Why porn?

At the mention of Big Porn Inc,  grown men wriggled and squirmed uncomfortably in their seats. Big Porn Inc : Exposing the Harms of the Global Pornography Industry had made The Australian Education Publishing Awards shortlist as a Secondary Reference Resource and the winner was about to be announced. Big Porn Inc didn’t win the award but the text was highly commended and for just a few seconds those attending were confronted by an image of a book that details the multi-billion dollar global pornography industry that is transforming the sexual politics of intimate and public life.

By the way, the winner of the award was a cookbook and we know how we really need more of these.

There’s a good chance the squirming men were consumers of pornography for according to Gail Dines author of Pornland: How porn has hijacked our sexualitystudies done across the West reveal that something between 65 and 85 per cent of boys by the age of 13 have viewed pornography more than once. If Big Porn Inc had won the award  it’s possible that more young men would have been warned about viewing porn at an age when their ideas and practice of sexuality were still being formed.

Men are easily entangled in the web of internet porn writes Jennifer A.  Johnson, one of the contributors to the  collection of insightful essays in Big Porn Inc. Johnson gives this description of how the online porn industry goes about capturing onlookers:

Upon his arrival, he is entangled in a series of click manoeuvres and marketing gimmicks calculated to further reduce his agency and transform him from the ‘curious clicker’ into the ‘member clicker’.

I’m reading Money Shot: a journey into porn and censorship by Jeff Sparrow  in which he explores the relationship between porn and censorship, and what it reveals about our social values. In his quest he interviews religious lobbyists, porn stars, feminist activists, convicted pornographers and social conservatives. One of these is  Greens’ ‘sexual conservative’ Clive Hamilton, an outspoken critic of raunch culture and one of the authors of a survey into porn use and the use of sexualised advertising by corporations selling children’s products. Hamilton tells Sparrow that he bought a pile of X-rated DVD’s for his research but just couldn’t get through them. “All of this slapping and hair-pulling and three blokes ejaculating on women’s faces. It clearly reflects some very deep form of misogyny.”

Alain de Botton, author of  How to Think More about Sex argues for a new kind of porn-a pornography in which sexual desire would be invited to support, rather than permitted to undermine, our higher values.

What this author and philosopher suggests is that our sexual fantasies could be better played out while looking at high art such as a Botticelli Madonna or a sexualised Mary.

Why would we want to watch ethical porn – even if such a vision was possible? This question is rarely tackled but it needs to be. Why porn?

What purpose does pornography serve?

Robert Jensen writing in Big Porn Inc  states that in pornography we witness ‘the ideology of sexual exploitation most fully developed’ and that pornography, as the sexually explicit mass media that it is, describes the naturalising of the social subordination of women.

The sexual revolution of the 1970s saw a shift on social attitudes to sexually explicit material. Pornography became mainstream; women had the pill; safe abortion was becoming easier to procure and the men of the left were celebrating and with increasing access to internet pornography – they still are.

Advertisements
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: