points in a while). The best part is, yes I messed it up (while the two other speakers, one on my side and one on the other were more experienced, they killed quite a lot of it), my seniors who coordinate the society provide invaluable feedback on my content and speaking strategy/technicalities.

I was not at all good; I took with me the sheet with all my points, and still proceeded to make an absolute fudge out of it, tripping over my own points.

After the session was over, I along with four other friends/fellow interested-in-debating-but-not-much-experience speakers and two extremely awesome debaters debated in the Asian Parliamentary style.

It was releasing.

The motion was ‘The House supports use of pornography for sex education’. (The same had been debated on in recent national-level parliamentary debate organised by a law school here.)

It truly helps to top thinking and just start speaking. Seriously; The seniors spoke as the Prime Minister, then the Leader of Opposition and Deputy PM, after which I finally slayed my demons and decided to speak: it was marginally better than the first time I did today.

The point of an Asian PD is to break your opposition’s arguments. I had been noting arguments on both sides till it was my turn, so that helped (once a habit, always is!) but I’m happy too, because I did not refer to it as often as earlier. The ideas were in my head and I was calmer and a little more confident while speaking.

(I have previously participated in a model UN conference. Both forms of debating have their own merits, though I find myself drawn to the darker side of parliamentary debates.)

So what’s next? I have decided to debate like a nut whenever I catch a chance to; we next meet on the coming Tuesday and Wednesday to debate. There is no other way to grow than to debate against and learn from the best debaters in the country. (One of the senior coordinators? He has been debating since the fifth grade. An absolute sight to behold when he kills you on the stage, so much to learn from him!)

Meanwhile, we are also assigned one political, biz and a sports topic each for us to prepare and debate on in the next session of Kronicle, the litsoc.

As for the high heels and burqa motion, here’s something I have read about and saw in action today: there are at most half a dozen or so issues, really. Every motion has an underlying principle. ‘A lady in high heels is no more free than one in a burqa’ boils down to freedom and how you choose to define it.

FOR:

Freedom is not being free of all compulsions. Laws forbid me from killing people walking down the street: will I call that a restraint on my personal freedom? In India, you cannot enter the Taj Mahal unless you have a pass. Does that counts as your freedom being taken away?

Freedom is not the absence of compulsions. It is, rather, being free of the restraints you place on yourself.

Someone who wears a burqa complies with Sharia laws and covers her attire and face, since she is expected to ‘reserve’ herself only for her husband and no other strange man. There are women who agree to spending their lives as dictated by the laws, but do they have freedom to be?

Compare that with a high-flying model. She is expected to be well-turned out and high-heeled at all times. Her not doing so elicits disappointment and draws flak from onlookers. She has to confirm to the societal expectations of how a model is supposed to look like and behave.

High heels and burqa here simply representative of how an individual’s personal freedom and how that individual’s personal freedom is related to the bigger pool called society and the world.

There is nothing called absolute freedom. A woman in high heels is as free as one in a burqa. A woman in high heels is as chained as the one who wears a burqa.

(I’d love to know your stance against the topic.)

Warning

As for the motion  ‘The House supports use of pornography for sex education’, I can lay an outline of the points raised by the government and the opposition.

PM:

  • Defined the motion
  • Defined the terms ‘sex education’, ‘pornography’, the age group being targeted and the areas that fall under discussion
  • Sexed: Educating young people about sex and the social and ethical, acceptable/plausible norms that accompany the act and safe practices; the repercussions of act and important things to consider before indulging in sex.
  • Pornography: Refers to visual depiction of the sexual act
  • Age group: 15-17
  • The PM proposed that the govt tie up with porn companies in order to provide effective visual aid to accompany and help students’ learning during sex education
  • The pornography will be commission especially for the sex ed syllabus
  • It shall be softcore: no genitalia being shown. The sexual act in its most basic form, devoid of any obscenities that is inappropriate for the children and the obscenities we are looking to shield them from.
  • The content and the process will be regulated by the govt
  • You essentially show students the right way, so that whenever they decide to have sex, they avoid any of the unwanted consequences (accidental pregnancies, rape etc) that having sex might have
  • Special made pornography ensures: young mids aren’t exposed to anything inappropriate or disturbing or violent for their age, women are not degraded or objectified

Leader of Opposition

  • Need for sex ed is something everyone agrees on
  • Govt mentions regulation of the entire process: what regulation do they intend to put in place for this proposition?
  • Students already have ready access to the internet. Do you really expect parents to be okay with them watching pornography, even it is ‘tailor-made by porn companies for sex ed purposes’?
  • Seeing how students have access to the internet like I mentioned, there is no guarantee they will not go online and view he pornography that is not intended for them. (Child filters? No problemo)
  • Use of pornography not only creates unrealistic expectations and pressure for the first sexual experience, it creates a false idea of what sex is about
  • How moral is it to be using porn in the first place?

Deputy PM

  • Visual aids are increasing being tapped into to make learning easier and less cumbersome for students. They, along with basic theory prove to be pretty effective, agreed. Using special porno aids in educating the students about possible consequences and repercussions of the sexual act and answers the what’s and how’s that raging hormones, teenage and curiosity bring.
  • Instead of them satisfying this curiosity about sex by accessing pornography on the internet, we are exposing them to it in moderation and under supervision.
  • Special pornography ensures sex is depicted in the correct light and the right taste and will go a long way in helping answer the teenagers’ questions about the act. (Guidance is mostly sparse when it comes to sex and teenagers on the verge of adulthood)

I ended up countering the PM and DPM’s points with these. I have added some more points that my seniors suggested I could’ve spoken on:

  • Why do you need pornography in the first place?
  • The current method being used to educate youngsters about sex is good enough
  • Involving pornography will only whet their curiosity even more, which means very high chances of them coming across questionable and explicit sexual content on the net
  • The PM defined sex ed as educating the young about the sexual act. You do not need pornography to achieve that; how to put on a condom? You can always use a banana to demonstrate!
  • You are telling them about how to have sex and then you want them not to have sex, really? When you want to do something and you’re asked not to, the desire to do that very same thing increases.
  • This can also result in extremely unacecptable sexual behavior: rapes, no protection, anything.

For homework,

Biz: FDI/FII, the situation on India, china, other countries

Political: Read up on Romney!

Sports: Why wasn’t Sachin Tendulkar awarded the Bharat Ratna, the highest honor an Indian civilian can be conferred with?

I had immense fun. I am looking forward to the next set of debates, and most definitely, the next time the litsoc meets 🙂

3 thoughts on “Parliamentary Debates & Porn

  1. ´A lady in high heels is no more free than one in a burqa‘ The proposition certainly got me all fired up. First, I´d like to know what the male equivalent would be?

    Looks as though you getting into something you really enjoy, and I´m sure you´ll be able to fight your corner as good as anyone else, if not better. Stick at it

  2. Having gone on to the pornography debate bit of your post, I also have my pennysworth to air.

    To equate sex education with pornography shows the mind of the person posing the question. Using drawings or photos of the human body for educational purposes cannot be regarded as exposing students to pornography. In the same way doctors have to see images of naked bodies,- and real bodies – in order to deal with diseases and surgical procedures,,we must all learn about our bodies – and the bodies of others – so we can understand ourselves and how we work..Pornography only occurs when such images are used for sexual gratification. That’s not to say I think it’s wrong. It’s just a different question. To confuse the two only adds to the problem.

    Whether showing pornographic images to students helps them to understand sexuality better, I have my doubts. I think most young people have a fairly good idea about what constitutes pornography and what constitutes biology. Perhaps, their tutors don’t always make the same distinction.

    Without wanting to appear to condemn, or support pornography, it deserves a debate of its own.

    • Now that’s one point we hadn’t looked at before!
      The discussion centered on whether showing videos containing nude human forms for sex ed is a good idea or not. Without weighing the meaning of ‘pornography’ in this context, the proposition even went on to say that the government planned to collaborate w/ adult media moguls and as an added plus, it supports the industry too.
      But then again, the debate was defined in India, and considering how open Indians are towards sex in general (‘What Kamasutra?’) I guess showing nude human forms to children would be a widespread concern, as the opposition had pointed out.

      Whoa. I’m still trying to fish out someone willing to debate. Sigh.
      Hey, here’s what. Let’s debate on stuff sometime: it’s be fun!

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