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Posts Tagged ‘porn’

greenp1After reading a recent local story about public outrage over a porn billboard, I was reminded of a course I did as part of my Philosophy degree back in my university days. It was called “Philosophy of Feminism” but it might as well have been called “why you should be a lesbian”. I’m only exaggerating a little there – we were taught the theory that all heterosexual sex is rape and yes as an impressionable young lass I actually took that (and most of the course) to heart for a while. Our class was mostly female, one or two guys, and one of the guys openly stated he was only there to cause trouble and pick up some chicks, which really didn’t help counter the whole all-men-are-bastards line.

Part of our lessons included trying to understand whether porn was good or not, in and of itself. Or – like the people claim in the article I’ve linked above – does porn categorically hurt women and children? It is very hard to put together a cogent argument that pornography in and of itself harms women and children. It is far more logical and coherent to approach the issue as one of adult consent. If you’re over 18, and the participants in the porn are also over 18 and are taking part consensually, then you have some lovely sensible boundaries in place. The billboard in question in the article was not actual porn, just a rather amusing and dodgy reference to porn, so no matter how you bend that one you’re going to have trouble not coming off like a nut-cake. Yes it was out in the public view, but again – it wasn’t actual porn so pretty weak argument still.

I would be doing the anti-pornography movement a dis-service if I didn’t mention the arguments that porn objectifies women and encourages sexual assaults. But I don’t find those lines of reasoning well-founded or overly relevant either: First off, not all porn objectifies or casts women in the subservient / “objectified” role. And even if it did or it could be described or analysed in such a way that it did – and even for the unquestionable amount that does – porn is not the only industry that “uses” people to achieve something else. Are not the modelling industry and medical trials and so on, also arguable instances of objectifying people – not treating them as individual thinkers but as means to some end? Once you start stretching your definitions of what it means to objectify someone it catches a lot of fields. And it makes it more obvious that what is the offensive bit is that it objectified them for sex. So the problem must be the sex bit right..? And if we’re going to start trying to claim that sex is bad, wrong or should only ever occur between people in a committed relationship, then you’re going to get the other half of the feminist pool jumping down your throat for trying to dis-empower female sexuality and control her reproductive cycle through male norms established under patriarchal systems…

As for porn encouraging sexual assaults, even in the course I took they had to put forward the other argument that states that pornography also keeps some potential sexual offenders satisfied in their own homes instead – living out their fantasies in a safe non-violent environment. There will always be sex offenders (I wish that wasn’t true but I don’t see how that crime would ever be wiped out), and those people won’t be encouraged to do something otherwise not in their nature just because they watched porn, just as they will not be stopped in the act just by watching porn. Sex offenders existed before porn was so widely and easily available on the net, yet I’m yet to be told of or see any studies finding a sudden surging of rapes aligning with the growth of the Internet. In fact I’ve just gone off and Googled it before I totally put my foot in my mouth, and found many links to the point I’m trying to make here even though I’d searched for a link between the two rather than a refutation of the link. I found this article quite a useful analysis of such issues, just as a singular example. Here’s a link to an opposing view arguing for a link between sexual violence and porn using a singular perverse individual as their starting point. It’s not as convincing or as well-backed as the more prolific claims backed by actual studies showing online porn doesn’t increase sexually violent acts, but it’s there for you anyway. You’ll no doubt find other examples too, feel free to share any that you find particularly persuasive or insightful.

Speaking of the Internet and porn, we get to Second Life. According to still very-popular belief, Second Life is just another way to get your porn fix, frequently referred to as “cartoon sex”. It’s accidentally topical that Linden Labs is currently “cracking down” on this aspect of their service. Even before this latest issue the question of whether pornographic acts between consenting adults are always OK has come up recently in a fair few Second Life blogs relating more specifically to the question of adults playing as children. The issue of child pornography in Second Life is a not a new one, it just comes up now and then in varying guises. I started out with my guideline as to when porn is OK – that it be restricted to and done by consenting adults. Second Life is theoretically at least, only open to this group of people (but even that’s likely to change some-point soonish-ness). So in as far as Second Life conveys a lot of pornographic content, it is subject to the same arguments about whether it is encouraging or helping hold back the tide of sexual violence and the various other evils that porn is held responsible for. Second Life takes it that much further though doesn’t it – because you are actually interacting in a way that most mediums of pornography don’t cater for (an aspect which I’ve discussed in a previous post).

However if we’re going to hold it responsible for the supposed negative aspects of porn, should we also not be ready to grant it the benefits that porn produces? There are many benefits beyond the decrease in actual sexual violence, such as the following quote nicely summarise: Even given the constraints under which it is currently produced, pornography is valuable. It sends out messages of comfort and rebellion. It says: Lust is not evil. The body is not hateful. Physical pleasure is a joyful thing and should not be hidden or denied.. Through that link you will also find links to studies about the various social benefits in particular, of pornography.

I’ve barely scratched the surface here of what I want to discuss, but considering the current climate of discussion about pornography and future of Second Life, I will no doubt have plenty of fodder to play with and expand on over the next while.

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While doing research for a post I’m writing about the merits of porn and Second Life, I came across this story, released a few hours ago, about Linden Labs cracking down on Second Life Porn. Here’s the release from Linden Labs themselves. This should be interesting…

(And I’ll be posting my piece about porn and Second Life soon, just had to put that link up first).

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Link to my opinion piece about Linden Lab’s decision: https://landsendkorobase.wordpress.com/2009/03/13/too-adult-for-adults/

Link to the piece I wrote about Porn and Second Life referred to in this post: https://landsendkorobase.wordpress.com/2009/03/13/the-merits-of-porn/

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I read the news online most days and write here about any virtual world relevant topics that come up. The two stories I’m linking here have nothing to do with virtual worlds (well not directly – unless we get into discussing porn), but they caught my eye and made me go huh and made me want to share them. So here you go.

First one is about how toothless our justice system is here right now, plus a rather disturbing story about just how irresponsible some people can get. This will disturb and annoy you: Off to jail… but first, one for the road

The second is about an (arguable) over-reaction to a porny bill-board: DB’s porn billboard falls to protests

I am more than a little tempted to launch into a debate from that piece about the merit of porn, relating it to Second Life… I’ll think on it and get back to you ^^

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