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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » Prosecuting porn

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Author Topic: Prosecuting porn
Dzuunmod
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Some of you might be aware that the U.S. government has been a pain in the neck for U.S. pornographers lately.

Basically, a company that produces videos in which women are spat upon, raped and murdered (though the latter two are presumably not real) is being prosecuted by the federal Justice Department under the United States' anti-obscenity laws. The company also makes films in which women who are older than 18 dress and act like girls under that age. U.S. Attorney-General John Ashcroft has said that he wants the prosecution of obscenity to be a main priority for his department in the forseeable future. Members of George W. Bush's government feel that because the Bill Clinton government was so lax on this issue, pornography is now more vile than ever. The pornography lobby counters this by saying that the first amendment protects all forms of freedom of speech, not just those which are inoffensive.

Where do you stand? Do you think that this company should be allowed to make these sorts of films, as long as everything that happens in them is consensual? Should simulated rape be allowed in pornography? Twenty years ago, these questions wouldn't have even been up for debate. What do you think the standards will be like twenty years from now?

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"Like a bat out of hell, time has come for you!"
-Ballad of a Comeback Kid, The New Pornographers

[This message has been edited by Dzuunmod (edited 09-03-2003).]


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Etch
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I think this type of porn shouldn't be illegal. No one is forced to watch it, the act was consentual among the actors, and its not real.

Second, some women actually fantasize about rape (according to cosmo is it one of the most common fantasies its readers have) so by saying that this sort of pornography is degrading isnt true for all women. Fantasy is perfectly normal and healthy as long as its not acted out in real life.

The company also says it is the most hardcore pornography on the net, meaning if you don't want to see hardcore porn then you shouldnt go watching their stuff.


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Dude_who_writes
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HmmmÖ This is one I truly had to think about. While the type of material that this company chooses to produce isnít exactly my cup of chai, at the same time Iím not comfortable with the government stepping in with regulatory measures concerning what can loosely be considered art, so long as the material is created with consenting adult models. I feel that, as an individual, I should be free to choose and create what type of material that I want. And, really, that shouldnít be subjective based upon who deems the material acceptable and who finds it obscene.

Frankly, I have no problem with the idea of simulated rape in porn (or, ultimately, any genre) so long as the necessary disclaimers are provided, as I can see it creating a problem in respect to it being triggering to those who have experienced that type of trauma. Again, itís not something that gets my jollies off, but to each his own, and I can choose what type of material I want to see and what I donít want to see. And, the concept of being able to censor yourself, rather than having a governing body do so, is probably most easily applied to porn. With current laws, porn requires a great many disclaimers and safe-guards, which protect those who are underage to view the material, or for anyone who simply chooses not to check it out. Having the government step and put a stamp on it as obscene seems inappropriate, because of the already existing safeguards.

Letís face it: youíre not gonna see this stuff on Must-See-TV anytime soon.

Truly, Iím really hard-pressed to support obscenity in any form because I look at the history of government-sponsored censorship. I see the books that have been banned in the past, for one, and I am reminded of how blind standards can be and become. (Not to mention that itís entirely too ironic that Bradburyís Fahrenheit 451, an all-time favorite of mine, was banned.)

Really, my best argument is simply that weíre individuals, something that we here at Scarleteen preach a lot about, and having a specific group of individuals choose what material is appropriate and what is inappropriate seems to go against that message whole-heartedly. With the proper (and for the most part, currently existing) safeguards reguarding this type of material, I really donít see why anyone should have to further than that.

Ultimately, IMHO, choosing to censor certain materials based on the personal views of a select group of people is a slippery slope, and in the current state of the American political climate, the curtailment of even more personal civil rights just isnít a good idea. Like itís been said time and time again, the first amendment protects both speech that we like and agree with, as well as speech that we may not necessarily appreciate, enjoy, or even really want to be exposed to.

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Tim, as in "Donate"
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"You're asleep or you're witholding. Be that my cue to crave you." -- Alanis Morissette, "Bent For You"

"Of course. This is some sort of karmic punishment for being too ironic." -- Daria.


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onlyme
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if they say it shouldnt be in porn then why do they allow it on tv and in the movieS? it's just the same imho.
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Confused boy
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Very good point. That suggests that Ashcroft is persecuting pornography on the basis of its use rather than actual content. But then I suppose we already had that impression. As long as these videos don't attempt to encourage real life carrying out of these actions in a non-consensual way, then they should be completely legal.

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'An Anarchist is a Liberal with a bomb' Trotsky


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Milke
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I'm not sure what to say about the legal issues here -- I know how I feel, and I know how legal cases can set precedents for others, and know there's some conflict there.

However, if it's important to protect public morality, a high profile case on porn that thrives on being offensive isn't the way to go. I'd never heard of any of these films, or this production company before, but thanks to this article I can now order any of the above-mentioned on DVD or VHS, and access images of women with knives held to their throats, implied rape scenes, and actors who appear to be dead or near death. How's that for advertising?

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Milke, with an L, SSBD, RATS, TMNTP, MF, CWCD, DNFTF, WAOTA

This is the time to unite over the Revolution of the Pants


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Melancholy_Mango_Mania
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I think.....if you dont like it, dont watch it. it's as simple as that. people should stop worrying about what other people watch and do and just worry about themselves. i think the world would be a lot simpler that way. but thats just me

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Hear me now -- long signatures and intentional misspellings are verboten here, and I've warned you before -- as have others. Don't do it again or your post, and possibly board use priveleges, will simply be deleted.

[This message has been edited by Milke (edited 09-27-2003).]


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Beppie
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I don't think I can honestly say that I'm comfortable with the idea that people want to commercially mass-produce porn that portrays women being raped and murdered- I'm not really comfortable with that concept at all (people's personal private fantasies are another matter). However, I'm also extremely uncomfortable with restricting freedom of speech, and with the liklihood that any restrictions on this sort of porn could harm other types that I am comfortable with.

I think that John Ashcroft (and the US) would be better off if he concentrated not on restricting what people can and can't view and portray, but rather, on promoting the rights of women to have autonomy over their own bodies in all ways. There are still plenty of undercurrents in our culture that suggest that when women are raped, it's their own fault, that suggest that women should not have reproductive control over their own bodies, and that when women choose to have sex outside of a heterosexual marriage she is devalued. If Ashcroft tackled these sentiments, then perhaps there would be less of a demand for porn that portrays women degradingly, and when such porn did occur, it would have less cultural power, because the idea of female degredation would be less embodied in culture as a whole.


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Etch
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My boyfriend and I enjoy looking at pornography together. Its usually just thumbs on the internet so we get to see fairly wide cross section of the porn that most (adult) people have easy access to.

Something we have noticed lately is that the degradation of women in the average run of the mill porn has actually gotten worse. Nothing like rape and murder, but more instances of doing things to the women simply because it is degrading to them.

I don't know what the cause of this is, I can only assume the ideals of our society have been changing recently. I wonder why...

I still don't think it should be illegal though. There are plenty of men out there that like the idea of being degraded during sex. For some people it is just a turn on. But few people going to throw a fit if they see a man being degraded in porn.


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summergoddess
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Isaiah and I have watched porn and usually it is an aide to enchance our sex drive but it's very rare that we use the aide of porn.

Isaiah and I are extremely sexual with each other so it doesn't take us long to get aroused to engage in sexual activities especially for intercourse

I agree although that porn continues to degrade both females and males at a alarming rate. While i understand the fact that the general population of males use porn for sexual stimulation, it shouldn't get to the point of actually using violence, especially rape. Sex should be respected and engaged in a consented and gentle manner!

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~Jules


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Heather
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quote:
Originally posted by summergoddess:
Sex should be respected and engaged in a consented and gentle manner!

Just a reminder here: while I understand the point you're making, not everyone likes gentle sex all the time, or even at all, and it's important that none of us tells someone how they 'should" be engaging in sex when it comes to that sort of thing.

What differentiates rape from rough sex isn't gentleness, but consent (bear in mind too, some rapes do not involve any more roughness or hard physical force than most vanilla sex does).

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Heather Corinna
Editor and Founder, Scarleteen

My epitaph should read: "She worked herself into this ground."
-- Kay Bailey Hutchinson


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BruinDan
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quote:
Originally posted by Etch:
I don't know what the cause of this is, I can only assume the ideals of our society have been changing recently. I wonder why...

I'd think that the sheer availability of pornography these days has something to do with it.

Back in the old days, it was a shocker when someone managed to smuggle in a pornographic magazing onto school grounds. I remember being wide-eyed in 8th grade when one of the rowdier members of our group brought a copy of Playboy to school and paraded it around all day. None of us had ever seen such a thing before!

In high school some of the more entrepreneurial seniors would purchase pornography legally, and would then sell it for huge profit to the freshmen who could not buy it themselves. There was a gigantic market for such shenanigans back then, because you just couldn't get it any other way.

Nowadays though, the Internet is both inexpensive and everywhere. You can log on, and thanks to the proliferation of peer-to-peer sharing, find porn of all manner in just a few minutes. This includes porn of the legal and illegal manner, which is part of the problem. But as a result of the sheer prevalence of online porn, there is no longer a market for people selling porn to other people, or for many magazines to even exist. (The publishers of Penthouse filed for bankrputcy just last month)

And so the bar has been raised. Now that porn is everywhere, it isn't the fact that you can get it that excites people...it's how racy it gets, how "forbidden" the subject matter, how bizarre the photo shoots. This results in a "two-pronged" system of porn, where one hand gives us people like MizScarlet who create tasteful pornographic pictures of real, unaltered/unairbushed/unenhanced subjects; and the other hand gives us "Missy's-Farm-Animals-Go-Wild-dot-com."

Penthouse ultimately failed because it could not keep the pace with what was going on around it. Why would people pay for pornography the likes of which they could get for free on their computers? As time goes by I think we'll see more of that sort of thing, and I see no end in sight for the flashing pop-up ads which direct us to the more prurient pornography out there.

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BruinDan, "Number Three," PHOM

Beware the naked man who offereth you his pants.


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Heather
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Aw, bless, Dan.

In regard to that same question, it might also be worth a little historical perspective.

The truth of the matter is that actual rape, and the idea of rape, has become far LESS acceptable in our culture than it used to be, not more acceptable.

Same goes when it comes to the rights of women, especially the sexual rights of women as autonomous sexual beings with their own desires, not simply having a sexuality which is only thought to exist when a male spouse or partner is interested in utilizing her for such.


Posts: 67933 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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