During the late 1970s, our nation was shocked and outraged by the rape, mutilation, and murder of several young and beautiful girls. Ted Bundy was identified as the main perpetrator of these horrific crimes and later apprehended and executed. Throughout his incarceration in different prisons, psychologists and psychoanalysts extensively studied him to understand the underlying factors behind his violent actions and sexual frustrations.
Bundy’s murderous behavior drew multiple theories for explanation; however, he himself provided the most compelling insight. He confessed that as a teenager, he secretly watched pornography with friends which grew into an obsession as he got older. To discreetly fulfill his fantasies without risking his success, Bundy developed an alter-ego. According to his account, pornography served as an outlet for him to unleash the evil within (Leidholdt 47). This raises the question of whether pornography plays a role in unlocking darkness within unstable minds.
According to Edward Donnerstein, a well-known pornography researcher, the connection between sexually violent images in the media and subsequent aggression and callous attitudes towards women is even stronger than the link between smoking and cancer (Itzin 22). Therefore, it is crucial to conduct a comprehensive study and analysis due to the increase in incidents of rape, molestation, sexual harassment, and other sex crimes over recent decades. Additionally, considering the growth of the pornography industry, evaluating and quantifying the evidence presented in this paper will clarify that regular consumption of pornography leads men to develop unrealistic and unattainable desires which ultimately result in violent behavior towards women.
The connection between violence and pornography can be fully explored by establishing a common understanding of the term pornography. The word has Greek origins, with “porne” meaning harlot and “graphein” meaning to write (Webster’s 286). Initially, it referred specifically to literature depicting the sexual activities of women seen as prostitutes. However, its definition has since broadened to include all forms of indecent literature and imagery. Currently, it is a comprehensive term encompassing explicit literature, photography, films, and videos portraying different levels of sexual content.
According to Catherine Itzin, a leading researcher in the pornography field, pornography can be categorized into three distinct groups. The first category is sexually explicit and violent, depicting penetration, ejaculation, and violence towards women. The second category is sexually explicit and nonviolent, but it subordinates and dehumanizes women through the use of costumes or degrading language. The third category is sexually explicit, nonviolent, and based on mutual consent, often referred to as “erotica.” Itzin’s research consistently shows that the first two categories have harmful effects, while the third category is considered harmless. These categories help differentiate the content of pornography, although there can be instances where the graphic sexual act overlaps with violence while portraying it as a mutual activity between participants.
There are two main types of pornography: softcore and hardcore. Hardcore pornography includes sexually explicit and violent material, as well as sexually explicit but non-violent content that degrades and dehumanizes individuals. Softcore pornography, also known as “Erotica,” is considered less harmful and focuses on mutual consent. In hardcore pornography (typically rated XXX), there are explicit depictions of violent sexual acts where men or a group of men derive sexual pleasure from the degradation of women.
Women can also participate in degrading sexual activities with each other to please men. Triple-X films feature explicit physical acts, such as close-ups of genitalia, oral, vaginal, and anal penetration, along with ejaculation. These movies often emphasize the painful and demeaning experiences of women solely for the satisfaction of men. Softcore pornography or X-rated pornography is less graphic and presents sexual acts as mutually enjoyable for both genders (Cameron and Frazer 23). Canada and the United States legally produce and sell Triple-X pornography. However, Deborah Cameron and Elizabeth Frazer note that other forms of hardcore pornography are illegal and must be concealed, manufactured underground, and sold on “black” markets. These forbidden types include ultraviolent tapes or videos showcasing torture, rape, and sometimes mutilation of women. “Snuff” films go even further by depicting actual victim deaths while child pornography involves exploiting underage or pre-pubescent children sexually (17-18). Such forms of pornography exceed mere entertainment value; they are considered hardcore.
Now that pornography has been defined in a way that reflects its content, the complex ways in which a community or society views or defines it can be considered. Some argue that it is not possible for a group of individuals to form a concrete opinion on what pornography means. A Supreme Court Judge famously said “I can’t define pornography, but I know it when I see it” (Itzin 20). This sentiment is echoed in community meetings across the nation, where people struggle to express or explain in words what pornography is, leading to confusion and ambiguous community standards.
Communities are left somewhat helpless in this matter since the federal court of Canada passed legislation to keep pornography available to adults. The courts assess that banning or censoring the material would infringe on the public’s Bill of Rights (Carol 28). Maureen O’Brien quotes critics of a congressionally terminated bill, the Pornography Victim’s Compensation Act, as saying “That if it had passed, it would have severely chilling effects on the Bill of Rights, allowing victims of sexual crimes to file lawsuits against producers and distributors of any work that was proven to have “caused” the attack, such as graphic material in books, magazines, videos, films, and records” (7). People in a community debating over pornography often have different views regarding its availability. They may even argue against the types of women used in pornography: “A far greater variety of female types are shown as desirable in pornography than mainstream films and network television have ever recognized: fat women, flat women, hairy women, aggressive women, older women, you name it” (Carol 25). If there was a consensus on what pornography is and what is acceptable, there wouldn’t be so much debate over censoring it.
The boundaries of community standards have been expanded through mainstreaming movies, which also creates more opportunities for the legalization of explicit content (Jenish 53). In contemporary Canadian society, explicit sex that does not involve violent or dehumanizing acts is generally acceptable.
The community standards for movies have not been in existence for a long time. Initially, when movies were introduced, they faced strict restrictions and lacked the protection of the Bill of Rights. They were primarily considered as entertainment and distractions from business matters. Despite closely monitoring sexual content, the movie industry suffered greatly during the Great Depression. As a result, filmmakers began incorporating more sexual material in their films as they recognized that “sex sells” (Clark 1029). Films continued to be significantly limited throughout the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. However, in the 1960s, independent films like “Bonnie and Clyde” and “Whose Afraid of Virginia Woolfe?” emerged to challenge barriers that prohibited explicit language, sexual innuendos, and violence in movies solely for profit (Clark 1029-30). Adult content has always existed in movies; thus over time we have become desensitized and should not anticipate any changes.
It is expected that pornography will persist indefinitely, but with few anticipated improvements in the future.
The pornography industry, controlled by organized crime globally, is a lucrative business worth millions of dollars. Surprisingly, well-known mainstream publishing companies also participate in this industry (Itzin 21). Despite these reputable companies’ reputation, society often stereotypes individuals who purchase and consume pornographic material as “dirty old men in trenchcoats.” However, it’s important to note that the majority of customers at adult stores are educated individuals with disposable income (Jenish 52). Pornographic films cater to both genders’ desires by providing explicit activities typically absent from everyday life, such as oral pleasures and various fetishes. Ultimately, adult entertainment serves as a quick solution for adults similar to how junk food satisfies young children.
Originally considered deviant and immoral, pornography was primarily created to sexually stimulate males and provide a way to release sexual tension. It was generally believed to be relatively harmless, but a recent case study has emerged that challenges this perception.
The study conducted by Monica D. Weisz and Christopher M. Earls involved the random selection of eighty-seven males who were shown one of four films: “Deliverance”, “Straw Dogs”, “Die Hard II”, and “Days of Thunder”. These films were chosen by researchers William Tooke and Martin Lalumière as part of a study on how participants would respond to questions about sexual violence and offenders after viewing them. Each film contained instances of sexual aggression towards both males and females, as well as physical aggression. The results of the study indicated that the male participants displayed greater acceptance of interpersonal violence and rape myths, as well as increased attraction towards sexual aggression. Additionally, these participants demonstrated less empathy towards rape victims and were less inclined to find a defendant guilty of rape (71). It should be noted that the four aforementioned films are mainstream R-rated movies. This suggests that if exposure to a mainstream film can lead to distortions in values and morality, then it becomes evident that continuous consumption of pornographic films featuring violent sex and aggression could potentially influence vulnerable individuals to engage in or support sexual violence against their partners or strangers.
Bill Marshall, a psychology professor at Queen’s University and director of a sexual behavior clinic in Kingston, conducted interviews with 120 men who had either molested children or raped women between 1980 and 1985. In his findings, Marshall determined that pornography played a significant role in 25% of these cases, suggesting a negative impact associated with pornography (Nichols 60). Therefore, this study’s results support the notion of pornography having detrimental effects.
According to Mark Nichols, a psychology professor at the University of Michigan, Neil Malamuth cautiously concludes that certain messages in pornography, combined with other factors such as the viewer’s personality type, can lead to antisocial behavior and desensitization to violence. Dr. Marshall also quotes men from Nichols’ article who admitted that they initially viewed pornography for masturbation purposes but then became aroused and decided to commit acts of assault against women or children. It has also been proven that men who frequently indulge in pornography tend to suggest more lenient prison terms for sex offenders. Considering this information, should we reconsider the composition of juries for such trials?
Itzin supports these theories, which are backed by various cases. In one instance, a former prostitute had her pubic hair forcibly removed with a jackknife by her pimp. Following this, she was coerced into reenacting scenes from pornographic films, sexually assaulted, and forced to engage in sexual acts involving dogs. Another case involved a woman who endured continuous rape and physical abuse for twelve hours straight. She had metal clips attached to her breasts and was tied to a chair (24-26).
This dehumanization, degradation, and objectification of women’s bodies not only stem from the consumption of pornography but also occur frequently during its production. For instance, in the making of the 1970s film “Deep Throat,” Linda Marchiano (known as Linda Lovelace) was portrayed as an empowered woman with intense sexual desires. However, unbeknownst to the public, she was hypnotized to suppress her natural gag reflex and subjected to torture when attempting to escape. Her boss even held her at gunpoint and threatened her life (Itzin 26). Eventually, Ms. Marchiano managed to escape.
Numerous other women within the pornography industry have corroborated her account.
According to D’arcy Jenish, many children are enticed into the pornography industry under the guise of modeling. These adolescents receive compliments about their physical appearance and are questioned about their fitness levels. Frequently, they are instructed to remove their shirts and then asked if they feel anxious. Unfortunately, these young individuals lack awareness of their boundaries, putting themselves at significant risk (36).
Calvin Klein, a previous well-respected fashion designer, has become famous for his controversial utilization of teenagers in his advertisements. Numerous individuals have criticized this provocative advertising approach as it surpasses ethical limits. As Jenish highlights, the ads showcased various teenage models wearing revealing outfits; some even displayed bare breasts while others portrayed androgynous models engaging in kissing (36). When influential adults partake in such actions, it communicates to young people that this behavior is tolerable. Consequently, these youths begin to perceive this kind of conduct as ordinary.
According to Diana Russell, the utilization of pornography-like tactics in advertising and television has been on the rise, which has raised concerns among media watchdogs and anti-porn activists. They believe that this disguised emulation of pornography leads regular TV viewers to adopt a mindset that assumes everyone is engaging in such behavior. Russell also proposes that this mindset unconsciously compels viewers to actively search for pornography. It is crucial for us to show the younger generation that not everyone is involved in sexual activities, and it is completely acceptable for them to abstain if they feel pressured.
According to anti-pornography activists, the regular viewing of pornography can result in the endorsement of “rape myths.” These myths pertain to notions concerning rape, rapists, and sexual assaults, where responsibility for the crime is placed on the victim either partially or entirely (Allen 6). To measure the acceptance of these rape myths, a scale known as “Rape Myth Acceptance Scale” was developed. This scale encompasses different exemplifications of such beliefs.
The presence of a woman in a man’s home or apartment on their initial date suggests her willingness to participate in sexual activity.
One reason for false reports of rape by women is their frequent need for attention.
3. If a woman genuinely desires to do so, she has the capability to effectively defend herself against a rapist, provided that she is in good health.
By opting to forgo bras or wear revealing clothing such as tight tops and short skirts, women are effectively welcoming potential problems.
In the majority of rape cases, the victim is either promiscuous or has a negative reputation.
6. If a girl participates in necking or petting and loses control, she is responsible if her partner sexually forces her.
7. Women who hitchhike and become victims of sexual assault face the appropriate consequences.
There is a possibility that numerous women possess a hidden inclination to experience rape and might unintentionally contribute to situations that raise the chances of encountering such an assault.
9. Burt argues that if a woman gets drunk at a party and has sex with a man she just met there, it should be assumed that she is receptive to advances from other men present, regardless of her consent or preferences (217).
According to Pauline Bart, studies conducted at UCLA and St. Xavier College have revealed that being exposed to pornography reinforces belief in the rape myth. Both men and women were subjected to explicit videos of varying intensity for a duration of over four hours. They were then asked about their attitudes towards sexual crimes, revealing that all men demonstrated greater acceptance of rape myths, while surprisingly, more than half of the women also held similar perspectives (123). Additionally, these films consistently depict women as always desiring more and constantly seeking fulfillment. Consequently, it is widely assumed that real-life women should exhibit similar behavior (125).
Serbian military activities in the Bosnian war provide concrete evidence linking pornography to violent behavior and sexual aggressiveness. As part of the “ethnic cleansing” process, Serbian soldiers engage in gang-raping Muslim and Croatian women. According to Andrea Dworkin, it is mandatory for the soldiers to rape Muslim men’s wives and female children. Concentration camps serve as brothels where women are forced to sexually satisfy soldiers in dehumanizing ways. These camps record the women’s experiences with camcorders, and the videos are widely displayed to break their will and resistance. The soldiers draw inspiration for these crimes from commercial pornography, which they are essentially compelled to consume.The soldiers are constantly exposed to this training, which is readily available to them and often imposed upon them. The main instruction given is to observe and learn. Once this notion is implanted, little else needs to be done, as they naturally develop a desire to replicate what they have witnessed. The soldiers disregard the women’s feelings, as they have witnessed that some women lack emotions and are only meant for sexual satisfaction (M2-M6). Adding to the harm, certain tapes depicting the abuse of these women have made their way into the black market, where they are being sold internationally, potentially poisoning the minds of millions.
Pornography has become a significant aspect of modern society, often kept as a secret but still influencing our morals and behaviors. While some argue that pornography is harmless, a larger group believes it has negative effects on viewers and participants. Extensive research supports this belief, highlighting the need for further examination and discussion. Although many perceive pornography as objectionable and obscene, there are those who disagree with the idea that it defames women and their sexual roles. Observationalists like Mary White from the University of Michigan believe that pornography empowers women by portraying them as aggressors, showcasing their beauty and desirability.Although White may not realize it, her statement on the television show (Politically Incorrect) actually reinforces the arguments supporting the belief that pornography is degrading and oppressive to women. By suggesting that being sexually aggressive empowers women, she restricts empowerment to solely sexual activities. Additionally, by asserting that the use of attractive women in porn implies desirability, she inadvertently excludes women who don’t conform to society’s ideal image of femininity (such as being overweight or having smaller breasts). Similar arguments to White’s can be easily dismantled using the same reasoning.
According to defenders of pornography, it is claimed that the use of pornographic material can serve as a cathartic release, thereby reducing the likelihood of males engaging in violent acts towards women. The argument suggests that pornography can serve as a substitute for sexual activity, allowing individuals to act out their desire for committing sexual crimes vicariously through the material (Whicclair 327). However, this reasoning fails to explain the actions of serial killers like Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacey, both of whom regularly consumed pornography in between their acts of murder and rape (Scully 70). By arguing that pornography can lessen harm to women through catharsis, defenders of pornography demonstrate a significant lack of logic. If their argument were true, the increase in pornography production would have resulted in a decrease in sexual crimes. Yet, as previously shown, this assumption is simply not accurate.
According to Pornographers and defenders of pornography, they argue that the relationship between pornography and violence is exaggerated and the research connecting pornography to sexual crimes is inconclusive. They claim that individuals are responsible for sex crimes, not the availability of pornography (Jacobsen 79). David Adams from Emerge, a counseling center in Boston for male batterers, claims that only a small percentage of his clients use hardcore pornography. He suggests that substance abuse problems, particularly alcohol, are more directly linked to abuse than consuming pornographic material (Kaminer 115). However, numerous studies linking violence and pornography discredit these arguments and invalidate this perspective.
Some argue that criticisms of pornography are simply a reflection of many feminists’ dislike for men. These critics assert that those who are against pornography view all men as potential abusers, believing that exposure to pornography will inevitably incite their violent impulses (114). However, researcher Catherine MacKinnon argues that pornography functions as a behavioral conditioner, reinforcement, and stimulus, rather than promoting ideas or advocating for them (114). Nonetheless, evidence from the Serbian military disproves this notion. This particular example demonstrates that pornography does indeed promote sexual crimes and that ideas of sexual violence can originate from consuming pornography.
Pornography is frequently seen as an uncontrollable and severe truth, but this perception needs to change. The mistreatment and subjugation of women resulting from the widespread use of pornography in our society should motivate everyone to oppose it. Those concerned should raise awareness and educate others about the hazards linked to this type of content. By understanding the origins of violent behaviors, we can reduce them and safeguard the well-being of our communities.
Pornography has long been connected to the association of sexual pleasure and aggression, resulting in a damaging view of women and their sexual identities. In order to eradicate the enduring adverse effects of pornography, which are frequently concealed within households, it is essential to engage in open discussions and assume personal accountability.
The outline provides comprehensive details.
Introduction: The subject is pornography.
Thesis: This article discusses Pornography – its definition, various types, and the laws in Canada that uphold it.
1. The origins of pornography, the individuals responsible for its development, and the definition of pornography.
There are various types of pornography such as soft core and XXX. There are also laws in place that support pornography. Additionally, there are undisclosed facts about the production of pornography movies.
3.Pornography’s impact on society in contemporary times has been a subject of discussion.
According to the text, serial killers such as Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacey took inspiration from pornography for their slangs. The influence of pornography on these individuals during their teenage years resulted in them carrying out brutal and merciless acts against young women. Webster’s Dictionary states that the word pornography originates from the Greek words “porne” meaning harlot and “graphein” meaning to write. Initially, this term was used in literature to portray the sexual exploits of women who were deemed prostitutes.
Main point two: There are various types of pornography, such as softcore and hardcore. Hardcore pornography includes explicit sexual and violent content, while softcore is considered harmless and falls under the category of “erotica” by mutual consent (Itzin 22). In hardcore pornography, typically rated XXX, there are explicit portrayals of violent sexual acts where men derive pleasure from degrading women. Underground markets even exist for ultraviolent tapes or videos displaying torture, rape, and sometimes mutilation of women. Some films known as “snuff” films go to the extreme of depicting actual deaths of victims, while child pornography involves exploiting underage children for sexual purposes. The Bill of Rights ensures that pornography is exclusively available to adults (Carol p.23). During the production of the film Deep Throat, one actress endured torture and coercion into performing sexual acts; any refusal or escape attempts faced whipping and beating.
Main point three: Easy accessibility to pornography is evident in modern society. The Bosnian war serves as an example, where acts of violence were committed, referred to by Serbs as “ethnic cleansing.” These acts included the horrific gang-rape and mutilation of young Muslim and Croatian women (Dworkin M2+M6). These women had no choice but to accept these conditions under the threat of immediate execution. Even mothers with newborns were not spared and were executed after submission. Pornography has become deeply ingrained in our society, leaving individuals with limited power to combat its influence. Consequently, it becomes crucial for society to unite in eradicating this form of entertainment from Canadian households.
In conclusion, pornography associates sexual satisfaction with violence. As society progresses, these notions will exacerbate and lead to an unhealthy perspective on women and their sexual identities. Only open discussions and individual efforts can eradicate the harmful effects of pornography, removing it from the secrecy and shadows of Canadian homes.