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kroika's essay: Pornography and Sexual Health
October 18, 2007
10:41 pm
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Worried_Dad
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Dear God in Heaven.

"The Cherry Winkie Catapult?!!!"

Remember, writing about it counts as erotica. For some people.

But if you film it, it's Porn, soul-destroying Porn!

October 18, 2007
10:51 pm
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free
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free2c- now worries, if I AM deviant, than I am what I am says popeye the sailor man (did he say that?) toot- toot!

p.s. you're partner can make cherries disappear ya know.

Try this with canned, sweetened sliced peaches. oh yeah- it's erotic.

free

October 18, 2007
11:02 pm
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free2choose
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O Christ in Heaven.

Free, u my dear are a bonafide freak!

October 18, 2007
11:07 pm
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free
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Admit it everybody!

You're LAUGHING!

This sounds FUN!

You wanna do it!

so ya know what?

JUST DO IT!

Let me share. In a nutshell, I fully understand the lasting effects of sexual assault. They' re intense. What goes on in the head of a sexual assault survivor, during sex, is rather embarrassing.

I set out to learn how to play during sex. For many young people, this occurs naturally. Not so for sexual assault survivors.

Porn- it's gonna bring up issues with sexual assault survivors. they get intermingled with feelings or thoughts that are not related to the assault. It's hard to separate the two.

I gave up trying and concluded I just think porn is gross. Didn't always though. But when i learned about how the porn industry works and how degrading it is to people, and the drugs involved, and the money- it's all about money people don't matter-

it's just not good. How can anybody say it is good?

Oh wd- I've filmed things with partners before- camcorders are a marvelous toy- but it's only for my partner and I to view- nobody else. the intimacy stays- intimate.

Sexuality exposed for all to see destroys intimacy.

Surely you'd agree that the people in porn videos and photo spreads aren't engaging in any kind of intimacy.

People value intimacy. Erotica contributes to intimacy.

Porn doesn't. It's animalistic, and i really don't see how one can argue differently.

do you?

free

October 20, 2007
12:04 pm
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wd?

November 26, 2007
11:38 pm
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hi, lilianac

I read your thread on the support side, "he is into porn :-(" and wrote a brief reply to you there.

As promised, I am pulling up this thread so that you can read the essay I wrote and see the discussion that ensued here. Perhaps some of it will be helpful to you in thinking about your own situation.

In order to read the essay, scroll to the top of the screen, and on the left hand side click on "View all posts"

Hope you find the support at this website that you are looking for.

good wishes,
kroika

November 29, 2007
3:33 pm
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glittered when he walked
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So I re-read most of this thread and found myself wondering...are vibrators and dildos considered pornagraphic?

Is sexual media aka pornography always detrement? doesn't that depend on the beholder? I'd say if the images or toys get in the way of intimacy then it's a problem..if it doesn't get in the way of intimacy so what? and if it helps with intimacy isn't it then a positive tool?

so what if someone masturbates 5, 6, ..10 times a day? as long as it doesn't interfere with their relationships with others..where's the harm? If pleasing yourself is in and of itself sinful, should we feel guilty for the pleasure of a hot shower, or bath, or massage?

November 29, 2007
5:52 pm
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MsGuided
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YEAY TO TOYS! YIPPEE!!

November 29, 2007
7:57 pm
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glittered, you wrote, "sexual media aka pornography". Go back to the 'definition of terms' section and you will see that that is not what "pornography" is for the purposes of the essay.

You also wrote, "If pleasing yourself is in and of itself sinful, should we feel guilty for the pleasure of a hot shower, or bath, or massage?
"
.... wow, fascinating. There were quite a few comments on this thread so without reading it all again, I'm not sure whose you are responding to. Nowhere in the essay that I wrote was the concept proposed that 'pleasing oneself is sinful'. Wow. Let's please dismiss that idea right now!

November 30, 2007
3:00 am
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Well, if we refer to the definition of terms essay then:

"Pornography is the material sold in pornography shops for the purpose of producing sexual arousal for mostly male consumers."

OK, we have a circular definition there. Pornography is the stuff sold in pornography shops.

Never mind that "pornography shops" are not-quite, but almost extinct, and for the last 25 years have not been the major purveyors of sexually explicit material in America (videos, at least.)

But then there is the attempt at polarization around gender: mostly male consumers."

You may as well say "Basketball video. sold in basketball shops for mostly male consumers."

Well, if men consume more of it than women, it must be evil. Because men are evil.

No?

In the 1980's 70% of video rental sales were explicit adult films. And the VCRs they were played on were mainly in the livingrooms and bedrooms of married couples.

The idea that enjoyment of seeing naked people is a peculiarly male thing makes as much sense as the idea that being a selfish or abusive person is a particularly male thing--both ideas have long been debunked.

December 13, 2007
4:12 pm
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goinghome,

here is the thread with my essay at the top. You'll need to scroll up to the top left-hand side of the screen and click "View All Posts" in order to see the essay at the beginning of the thread.

I'm sorry that your marriage is suffering from sexual difficulties, whether they are related to porn use or not.

take care,
kroika

December 19, 2007
7:14 am
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bevdee
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I've read these debates with interest since I came to AAC, but this topic is not one of my issues. My problems were with addictions such as alcohol, drugs (other people) tobacco, adrenaline and drama (myself), all of which served or still serves as a barrier to intimacy. I hear that these women are trying to make sense of their partners' preference over porn to a healthy sexual relationship, the inability to have a healthy intimate relationship.

When porn is an addiction, that addiction like any other, is a barrier to healthy relationships. I don't believe everyone who sees porn will become addicted. Some will just come away with toxic ideas about women, sex, marriage, and children. Some won't. However, some will have some kind of emotional opening that allows the addiction to really grab hold.

http://www.pornaddictioninfo.com/

"Whether the motive for consuming pornography is sexual appetite, escape/self-medication, or any other reason, engaging in these addictions causes the brain and body to endogenously produce and release chemical drugs into its own system. These chemicals include: epinephrine (an adrenal gland hormone that "locks-in" memories of experiences occurring at times of high arousal), adrenaline, adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), noradrenaline, norepinephrine and testosterone, among others. This drug is dragging millions of troubled victims along in its destructive wake.

Persistent accessing of porn not only provides the addict with sexual arousal, but offers a way to self-medicate in order to escape the realities of life. A porn addict will suffer withdrawal symptoms when they try-or are compelled-to relinquish their vice for any length of time. The withdrawal symptoms may drive an addict to find porn and often causes him to act out his needs in inappropriate ways."

December 19, 2007
9:13 pm
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bev,

Thanks for posting. You wrote, "these women are trying to make sense of their partners' preference to porn over a healthy sexual relationship, the inability to have a healthy intimate relationship." Yes, exactly. It is very hard to make sense of, especially when apologists for porn say things like "oh, he'll be a better lover if he watches a lot of porn." Not!

I took a look at the website you mentioned. It encourages me to know that there are guys out there who want to be in recovery from their porn addiction. I only wish my exbf were one of them.

Take care my friend, and thanks again for passing along this resource.

December 19, 2007
10:13 pm
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"It is very hard to make sense of, especially when apologists for porn say things like 'oh, he'll be a better lover if he watches a lot of porn.' "

Now that's one I've never heard!

Has anybody actually ever said that?

December 19, 2007
10:46 pm
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I've heard that one. "porn makes me a better lover"

December 19, 2007
10:48 pm
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To explore further, there will always be a defense of porn, there always has been. But- to hear these arguments objectively, I think it is imperative that we are able to see where this defense, this need to defend comes into play. I guess it depends on where the defense is coming from? If it comes from the industry, then sure, that's obvious that the industry wants to protect its financial interests- present and future.

While the man who defends it might say it is free speech, and come up with a plethora, a flurry, of reasons why it is free speech, I am left to wonder why any man would really want his children, or other peoples children, to view human sexuality as is portrayed in these little movies with no plot except the f***ing. The only theme in these movies is that women are playthings, objects of desire and in some cases scorn. There is a theme of misogyny in porn that I have never been comfortable with. I like erotica better.

But the man who defends porn? If it is your mate, then ask yourself what has happened to this man when he was a child. Was he traumatised? Is he defending his addiction? What, if at all, is his need to degrade women?

Is he defending the medium that he uses to perpetuate or reenact early sexual trauma and imprinting?

Is he defending perpetuating a hatred for women by watching the scenes portrayed in these "movies"?

Is he denying the effects that porn has on people and society?

Is he defending an addiction and denying the repurcussions the way alcoholics defend their gin or beer? The way smokers scoff at the argument of secondhand smoke?

I think these are the type of questions we should ask when we listen to the arguments. Where are they coming from and what need does the person defending it have to defend it?

Consider the source. Investigate the source.

December 20, 2007
4:12 am
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Hi Bevdee,

There is much wisdom to be gained by contemplating the idea of: "consider the source."

I.

When hearing commentary or news or opinion, of course it makes sense to think about the preconceptions and motives, as well as the ostensible "reasoning" of the speaker.

What I notice about myself is that whenever I have really passionate advice for someone, it almost always turns out that my advice applies most excellently to myself. In other words, I save my best advice for myself--after all, who else is more deserving of my best advice?

I hear you passionately advising:

"consider the source."

I respectfully offer that it would be interesting and maybe useful for you (and others) to apply your advice to the source--which in this case is yourself.

For example, I notice you are using loaded language here, such as:

"defense of ..."

"Misogyny..."

But the most interesting language you use as relates to "considering the source" is your use of language that is "loaded" in a gender-specific way.

"But the man who defends porn?"

"Is he defending the medium..."

"Is he defending perpetuating a hatred for women..."

"Is he denying the effects that porn has..."

"Is he defending an addiction..."

Do you notice the frequency of the word "he" in your language?

It is almost as if you believe that enjoyment of porn is a peculiarly "male" thing.

Which of course, it is not.

Is that really what you believe?

Finally, I think it is a good idea to take sources seriously.

Take me as a "source" for example.

For example I believe a person who hears what I, WD have to say about these things would understand me best if they really, really "considered the source."

Rather than decide that because I voice an opinion that you might t first glance disagree with, and from that draw conclusions about my motives and character, instead...

what if you examined what was previously known about my character and my motives, and the kinds of thinking that I encourage, and allowed *that knowledge* to influence how you judged the opinions I offer?

It might nt make you agree with me, but it would probably help you be able to think about me and my ideas in a different way, and would probably help you come closer to concluding that although you and I disagree, I am not necessarily a stupid or a dishonorable person.

"It takes every kind of person to make the world go around."

December 20, 2007
8:03 am
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Hey WD

Interesting observations. You say - "It is almost as if you believe that enjoyment of porn is a peculiarly "male" thing." No, that's not what I believe. I know that there are women who like porn, too.

I said on Dec 19 "I hear that these women are trying to make sense of their partners' preference over porn to a healthy sexual relationship, the inability to have a healthy intimate relationship." From this perspective (the ones that the women here have presented repeatedly during the time I have been at this site) and from my perspective as a heterosexual woman, IMO, it logically follows that the use of he is accurate. Consider my source. :~)

I don't lump enjoyment over porn and a "preference for porn over a healthy relationship" together. I believe those to be two entirely different things. I have stated before that I, with my partner, have viewed porn, have used as a a tutorial of sorts. Or for laughs because some of it is just campy. You know - oh, please as if!!

I am a woman who doesn't mind porn as long as it is not derogatory to women and doesn't contain scenes that degrade anyone. Those are reasons for me to shut off the TV or DVD. My man respects this. If he didn't, he wouldn't be my man. However, he can get it up without a porno flick running in the room. If he couldn't- he wouldn't be my man. It's not a barrier between us - if it was .........

I have stated before that porn is not my issue. With you making these statements, I feel compelled to ask - are you making an assumption about me?

"Rather than decide that because I voice an opinion that you might t first glance disagree with, and from that draw conclusions about my motives and character, instead... "

"It might nt make you agree with me, but it would probably help you be able to think about me and my ideas in a different way, and would probably help you come closer to concluding that although you and I disagree, I am not necessarily a stupid or a dishonorable person."

WD, I am not sure what you meant by that statement, but I didn't have you or your ideas in mind when I wrote my earlier post. Is this the conclusion you drew? I wasn't drawing conclusions about your character. I did not say you, WD, (whoever that cyberspace persona is) are a "stupid or dishonorable person." I have no way of knowing that.

From reading these statements, it seems to me that you might be upset, maybe a little defensive? If so, please don't think that what I share about what I am learning and my thoughts about sex addiction and porn addiction is a reflection on you or talking to you or about you. I really didn't have you in mind. I'm feeling as if I should apologise for triggering you, but since I wasn't posting to you, or even posting with you in mind, I guess that's not necessary? (((WD)))

You're right - it takes all kinds of people with all kinds of perspectives. Let's celebrate our diversity as we come to a better understanding of it.

December 20, 2007
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Oh that dratted bold - Ima stop doing that.

December 20, 2007
10:51 am
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http://uts.cc.utexas.edu/~rjen.....graphy.htm

"Though the pornography industry loves to talk about growing sales to women and the so-called "couples market," men are still the vast majority of pornography consumers in the United States. Producers and distributors I interviewed at the convention all estimated their clientele was 80 to 90 percent men.

What do these men want to watch? It turns out they like viewing sexual acts that the majority of women do not want to perform in their lives. While there is no survey data about women’s preferences regarding multiple penetrations or gag-inducing sex, informal investigation suggests such things are not common in the day-to-day lives of most people and not sought after by most women.

So, how can we explain the paradox? People typically do not openly endorse cruelty or the degradation of women. Yet just as those features of pornography are more extensive and intense than ever, graphic sexually explicit material is more widely accepted than ever. How can a culture embrace images that violate its stated values? Wouldn’t a society that purports to be civilized reject sexual material that becomes evermore dismissive of the humanity of women?"

Just more thoughts.

December 20, 2007
11:55 am
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Bevdee,

You mentioned something in your 12-19 post that made me think.

In your talking about different addictions, one of which is to drama (myself) as a barrier to intimacy....I could not agree with you more.....(as it applies to myself, of course.)

This is a key point.

Just yesterday I was trying to do a little checking on the web about how support forums can eventually have a detrimental effect and didn't find much out there. (See my post on the other side about "Time Out" for Perspective.)

Thank you for bringing this up.

I am perhaps starting to realize that I am becoming addicted to these forums (I post on another one as well...)

In the beginning, it was a relief to find these sites to find out that I am not alone in some of my feelings and incorrect conclusions I made about myself early on etc...and to run some of my own situations by the folks in the groups and gather some real, excellent (and I might add free) advice.

However, I am finding that there is coming a time where I have to back off and engage myself in "the real world" as I am finding these groups, under my own accord, to cross the line of self validation over into a realm of distraction from the CONSTANT, DAILY use of them.

Maybe....I'm thinking....that it's about balance.

Afterall, growing up, I had to always be in tune and anticipate the needs and wants of others with nary my own feelings EVER coming into play....and now....it seems like the pendulum is swinging WAY in the other direction in that I find myself becoming extremely self-centered and self-absorbed with my own "stuff." Trying to make up for lost time I guess, you know?

Anyway, I just wanted to chime in here that there is indeed some type of addiction tendency and behavior associated with self-drama....it just wasn't really clear to me until now. Until I saw what you posted....so, I want to thank you for that!

(I read some years ago that the actress, Linda Ellerbe - Lucky Duck Productions - said something like: Clean House, Trust God, Help Others.

Maybe there is something to that....at least there has t be some sort of reason why it's stuck in my head for these many years.

Balance, I'm guessing has to be a very conscience effort....in this regard.

Anyway, thanks for being so honest.

tBt

December 20, 2007
11:57 am
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p.s.....Is anyone else aware of Mary J Blige's CD.....No More Drama?

I don't own the CD.....but my thinking is that there is probably something in these lyrics that can speak to me.........

Apologies for the temporary hijack of this thread.......

December 20, 2007
3:22 pm
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TruthB

"Anyway, I just wanted to chime in here that there is indeed some type of addiction tendency and behavior associated with self-drama....it just wasn't really clear to me until now. Until I saw what you posted....so, I want to thank you for that! "

You're welcome!!

December 20, 2007
8:20 pm
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I really liked this article and the author's definition of the words erotica, porn, abusive, degrading . Pretty concise. I was also interested in her views on body image, because I have read posts here about how the often unrealistic body image portrayed in porn bothers some. Toward the end of the article, she discusses defining porn from a legal standpoint, as difficult as defining rape.

http://www.dianarussell.com/po.....intro.html

INTRODUCTION: WHAT IS PORNOGRAPHY?
"Proponents of the anti-pornography-equals-censorship school deliberately obfuscate any distinction between erotica and pornography, using the term erotica for all sexually explicit materials [1]. In contrast, anti-pornography feminists consider it vitally important to distinguish between pornography and erotica, and support or even advocate erotica.

Although women's bodies are the staple of adult pornography, it is important to have a gender neutral definition that encompasses gay pornography, as well as child pornography. Animals are also targets of pornographic depictions. Hence, I define pornography as material that combines sex and/or the exposure of genitals with abuse or degradation in a manner that appears to endorse, condone, or encourage such behavior.

This article will focus on adult male heterosexual pornography because most pornography is produced for this market and because males are the predominant abusers of women. I define heterosexual pornography as material created for heterosexual males that combines sex and/or the exposure of genitals with the abuse or degradation of females in a manner that appears to endorse, condone, or encourage such behavior.

Erotica refers to sexually suggestive or arousing material that is free of sexism, racism, and homophobia, and respectful of all human beings and animals portrayed. This definition takes into account that humans are not the only subject matter of erotica. For example, I remember seeing a short award-winning erotic movie depicting the peeling of an orange. The shapes and coloring of flowers or hills can make them appear erotic. Many people find Georgia O'Keeffe's paintings erotic. But erotica can also include overtly or explicitly sexual images.

The definiton's requirement of non-sexism means that the following types of material qualify as pornography rather than erotica: sexually arousing images in which women are consistently shown naked while men are clothed or in which women's genitals are displayed but men's are not; or in which men are always portrayed in the initiating, dominant role. An example of sexualized racism which pervades pornography entails depictions of women that are confined to young, white bodies fitting many white men's narrow concept of beauty, i.e., very thin, large-breasted, and blonde.

Canadian psychologists Charlene Senn and Lorraine Radtke found the distinction between pornography and erotica to be significant and meaningful to female subjects in an experiment which they conducted. After slides had been categorized as violent pornography, non-violent pornography (sexist and dehumanizing), or erotica (non-sexist and non-violent), these researchers found that the violent and non-violent images had a negative effect on the mood states of their women subjects, whereas the erotic images had a positive effect (1986, pp. 15-16; also see Senn, 1993). Furthermore, the violent images had a greater negative impact than the non-violent pornographic images [2]. This shows that a conceptual distinction between pornography and erotica is both meaningful and operational.

The term abusive sexual behavior in my definition refers to sexual conduct that ranges from derogatory, demeaning, contemptuous, or damaging to brutal, cruel, exploitative, painful, or violent. Degrading sexual behavior refers to sexual conduct that is humiliating, insulting, and/or disrespectful; for example, urinating or defecating on a woman, ejaculating in her face, treating her as sexually dirty or inferior, depicting her as slavishly taking orders from men and eager to engage in whatever sex acts men want, or calling her insulting names while engaging in sex, such as bitch, cunt, nigger, whore.

Note the abuse and degradation in the portrayal of female sexuality in Helen Longino's description of typical pornographic books, magazines, and films:
Women are represented as passive and as slavishly dependent upon men. The role of female characters is limited to the provision of sexual services to men. To the extent that women's sexual pleasure is represented at all, it is subordinated to that of men and is never an end in itself as is the sexual pleasure of men. What pleases women is the use of their bodies to satisfy male desires. While the sexual objectification of women is common to all pornography, women are the recipients of even worse treatment in violent pornography, in which women characters are killed, tortured, gang-raped, mutilated, bound, and otherwise abused, as a means of providing sexual stimulation or pleasure to the male characters. (Longino, 1980, p. 42)
What is objectionable about pornography, then, is its abusive and degrading portrayal of females and female sexuality, not its sexual content or explicitness.

A particularly important feature of my definition of pornography is the requirement that it appears to endorse, condone, or encourage abusive sexual desires or behaviors. These attributes differentiate pornography from materials that include abusive or degrading sexual behavior for educational purposes. Movies such as "The Accused," and "The Rape of Love," for example, present realistic representations of rape with the apparent intention of helping viewers to understand the reprehensible nature of rape, and the agony experienced by rape victims. I have used the expression "it appears to" instead of "it is intended to" endorse, condone, or encourage sexually abusive desires or behavior to avoid the difficult, if not impossible, task of establishing the intentions of producers.

My definition differs from most definitions which focus instead on terms like "obscenity" and "sexually explicit materials." It also differs from the one I have used before, which limited pornography to sexually explicit materials (Russell, 1988). I decided to avoid the concept "sexually explicit" because I could not define it to my satisfaction. In addition, I chose to embrace a long-standing feminist tradition of including in the notion of pornography all types of materials that combine sex and/or genital exposure with the abuse or degradation of women. Members of WAVPM (Women Against Violence in Pornography and Media), for example, used to refer to record covers, jokes, ads, and billboards as pornography when they were sexually degrading to women, even when nudity or displays of women's genitals were not portrayed (Lederer, 1980).

Some people may object that feminist definitions of pornography that go beyond sexually explicit materials differ so substantially from common usage that they make discussion between feminists and non-feminists confusing. First of all, however, there is no consensus on definitions among non-feminists or feminists. Some feminists, for example, do include the concept of sexual explicitness as a defining feature of pornography. Andrea Dworkin and Catharine MacKinnon define pornography as "the graphic sexually explicit subordination of women through pictures and/or words" (1988, p. 36). They go on to spell out nine ways in which this overall definition can be met, for example, "(i) women are presented dehumanized as sexual objects, things, or commodities." James Check (1985) uses the term sexually explicit materials instead of pornography, presumably in the hope of bypassing the many controversies associated with the term pornography. But these scholars have not, to my knowledge, defined what they mean by sexually explicit materials.

Sometimes there can be a good reason for feminists to employ the same definition as non-feminists. For example, in my study of the prevalence of rape, I used a very narrow, legal definition of rape because I wanted to be able to compare the rape rates obtained in my study with those obtained in government studies. Had I used a broader definition that included oral and anal penetration, for example, my study could not have been used to show how grossly flawed the methodology of the government's national surveys are in determining meaningful rape rates.

But if there is no compelling reason to use the same definition as that used by those with whom one disagrees, then it makes sense to define a phenomenon in a way that best fits feminist principles. As my objection to pornography is not that it shows nudity or different methods of sexual engagement, I see no reason to limit my definition to sexually explicit material. Unlike MacKinnon and Dworkin, who sought to formulate a definition that would be the basis for developing a new law on pornography, I have not been constrained by the requirements of law in constructing mine.

My definition of pornography does not include all the features that commonly characterize such material since I believe that concise definitions are preferable to complex or lengthy definitions. Pornography, for example, frequently depicts females, particularly female sexuality, inaccurately.

"Pornography Tells Lies About Women" declared a bold red and black sticker designed by Women Against Violence in Pornography and Media to deface pornography. It has been shown, for example, that pornography consumers are more likely to believe that unusual sexual practices are more common than they really are (Zillmann, 1989). These distortions often have serious consequences. Some viewers act on the assumption that the depictions are accurate, and presume that there is something wrong with females who do not behave like those portrayed in pornography. This can result in verbal abuse or physical abuse, including rape, by males who consider that they are entitled to the sexual goodies that they want or that they believe other men enjoy.
Sexual objectification is another common characteristic of pornography. It refers to the portrayal of human beings -- usually women -- as depersonalized sexual things, such as "tits, cunt, and ass," not as multi-faceted human beings deserving equal rights with men. As Susan Brownmiller so eloquently noted,
[In pornography] our bodies are being stripped, exposed, and contorted for the purpose of ridicule to bolster that "masculine esteem" which gets its kick and sense of power from viewing females as anonymous, panting playthings, adult toys, dehumanized objects to be used, abused, broken and discarded. (1975, p. 394)
However, the sexual objectification of females is not confined to pornography. It is also a staple of mainstream movies, ads, record covers, songs, magazines, television, art, cartoons, literature, pin-ups, and so on, and influences the way that many males learn to see women and even children. This is why I have not included it as a defining feature of pornography.

INCONSISTENCIES IN DEFINITIONS
Many people have talked or written about the difficulty of defining pornography and erotica, declaring that "one person's erotica is another person's pornography." This statement is often used to ridicule an anti-pornography stance. The implication is that if there is no consensus on a definition of pornography, its effects cannot be examined.

Yet there is no consensus on the definitions of many phenomena. Rape is one example. Legal definitions of rape vary considerably in different states. The police often have their own definitions, which may differ from legal definitions. If a woman is raped by someone she knows, for example, the police often "unfound"[3] the case because they are skeptical about most acquaintance and date rapes. Hence, such crimes are rarely investigated. This practice certainly has no basis in the law.

If rape is defined as forced intercourse or attempts at forced intercourse, the problem of figuring out what exactly constitutes force remains. How does one measure it? What is the definition of intercourse? Does it include oral and anal intercourse, intercourse with a foreign object, or digital penetration, or is it defined only as vaginal penetration by the penis? How much penetration is necessary to qualify as intercourse? How does one determine if an attempt at rape or some lesser sexual assault has occurred? How does one deal with the fact that the rapist and even the rape survivor quite often do not believe that a rape occurred, even when the incident matches the legal definition of rape? Many rapists, for example, do not consider that forcing intercourse on an unwilling woman qualifies as rape because they think the woman's "no" actually means "yes." Many women think they have not been raped when the perpetrator is their husband or lover, even though the law in most states defines such acts as rape. Fortunately, few people argue that, because rape is so difficult to define and there is no consensus on the best definition of it, it should therefore not be considered a heinous and illegal act.

Similarly, millions of court cases have revolved around arguments as to whether a killing constitutes murder or manslaughter [4]. No one argues that killing should not be subject to legal sanctions just because it takes a court case to decide this question.

In contrast, the often-quoted statement of one judge -- that although he could not necessarily define pornography, he could recognize it when he saw it -- is frequently cited to support the view that pornography is self-evident or entirely in the eye of the beholder. Many people have argued that because there is no consensus on how to define pornography and/or because it can be difficult to determine whether or not the pornographic label is appropriate in particular cases, pornography should therefore not be subject to legal restraint, or even opprobrium.

It is interesting to note that lack of consensus did not prove to be an obstacle in making pictorial child pornography illegal. This makes it clear that the difficulty of defining pornography is a strategy employed by its apologists in their efforts to derail their opponents by making their work appear futile."

December 20, 2007
8:30 pm
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thanks, bev.

I'll print that out and have a look at it in detail. May take awhile for me to get to it... but it looks well worth reading.

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