Mercifully, this week will mark the end to the hormonal excesses of Porn Week on Loyar Burok. Articles on a topic Malaysians are supposedly tight-lipped about were purged onto unsuspecting readers like a satisfying diarrheic release – it must have felt good for the writer of the articles concerned but for many others in virtual proximity, not so much.
In a painfully self-conscious exercise in liberated expression (at times demonstrated by the compulsive use of the word “Fuck”) and “lightening” the mood in normally “serious” Loyar Burok, Porn Week only manages to liberate horny Malaysians from wanking under the covers to wanking in full view of disinterested others. To illustrate, among the articles on Loyar Burok’s Porn Week included a straight man’s review of his favourite porn stash, an incoherent rant about uptight Malaysians, and another man’s personal recommendation of films containing unsimulated sex in an attempt to raise attention to his edgy credentials.
When given carte blanche, everything that can be written about sex and pornography (with the two often conflated) in one week can be summarised from beginning, middle, to end as mainly about dinosaur copulation, spider man humping a wall at its rhetorical zenith and the half-baked ethics of incest and homosexuality (with the two conflated).
Porn Week’s general predilection for shock points to a hollowed-out desire to prove something, that something being a torrent of uncoordinated thoughts against our paternalistic state. And as “something” goes, it’s usually an amorphous mash-up of defiance, frustrations, tantrums, and ramblings as sophisticated as an incoherent teenage diary.
Why there are mainly male-oriented perspectives on pornography on Porn Week (male-identified anonymous contributors notwithstanding) suggests a wider trend in Malaysia of men who feel openly entitled to consuming porn and being a bravado about their sexuality than women. This may also be reflective of a wider trend of women generally who are quieter about sex and pornography, and that expressing enthusiasm for naughty things (and other far naughtier things) in a public forum invites sexist criticism and shaming.
Given that those who have contributed to and enthusiastically lapped up Porn Week are only a small sample out of the general Malaysian public (but an educated, fluent in English, and probably middle class sample, which counts for something), it’s only fair and heartening to say that immaturity, easily excitable tendencies, and penchant for shock for shock’s sake are not really representative qualities of many other Malaysians – thank goodness for my ever quixotic optimism. This point serves to provide the hope that there should be other Malaysians who would be able to write and engage with reading audiences in more intellectually and sensorially exciting ways.
Porn Week would have been a fertile ground to challenge social stigma, taboos, and conventional wisdom about sexual impropriety considering its zealousness in tackling “Pornography” and other erogenously exciting topics, by not stooping so low as to equate incest with homosexuality and having a laugh at biblical texts for example. An initial encouragement for “discourse on intercourse” on Porn Week has superficial value when all the “serious” and “no fun” stuff like the gaze, primacy of male pleasure, production, distribution, and exhibition of pornography are ignored. But then, who am I to challenge the majority of contributors and readers who do not want to engage in these pressing issues to begin with anyway?
Before anyone writes in or thinks that the author is simply flagging herself as somehow more “enlightened” and “superior” to the gaspingly immature contributors on Porn Week, I can only say this: Read some erotica and secondary literature on pornography, widen your sexual and intellectual horizons, have better sex, and FFS grow up.