Pornography in media Essay

This essay has a total of 2712 words and 11 pages.

pornography in media




Pornography in the Media

It started by way of messengers and scribes, evolved through the presentation of
newspapers and radio, brought us together with television, and now serves us worldwide via
the ever-popular Internet. It is the mass media, and even from the earliest days of its
existence, it has contributed greatly in ways that both enlighten and enrich society, and
ways that deteriorate and perplex it. It is not a surprise to learn, then, that the mass
media is the most powerful source of information we have, and nothing else in today’s
world influences public perception quite as heavily.


Unfortunately, however, most of what is broadcast or transmitted in the news today is with
reference to the chaotic condition of our planet, or something else that society as a
whole sees as detrimental or damaging. But the news on television is not the only type of
media taking the criticism of society. Other forms of mass media, specifically movies and
television programs containing pornography and violence have been heavily criticized. The
underlining concept to be debated here is that society is negatively influenced,
specifically, by these images of pornography and the result is increased violence against
women. This assumption, and it is indeed only an assumption, is completely fallacious,
however, as no concrete and completely conclusive evidence has ever been formulated in
support of the theory. The key premise here is that the mass media does not cause
undesirable social behavior and in actuality, the media people should not be dubbed as the
“bad guys”. They simply use their power in the most constructive ways possible in order
to promote their ratings and popularity. One way to do that is to concentrate on what
sells: sex, violence and disaster.


Having said this, why is it then, that many in society still believe otherwise; why do
they continue to believe that pornography is “evil” and is a major cause for violence
against women, specifically rape? There are many reasons for this misinterpretation and
through the following few points, an attempt will be made to show that pornography has
very little to almost no correlation with violence against women (of course nothing is
“absolute” in society). In order to demonstrate this, it must be made evident that
pornography is not “evil” and does not cause undesirable social behavior by displaying
nude women in sexually explicit circumstances. Thus, it is important to indicate that
women are not treated only as sexual objects through the media. This is done in an
attempt to squash any traces of “evil” in pornography. Subsequently, a second point, that
some may consider to be completely bizarre, can be addressed; that pornography actually
reduces the amount of violence against women.


“For thousands of years, sex itself has been considered “evil” and revolting. This is
exactly why the concealment of the sex organs and teaching feelings of shame toward human
sexuality is so common worldwide. These same feelings of shame are the chief reasons that
sex is considered a personal and private matter. Contrary to the beliefs of many, the mass
media did not create these settings; society creates this image.”(Howitt). In some
societies, women have no reservations with regard to living their entire lives completely
naked, while in other societies, females cover themselves from head to toe, only revealing
their eyes. The media has been bombarded with criticism, overwhelmingly from the female
community, relative to the amount of sexually explicit material that is published in
magazines and that appears on television and in the cinemas. A common argument against
pornography is that the media portrays women as being nothing more than sexual playthings
and objects to satisfy male sexual desires. As before, the media once again, is not to be
held responsible for creating this image; these views are products of society.


It would be downright absurd to assume that women in this society are treated as sexual
objects only because the media releases or broadcasts pornographic material. A magazine
associated with make-up and skin care, for example, will quite obviously not be
concentrating on much else. Such a magazine would not display pictures of women who
mountain-climb or women who water-ski; only images of make-up and text referring to skin
care would be relevant. Clearly, society does not consider women to be beings whose only
purpose in life is to worry about make-up and skin care; but why are the complaints only
directed towards pornographic media then? The answer to this question may be more
complicated, however, what remains obvious is that the media does not portray women as
only being able to fill male sexual desires. To say that pictures featuring nudity, etc,
are making objects out of women is foolish. One should consider females who pin-up
posters of male rock stars or children who collect hockey or baseball cards. Society,
however, does not say that objects are being made out of these rock stars and sports
heroes; “pictures of clothed people are no fewer objects than pictures of naked people.”
(Strossen).


Many complaints are also made to the effect that pornography only offers a one-dimensional
view to life; that women are seen as nymphomaniacs who are hysterically addicted to sex.
It should be pointed out those events such as hockey games, boxing matches, horse races
and operas all offer a one-dimensional view of life. One does not attend an opera hoping
to see a horse race. The underlying problem here is that the above-mentioned events are
socially acceptable; media displaying pornography is not. It is also said, “that the
media reduces women to a collection of body parts through pornography.”(Melton). But why
then are their no complaints of advertisements in magazines displaying only ears, for
example, or a nose, or feet? The reason is a simple one; society considers certain body
parts to be “shameful” or disgusting and once again, the media can be “let off the hook”.


Realistically, the only way to prevent women from being seen as sex objects is for them to
be seen as other things as well; but to say that women are not sexual beings would be
misleading because both men and women are very much sexual. Similarly, to say that women
are singled out in the media is fallacious due to the many examples of media where men are
seen catering to the needs of women; something known as chivalric sexism. Take, for
instance, a recent television ad portraying young men groveling at the feet of supermodel
Cindy Crawford, almost begging to be the “one” to cater to her needs. There were no
lineups of men aching to announce their displeasure with the sexist ad; and this is
precisely why male stereotyping in the media often goes unnoticed. Similarly, it is
pornography in the media that is noticed and shunned by anti-pornographic and censorship
organizations because it seemingly singles out females for their bodies. It should be
well noted, however, that paperback romance novels, which make up an incredible 40% of
total paperback sales, depicts males as sexual objects, performing what is called “Sweet
savagery” (rape), just as pornography depicts females as sexual objects. But once again,
this goes unnoticed.


It is fundamentally important to realize that the media does not deliberately create
images of hate or disagreement. They just influence the more appealing things in society
(thus directly increasing their ratings). Although it is obvious that pornography is
largely a male interest, a noted increase in female interest would certainly cause an
Continues for 6 more pages >>