As introduced in the Ohio General Assembly, House Bill 469 would effectively put showbars, adult bookstores, and other adult entertainment establishments out of business. A sponsor of the bill admitted that, if he could, he would make those businesses illegal.
He knows that directly outlawing the businesses cannot constitutionally be done. So instead, the bill would place such severe regulatory restrictions on them that, as one newspaper said, they will wish they were dead.
This bill makes Ohio appear to have a chapter of the Taliban operating in its House of Representatives.
In Afghanistan, the Taliban was opposed to women obtaining education, working outside the home, and publicly displaying any sexuality. They also favored the frequent use of violence against women. H.B. 469 promotes all those Taliban policies and more.
For many women, working in the sex industry enables them to pay for college and enhance their long-term career opportunities. The closing of adult entertainment businesses, combined with large tuition increases the Ohio state government is allowing public universities to impose, would make it much more difficult for many of these women to obtain a college education. Osama bin Laden would approve.
Additionally, the sex industry is a source of earnings that many women need to support themselves and their families. Making their livelihood illegal would not only take food out of the mouths of their children, but also keep at least some of the women at home and unemployed (if they can still afford a home). Once again, cheers would arise from the Al Qaeda network.
The Taliban supported the beating and whipping of women. H.B. 469 is consistent with that practice, because countries banning sexually explicit materials have some of the highest rates of violence and discrimination against women. Examples include not just Afghanistan but also Saudi Arabia, Iran, and China.
On the other hand, nations allowing the ready availability of sexually oriented materials experience some of the lowest rates of violence against women. This is true in places such as Denmark, Sweden, Germany, and Japan.
Moreover, history shows that suppression of women’s sexuality is virtually always accompanied by suppression of their other rights to equality. This is a reason why feminists such as Nadine Strossen, president of the American Civil Liberties Union and author of the book Defending Pornography, oppose governmental restrictions on the rights of consenting adults to work in and patronize the sex industry.
Besides the direct harm that H.B. 469 would cause to women’s educational and economic opportunities, a more insidious evil would result to all of society. The bill promotes an extremely repressive and fearful attitude toward the human body and sexuality.
It’s the type of rabid antisexual view held by the Taliban, other Islamic fundamentalists, and many Christian sects. Much evidence shows that their repressive attitudes are a significant factor in producing sexual neuroses and antisocial sexual behavior.
Some of the evidence comes from the late sex therapist Helen Singer Kaplan, who was a clinical professor of psychiatry at the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center. “Among the most common emotional problems we see in people with sexual disorders is guilt or shame about sexual pleasure,” she wrote. “These are leftovers from old ‘messages’ that sex is disgusting, sinful, and harmful which are transmitted to children by some . . . churches.”
Sex therapists and researchers William Masters and Virginia Johnson provide additional evidence. On the basis of therapeutic experience with thousands of patients, they state: “A rigid religious background during childhood seemed to be associated with many sexual dysfunctions. What was striking about these cases was . . . that sex was strongly regarded as evil and dirty in these rigidly religious families.”
Similarly, sex therapist and researcher Aileen Goodson explains that “when body shame, sexual fears, sexual abuse, or inadequate sex education occurs – physical and emotional stresses and dysfunctions of all sorts appear.” She also says “fundamentalist theological thinking – which tends to promote body shame and sexual repression – is far more prevalent among sex offenders than among the general population.”
A leading expert on sexual violence, Dr. John Money of Johns Hopkins Medical School, explained in an interview: “Antisexualism on children has terrible consequences.” He also reports that most people who engage in sex crimes were raised with strict antisexual, repressive attitudes. And he predicts that “current repressive attitudes toward sex will breed an ever widening epidemic of aberrant sexual behavior.”
The First International Conference on the Treatment of Sex Offenders, held in Minneapolis in 1989, included similar predictions. Key participants agreed that Western societies with repressive sexual attitudes and traditional male-female roles are likely to have high rates of all forms of sex crimes.
So let’s not be fooled by the intolerant zealots, disguised misogynists, and despisers of the human body in the Ohio legislature. Their medieval and ignorant approach to sexuality, which is similar to the attitude held by the Taliban, would cause enormous misery and injustice in society. The terrorists would love to see that.
It can truly be said that if we close the strip bars and other adult entertainment businesses, the terrorists win.