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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