Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Harm of Pornograph

I am one of those people who defend pornography's existence. However, I do so with a distinct lack of urgency. I can't particularly imagine with world being worse off without porn. I really can't, and at the same time the world isn't worse off with porn. It is there and it is something that will more or less always be present.

To call pornography a new thing is rather silly. Little smut books, pamphlets, and an entire genera of Victorian lesbian erotic has existed before the internet and its pictures.

Still. What I would like to adress is the idea of harm, and the potential harm that pornography can do.

Harm is a funny concept. An article which I just read and which put me in the mood to write this, compares the history of tobaco in the US with the history of pornography in the US. The article was, decent. However, at times I felt that it was spinning wheels and that it was overly touchy with its subject. So to begin some summary. Where I stand.

1) Pornography is not physically addicting, unlike say cocain or heroin. Any addiction caused by the end user is restricted to the end user. The end user has the same potential to become addicted to video games, role playing games, cooking, sewing, reading, religion, gamboling, or any other mundane activity. Pornography can not be held responciple for the foibles of its end user, espeically when there is no direct phycial component with chemicaly alters the body. The end users lack of willpower is more to blame than the product itself. So fuck you end user.

2) Harm caused by practising exotic possition or tecniques seen in pornagraphy. Same as above only replace end user with dumbass.

3) Art/not art/people/I'm offended. There is a funny contradiction right at the very foundation of this country. We have this whole rule of the people, voting, representative thing going on. This whole system empowers people to state thier beliefs long and loudly in the hopes that they will become law. Then we also have the freedom of speach thing, which states (in theory), "We don't give a fuck what you think in terms of this form of expression it will never be banned". When someone was discussing banning gay marriage with a constitutional amendment someone pointed out that the constitution traditionally gives us rights, not restrictions. The one main outlyer being met with hilariouse results. AND YET! Here we have the first amendment which says no matter how offended you are by pornoagraphy that one person over there has a right to view it and you don't have a right to stop him. Funny? Yes I think so.

Even if the majority were to find it offensive it still has the potential for expression, art, and the sort of thing that is important. EVEN IF 90% of it is what it is.

4) Everything in moderation dears.

HOwever, some of the people humping the harm element have a point.

It is thought excercise time. Go to goodsearch, make sure that the name of your favorite charity is selected, turn off the adult content filter, and do a search for soft core porn. NO SERIOUSLY!

Okay now try to find a picture of one or more girls just sort of standing around being naked.

Now open the picture in a new browser window and look at just the picture with no context.

Offended? If so then I think you are wierd but whatever go be offended I don't care everyone else will be joining you in a second.

For everyone who isn't offended I want you to add the caption, "look at my slutty 19 year old daughter who I am just dying to fuck". Now. Offended?

See for the most part it isn't the actual pornographic image itself but rather the context that it is consumed in. And mysognistic language is the order of the day. Words like stupid, bitch, slut, dumb, poor, are all used to describe the actresses/modles in the image or movie. I beleive that this right here is the source of our problems.

When we discover why this language not only excists but what purpose does it serve? Is it some sort of holdover from the "talk dirty to me" desire that some men have? Is it really mysoginy? Or is there much more at stake than we are recognizing? Most importantly how does this context colour our perceptions of the porn we are consuming.

A typical, "pornography is harmful" reading of your average porn scene is that the models are not compleatly shown. It is always closeups of penatration, tits, you know very zoomed in shots. This is because the pornography disassembles women into a series of parts ignoring the whole.

Why is it destruction, instead of enshrinement? Why do we look at a closeup of penatration and see the deconstruction of the whole instead of a tribute to the aweful pain, awkwardness, and beauty that is sexuality? Porn is never really editied, men acidently fall out of women, positionas are changed only with awkwardness, and no one keeps a straight face. This can all be cast in a positive light rather than a negative one. Yet we don't do so. THe production quality is a factor. Calling the modles useless whores before hand is another one.

This is one of those moments where I have a problem but no solution. It is a good question though, and finding an answer to it is nearly impossible. It goes straigh down to the, "talk dirty to me" desire that excistis in the first place, it holds hands with sexual repression which we still have 7 pounds of in a 2 pound box, and all sorts of other individual problems with feed into the societal one. Shit be tough yo.

Anyway. The fact that the slut talk is so wide spread definatly has something to do with it. The problem is that it is an idea. You can't build a law against it and you can never enforce it. You can only hope to change peoples minds.

1 comment:

Xantcha said...

See, I just find it so strange that although porn has been around in the US a long time it still hasnt been fully accepted. To most its immoral and you shouldnt mention "it" in public. And yet in most other countries its widely accepted. I just dont see why people get so jumpy when talking about the subject. Honestly! We're all adults here for christ sakes. But perhaps the problem lies in wat I mention: Immoral. It mostly comes back to religion at some point. Throughout the years it was taught that pornography was something that isnt right and that it makes you a sinner. So after a while it just became a widespread "practice" to not talk about sex or pornography regaurdless of your beliefs.But I guess as reigion goes its frowned upon mostly because of Mary Magdaline. She was a sinner and a whore. And if any woman would do or mention anything sexual they are labled a whore- and who wants to be called that when its so 'shameful'. After all because of her sins Mary Magdeline washed Jesus' feet with her hair. How degrating and embarrasing is that? So I guess what I am trying to say is that Religious morals keep people from talking about anything sexual in public because its "frowned upon". I hope that makes some kind of sense and that you see where im coming from.