From early years, the way we understood and expressed one another was though the physical connection. The desire for your selected partner was shown through sexual intercourse. It was represented differently across cultures and revealed a diverse message. It was a way to open doors for broader and more intimate communications, growth of feelings and attachment, respect and mutual agreement. Although this bond is still present, the world had evolved to something more powerful.
Sexual desires have changed across the life span to a wide known activity – pornography. To define pornography in own terms, it is the explicit display of public sexual matter that damaged the true meaning of sex and self, and is practiced by a wide range of population for sexual arousal. The popularization of pornography had branched out to a variety of media such as books, magazines, videos, films, advertisement and even video games. Now a day, this sexual explicit material had become virtually accessible to anyone, including young children. With a click of a button, internet became the newest and powerful media influence that allows free access to sexual material and explicit information. Pornography use is the single most significant feature used, which in return is measured by money. (Seidman, 2004) This industry is part of the largest revenue collection from day to day users, starting from sales of videos and magazines to internet and strip clubs. Pornography contradicts the sexual intimacy and privacy between two individuals. Beginning from soft porn where nudity modeling was key, to hard porn with violence and harsh animalistic activities, it has vastly grown to the society across the world.
There has been a very small amount of research dedicated to positive effects on pornography. Those studies (Weinberg, Williams, Kleiner & Irizarry, 2010; Hald, 2006; Hald & Malamuth, 2008), that do research positive impacts on behaviours and attitudes argue that frequency of exploring this field can lead to more liberal attitudes that include a better sex life and increased sexual experimentation with their partners. However, this review will focus and discuss on the research done on negative impact of pornography. It will touch on multiple diverse sections that include the increase patterns in pornography, gender differences, violence and mistreatment of women as well as sexual aggression and criminal sexuality that will touch on the cultivation theory. Also, this paper will emphasize on limitations of the studies such as lack of research methods, sampling techniques and the overall accuracy of self-reports and risk factors.
The first study that will be deconstructed is related to the increase patterns in pornography. This study addresses three specific aims. The first aim is to “document current patterns and context of pornography use in a non-clinical sample”. The second aim is to “establish the social and psychological correlation of pornography use”. The third aim is to “deepen clinical understanding of pornography habit and frequency use for heterosexual men”. (Seidman, 2004) Bringing your attention to a side note, the research does not aim to look at the person’s attitudes or effects towards pornography use, rather their behaviour and the frequency patterns of their own realization. (Seidman, 2004)
Aims 1 and 2 were pursued through survey data collected from male (n = 102) and female (n = 208) undergraduates. Aim 3 was pursued through qualitative analysis of interview data from 15 male, heterosexual, high-frequency pornography users.
To take the worlds out of Kant’s mouth, sex is immoral and wrong. It is a carnival activity that is used for selfish purposes. We are using one another for own pleasure. Being moral requires that we treat people with respect and humanity. He believes that sex is only acceptable in a marriage because only then each joins as one person, creates equality and saves us from danger of sex. It contradicts everything that pornography is about; especially that it is shown to a public eye. Sex should be a private, intimate connection that creates love and happiness. There is no respect and equality but the animal existence that sex and pornography reduces us to. In pornography, men are the most powerful that treat women like their slaves. It brings out poor behaviour due to the powerful content it holds. We bring this behaviour into the real life and start treating women with the same behaviour as shown in pornography films. Treating people as an ends of themselves and not merely as a means does not fit in this category. There is a moral state in us all and whether we choose to follow it or not defines our human self. Pornography is partially like prostitution since we sell our bodies to the public and that corrupts the meaning of sex.
In pornography relating to sex, there has not been mutual equality between men and women. There is a great barrier between how men and women are being treated at their “job”. Based on Firestone, women are inferior and men want them on a pedestal, to show who holds the power in the relationship. Men have hysteria of wanting to possess a woman but at the same time see them as a lesser person. Since women were categories as “other”, men take advantage of their weakness. Women are already a minority in the society, and in pornography they are being brought down even harder. Dworkin argues that sex maintains and expresses male dominance on women. They are dominant because men had possessed a women’s body and therefore marked as a territory. When a man had sexual intercourse with a woman, he automatically occupies and takes control over the body and the woman. At this point, women get objectified and are treated as such. They are made to believe that they have no voice or power to be a strong individual self in a pornography industry and in real life. As Sartre has stated, sex is about power, and the person who holds the power objectifies the other. Since this behaviour started a while back, today we still continue to encourage it and follow what the society made us believe is “true”.
Philosopher Mackinnon’s argument is that porn is a method through which male sexuality sustains its dominance. One of the main ways where this believe came to existence is through development of pornography. It both creates and sustains our normative ideas about sexuality. It is shown that our culture male sexuality has been developed in such a way that masculine desire only depends upon domination of women. Men want women to be less of a person than themselves, where she could be controlled and made to do what the men desires. Good pornography does not exist because it is all about male desire towards women. Such behaviour is controversial because lowering or putting women down turns men on, and it should not be this way. Why is one’s pain another person’s pleasure? This theme has gone so far that women themselves believe and live with the idea that they are objectified and are less than men. We can safely say that pornography works as an expressive device and even as sexual information. It represents that men really want, such as women to be on their knees, or dominated and taken advantage of. We have grown so far that we saw sex move from this beautiful thing, to something that can physically hurt one another and get pleasure from it. And the hurting part almost always gets performed on a woman.
Based on the research that Scozia had conducted, it was found that most of the pornography results in violent behaviour. Pornography has this idea that produces men to assault or cause harm to women. The amount of aggression that pornography produces towards women is overwhelming. In today’s society, the most popular and mainstream pornography is of degrading women both physically and verbally. Since it has grown to be acceptable, it is now believed that women take pleasure from such acts and enforce the idea that they enjoy being called names and dominated during sexual intercourse. From watching violent pornography, many young adults might come to the realization that it is normal to discriminate women in such forms. Do to such sharp increase in the amount of violence is used in pornography; there is also fear that it would be influenced on multiple individuals towards poor behaviour. It is scary to think that after watching such pornography there is great risk in increased sexual behaviours outside the internet or the magazines. Sexual behaviours may result in the most extreme case, like rape itself. Therefore women become hopeless and lose their ability to voice or represent themselves as a majority.
Tong discovered that thanatica is the type of porn that is bad because it degrades women. Thanatica represents sexual arrangement that avoids sexual respect. It is itself harmful and should be restricted from human beings. That harm is present when individual’s legitimate interests are being violated. It is a lack of respect when such things are performed when there isn’t one’s desire to. No one should be forced to do something they do not want to do. If we are not given choices, then we are not given moral decisions. Unfortunately, in today’s world such things exist, where disrespect is present. To add to the same idea, Gary also agrees on this factor. Pornography is degrading when there is lack of respect between two individuals having sexual intercourse. It is morally objected when it is morally degrading to women, and it is degrading when women are being objectified. Therefore, porn is problematic because it objectifies women as minorities that are weak and lower than an average male man.
Speaking about all the above topics on pornography, we can relate it to perversion sex. To define perversion, it is a sexual contact with anything other than a human being and their consent. Some examples that relates to this discussion are masturbation, S&M sex with inanimate objects, fetishes with objects that have more sexual meaning then it deserves, prostitution and rape. In today’s society, we see a lot of those categories come into play in pornography and most of them cause harm to women. It can also cause abnormal behaviours, humiliation, punishment and power. Perversion is progressive, and can even lead to sexual murder in its later stages. Hard core sex is very violent that uses fault language, physical abuse, use of different objects and machines and sometimes no consent from the women’s side. All this factors add on to the degrading women and violence in the pornography field.
Pornography is closely related to prostitution since both types of activities involve degrading women and this business is ultimately for money. Pornography created multiple other ways of using women as objects, it created prostitution. Same way as pornography, men get access to women’s bodies. It is nothing but the male oppression of women. It all ties to inequality of sexes which should not exist in today’s society. Pornography led us create new horrible things that targets minorities in many ways.
In conclusion, pornography is closely related and has great effect on the society. What happens at the computer or television screens influences and motivates us to act that same way. We start to believe what pornography is showing us, and discriminate those who are in the minority group. We completely shifted from what truly matters in sexual intercourse to aggression, violence, poor behaviour and much more. We have created animals that thrive for self pleasure and to gain dominance. Pornography had got so addictive that many could not face to be different then what the society believes it should be. Certain things should be challenged and put a stop to so we could create a better world.