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Friday, 29 January 2010

Has Australia really banned small breasts?

by Ruth Brown

The internet has its “outraged” face on over news that the

Australian Classification Board plans to refuse classification to

films depicting A-cup breasts in case it encourages pedophilia.

The story was kickstarted by a press release on Wednesday

from the Australian Sex Party on the censorship of female

ejaculation in film, which included the statement:

The Board has also started to ban depictions of small-

breasted women in adult publications and films. This is in

response to a campaign led by Kids Free 2 B Kids and

promoted by Barnaby Joyce and Guy Barnett in Senate

Estimates late last year. Mainstream companies such as

Larry Flint’s Hustler produce some of the publications that

have been banned. These companies are regulated by the

FBI to ensure that only adult performers are featured in

their publications. “We are starting to see depictions of

women in their late 20s being banned because they have

an A cup size”, she said. “It may be an unintended

consequence of the Senator’s actions but they are largely

responsible for the sharp increase in breast size in

Australian adult magazines of late”.

The piece was seized upon by website Somebody Think of the

Children (“discussing censorship and moral panic in Australia”),

blaring the headline “Australia bans small breasts”:

The Australian Sex Party (ASP) said Wednesday that the

Australian Classification Board (ACB) is now banning

depictions of small-breasted women in adult publications

and films. It comes just a week after it was found that

material with depictions of females ejaculating during

orgasm are now Refused Classification and Australian

Customs directed to confiscate it.

The post quickly went viral around the likes of Twitter and

Reddit , and was picked up by popular UK tech site The Register

and snarky feminist blog Jezebel, prompting even more fist

shaking and outrage.

But it looks like the critics are the ones guilty of “moral panic” in

this case. As an apparently more level-headed member of the

Australian anti-censorship movement found after a bit of


One publishing company mentioned, no specific decisions

cited, no basis for the story other than the an unconfirmed

statement by a leading figure of a political party.

There is no information from the Classification Board on

any specific ban, only a general statement that publications

with depictions of persons who appear to be under 18

must be refused classification (that is, banned).

The second article also says Ms Patten attended a training

session at the Censorship Board where she was shown

material that had been refused classificiation due to the

size of women’s breasts in the material. The article says Ms

Patten says some of the banned titles include “Barely

Legal”, Finally Legal” and “Purely 18” - the links go to the

Classification Board’s database showing the bans on each

of those publications.

However, one of these bans was made in 2008, one in

2003, and the rest in 2001 or before.

For its part, the Australian Classification Board has responded

to the original Somebody Think of the Children post:

A spokesperson for the ACB told me today that

publications which contain offensive depictions or

descriptions of persons who are or appear to be persons

under the age of 18 (whether they are engaged in sexual

activity or not) must be classified RC. They said the Board

classifies publications on a case by case basis, in

accordance with the Guidelines for the Classification of

Publications, the Code and the Classification Act and that

the Publications Guidelines do not specify breast size.

Not that the internet seems to have taken notice, as the original

story continues to gain traction around the web.

Never let the truth get in the way of a good trending Twitter


UPDATE 12/02: Given this topic is continuing to generate

interest — particularly due to the recent cyber attack on

Australian government websites over the issue  — here’s the

latest from Somebody Think of the Children :

The Australian Classification Board (ACB) has confirmed to

Somebody Think Of The Children that a person’s overall

appearance is used by the Board to determine whether

someone appears to look under the age of 18 in a film or


Asked whether breast size was considered by the Board

when determining age, McDonald said he had no further

comment to make.

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