Porno Essay

This essay has a total of 4546 words and 17 pages.

Porno



Violence and Pornography Pornography -- Sex or Subordination?
In the late Seventies, America became shocked and outraged by the rape,
mutilation, and murder of over a dozen young, beautiful girls. The man who committed
these murders, Ted Bundy, was later apprehended and executed. During his detention in
various penitentiaries, he was mentally probed and prodded by psychologist and
psychoanalysts hoping to discover the root of his violent actions and sexual frustrations.
Many theories arose in attempts to explain the motivational factors behind his murderous
escapades. However, the strongest and most feasible of these theories came not from the
psychologists, but from the man himself, “as a teenager, my buddies and I would all
sneak around and watch porn. As I grew older, I became more and more interested and
involved in it, [pornography] became an obsession. I got so involved in it, I wanted to
incorporate [porn] into my life, but I couldn’t behave like that and maintain the success I
had worked so hard for. I generated an alter-ego to fulfill my fantasies under-cover.
Pornography was a means of unlocking the evil I had burried inside myself” (Leidholdt
47). Is it possible that pornography is acting as the key to unlocking the evil in more
unstable minds? According to Edward Donnerstein, a leading researcher in the
pornography field, “the relationship between sexually violent images in the media and
subsequent aggression and . . . callous attitudes towards women is much stonger
statistically than the relationship between smoking and cancer” (Itzin 22). After
considering the increase in rape and molestation, sexual harassment, and other sex crimes
over the last few decades, and also the corresponding increase of business in the
pornography industry, the link between violence and pornogrpahy needs considerable
study and examination. Once the evidence you will encounter in this paper is evaluated
and quantified, it will be hard not come away with the realization that habitual use of
pornographic material promotes unrealistic and unattainable desires in men that can leac
to violent behavior toward women. In order to properly discuss pornography, and be able
to link it to violence, we must first come to a basic and agreeable understanding of what
the word pornography means. The term pornogrpahy originates from two greek words,
porne, which means harlot, and graphein, which means to write (Webster’s 286). My
belief is that the combination of the two words was originally meant to describe, in
literature, the sexual escapades of women deemed to be whores. As time has passed, this
definition of pornography has grown to include any and all obscene literature and
pictures. At the present date, the term is basically a blanket which covers all types of
material such as explicit literature, photography, films, and video tapes with varying
degrees of sexual content. For Catherine Itzin’s research purposes pornogrpahy has been
divided into three categories: The sexually explicit and violent; the sexually explicit and
nonviolent, but subordinating and dehumanizing; and the sexually explicit, nonviolent,
and nonsubordinating that is based upon mutuality. The sexually explicit and violent is
graphic, showing penetration and ejaculation. Also, it shows the violent act toward a
woman. The second example shows the graphic sexual act and climax, but not a violent
act. This example shows the woman being dressed is a costume or being ‘talked down’ to
in order to reduce her to something not human; such as a body part or just something to
have sex with, a body opening or an orifice. Not only does ‘erotica’ show the entire
graphic sexual act, it also depicts an attraction between two people. Her research
consistently shows that harmful effects are associated with the first two, but that the third
‘erotica’, is harmless (22). These three categories basically exist as tools of discerning
content. Although sometimes they overlap without a true distinction, as in when the film
is graphic in the sexual act and also in violence, but shows the act as being a mutual
activity between the people participating. In my view, to further divide pornography, it is
possible to break it down into even simpler categories: soft and hard core pornography.
Hard core pornography is a combination of the sexually explicit and violent and the
sexually explicit and nonviolent, but subordinating and dehumanizing categories,
previously discussed. Soft core pornography is thought to be harmless and falls into the
category known as ‘erotica’; which is the category based on mutuality. In hard core
pornogrpahy, commonly rated XXX, you can see graphic depiction’s of violent sexual
acts usually with a man or group of men, deriving sexual gratification from the
degradation of a woman. You can also see women participating in demoralizing sexual
behavior among themselves for the gratification of men. In a triple-X movie all physical
aspects are shown, such as extreme close-ups of genitalia, oral, vaginal, and anal
penetration, and also ejaculation. Much of the time emphasis is put on the painful and
humiliating experience of the woman, for the sole satisfaction of the male. Soft core
pornography, or X-rated pornography, is less explicit in terms of what is shown and the
sexual act is usually put in the light of mutual enjoyment for both the male and female
parties(Cameron and Frazer 23). Triple-X pornography is manufactured and sold legally
in the United States. Deborah Cameron and Elizabeth Frazer point out that other forms of
hard core pornography that have to be kept under wraps, made and sold illegally in
underground ‘black’ markets. These are ultraviolent, ‘snuff’, and child pornography.
Ultraviolent tapes or videos show the actual torture, rape, and sometime mutilation of a
woman. ‘Snuff’ films go even future to depict the actual death of a victim, and child
pornography reveals the use of under-age or pre-pubescent children for sexual purposes
(17-18). These types of pornogrpahy cross over the boundaries of entertainment and are
definitely hard core. Now that pornography has been defined in a fashion mirroring its
content, it is now possible to touch upon the more complex ways a community, as a
society , views or defines it. Some have said it is impossible for a group of individuals to
form a concrete opinion as to what pornography means. A U.S. Supreme Court judge is
quoted as saying, “I can’t define pornography, but I know it when I see it” (Itzin 20). This
statement can be heard at community meetings in every state, city, and county across the
nation. Community standards are hazy due to the fact that when asked what pornography
is to them, most individuals cannot express or explain in words what pornography is,
therefore creating confusion among themselves. Communities are left somewhat helpless
in this matter since the federal courts passed legislation to keep pornography available to
adults. The courts assess that to ban or censor the material would be infringing on the
public’s First Amendment Right (Carol 28). Maureen O’Brien quotes critics of a
congressionally terminated bill, the Pornography Victim’s Compensation Act, as saying
“That if it had passed, it would have had severely chilling effects on the First
Amendment, allowing victims of sexual crimes to file suit against producers and
distributors of any work that was proven to have had ‘caused’ the attack, such as graphic
material in books, magazines, videos, films, and records” (7). People in a community
debating over pornography often have different views as to whether or not it should even
be made available period, and some could even argue this point against the types of
women used in pornography: “A far greater variety of female types are shown as
desirable in pornography than mainstream films and network television have ever
recognized: fat women, flat women, hairy women, aggressive women, older women, you
name it” (Carol 25). If we could all decide on just exactly what pornography is and what
is acceptable, there wouldn’t be so much debate over the issue of censoring it. The
bounds of community standards have been stretched by mainstreaming movies, opening
the way even further for the legalization of more explicit fare (Jenish 53). In most
contemporary communities explicit sex that is without violent or dehumanizing acts is
acceptable in American society today. These community standards have not been around
very long. When movies were first brought out, they were heavily restricted and not
protected by the First Amendment, because films then were looked upon only as
diversionary entertainment and business.Even though sexual images were highly
monitored, the movie industry was hit so hard during the Great Depression that
film-makers found themselves sneaking in as much sexual content as possible, even then
they saw that ‘sex sells’ (Clark 1029). Films were highly restricted throughout the 30’s,
40’s, and 50’s by the industry, but once independent films of the 60’s such as: “Bonnie
and Clyde” and “Whose afraid of Virginia Woolfe?” (Clark 1029-30), both with explicit
language, sexual innuendo, and violence started out-performing the larger ‘wholesome’
production companies, many of the barriers holding sex and violence back were torn
down in the name of profit . Adult content was put into movies long ago, we have
become more immune and can’t expect it to get any better or to go away. Porn is here for
good. Pornography is a multi-million dollar international industry, ultimately run by
organized crime all over the world, and is produced by the respectable mainstream
publishing business companies (Itzin 21). Although the publishing companies are thought
to be ‘respectable’, people generally stereotype buyers and users of pornographic
material as ‘dirty old men in trenchcoats’, but most patrons of adult stores are
well-educated people with disposable income (Jenish 52). Porno movies provide adults
of both genders with activities they normally wouldn’t get in everyday life, such as oral
pleasures or different types of fetishes. Ultimately adult entertainment is just a quick-fix
for grown-ups, as junk-food would be for small children. Pornography’s main purpose is
to serve as masturbatory stimuli for males and to provide a sexual vent. Although in the
beginning, society saw it as perverted and sinful, it was still considered relatively
harmless. Today there is one case studie, standing out from the rest, that tends to shatter
this illusion. The study done my Monica D. Weisz and Christopher M. Earls used
“eighty-seven males . . . that were randomly shown one of four films”, by researchers
William Tooke and Martin Lalumiere: “Deliverance, Straw Dogs, Die Hard II, and Days
of Thunder”, for a study on how they would react to questions about sexual violence and
offenders after watching. In the four films there is sexual aggression against a male,
sexual aggression against a female, physical aggression, and neutrality-no explicit scenes
of physical or sexual aggression. Out of this study the males were more acceptable of
interpersonal violence and rape myths and also more attracted to sexual aggression.
These same males were less sympathetic to rape victims and were noted less likely to
find a defendant guilty of rape (71). These four above mentioned movies are
mainstreamed R-rated films. If a mainstream movie can cause this kind of distortion of
value and morality, then it should become evident that continuous viewing/use of
pornographic films depicting violent sex and aggression could lead vulnerable persons
into performing or participating in sexual violence against their partners or against a
stranger. Bill Marshall, psychology professor at Queen’s University and director of a
sexual behavior clinic in Kingston, interviewed one-hundred and twenty men, between
the years 1980 and 1985, who had molested children or raped women. In his conclusion
he found that pornography appeared to be a significant factor in the chain of events
leading up to a deviant act in 25% of these cases (Nicols 60). The results of this study
should prove that pornography obviously has a down side to it. According to Mark
Nicols, a psychology professor at the University of Michigan, Neil Malamuth, concludes
quite cautiously that some messages combined with other factors, including the viewer’s
personality type, in pornography can lead to antisocial behavior and make individuals
less sensitive to violence. Dr. Marshall also quotes men in Nicols article as saying, “that
they looked at pornography with the intent to masturbate, but then became aroused, and
decided to go out and assault a woman or child.” Men who are drawn into pornography
and use it frequently, have also been proven to suggest more lenient prison terms for sex
offenders” (60). If this previous statement is true, should we reevaluate how many men
serve on juries for these trials? Itzin gives possible support for these theories. It can be
found in the case of an ex-prostitute who had her pubic hair removed with a jackknife
and was forced by her pimp to be filmed reenacting what they had seen in pornographic
movies; she was sexually assaulted and forced to have intercourse with animals,
generally dogs. Another such case is one of a woman who reports having metal clips
attached to her breasts, being tied to a chair, and being raped and beaten continuously for
twelve hours (22-24). The dehumanizing, degradation, and reduction of a woman’s body
isn’t just a result of viewed pornography, it is often inseminated into the production of a
pornographic project. During the making of “Deep Throat”, a 1970’s pornographic film,
Linda Marchiano (a.k.a. Linda Lovelace), was presented to the public as a liberated
woman with an ever present and unfulfilled appetite for fellatio. What isn’t known to the
general public is that during the making of the movie, she was hypnotized to suppress the
natural gagging reaction, was tortured when caught trying to escape, and also held at
gun-point by her boss, who threatened her with death (Itzin 22). Ms. Marchiano did
escape and when her story was told, it was repeated by a number of women in the
pornography business. According to D’Arcy Jenish many children are lured into the
pornography industry by choosing first to model. These young teen’s egos are boosted
when they are told “[they have good bodies]”, and are asked “if they work out?”. More
often than not, they are told “to take off [their] shirts”, and then asked “Do you feel
nervous?” (36). These youngsters honestly don’t know when too much is too much, and
what they don’t know could put them in serious danger. Calvin Klein, once known for
being a reputable clothing designer, is now known for his racy ads using teens. Some feel
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