A Mother’s Point of View

I read blogging4class’s post on Kids and Porn – I respectfully disagree with their thinking….

There is quite a difference between actively searching for porn, such as adolescents scrounging around for issues of Playboy, Hustler or Penthouse than there is for one that accidentally stumbles over it looking for something else online.

You are correct to say that those actively seeking will find a way, no matter what the medium is, be it magazines, videos or nowadays internet.  However, there is a vast amount of children out there that you may consider naive or just not with it, that have no idea how to OR have no desire to access this material. Therefore, we must protect those children as well as others from finding this “adult” material so easily. These are the children that will be scarred for life.

Side Note:  I am in my mid-30s with a 13 year old boy and 11 year old girl.  (I worry for them – they are certainly NOT mature enough to handle such visual material.) Years ago, believe it or not, I never had the desire or know-how to access such material. It was not until college in the late 80’s and early 90’s at UB that I was introduced to porn by my hallmates. 

However, I did have an experience in HS – my friend and I were running around the perimeter of the HS (we were on the track and field team and we were conditioning on our own).  The school was deserted except for a car that kept circling – we were wary.  Sure enough, the driver opened his door and we saw he had his pants dropped around his ankles and he was pleasuring himself. We ran faster in opposite direction and screamed. He took off.  We never reported it to the authorities.  That experience horrified me.  Did it scar me for life? Perhaps in some ways it did. For the most part it didn’t.  But that was one isolated incident.  And I was the victim.  I am sure since the man found some girls he can “use” at that location, he tried again and again. What I am trying to say is that if it works once, they will continue doing what they do. 

If children find it so easily on the net, they will access it time and time. It is so much easier finding this material online than it is at one’s home – depending on the home – If mom or dad don’t have it at home, it is less likely the children will have access to it (excluding – friends and their homes).  But majority of the people have internet and we welcome that into our homes every day of our lives.

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Two responses in one

This is in response to MarkK and Pornocali.

I, myself was thinking the along the same lines that the Supreme Court has let us down with such an ambiguous finding on what is considered porn.  I posted a blog last week about the definitions but never mentioned how the Supreme Court failed us. I was however intending to post a new blog about our two new Supreme Court Justices and you opened the door for me.  Perhaps with Alito and Roberts now on the bench, more family values would be set.  Everyone is worried about Roe vs. Wade decision being overturned and are arguing that the Court should only be interpreting the law and not making the laws.

What we need to do is write to our local and state representatives encouraging them to come up with guidelines for the industry.  We need black and white guidelines and no gray areas.  However, everyone knows a good lawyer can fight anything, and that is where the Justices need to interpret the law and set precedents.  Hopefully they will interpret and uphold the rulings in favor of censorship over free speech.

Because I said so

I looked up the definition of pornography on the web to see how many different versions are out there.  There are too many to count.  However, this website was particularly interesting to me, since I agreed somewhat with the content.  Personally, I would have to agree with the feminist definition, because that is what has driven me these past years.  Pornography in my opinion is material of any medium such as video, pictures, writing, etc, that includes sexual intent or activity that is abusive to either party involved without consent of that individual; consent being a full understanding of what is going to take place and agreeing to it.  Therefore, if animals or children or mentally handicapped adults or any adult for that matter are being abused or degraded in any matter, to me that is considered pornography. 
 

Dr. Halavais has also noted that defining pornography is difficult in that it needs to be broad and not individualistic to a certain person.  I believe my definition is broad and covers a wide range.  “I know it when I see it” the Casablanca test, is not defining it for the rest of society.  I used to be in that mindset, which was fine for my personal beliefs, but does not bode well when talking about defining it for the purposes of censorship.  It is like a parent telling a child “Because I said so.”  It does not help the child know the meaning behind the statement.  It only says to the child, I am in charge.  The child has no way of preparing or protecting himself from the future if he has no idea what the boundaries were in which he crossed to elicit such a response from his parent.  To say “I know it when I see it” does not help film-makers understand where the line is so they know where it is not to cross. For this reason, defining pornography is an important first step.
 

Once pornography is defined, we can then go on to erotica, obscenity, indecency, etc.  When the Calvin Klein ads first came out, I thought it was indecent. It was not pornographic in nature.  Children are innocent.  The pictures were of them in their underwear and in no way were there any inappropriate touching or suggestive poses.  However, these pictures were out in the public for all to see.  My children at ages 11 and 14 are humiliated that someone may see a picture of them in their underwear while going through our family albums.  So to have pictures of these children plastered on magazine pages and billboards to sell underwear is not pornographic but still indecent.  However, one could argue how else would you sell underwear! Indecent is in the eye of the beholder as well.
 

Erotica is different than pornography.  It could be considered indecent even obscene to some. However, through my definition of pornography, it would not fall within those realms.  Erotica seems to appeal more to women than men.  Like the women suggests in the video (lecture 3), there should be a story line in which the sexual activity has some context.  Women need their senses appealed to, a sort of working up to.  Pornography skips the emotional and goes straight to the physical which promotes negativity towards woman in general.  In their own personal lives, men skip the emotional and go straight to the physical not taking their partners needs and wants into consideration.  In men’s defense, they do not know any better because this is what they absorb from their “learning material”.  I know I am generalizing, but for the majority, this is the case. I have viewed pornography.  I am not void of that.  I have been excited watching as well as repulsed.  It needs to be made clear, however, that not all women enjoy this activity. Dr. Halavais even stated in his lecture that in early smoker or stag films, women were coerced into participation, they were not willing partners.
After commenting on the lecture this week, I want to state that I believe a different word is needed to describe pornographic material that I define to be pornography above.  Since pornography as it is known today is so ambiguous, some people see it as harmless and others as harmful, I believe it needs to be subcategorized for legality sake.  Other words such as erotica, obscene and indecent don’t seem to fit the bill either. Once all is defined, then uses and restrictions could be put in place to protect those that do not or should not be able to view such material.

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Leave it to the blokes

This week’s lecture started with the ambiguity of the definition of pornography.  I enjoyed the 9 minute clip at the beginning.  It got me thinking of how I view pornography and why I am so against it.  I must say that I do flip-flop with my thoughts.  I look at it from all directions, but end up pretty much against the industry.  This class has made me dig deep into what promotes my thoughts on this subject. I related to the clip on so many levels. I associated with the woman, and the men made me laugh.  I loved how Susan puts Steve on the spot describing the video he saw. When Steve quips “when man invented fire, he didn’t say ‘hey, let’s cook’, he said ‘great, now we can see naked bottoms in the dark’!”, that is a clear indication that Gibson’s quote, “the street tries to find its own uses for things” is right on track. He goes on to say that with every invention man twists its use to better suit their needs, the need to see woman’s naked bottoms! Internet is no exception.I must say I never thought there would be so much to discuss regarding pornography.  This class has proven me wrong. 

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What are we teaching our children?

  I read Stefiesays blog and appreciated the article she sited.  Porn is all around us.  I have a husband who finds it interested and a son who at the age of 13 admitted to seeing a pop-up here and there while online. This is disturbing on so many levels since I have parental controls on my computer, but I am finding out nothing is fool proof.
The article sites different girls and how they conceive themselves through porn.  Not only at a very vulnerable age do they have to deal with looking like the supermodels in ads and magazines, but now their boyfriends are viewing pornographic material and expecting the girls to look and at times act as the “actresses” in these films.  What a disturbing lesson this teaches our youth. The boys learn this is acceptable even normal behavior and the girls learn to feel inadequate and self conscious because they don’t measure up.
            What Troy Busher states on the second page of the article is pretty much what I believe will be happening more and more.  Men start believing that they “own” their girlfriend’s/spouse’ body and feel a sense of entitlement to when, how much and where without the consent of the woman.  It is true that this is not spoken much in polite society, however, in my social circle, it comes up every once in awhile.
            I believe we have rights and freedoms, but we need to draw the line somewhere. Just because we have the freedom of speech, we cannot slander anyone. Therefore, porn industrialist can argue that they have the freedom to produce and distribute such material, however, they must be held responsible if it gets into the hands of innocent children.

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Pretend it’s not there

Hi Everyone,  I am Elaine and I am taking the Cyberporn and Society class at UB.  I live in Nesconset, NY (Long Island) with my husband and two children.  I attended UB many years ago and left with only one semester to go. I love Buffalo, the weather and all, and I miss being there.  I always wanted to complete my Communication degree but put it on hold to raise my children.  I decided after 14 years, it was time to start up again.  I noticed this class was being offered online and thought it was the best opportunity and grabbed it.  It will allow me to fulfill my final COM requirement while learning a bit about society and the influences pornography has on it.  The title is intriguing and hopefully, when this class is over, I will better understand my husband’s obsession! Taking the class online allows me to set my own schedule as well, a definite bonus.