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Scientific Approaches to Pornography Essay


Introduction

In the contemporary society, pornography is viewed by antagonistic feminists as the pinnacle of moral decay shown on screens. However, irrespective of the stand, both the protagonists and antagonists share the same view that human beings have had a deep interest in pornographic material in the image of sex.

Authors share common definition of pornography as an erotic representation material that is solely designed for instigating sexual arousal. Thus, this reflective treatise attempts to explicitly explore feminists’ perception of pornography. Besides, the main issues surrounding growth and dominance of anti-pornographic feminists in the quest to balance pornography and moral suasion.

Reflectively, the analysis is based on the findings in the article “Keeping it real: User-generated pornography, gender reification, and visual pleasure” and the book “A billion wicked thoughts: What the internet tells us about sexual relationships”.

According to Van-Doorn (2010), pornography can be traced to the early centuries of the Greek and Roman empires. In the early centuries, Romans and Greeks had frescos indicating threesomes, cunnilingus, and fellatio. Interestingly, as early as the second century, Kama Sutra handbook of India was more of a sex manual than a relationship book.

Despite the rapid development of this industry, anti-pornography feminists are vocal in the negative effects of pornography on gender stereotyping (Van-Doorn 2010). This group opines that pornography is the sole contributor to gender stereotyping, violence towards women, and dangerous sexual behavior among the male population.

Historical Perspective

The first verifiable incidence of porn was spotted in 1800. For instance, the book ‘Memoirs of a Woman Pleasure’ was a pornographic material that had erotic descriptions of sexual acts. As technology progressed, Louis Daguerre was accredited for the primitive daguerreotype photography that was adopted by pornographers ((Van-Doorn 2010).

This was followed by Le Coucher de la Marie video clip of 1896. However, the explosion occurred in the 1960s when doors were opened in movie theatres for explicit sexual contents.

Reflectively, the fever pitch was reached following discovery of the internet. As a result, viewing transformed from public to private behind closed doors. It is estimated that pornographic industry at present is a multibillion-dollar venture that cuts across all societies of the world (Van-Doorn 2010).

Factors explaining the extent of pornography

Van-Doorn (2010) identifies a myriad of factors as responsible for the widespread of pornography in the modern society. Van-Doorn (2010) carried out extensive study in feminist perception on pornography. The main three categories identified in his article are gratifying of the exploitative male culture, liberal and pro-sex positions.

Under the male culture gratification model, the author established that the feminists argue that the exploitative male culture often engage the services of women in pornographic materials as commodities which can be bought and used as sex pets.

Liberal view entertains the thought of giving women the choice to either be in a pornographic material or not since the subscribers of this thought believes in self-consciousness and independence in decision making among the womenfolk.

In an interesting twist, the pro-sex feminists explore hidden advantages that pornographic materials have on women. Among the identified benefits are self-actualization, economic gains, and self-identity. Therefore, these divergent opinions make pornography arguments a thorny discussion of all times.

Arguments for and against pornography among feminists became common in the 1980s as Anti-Pornography and Pro-Pornography feminists emerge in the society following the sudden surge in pornographic materials in the market.

Van-Doorn (2010) states that the feminist movement was shaken as proponents and opponents of pornography among the women folks unfolded with the emergence of self-expression and proactive women hood. Members of this school of thought dismissed pornography as a contributor to sexism, hideous devilish acts, and results in unending visual influenced violence on women folks.

For instance, the ardent Anti-Pornographic feminist Mackinnon is very assertive in criticizing pornography. In her arguments, she re-conceptualizes pornography as a violation of women’s civil rights. Mackinnon further claims that coercion is a common phenomenon in the pornographic industry and men seek to transform women into sex object receptacles (Van-Doom, 2010).

In the process, the basic moral standards are degraded, manipulated and finally skewed towards a permanent imbalance between principles and control of environment pressure on women’s sexuality.

Van-Doorn (2010) found out that 60% of the self-confessed feminist supporters recommended complete elimination of the pornographic industry since most actors are sexually abused, disparate and poor women who are forced by circumstance to participate in the demoralizing erotic demeanors to satisfy the blotted male ego (Van-Doorn, 2010).

Among other Anti-Pornography feminists, Mackinnon is right in her claims since Van-Doorn’s statistics has it that most female pornographic actors are poor, drug-abusing persons who had a sexually abused teenage life. Besides, this group of females is often coerced into performing certain improper sexual behavior acts in return for money, drugs, or freedom (Van-Doorn, 2010).

Sexual orientation variances

Reflectively, antagonists of pornography are mainly feminists with sensible arguments on why the erotic show is immoral. These feminists argue that pornography displays women as loose and immoral members of the society. These critics resonate that constant competition among pornographers is responsible for verbal abuse and dominance of males over the female members of the society.

Therefore, the resultant degradation and soaring aggression levels created make feminists uncomfortable. Moreover, many antagonists of pornography are certain that sex life of people is greatly affected by aggressive images since negative stereotyping is bounded in the women folks (Van-Doorn 2010).

From the findings of his primary research, Van-Doorn (2010) established that most of the feminists are women and their dissatisfaction with pornography stands at 65% in a sample space of 100 self-confessed feminists. However, protagonists disagree with this view, which they describe as influenced by generalization and personal perception.

They argue that the heated debate on the negative effects of pornography is a creation of perception since there is no substantial evidence to prove the allegation raised by antagonists. Besides, every scenario and period on pornography is influenced by different dynamics that cannot function as a dependent variable.

The majority of the protagonists are males. The findings of this research reveal that the 70% of the protagonists in a sample space of 100 supports continued pornographic activities.

This controversial research confirms a direct relationship between aggressions and actual non-consent sex among the male population. Van-Doorn (2010) asserts that sexism and misogyny culture is inclined towards misogynistic attitudes. As a result, the effect may be seen in self-esteem, happiness, security, and relationship with women folks.

Therefore, the protagonists and antagonists are in constant conflict with the antagonists asserting that dissemination, consumption, and production of pornographic material enslaves womenfolk into a cube of stereotyping from the insensitive male population.

In the process, the basic moral standards are degraded, manipulated and finally skewed towards a permanent imbalance between principles and control of environment pressure on women’s sexuality.

In direct contrast, Pro-Pornography feminists present divergent opinions on the position of pornography towards females. For instance, the book, ‘XXX: A Woman’s Right to Pornography’ by Wendy McElroy explores a series of benefits attached to pornography for women folks (Van-Doorn, 2010). Specifically, McElroy’s definition of pornography in itself is a mockery of the antagonist feminist’s position.

McElroy defines pornography as an explicit and artistic delineation of males and females as normal sexual beings (Van-Doorn, 2010). Being part of the few but vocal Pro-Pornographic feminists, McElroy clarifies her stand on pornography as a free will art which men and women engage in alike.

For McElroy, the basis of participating in erotic scenes has little to do with coercion, but self-consciousness and need to curve a unique culture among the characters who explore their sexuality. In her analysis, men and women are equal partners in the pornographic art since the body of a woman is in itself her right, as long as, self-consciousness forms part of the right (Van-Doorn, 2010).

Therefore, the author argues that women are free beings in the society with an equal space as males to discover, experience, and willingly participate in erotic sexual episodes. Besides, numerous personal and political benefits women get from acting pornography include financial gains, popularity, and recognition.

Reflectively, the author opines that violence witnessed in pornographic films is a simulation to create special effects that have nothing to do with real violence. Thus, like any other action-packed movie, violence in pornographic films is a creation of the pornographer to create a harmless fantasy during sexual acts (Ogas and Gaddam, 2012).

Despite a series of bills and laws that have been passed to censure pornographic materials, pornographic industries have devised successful ways of fighting censorship that is threatening their survival. For instance, online marketing of private pornography materials has proven successful since the target population is assumed to be mature enough.

In addition, production of educative pornography is slowly but steadily gaining ground in the homes of America. However, the general perception of the mass on pornography is negative. This view can be accredited to acculturation and idealistic social influences (Ogas and Gaddam, 2012).

Low self-esteem, maladaptive coping skills, disturbed self-identity, poor interpersonal skills, lack of social support, and increased vulnerability to stress have all been found in higher prevalence in adult who spends more time with pornographic materials than adults who regulate their consumption of pornographic materials. Stress is a holistic phenomenon with emotional, biological, cognitive, and coping aspects.

The purpose of this section is to examine stress response and stress management efficacy, focusing on interventions that emerge from a mindfulness paradigm. A review of the pathophysiology of the stress response and its impact on immunity provide a foundation for consideration of reviewing the impacts of stress on frequency of pornographic activities (Ogas and Gaddam, 2012).

Theories of stress, connections between stress and health, perception of stress, coping, cognitive appraisals, and stress management efficacy are presented. This sets the stage for exploration of mindfulness approaches to understanding the increased dependency on pornography to relieve stress. As behaviors are repeated and become more practiced, they become automatic.

Non-attention, automatic behavior, and preconceived expectations interfere with learning and limit options for response. Being mindful to new creative and effective coping allows continued learning and growth. Recognizing automatic behaviors and emotions provides an opportunity to detach from negative emotions and free up cognition (Ogas and Gaddam, 2012).

Cognitive restructuring is appropriate when a cognitive appraisal is faulty. The purpose of cognitive restructuring is to widen consciousness through awareness and then through changing faulty perceptions to minimize excessive dependence on pornography.

Successful management of pornographic addiction involves reevaluating irrational beliefs that cause and sustain behavior through cognitive, behavioral, and emotional approaches. Rational beliefs and emotions help to better achieve goals and avoid self-defeating behavior. Cognitive appraisal of the ‘stressor’ is a mediating link between stress and coping response (Ogas and Gaddam, 2012).

Mindfulness of cognitive appraisals allows healthy coping and decision-making based on fresh assessment rather than automatic behavior. Mindfulness is not a personality trait. It is, rather a set of skills and processes individuals may use to enhance coping.

Mindfulness allows moments of self-awareness and personal growth. Mindful techniques may include actively considering alternative coping strategies and approaches to challenges. Mindfulness improves the quality of participation in everyday life with intentional and effective observation (Ogas and Gaddam, 2012). Mindfulness is developed and is a process of self-observation and self-questioning.

The subjective state of mindfulness involves the whole individual witnessing the moment, drawing novel distinctions, and maintaining emotional distance from the negative influences of pornography. The process of mindfulness is intentional, allowing accurate perception of reality simultaneously in parts and in gestalt. Mindfulness opens oneself to exploration and inquiry.

Conclusion

In summary, the article “keeping it real: User-generated pornography, gender reification, and visual pleasure” by Van-Doorn (2010) explores the arguments presented by pro-pornographic and anti-pornographic feminists. The paper explored pornography and feminism, especially on liberal and individualist feminism, to draw a clear understanding of the pornographic industry.

Reflectively, the paper explored the views presented by antagonists and protagonists of pornography. Interestingly, Van-Doorn succeeds in demystifying the wrong perception that pornographic industry is violence-filled. Rather, violence noted in pornographic films are simulated effects created by pornographers to preset a harmless fantasy of adults exploring their sexuality.

Irrespective of the stand, both the protagonist and antagonist feminists share a belief that self consent is critical in classifying the degree of abuse or violence in an erotic film. The Anti-Pornographic feminist Mackinnon presents strong arguments about the negative impact of pornography on women folks as stereotyping, exploitation, and sometimes unprecedented violence.

However, Van-Doorn challenges these claims by dismissing the non-quantifiable findings of Anti-Pornography feminists whose results are influenced by personal beliefs and generalization. Van-Doorn identifies a myriad of factors as responsible for the widespread of pornography in the modern society. Van-Doorn carried out extensive study in feminist perception on pornography.

The main three categories identified in his article are gratifying the exploitative male culture, liberal, and pro-sex positions. This controversial research confirms a direct relationship between aggressions and actual non-consent sex among the male population.

It also confirms that sexism and misogyny culture is inclined towards misogynistic attitudes. As a result, the effect may be seen in self-esteem, happiness, security, and relationship with women folks. These findings are compatible with those of Ogas and Gaddam. The authors share a common definition of pornography as an erotic representation material that is solely designed for instigating sexual arousal.

References

Ogas, O., & Gaddam, S. (2012). A billion wicked thoughts: What the internet tells us about sexual relationships. New York, NY: PLUME.

Van-Doorn , N. (2010). Keeping it real: User-generated pornography, gender reification, and visual pleasure. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies. 16(4), 411-430

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