Pornography, otherwise defined as vulgarity and obscenity, is an issue that has and will continue to call upon much debate. While there are many people who see pornography as degrading, sinful, and disgusting, there is also a large amount of people who see it as a turn on, a form of sexual expression, and entertainment. Webster’s Dictionary defined pornography as merely “the depiction of erotic behavior (as in pictures or writing) intended to cause sexual excitement. ” Yet there is still the everlasting question which is “does pornography serve a real purpose, and if so what purpose it that? ” continues.
I happen to acknowledge pornography with only a few minor glitches. I don’t believe in cens oring pornography, yet analyzing pornography that is already censored. Pornography is censored in the way in which it portrays the sexual desires and pleasures of women. In preparing to write this report, I sat down with a group of my peers (mixed genders) and watched five pornographic films. It was unfortunate that I must report that in all of the five movies, not once did I, nor any of my friends see a woman being sexually gratified. In every movie, the man would finish and the sex would come to an end.
The women seemed like they were enjoying it, but were they really? As Andrea Dworkin describes it, “women are made to smile, women aren’t just made to do the sex acts. We are made to smile. ” (Stan, 33) Pornography claims that it is showing two people enjoying sex. Two people who have “chosen” to be there and who get pleasure out of it. However, to me it seems that pornography itself is buying into censorship. BY not honestly showing the female side to sexual desires and pleasure, pornography is in itself being censored. It is not the act of sex and sexual promiscuity that I find offensive at all about the industry.
It is actually the masking of an entire gender’s sexual likes and dislikes that I find offensive. The message this is sending out is that women enjoy having sex with a man until the man is finished, and then there is no need to continue till the woman is also sexually indebted. The issue of censorship and pornography is split into two parts. There are the people fighting to censor pornography by banning it, and we have people that argue that by banning pornography, the consequences would proceed to be an infringement on their rights to free speech and equality. What I believe is that both of these issues are brought about in the wrong way.
The group that is arguing to ban pornography all together is using their freedom of speech to ban someone else’s. I find it hypocritical and unjust. At the same time, however, the “pro-pornography” group is also being duplicitous in the sense that they are claiming to fight against censorship, when they themselves are defending something that is already censored. From a woman’s perspective, there is a significant amount of dispute surrounding the porn industry. “The anti-pornography feminists were interested in making the streets safe for women by means of punitive and far reaching legislation against pornography” (Schwartz & Rutter p. 1).
In other words, these women felt that pornography reveals negative signals, and makes it easier for a man to take advantage and control women sexually. To the conservative woman, pornography is seen as painful and a violation of women’s rights. “I think that these women are being exposed to things that no one would want to be exposed to. They are battered and beaten in front of camera’s, with their things hanging out all over the place. ” Said Mrs. McManus, who lives next door to me. She is an ultra conservative woman who fully disagrees with the mere prospect of porn.
Another argument on the behalf of the feminists says that “men exposed to sexually explicit material and entertainment were likely to become sexual victimizers. ” (Schwartz & Rutter p. 181) It is believed that those in favor of banning pornography feel no support from the government. “Those law makers are doing nothing to help get rid of that smut that is going around. Can’t they see that this nation is in the gutter, and we have to protect our children already? Why is it that we can protect the rights of pedophiles, but cant censor what is on television for real! ” Mrs.
McManus demanded of me when I asked her these questions. On the other side of the coin there are countless liberal females. Some of these women were willing to share their views on the porn industry including my cousin, who is currently involved in the public relations for Penthouse. “There is a right to freedom of speech and other types of expression that we need to address. Most of the people who are against the porn industry obviously doesn’t understand it, or is not even opening themselves to the ideas. There are women and men who think that all it is gross nudity, and displays of vulgarism.
People don’t take the time to think about how many different ways the porn industry can help. For instance, it can be a source for couples to buy a movie that would enhance their lovemaking. Even a parent-child discussion on the birds and the bees would help with a magazine for visual imagery. There are just so many different aspects to porn that don’t relate to smut at all” Jean-Anne Hyland is just one of many that feel completely contrary to what the conservatives have to say on this subject. In many pornographic materials, fantasy is a subject that is commonly portrayed.
The differences in male and female fantasies can explain the differences in what arouses each sex. Many women have argued that most pornography is geared towards the males sexual desires, rather that that of the female. It is often apparent that the fantasies of men involve “hard, fast action. ” (Schwartz & Rutter p. 50), “It is more impersonal, more focused on specific sexual acts, and more likely to be populated with strangers or multiple partners. ” (Schwartz & Rutter p. 52) Female fantasies vary in the sense that they were usually “full of details about the partner and the environment of the encounter.
The pace was typically slow and sensual, with lots of caressing and emotional exchange. ” (Schwartz & Rutter p. 55) A large percentage of people agree that most pornographic movies are geared toward arousing the male gender more than the women. This is due to the scenes that involve kinky, quick sex, as well as oral sex on the men. Porno’s that portray an intimate, loving relationship, which signify the female fantasy, are extremely rare. When looking at the percentage of men and women who watch x-rated movies and read nudie magazines, one can see how the numbers would be so dramatically different.
Most women that do partake in enjoying some porn would argue that most porn movies do not cater fully to their fantasies. Therefore the number of female viewers of porn is slowly decreasing, while the number of men viewers is increasing. There is another great debate involving pornography, which is the issue that it leads to sexual violence toward women. As I stated in the earlier paragraph, there are many movies out there that specifically show whipping women, bondage, and other things that some may look at as abuse. “We see boys imitating pornography. We see the average age of rapists going down.
We are beginning to see gang rapes in elementary schools committed by elementary school age boys imitating pornography. ” (Stan p, 28) The number of rapes and the age at which rapes are committed might be positively correlated with the amount of pornography out there. Nevertheless, in my opinion, this correlation does not necessarily mean causation. I do not feel that pornography itself leads men, boys, or others to rape and sexually violate women. I feel that it is the ways in which pornography is so easily assessable, and the way young boys are taught to look at it.
There is also the question of how pornography has become so readily available to people of all ages, via the Internet, television, and paper publications. I fee l that there should be a better way to monitor those that view these images. These images are intended for adults and not boys in elementary schools. At the same time, it is hard to constantly keep tabs on who sees pornography. One huge reason for this problem is evidently the Internet. There is virtually no way to ensure that people under the age of 18 do not view pornography.
I went on the Internet to further research the availability of pornography, and what I was faced with on every web site was a question, “Are you over the age of 18? ” A 12-year old boy can then easily proceed to click on the “yes” button and then be surrounded by pictures of naked girls and other pornographic material. I feel that parents should better scrutinize they young child’s use of the Internet to ensure that this material is not being taken into their homes. Furthermore, I feel that young people should be educated on the issue of pornography, as far as rape and sexual aggression are concerned.
Most importantly, they should be taught that pornography is not real. Like movies, pornography is acting a sexual variety of role-playing in which both women and men agree to the terms before they leap. Andrea Dworkin argues, “Pornography creates bigotry and hostility and aggression toward all women, targets all women, without exception. ” (Stan, 34) I would have to disagree with this statement because it is not pornography that promotes the violence, it is the people that are uneducated about the issues of violence that watch these movies and take them out of context.
If there were no exception as she says, then taking away pornography would be the clear way of ending rape and sexual violence. Unfortunately, the issue is not black and white. There is a gray area, and the honest truth is that without pornography, unfortunately, there would still be rape, and sexual violence. Ellen Willis can sum up this idea best with a quote: Part of the argument is that pornography causes violence; much is made of the fact that Charles Manson and David Berkowitz had porn collections. This is the sort of inverted logic that presumes marijuana to be dangerous because most heroin addicts started with it.
It is men’s hostility toward women-combined with their power to express that hostility and for the most part get away with it-that causes sexual violence. Pornography that gives sadistic fantasies concrete shape-and in today’s atmosphere social legitimacy-may well encourage suggestible men to act them out. But if Hustler were to vanish from the shelves tomorrow, I doubt that rape or wife-beating statistics would decline. (Stan p. 43) A major characteristic of pornography is the issue of sexism. Does Pornography promote sexism? Is pornography sexist itself?
To these questions I would have to answer “yes”. I feel that pornography is sexist. However, I also feel that it does serve a purples in society and should not be gotten rid of, it should only be changed. There are quite a few functions that pornography serves in society. It allows people to express their sexual desired and it allows people to get in touch with their innermost fantasies. I view pornography as a banishment of humility. It allows people to see that there are others that enjoy doing what they are doing. It can make one feel as if they are not alone in their sexual experimentations.
A person might have certain sexual acts that bring them pleasure, and I feel that by seeing it portrayed in pornography, they might feel more open to a greater extent of experimentation that could possibly bring them to achieve a better orgasm, or relationship with their partner. As stated by Ellen Willis, “If feminists define pornography per se as the enemy, the result will be to make a lot of women ashamed of their sexual feelings and afraid to be honest about them. And the last thing women need is more sexual shame, guilt, and hypocrisy-this time served up as feminism” (Stan, p. 43).
To put a ban on pornography portraying S&M would be to make people who enjoy S&M ashamed. To put a ban on pornography that shows fetishism would just make people who enjoy it embarrassed. To put a ban on pornography depicting homosexuality would make them feel guilty as well. To put a ban on pornography in general would only send a message to everyone that sex is something not to provide enjoyment and pleasure, but to provide shame and guilt. For this reason, pornography plays a role in our society and serves the important purpose of sexual openness and awareness. We are still faced with the issue of sexism.
Is pornography just for men, or can women take joy in it too? In many pornographic films, I would have to say that women are shown as the lesser of the two sexes. This ties back with the issue of censorship within pornography. Pornography is sexist, and in ways it does encourage sexism, but the seed is already planted. Banning pornography is not the way to end sexism. To end sexism we must start at the root of pornography. If pornography showed equality between women’s and men’s sexual feelings, desires, wants, and needs, then people would not be so quick to blame the porn industry for the unjustness in equality we see between men and women.
What it comes down to is that, if a person says that pornography promotes sexism and inequality, and then they should just as easily not hesitate to point to the bible and say that the story of Adam and Eve is sexist as well. But blaming pictures, and other things is not the way to end the controversy. For if these “sexist” movies, books, pictures, and stories are being produced, then the problem is not with the movies, books, etc. It is obvious that the problem is already out there, and is just being reinforced by these objects. To me, pornography is a way of sexual expression.
I am not ashamed to say that I do find some quite erotic, for its goal is to arouse people, entice, and make them less inhibited of their sexual feelings. Pornography is a great way to show people that there are others out there that also enjoy sex, and as many different types of sex one can comprehend. Like most things in this world, pornography has its anomalies, but if we all work together we can work at the imperfections and improve on them. I have this quote that is on my web page, and I am a firm believer in it, “A world of perfection would be boring. ”