Essay on Pornography

This essay has a total of 4482 words and 20 pages.


In the late seventies, Our Nation became shocked and outraged by the rape ,
multilation, and murder of a dozen young beautiful girls.The man who was mainly
responsable for these murders, Ted Bundy, who was later apprehended and executed.During
his detention in various penitentiaries,he was mentally probed and probbed by phycologist
and phychoanalysts hoping to discover the root of violent actions and sexual
frustrations.Many theories arose in attempts to explain the motivational factors behind
his muderous escapades.However, the strongest and feasible of these theories came not from
the phycologists, 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 intrested 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 fullfill my fantasies under-cover.Pornography was
a means of unlocking the evil I had burried inside of myself "(Leidholdt 47).Is it
possible that pornography is acting as the key to unlocking the evil in unstable minds?

According to Edward Donnerstein,a leading researcher in the pornography feild,"The
relationship between sexually violent images in the media and subsequent aggression and
...callous attitudes towards women is much stronger statistically than the relationship
beetween smoking and cancer"(Itzin 22).After considering the increase in rape and
molestation,sexual harasement,and other sex crimes over the last few decades,and also the
corresponding increase of buisness in the pornography needs considerable study and
examination.Once the evidence you will encounter in this paper is evaluated and quatified
it will be hard not come away with the realization that habitual use of pornographic
material promotes unrealistic and unattainable desires in men that leac to violent
behavior toward women.

In odrer to properly discuss pornography and be able to link it to violence,we must first
come to a basic and aggreable understanding of what the word pornography means..The term
pornography 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 times had passed,this definition of pornography has grown to include any and all
obscene literature and pictures.At the present date date,the term is basically a blanket
which covers all types of material such as explicit literature,phtography,films,and video
tapes with varying degrees of sexual content.

According to Catherine Itzin a leading reasecher in the pornography feild pornography can
be devided 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 towards a
woman.The second example shows the graphic sexual act and climax,but not a violent
act.This example shows the woman being dressed in a costume or being " talked down" to in
order to reduce her to something to have sex with,a body opening or an orifice.Not only
does "erotica" show the entire graphic sexual act ,it also depicits an attraction between
two people.Her reaserch consistenly 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
disticntion,as in when the film is graphic in the sexual act and also in violence,but
shows the act as being a muyual activity between the people participating.

In my view,to further divide ponography,it is possible to break it down into simpler
categories:soft and hard core pornography.Hard core pornography is a combination of the
sexually explicit and violent and the sexually explicit and non violent,but subordinating
and dehumanizing categories,previously dicussed.Soft core pornography is though to be
harmless and falls into the category known as "Erotica";which is the category based on
mutuality.In Hard core pornography,commonly rated XXX,you can see graphic depiction's of
violent sexual acts usually with a man or a group of men,deriving sexual gratification
from the degradation of a woman.

You can also see women participating in demorlizing 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 the 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 satisfation of the male.Soft core pornography,or X-rated
pornography is less explcit 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 Canada in the United
States.Deborah Cameron and Elizabeth Frazer point out that other forms of hard core
pornography that have to bekept under wraps,made and sold illegally in underground "black
" markets.These are ultraviolent tapes or videos show the actual torture,rape and
sometimes mutilation of a woman. "Snuff" films go even future to decict the actual death
of a victim,and child pornography reveals the use of under-age or pre-pubescent children
for the sexual purposes (17-18).These types of pornography 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 induviduals to form a concrete opinion
as to what pornography means.A 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 in every province,city 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 porno is,therefore creating confusion among

Communities are left somewhat helpless in this matter since the federal court of Canada
passed a legislation to keep pornography available to adults.The courts assess that to ban
or censor the material would be infringing on the public's Bill of Rights(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 Bill of Rights, allowing victims of sexual crimes to file lawsuits
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 females types are shown as
desirable in pornography than mainstream films and networks 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 the community standards have been streched by mainstreaming movies, opening
the way even further for the legalization of more explcit fare (Jenish 53).In most
comtemporary communities explcit sex that is without violent or dehumanizing acts is
acceptable in Canada society these days.

These community standards have not been around very long.When movies were first brought
out, they were heavily restricted and not protected by the Bill of Rights, because films
then were looked upon as only as diversionary entertainement and buisness.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, were then they saw that "sex-sells" (Clark 1029).Films were highly restricted
throughout the 30's, 40's and 50's by the 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 back were torn down in barriers holding
sex and violence back were torn in the name of profit.Adult content was put into movies
the long ago,we have become more immune and can't expect it

to get any better or to 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 respectable mainstream publishing business
companies (Itzin 21).Although the publishing companies are though 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 entertainement 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 stmuli for males and to provide a
sexual vent.Although in the beginning,society saw it as perverted and sinful,it was still
considered relatively harmaless.Today there is one case studie,standing out from the
rest,that tends to shatter this illusion.

The study done by 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 Lalumière: "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 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 amainstream 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, phychology proffesor at Queen's University and director of sexual behavior
clinic in Kingston, interviewed one-hundred and twenty men,between the years of !980 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 (Nichols 60).The results of this study should prove that pornography
obviously has a down side to it.

According to Mark Nichols, a phychology 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 pornogarphy can lead to antisocial behavior
and make individuals less sensitive to violence.Dr.Marshall also quotes men in Nichols
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 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 reenacted what they had seen in pornographic movies; she was sexually
assaulted and forced to have sexual 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 continously for twelve hours
strait.(24-26).The dehumanizing,degradation, and reduction of a woman's body isin'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 Lovelance), was presented to the public as a liberated woman with
an ever present and unfulfilled appetite for sex.But what isin't known to the public is
that during the making of the movie, she was hypnotized to surpress 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 26). Ms Marchiano did escape and when her story
was told,it was repeated by a number of women in the pornography buisness.

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
honetly 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 known for his racy
ads using teens.Some feel he crossed the ligne when he chose this type of
advertising.Jenish observes that these advertisements "featured an array of .....teen-aged
models dressed in loose jeans or hiked-up skirts, one showing bare breasts, others
offering androgynous models kissing"(36).If adults in position of power act this way,
these youngsters cannot expect other adults to act any differently.Therefore they accept
this type of behavior as normal.

Diana Russell claims that tactics like these are being used more often in advertising and
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