of the of the Philosophy Submitted The Creation and Consumption of Pornography Objectifies Women Introduction Pornography refers to the depiction of erotic or sexual behaviour or images in various forms, for example through photography, audio-visual or even cartoon-based presentations. The objective is to titillate the senses and affect our mood. Sex is one of our most basic desires and pornography is one of the ways to bring it to the surface. One of the key arguments against pornography is that it objectifies woman. In fact one may well say that the likes of Hugh Hefner (Playboy), Larry Flynt (Hustler) and others have used women in a very derogatory manner to create their own magazine empires and a lot of wealth. To objectify means to present or regard as an object. While the pornographic industry has presented women as objects, it is equally guilty of degrading women and belittling their status in the eyes of men, especially those who are subscribers to pornographic magazines.
Back in the days before pornography was so rampant, social attitudes towards sex were that it was a deeply personal subject and public displays and discussions about it were strictly taboo. Then came the Golden Age of Porn, a period lasting from the 1960s to the 1980s, in which there was a movement for sexual liberation following the Flower Power revolution. ‘Make Love, Not War’ was a popular message on T-Shirts from the Woodstock era. It opened the way to live-ins and the love-child. Opportunists like Hugh Hefner and Larry Flynt saw a quick and easy way to make big bucks out of the changing scenario. Playboy was launched in 1953 and Hustler in 1974, making both of them millionaires in the process.
Although there have been efforts to suppress pornography and the victimization of women from many quarters, the foremost objections coming from religious leaders, feminists and moralists, the evolution of the Internet, the profusion of media types and the effects of pornography’s rich contribution to the media industry have been some of the reasons even the Government is reluctant to take steps to stop this billion dollar industry (Schlosser, ‘Reefer Madness’, 32). It has been estimated that on the average, 70 percent of men between the ages of 18 and 34 years visit a pornographic website, a store or a brothel in a typical month. The sad thing is that the profusion of pornographic sites on the Internet has brought this evil right into our homes without much public outcry at all.
Try as we might, pornography will prevail. The outrage is that not only do pornographic magazines demean women, they also help create sex offenders and weirdos by catering to men’s fantasies like group sex, gang rape, incest and various other fetishes and taboos. When such material becomes the norm rather than the exception, it’s time to take legal action and stop the publication of such magazines in the public interest. Many a sex offender has been found to have a history of sex abuse, fuelled by the proliferation of pornographic material that we have floating about in the market. His visions of having a sexual slave or kinky sex are inflamed by such erotica. Greta Christina’s blog piece Are we having sex now or what? is enlightening as well as humorous on a topic that interests most of us. She traces the sexual experiences in her life like any American would and begins by keeping score. It was a source of some kind of pride, or identity anyway, to know how many people Id had sex with in my lifetime (Christina, ’Are We Having Sex Now or What?’,1). Then she is confused about what constitutes sex and what doesn’t. The variety of sexual experiences one can have ranges from a backrub when you have disrobed, touching and feeling each other up, having intercourse, as well as peepshows, lesbian sex and masturbating in front of one another. The problem was, as I kept doing more different kinds of sexual things, the line between Sex and Not-sex kept getting more hazy and indistinct. (Christina, ’Are We Having Sex Now or What?’,1). So in recent times, it appears that we have a confused notion of what constitutes sex and what does not.
We have seen how the pornographic industry has made objects out of women. While the majority of religious and feminist leaders are against this, others like Betty Freidan maintain that sexual repression is unhealthy and Salman Rushdie even goes on to say that the measure of tolerance of a society can be judged by its capacity and attitude towards accepting pornography as a way of life. Some solace that gives to all of us!
Christina, G. Are we having sex now or what? From her blog at http://gretachristina.typepad.com/greta_christinas_weblog/2006/09/are_we_having_s_1.html. Accessed on 26 July 2011.
Schlosser, E.: Reefer madness: Sex, drugs and cheap labour in the American black market. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2003.