Arguments for and Against the Censorship of Pornography?

2 February 2017

The controversy surrounding pornography is complicated not only by a lack of agreement on whether pornography should be allowed in our society, but also by a basic disagreement over what is included in the definition of pornography. Emotions run high and scientific rigour falls aside where it comes to studies of the effect of pornography, the use of these studies in mass media and in academic debates. Sifting through mountains of rhetoric can be confusing, when few entering the debate can even agree on what pornography is, much less what are its corrosive effects.The first task of this paper, therefore, shall be to begin at the beginning, and clarify the differing definitions or idea about pornography that are at play in recent academic debates.

Secondly, I will examine the arguments for and against pornography, be it by way of censorship or not. Finally, I will look at the underlying assumptions of ethical systems that are being used here as points of reference. I will argue that much of the disagreement about this issue is due to the fact that the various sides are appealing to wildly different ethical systems.On the one hand, there are those that appeal to utilitarianism, while others appeal to an individualistic, existentialist ethics. . “I can’t define pornography,” one judge once famously said, “but I know it when I see it. ” (Justice Potter Stewart) in Jacobellis v.

Arguments for and Against the Censorship of Pornography? Essay Example

Ohio, 1964. Let me begin, then, with the very different ways that pornography is characterized and defined. Pornography means materials that are sexual in nature, usually in a way that is offensive to one self or the mainstream public.Proof of this position lies with the fact that much of art in the Western tradition (that which is displayed in museums) depicts sexually explicit material. There is no question that this is art, not pornography. The second common distinction is one that is drawn between “pornography” and “erotica”. As described by Nettie Pollard in her article, “The Modern Pornography Debates,” qualifying as “erotica” are representations of a sexually explicit nature, but which are not violent or degrading to women; “pornography”, on the other hand is harmful because it is violent or sexually degrading to women.

This distinction is murky, however, because sometimes the distinction is mean to signal the difference between visual materials (”pornography” includes the Greek term graphe, or visual representation), whereas “erotica” is then used to refer to written materials describing erotic acts. This last way of delineating the matter appeals to the belief that whereas pornography appeals to men because their sexuality is more visual, erotica appeals to women’s more internal and intellectual connection to sexuality. However, any feminist would refuse both distinctions as being false.Why? Because in either case, the division between erotica (good) and pornography (bad) is just a way of distinguishing the erotic and sexually explicit materials that you find acceptable with that which you do not find acceptable. The problem is that, in trying to censor pornography, no one wants to ban any and all erotically or sexually explicit materials but only some. But then, that means that someone has to make a decision, draw the line between good and bad sexualities. That we should be more preoccupied with punishing bad representations, not what they represent.

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