The Reflection Behind the Screen

Society’s moral regulations on sexuality have not been consistent, but sex has been inherently part of human nature for all our existence. Pornography is the fabrication of a physical representation of any aspect of sexuality. Historians have artifacts proving that pornography has existed for thousands of years, and has been a natural artistic part of the human’s cultural evolution. Pornography is something for most of modern history, that has been pushed into the closet and rarely discussed. It can be speculated that after the 1960’s, the occurrence of pornographic materials such as movies, videos, magazines skyrocketed and because a whole new underground ‘hobby’. Eventually, with the creation of the internet, access to pornography was more widespread, eclectic and available more than ever. For many struggling, awkward teenagers this is a life saver. Access to pornography has granted anyone the ability to feel pleasure and experience new sexual encounters (within the confines of the mind and screen). This allows for understanding of sex education. Any fantasy can be found on the internet, which allows for repression of urges.  Additionally, the porn-industry is over ten billion dollars a year; with the USA being the forefront producer. Pornography is a gateway to fantasies and a useful tool for many people; however, the nuance and advancing technology of pornography is currently delving into previously thought sadistic and unethical materials, and this is furthermore the impacting the perception of woman.

    Human sexuality is complex and for most confounding, and most important very natural. There are many benefits to having tangible sexual material to review and utilize for pleasure and learning experiences. Reported by the Huffington Post, shown in a 2008 Danish study that the use of pornography for both men and women, has increased sexual happiness, sparked curiosity, and caused relationships to better flourish (Morgese). Pornography can be considered an ice breaker for many couples and allows oneself to set sexual boundaries. The Daily Dot, also touches on the many positive aspects of pornography and brought up an intriguing point; “Unless you’re exposed to sexual practices outside of what you’ve been told is acceptable, it’s hard to become comfortable with your own desires or normalize them in your brain” (Dickson). Also, pornography can sometimes be more exciting or simply the only thing some people have sexually. Pornography is a savior to many normal individuals and the authors opinions are common to the majority. The issue of pornography can be misinterpreted because there are many types of porn, which leads to certain boundaries that the internet does not follow. With the porn-industry being unmonitored and unregulated within the world wide web, sadistic and unrealistic videos are now becoming normalized. Articles speaking about porn are either ignoring or unaware of the facet of extreme pornography.

Porn is male-centered and is beginning to include more demeaning language and violent situations. Most of the pornography being viewed is centered around that fact. Pornography is no longer one, two or more humans being recorded while copulating. The business of sex has now flourished into a multi-faceted and complex industry. Now, with computer modifications and increasing technology, sub-types like child porn, extreme porn, and BDSM are being produced. There is no way to test the validity of who these people are. Some may say this allows for sexual freedom, but if I am correct freedom’s extent ends where there is endangering or misrepresentation of children. Child abusers, statistically show use and possession of explicit child pornography. Their plethora is now free and accessible on the internet. There is minimal safety precautions and anti-tracking software to ensure user privacy on these websites. Men are physically and emotionally taking over women and contributing to the enduring patriarchy (Mackinnon). Men have a desire for young, beautiful women and in this new era girls are looking ‘older’ and more sexualized at ages under eighteen. This puts more women at risk for abuse and even minor harassment.

The emergence of BDSM, a sadistic-dominant style sexual role play has become mainstream. 50 Shades of Grey, a huge box-office hit and book series glorifies a rich man taking emotional and physical control of a young, innocent virgin. The main character uses props, whips, chains, and various sadistic tools to satisfy his sadistic urges. This book has even become a movie shown in movie theaters across the country. Ten years ago, this would have been a completely extreme idea, but now young girls have read the book and are starting to normalize and glorify male dominant sexual behaviors. The obvious patriarchal theme within this book is inhibiting all the work of feminists. Additionally, the language used by men while copulating usually depicts negative consequences, such as ‘screw and bang’ and in return women are supposed to “beg for it”.  Along with BDSM comes ‘rape porn’ and this is the most disturbing facet because there are entire websites dedicated to those types of videos. When active advertisements appear on pornography websites, something psychological is triggered; disgust or curiosity. Women cannot be conceptualized as usable objects, nor as male-reliant any longer.

Women are constantly being used within these videos. This begs the question; how do we know they are either enjoying it or giving consent? For the most part this was automatically assumed, but with the emergence of ‘resistant-styled’ or ‘dominating’ pornography, how can we truly be sure they are consenting and are not being held under their will. Additionally, within the case of child pornography, which includes anyone under the age of 18, shows that we have no idea who are being digitally altered and who is a child. Technology is developing at a faster rate than law can handle, and this could prove extremely detrimental to humanity.

    In 1993, writer and proud feminist, Angela Dworkin gave a powerful speech on pornography and its effect on women called Pornography Happens to Women. Through her speech she makes a fundamental argument against pornography; “In pornography, this fetishizing of the female body, its sexualization and dehumanization, is always concrete and specific; it is never abstract and conceptual.” Men are using an object to gratify themselves, and that object is the woman. The women are photographed only where a viewer would want to see, she is usually demeaned, smacked, asked vile questions, and passed off between multiple players. There is no man sitting there thinking about how great an actor that girl is or who or how she feels, they are not remembering that she is a human being. Dworkin goes on to say, “In pornography we literally see the will of women as men want to experience it. This will is expressed through concrete scenarios, the ways in which women's bodies are positioned and used.” (Dworkin) Using a woman as a means for ejaculation, has ingrained this idea into the brains of many. Women are constantly being used for everyone else’s gain, it is time to stop that in its tracks. Men are using the female body solely to feel pleasure, but never will one stop and think about the women in the scenario.

    Moving forward, the only logical compromise is the implementation of stricter pornography regulations and having ethics based education for younger individuals to become aware of all sides of the issue and be rational enough to make the proper choices. Pornography needs to become regulated, to ensure everyone moves into a more ethical and peaceful state of mind. Women are consistently degraded and harassed, and what men do in their private time may have a serious impact on their thinking processes and intentions. Boys growing up need to know that the women represented in porn is not how one should conceptualize a woman in everyday life. Additionally, women need to respect their own bodies and take a firm stance on reducing the patriarchy and rise against this. Legislation should be put in to deplete the amount of child, BDSM, and rape-styled porn, because it is simply unethical, and no human should have access to that type of material. Pornography can be utilized well, but there is no way to ensure quality. The unknown has gotten out of control and now needs to be regulated for the sake of women and children, and for the sake of the perception being gained by young men. Women are being reflected as instruments, to be used and abused by men. We need change.