Melinda Tankard Reist founded Collective Shout ten years ago, a grassroots campaigns movement for a world free of sexploitation in all its forms. She’s an author, speaker, media commentator, blogger and advocate for women and girls.
Melinda is best known for her work addressing sexualization, objectification, harms of pornography, sexual exploitation, trafficking, and violence against women.
Constant abuse and sometimes even death threats have become common occurrences for Melinda Tankard Reist. Those reactions only serve to highlight the seriousness of the topics that she raises in our society.
I was honoured to have her join me on my podcast, Bleeding Daylight. You can hear our discussion by looking for Bleeding Daylight wherever you find podcasts, or listen using the media player below.
The issues raised are very important and so I urge you to share this episode with others.
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Pornography used to be something hidden and shameful. In recent years it has become disturbingly mainstream. It’s talked about regularly on television and portrayed as normal as well as being discussed in general conversation.
Research shows that 35% of Internet users in Australia have viewed pornography or visited a sex-oriented matchmaker site. That’s around 4.3 million Australians.
“Our reproduction organs are often given too much attention in the discussion of sexuality,” say Dr. Struthers. “It is the brain, however, where we feel the sexual longing, the arousal, the focus and the ecstasy that comes from sexual intimacy.
Pornography takes human sexuality out of its natural context, intimacy between two human beings, and makes it a product to be bought and sold.”
“Repeated exposure to pornography changes the way our brains see each other. Repeated exposure to any stimulus results in neurological circuit making. Pornography is the consumption of
sexual poison that becomes part of the fabric of the mind”
He’s just finished touring Australia giving audiences an insight into the harmful effects of porn. I had the opportunity to chat to him just before he jumped on a plane to head home. You can hear our conversation by clicking the play button on the audio player at the bottom of this post.
If you’d like more information about how porn is affecting our communities or how to break free from pornography, vist the Guilty Pleasure website.
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The debate over whether pornography can ever be acceptable looks set to continue and you and I may have very different views but there’s currently a push that is gaining widespread agreement from various members of the community.
Walk into just about any service station, newsagent or a variety of other shops and you’re likely to come face to face with highly sexualised images on the covers of soft porn publications or what have become known as lads’ magazines. There’s a growing backlash against such magazines being placed in public view and many are calling for tougher restrictions to move certain publications out of the view of children and young teenagers.
Do we really want our sons and daughters to think that the provocative poses displayed on the cover of these magazines should be accepted as normal and appropriate for public places? This is not about banning the sale of such publications, it’s about removing them from public view.
My regular Wednesday morning guest on 98.5 Sonshine FM is Ross Clifford who is the Principal of Morling College in New South Wales and Vice President elect of the Baptist World Alliance. Each week we chat about a range of issues relating to spirituality and belief.
Today we discussed the display of pornographic material in shops and while Ross was speaking from a spiritual perspective he pointed out that it’s not just the ‘religious right’ having a whinge. Many people from a variety of walks of life are saying, “enough’s enough”.
Often in such cases we can be led to believe that there’s no turning back and that it’s just something we have to put up with but that’s not the case at all. Ross spoke about a variety of things we can do that will have a real effect including visiting Say No 4 Kids to become better informed on the issue and to sign their online petition.
Melinda Tankard Reist is a Canberra author, speaker, commentator and advocate with a special interest in issues affecting women and girls. She has recently written an article titled Get porn out of the corner store say child health experts and advocates which highlights the issue and links to other coverage of the debate, including opinions from a group of child experts.
Are you someone who is tired of seeing unsuitable images everytime you go shopping? Are you concerned about the message it’s giving to impressionable young minds? Are you prepared to put in a little effort to see change occur?
Click the play button of the audio player at the bottom of this post to hear what Ross had to say and then decide what you can do to bring change.
Shane’s post, Porn Sucks, is well worth a read. He quotes Craig talking about the nature of pornography.
We’re trying to help people see the true nature of pornography. It’s pure exploitation, the objectification of sex. God gave us so much more than that. Christianity doesn’t condemn sex or pleasure. Sex is a wonderful gift fully sanctified in God’s glory. Have you ever read Song of Solomon? Ever wonder what that little piece of erotic writing is doing in the Bible? Yet we choose to ignore this gift for something much more carnal; we wolf down the cheeseburger and fries when we’re offered the filet minon. That’s what porn is: sex packaged in a fast-food wrapper, dumbed down and exploited for profit and mass consumption.
The good news is that there is a way out of porn addiction. Check out Shane’s post for more details.
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On the 22nd of May this year, the opening night of artist Bill Henson’s 2007-2008 exhibition at the Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, police swooped and the exhibition was canceled. The action came after Hetty Johnston, a child protection campaigner, lodged a complaint about the exhibition with the New South Wales police.
The police action was based on concern over several photographs of a naked 13 year old girl.
Since then many people have voiced their opinions on whether the images are art or pornography.
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd condemned the images saying, “I find them absolutely revolting, and whatever the artistic view of the merits of that sort of stuff – frankly I don’t think there are any – just allow kids to be kids.”
Where do we draw the line between what is appropriate and what isn’t? Art is all about pushing the boundaries but can the boundaries be pushed too far? Were they pushed too far in having an adult male photographing a naked 13 year old girl?
The girl involved and her parents had given Henson their consent and were willingly involved in the photo shoot. Does that make it right? Does that make it OK to put the resulting images on display in a public gallery? Many are saying yes, many others disagree.
There have been cries of censorship and some have accused those who agree with the police action as being wowsers who don’t understand art.
What do you think?
I need to be honest and say that no matter what the artistic merit of the finished product, I find it disturbing that producing the images involved a naked 13 year old girl being directed into poses by an adult male who was taking photos of her. I’m not suggesting that Bill Henson is a pedophile or that he took the photos for anything other than artistic reasons; I just feel that what happened is an inappropriate interaction.
My regular Wednesday morning guest on 98.5 Sonshine FM is Ross Clifford who is the Principal of Morling College in New South Wales and current President of the Baptist Union of Australia. Each week we chat about a range of issues relating to spirituality and belief.
Today we looked at where we draw the line in such situations and whether we have the right to intervene and say that a line has been crossed.
Click the play button on the audio player at the bottom of this post to listen to our discussion.
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