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Lift the porn ban

Depending on your remit of news, you may or may not know that the University of Manchester has banned students from browsing all porn and sex toy websites on Eduroam. This is true of most universities in the UK who use Eduroam as their internet provider.

Whilst there are undoubtedly ways to get around these restrictions, the fact that students, considered by most to be adults, are barred from watching porn is unacceptable.

There are many issues with porn from basic objectification to encouraging rape culture. However, it is not up to the University to parent us by putting blocks on what we can see. This is a period in young peoples’ lives when they are beginning to find their way in the big bad adult world and the University do not have the right to decide how they do this, especially in the world of sex and relationships.

Porn is not illegal in this country so what gives Manchester the right to ban it? University is meant to be a place championing free thought and open discussion. I would understand if the University solely banned illegal porn sites, but the current rules are a blanket ban on all websites dedicated to pornographic content, including feminist porn sites.

This gives the impression that people who watch porn are dirty and immoral – something which is a step in the wrong direction of a society which should be taking a more positive attitude towards sex.

Porn is not inherently bad or anti-feminist. Whilst the current industry has many issues it doesn’t mean all porn should be banned. I would encourage people, men and women, to find feminist porn.

The ban does not allow you to access online sex shops which sell sex toys, but also basic necessities fundamental to safe sex such as condoms and lube. No matter the University’s opinion on pornography, there is no reason whatsoever for banning students’ access to these products.

The student population of Manchester University seems to have a positive outlook on sex and sexuality; the Student’s Union are happy for students to give out free STI testing kits. Clearly the University are out of touch with their students.

It would be more understandable if Eduroam was only used on campus. As hilarious as it would be to spot someone watching porn in a lecture, it is probably not suitable for an educational environment. However, Eduroam is also the WiFi used in all University of Manchester accommodation. Thus, the ban prevents people watching porn or buying condoms online privately in the comfort of their own room.

All that this porn ban is doing is forcing students to use dodgy apps to be able to watch porn and buy vibrators, opening up their computers to the gonorrhoea equivalent of online viruses. The university needs to grow up and lift this ban. 

Tags: Opinion, Porn, safe sex, sex, The University of Manchester, University of Manchester

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