Controversial Pornography Essay Research Paper Controversial Pornography

Controversial Pornography Essay, Research Paper Controversial Pornography by: Nicole Lamberson Ms. Susan Trabert English 102-060 December 12, 1996

Controversial Pornography Essay, Research Paper

Controversial Pornography

by: Nicole Lamberson

Ms. Susan Trabert

English 102-060

December 12, 1996

Show a number of different people a simple piece of paper consisting of nothing

more than a red blotch of paint and ask them what they see. The responses will

vary from objects such as a cherry, to more simply, just plain red paint. This

is an indication of the individuality, or sum of qualities that characterize and

distinguish an individual from all others, instilled in every human being. Just

as facial features and hair color differ among individuals, similar

distinctiveness is found among personalities and opinions. Because of prominent

variance in belief among many individuals, a number of topics and issues have

become controversial in society today.

Similar to the varied responses to the red splotch of paint, photographs, video

tapes and paintings portraying nudity and sexual content receive a number of

clashing opinions. There are artists who paint and photograph nudity and

pornography who find the human body and sex portrayed in many forms to be

beautiful. However, there are also many extremely conservative individuals who

take offense to such “artwork” and find its contents appalling. And those who

enjoy the nudity and sexual content exhibited in pornographic materials should

marvel and delight in its details. Those who do not should simply look away. In

the words of Justice William O. Douglas, “no one is compelled to look”

(Brownmiller 663). There is no concrete manner to define materials that are

“obscene” or “offensive” because various images come to mind among individuals

when words similar to these are used to describe pornography. To classify a

distasteful picture from a beautiful one comes down to a matter of opinion and

taste. In previous instances, such as the Miller

Case of

1973, the Court attempted to define which materials could be judged as lewd or

indecent:

The materials are obscene if they depict patently offensive, hard-core sexual

conduct; lack serious scientific, literary, artistic, or political value; and

appeal to the prurient interests of an average person?as measured by

contemporary community standards (Brownmiller 662).

In accordance with the opinions of Susan Brownmiller in her essay, “Let’s Put

Pornography Back in the Closet,” most would agree that description such as

“patently offensive,” “prurient interest,” and “hard-core” are “indeed words to

conjure with” (662).

Elimination of pornography is not the key to social equality, partly since no

one can define what porn is and because censorship is never a simple matter.

First, the offense must be described. “And how does one define something so

infinitely variable, so deeply personal, so uniquely individualized as the image,

the word, and the fantasy that cause sexual arousal” (Strossen 4)? Pornography

cannot be recognized as easily as the Court involved with the Miller Case

implied. “Contemporary community standards” do not exist in that individuals

and families alike have strongly different ideals and ethics on issues such as

sexual content, nudity and pornography. While some parents allow their children

to view rated R movies containing sexual content and nudity, others restrict

their children from attending sexual education classes in high school. Finding

a median between two strongly differing standards similar to these would be rare.

Thus, to accept or reject, like or dislike pornography is a personal opinionthat

is often too divided to differentiate.

Besides the difficulties of definition, there are varying degrees of intensity

in the porn images themselves. One of the more prominent arguments against

pornography is that “it represents the hatred of women, that pornography’s

intent is to humiliate, degrade and dehumanize the female body for the purpose

of erotic stimulation and pleasure” (Brownmiller 663). Although in some

instances women are portrayed as being stripped, bound, raped and tortured in

pornographic scenes, not all pornography is this explicit and violent. In any

case, the intent of such scenes is not to “degrade and dehumanize” the entire

female gender but to simply satisfy those individuals who enjoy poses and

pictures containing such violent erotic content. Brownmiller argues that these

images of violent pornography? “have everything to do with the creation of a

cultural climate in which a rapist feels he is merely giving in to normal urge

and a woman is encouraged to believe that sexual masochism is healthy, liberated

fun” (663).

Women such as Brownmiller who spend most of their time blaming rape on

pornography should spend more of that time educating women on personal safety so

they can protect and empower themselves. To attribute rape cases to sexual

pictures is similar to blaming drunk driving accidents on alcohol. The

individual who chose to drink and then drive is at fault, similar to the man who

decided to continue with sex when a woman resisted. To depict pornographic

scenes as the cause of rape and degrading of women is simply masking the actual

grounds of such acts. Holly Hughes states, if you argue that getting the

Playboys out of the 7-Eleven is going to drive down the rape rate, then you also

have to give credence to the religious right’s claims that representation of gay

and lesbian lives are going to cause homosexuality?I don’t see imagery ? whether

it’s pornography, hate speech, or lesbian imagery- as causing a certain kind of

behavior (43).

Simply because one is a consumer of pornography does not mean they have to go

out and do everything they see.

Possibly pornography abets some sex crimes. But according to Ernest Van Den

Haag in his essay. “Learning to Live with Sex and Violence,” those disposed to

sex crimes may also be inclined to consume pornography as an effect, not a cause,

of their pre ? existing criminal disposition. More important, if there is a

disposition to sex crimes, an almost infinite variety of things may trigger

criminal action. A rapist does not need pornography. The sight of a woman, or

even of an advertisement for lingerie may be enough” (59).

However, for most people pornography is no more damaging, or habit ? forming,

than coffee. Simply because there is no way to eliminate stimuli, there is no

reason to believe that pornography is indispensable to sex crimes or

sufficiently at fault to justify controlling it.

Despite complaints and criticisms from individuals and groups alike, producers

will continue to create pornography and those individuals who enjoy it will

continue to purchase it. Because of strong support from a number of people?

“the porn industry has become a mulitmillion dollar business” (Brownmiller 663).

To attempt to do away completely with such a prosperous business would be

virtually impossible. The reality is that millions and millions of Americans

consume various kinds of sexually explicit materials every month. Although their

numbers are large, their rights are under attack in virtually every segment of

society. But forming laws restricting pornography from viewers would be similar

to restricting cigarettes from smokers. The outrage and protest would be

uncontrollably extreme. And laws are only obeyed by people who believe in them.

There are a lot of laws against drugs. Has it stopped anyone?

Kyle Jorgensen, a man involved in the adult sex industry for seven years, has

learned that he will never please everyone (Nichols 60). He has been both

praised and reviled. “I’ve had women come in the door or write letters thanking

me for saving their marriages,” he claims. “At the same time, I have letters

from special ? interest groups condemning me for destroying the world” (Nichols

60). Ultimately, the assemblage of people who object to pornography must learn

to turn their heads and look away. Those who do enjoy the content of pornography

should continue to enjoy it without, however, imposing on those who choose not

to subject themselves.

Works Cited

Brownmiller, Susan. “Let’s Put Pornography Back in the Closet.” Current Issues

and Enduring Questions. Sylvan Barnet and Hugo Bedau, eds. Bedford: Boston,

1996.

Hughes, Holly. “Pornography: Does Women’s Equality Depend on what we do

About it?” Ms. Jan./ Feb. 1994: 42-45.

Nichols, Mark. “Viewers and Victims: Pornography and Sexual Offenses.”

Maclean’s 11 Oct. 1993: 60.

Strossen, Nadine. “The Perils of Pornophobia.” The Humanist. May/June 1995: 7-

9.

Van Den Haag, Ernest. “Learning to Live with Sex and Violence.” National Review.

1 Nov. 1993: 56-9.

Show a

number of different people a simple piece of paper consisting of nothing more

than a red blotch of paint and ask them what they see. The responses will vary

from objects such as a cherry, to more simply, just plain red paint. This is an

indication of the individuality, or sum of qualities that characterize and

distinguish an individual from all others, instilled in every human being. Just

as facial features and hair color differ among individuals, similar

distinctiveness is found among personalities and opinions. Because of prominent

variance in belief among many individuals, a number of topics and issues have

become controversial in society today. Similar to the varied responses to the

red splotch of paint, photographs, video tapes and paintings portraying nudity

and sexual content receive a number of clashing opinions. There are artists who

paint and photograph nudity and pornography who find the human body and sex

portrayed in many forms to be beautiful. However, there are also many extremely

conservative individuals who take offense to such “artwork” and find its

contents appalling. And those who enjoy the nudity and sexual content exhibited

in pornographic materials should marvel and delight in its details. Those who do

not should simply look away. In the words of Justice William O. Douglas, “no

one is compelled to look” (Brownmiller 663). There is no concrete manner to

define materials that are “obscene” or “offensive” because various images come

to mind among individuals when words similar to these are used to describe

pornography. To classify a distasteful picture from a beautiful one comes down

to a matter of opinion and taste. In previous instances, such as the Miller

Case of

1973, the Court attempted to define which materials could be judged as lewd or

indecent: The materials are obscene if they depict patently offensive, hard-core

sexual conduct; lack serious scientific, literary, artistic, or political value;

and appeal to the prurient interests of an average person?as measured by

contemporary community standards (Brownmiller 662). In accordance with the

opinions of Susan Brownmiller in her essay, “Let’s Put Pornography Back in the

Closet,” most would agree that description such as “patently offensive,”

“prurient interest,” and “hard-core” are “indeed words to conjure with” (662).

Elimination of pornography is not the key to social equality, partly since no

one can define what porn is and because censorship is never a simple matter.

First, the offense must be described. “And how does one define something so

infinitely variable, so deeply personal, so uniquely individualized as the image,

the word, and the fantasy that cause sexual arousal” (Strossen 4)? Pornography

cannot be recognized as easily as the Court involved with the Miller Case

implied. “Contemporary community standards” do not exist in that individuals

and families alike have strongly different ideals and ethics on issues such as

sexual content, nudity and pornography. While some parents allow their children

to view rated R movies containing sexual content and nudity, others restrict

their children from attending sexual education classes in high school. Finding

a median between two strongly differing standards similar to these would be rare.

Thus, to accept or reject, like or dislike pornography is a personal opinion

that is often too divided to differentiate.

Besides the difficulties of definition, there are varying degrees of intensity

in the porn images themselves. One of the more prominent arguments against

pornography is that “it represents the hatred of women, that pornography’s

intent is to humiliate, degrade and dehumanize the female body for the purpose

of erotic stimulation and pleasure” (Brownmiller 663). Although in some

instances women are portrayed as being stripped, bound, raped and tortured in

pornographic scenes, not all pornography is this explicit and violent. In any

case, the intent of such scenes is not to “degrade and dehumanize” the entire

female gender but to simply satisfy those individuals who enjoy poses and

pictures containing such violent erotic content. Brownmiller argues that these

images of violent pornography? “have everything to do with the creation of a

cultural climate in which a rapist feels he is merely giving in to normal urge

and a woman is encouraged to believe that sexual masochism is healthy, liberated

fun” (663). Women such as Brownmiller who spend most of their time blaming rape

on pornography should spend more of that time educating women on personal safety

so they can protect and empower themselves. To attribute rape cases to sexual

pictures is similar to blaming drunk driving accidents on alcohol. The

individual who chose to drink and then drive is at fault, similar to the man who

decided to continue with sex when a woman resisted. To depict pornographic

scenes as the cause of rape and degrading of women is simply masking the actual

grounds of such acts. Holly Hughes states,

if you argue that

getting the Playboys out of the 7-Eleven is going to drive down the rape rate,

then you also have to give credence to the religious right’s claims that

representation of gay and lesbian lives are going to cause homosexuality?I don’t

see imagery ? whether it’s pornography, hate speech, or lesbian imagery- as

causing a certain kind of behavior (43). Simply because one is a consumer of

pornography does not mean they have to go out and do everything they see.

Possibly pornography abets some sex crimes. But according to Ernest Van Den Haag

in his essay. “Learning to Live with Sex and Violence,” those disposed to sex

crimes may also be inclined to consume pornography as an effect, not a cause, of

their pre ? existing criminal disposition. More important, if there is a

disposition to sex crimes, an almost infinite variety of things may trigger

criminal action. A rapist does not need pornography. The sight of a woman, or

even of an advertisement for lingerie may be enough” (59).

However, for most people pornography is no more damaging, or habit ? forming,

than coffee. Simply because there is no way to eliminate stimuli, there is no

reason to believe that pornography is indispensable to sex crimes or

sufficiently at fault to justify controlling it.

Despite complaints and criticisms from individuals and groups alike,

producers will continue to create pornography and those individuals who enjoy it

will continue to

purchase it.

Because of strong support from a number of people? “the porn industry has

become a mulitmillion dollar business” (Brownmiller 663). To attempt to do away

completely with such a prosperous business would be virtually impossible. The

reality is that millions and millions of Americans consume various kinds of

sexually explicit materials every month. Although their numbers are large, their

rights are under attack in virtually every segment of society. But forming laws

restricting pornography from viewers would be similar to restricting cigarettes

from smokers. The outrage and protest would be uncontrollably extreme. And laws

are only obeyed by people who believe in them. There are a lot of laws against

drugs. Has it stopped anyone? Kyle Jorgensen, a man involved in the adult sex

industry for seven years,

has learned that he will never please everyone (Nichols 60). He has been both

praised and reviled. “I’ve had women come in the door or write letters thanking

me for saving their marriages,” he claims. “At the same time, I have letters

from special ? interest groups condemning me for destroying the world” (Nichols

60). Ultimately, the assemblage of people who object to pornography must learn

to turn their heads and look away. Those who do enjoy the content of pornography

should continue to enjoy it without, however, imposing on those who choose not

to subject themselves.

Controversial Pornography: Revision- Paper # 3

by: Nicole Lamberson

Ms. Susan Trabert English 102-060 December 12, 1996

Works Cited

Brownmiller, Susan. “Let’s Put Pornography Back in the Closet.” Current Issues

and

Enduring Questions. Sylvan Barnet and Hugo Bedau, eds. Bedford: Boston,

1996. Hughes, Holly. “Pornography: Does Women’s Equality Depend on what we do

About it?” Ms. Jan./ Feb. 1994: 42-45. Nichols, Mark. “Viewers and

Victims: Pornography and Sexual Offenses.” Maclean’s

11 Oct. 1993: 60. Strossen, Nadine. “The Perils of Pornophobia.” The

Humanist. May/June 1995: 7-9. Van Den Haag, Ernest. “Learning to Live with Sex

and Violence.” National Review.

1 Nov. 1993: 56-9.

\

Show a

number of different people a simple piece of paper consisting of nothing more

than a red blotch of paint and ask them what they see. The responses will vary

from objects such as a cherry, to more simply, just plain red paint. This is an

indication of the individuality, or sum of qualities that characterize and

distinguish an individual from all others, instilled in every human being. Just

as facial features and hair color differ among individuals, similar

distinctiveness is found among personalities and opinions. Because of prominent

variance in belief among many individuals, a number of topics and issues have

become controversial in society today. Similar to the varied responses to the

red splotch of paint, photographs, video tapes and paintings portraying nudity

and sexual content receive a number of clashing opinions. There are artists who

paint and photograph nudity and pornography who find the human body and sex

portrayed in many forms to be beautiful. However, there are also many extremely

conservative individuals who take offense to such “artwork” and find its

contents appalling. And those who enjoy the nudity and sexual content exhibited

in pornographic materials should marvel and delight in its details. Those who do

not should simply look away. In the words of Justice William O. Douglas, “no

one is compelled to look” (Brownmiller 663). There is no concrete manner to

define materials that are “obscene” or “offensive” because various images come

to mind among individuals when words similar to these are used to describe

pornography. To classify a distasteful picture from a beautiful one comes down

to a matter of opinion and taste. In previous instances, such as the Miller

Case of

1973, the Court attempted to define which materials could be judged as lewd or

indecent: The materials are obscene if they depict patently offensive, hard-core

sexual conduct; lack serious scientific, literary, artistic, or political value;

and appeal to the prurient interests of an average person?as measured by

contemporary community standards (Brownmiller 662). In accordance with the

opinions of Susan Brownmiller in her essay, “Let’s Put Pornography Back in the

Closet,” most would agree that description such as “patently offensive,”

“prurient interest,” and “hard-core” are “indeed words to conjure with” (662).

Elimination of pornography is not the key to social equality, partly since no

one can define what porn is and because censorship is never a simple matter.

First, the offense must be described. “And how does one define something so

infinitely variable, so deeply personal, so uniquely individualized as the image,

the word, and the fantasy that cause sexual arousal” (Strossen 4)? Pornography

cannot be recognized as easily as the Court involved with the Miller Case

implied. “Contemporary community standards” do not exist in that individuals

and families alike have strongly different ideals and ethics on issues such as

sexual content, nudity and pornography. While some parents allow their children

to view rated R movies containing sexual content and nudity, others restrict

their children from attending sexual education classes in high school. Finding

a median between two strongly differing standards similar to these would be rare.

Thus, to accept or reject, like or dislike pornography is a personal opinion

that is often too divided to differentiate.

Besides the difficulties of definition, there are varying degrees of intensity

in the porn images themselves. One of the more prominent arguments against

pornography is that “it represents the hatred of women, that pornography’s

intent is to humiliate, degrade and dehumanize the female body for the purpose

of erotic stimulation and pleasure” (Brownmiller 663). Although in some

instances women are portrayed as being stripped, bound, raped and tortured in

pornographic scenes, not all pornography is this explicit and violent. In any

case, the intent of such scenes is not to “degrade and dehumanize” the entire

female gender but to simply satisfy those individuals who enjoy poses and

pictures containing such violent erotic content. Brownmiller argues that these

images of violent pornography? “have everything to do with the creation of a

cultural climate in which a rapist feels he is merely giving in to normal urge

and a woman is encouraged to believe that sexual masochism is healthy, liberated

fun” (663). Women such as Brownmiller who spend most of their time blaming rape

on pornography should spend more of that time educating women on personal safety

so they can protect and empower themselves. To attribute rape cases to sexual

pictures is similar to blaming drunk driving accidents on alcohol. The

individual who chose to drink and then drive is at fault, similar to the man who

decided to continue with sex when a woman resisted. To depict pornographic

scenes as the cause of rape and degrading of women is simply masking the actual

grounds of such acts. Holly Hughes states,

if you argue that

getting the Playboys out of the 7-Eleven is going to drive down the rape rate,

then you also have to give credence to the religious right’s claims that

representation of gay and lesbian lives are going to cause homosexuality?I don’t

see imagery ? whether it’s pornography, hate speech, or lesbian imagery- as

causing a certain kind of behavior (43). Simply because one is a consumer of

pornography does not mean they have to go out and do everything they see.

Possibly pornography abets some sex crimes. But according to Ernest Van Den Haag

in his essay. “Learning to Live with Sex and Violence,” those disposed to sex

crimes may also be inclined to consume pornography as an effect, not a cause, of

their pre ? existing criminal disposition. More important, if there is a

disposition to sex crimes, an almost infinite variety of things may trigger

criminal action. A rapist does not need pornography. The sight of a woman, or

even of an advertisement for lingerie may be enough” (59).

However, for most people pornography is no more damaging, or habit ? forming,

than coffee. Simply because there is no way to eliminate stimuli, there is no

reason to believe that pornography is indispensable to sex crimes or

sufficiently at fault to justify controlling it.

Despite complaints and criticisms from individuals and groups alike,

producers will continue to create pornography and those individuals who enjoy it

will continue to

purchase it.

Because of strong support from a number of people? “the porn industry has

become a mulitmillion dollar business” (Brownmiller 663). To attempt to do away

completely with such a prosperous business would be virtually impossible. The

reality is that millions and millions of Americans consume various kinds of

sexually explicit materials every month. Although their numbers are large, their

rights are under attack in virtually every

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