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FHM Porno?

The news is about a month old but since I haven’t really had that much time to conveniently browse a newspaper, I just stumbled on the online article today. Apparently, obscenity charges were filed by Rep. Bienvenido Abante of Manila’s District VI and 11 other members of the Baptist organization Bible Mode against a number of men’s magazines and tabloids. Here’s an excerpt from the Inquirer article:

The complainants said the publications, from September 2007 to July 2008, showed “obscene and erotic pictures/poses that show, depict or describe nude or semi-nude bodies, sexual acts, sexual intercourse, private parts, with no educational or artistic value, but intended to draw lust and arouse prurient interest.”

Abante said that with their complaint, they hoped to put a stop to the publication of such materials that he claimed “corrupted” minors.

“We do not want to see anymore of these in the bookstores or newsstands,” said Abante.

“If we are able to close printing presses publishing these kinds of materials, if we are able to stop all international porno magazines coming to the country, we have done very good work in this country,” he said.

Named respondents were editors in chief Allan Madrilejos for FHM, Pierre Inaki Calasanz for Maxim, Ramon Faustino for Playboy, Zak Zorro Zamora for Playhouse, Editha Asumbrado for Sagad, Joe Dalde for Toro, and the Hataw editor; and their managing editors, and general and circulation managers.

I googled Abante and found out that not only is he a member of the Philippine Congress but he is also a Baptist pastor. He also authored Manila’s anti-pornography city ordinance no. 7780 when he was still a councilor in 1993.

Despite my antagonistic feelings towards religion, I actually understand the value of the class suit. Fighting pornography (especially those that can be easily accessed by children) is a good cause. If I were a parent, I wouldn’t want my kids exposed to such material. BUT I have a problem with the list of magazines and tabloids named as respondents; I don’t think that all of them can be termed pornographic in the real sense of the word.

I read FHM; my brother used to be a subscriber. Correct me if I’m wrong but I think it has this huge by-line in its cover that it’s only for those over 18 years old. Basically, you’re not allowed to buy it if you’re a minor. The articles are entertaining, informative and often times funny; yes, most of the articles discuss sex but I don’t get “hot and randy” after reading them. FHM is the male COSMOPOLITAN–it has a lot of articles about winning dates, keeping your women happy plus a lot of sex advice. Pornographic? I don’t think so.

If any of you saw the June 2001 FHM issue which featured Mylene Dizon, I dare you to call it pornographic. This issue made my brother a subscriber of the magazine.

Mylene Dizon (June 2001)

Mylene Dizon (June 2001)

For something more recent, check out July 2008 with Diana Zubiri. She’s naked and wet…pornographic? I don’t think so.

Diana Zubiri (July 2008)

Diana Zubiri (July 2008)

Of course, there are other more “exposed” pictures in FHM that actually showed more–I think there were more than a couple which actually displayed nipples. There were other spreads that I found in bad taste and some were laughable but never pornographic. The regular items such as the Ladies Confessions are borderline erotica but technically not pornographic. You could say I’m a difficult person to arouse or it’s probably because I’m female but that’s the problem with obscenity cases; they’re very subjective. What’s obscene to one person doesn’t necessarily mean it’s obscene to everyone else.

Bottom line, I think Abante and his friends will have a hard time in court trying to prove their claim (unless the judge assigned to the case turns out to be a religious bigot). This reminds me of a case we studied when I was taking up media law; one of the many filed against porn king Larry Flynt. I forgot which case it was but I hope Abante and his cohorts are familiar with it; if not, they should just rent the movie.

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  1. Show-Ender
    August 10, 2008 at 2:47 am

    Hold on, you mean Abante’s a pastor AND a House Rep at the same time?

  2. August 10, 2008 at 5:39 am

    @show-ender: that’s what his bio says…

  3. Show-Ender
    August 10, 2008 at 10:39 pm

    WTF?!? That’s so wrong on all levels!! He oughta be barred from office. We’re a secular republic, people!! Off with his head!!!

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