The Important Porn

In this class, we have discussed at length the ways in which sex is often viewed as a commodity. It is advertised and sold in a variety of ways across the globe, and its meanings are different as interpreted by different groups of people.  One way that we can analyze the forms that sex is sold in is by looking more closely at the industries that operate around sexualizing human beings.  One of the main industries that does this is the porn industry.  Chris Pappas writes an article, “Sex Sells, But What Else Does It Do?: The American Porn Industry” that informs us of the ways in which porn is representative of a whole host of characteristics and interpretations of sex.

Chris Pappas’s main point in this piece is to highlight the contrasting ways that porn is conceptualized as a social problem as well as a profitable and influential industry that contributes to a global market economy.  He focuses only on porn in the American context and notes that it plays a much bigger role when looking worldwide. Pappas focuses on porn form several different perspectives, looking through the lens of popular definitions of porn, scholarly definitions of porn, feminist definitions of porn, producers of porn, and the consumers of porn.  One thing, I believe that is of national consensus, is the ambiguity regarding the definition of what constitutes porn.  Pappas highlights different opinions by noting that “conservatives on the right claim that pornography contributes to moral decay and corruption; radical feminists on the left argue that pornography is a tool used to uphold the patriarchy, sexism, and the continued devaluation of women” (Pappas 321).  Here we see that morality is almost always connected to the porn industry, and people view it as morally corrupt.  Pappas suggests that what is often left out is the ways that the porn industry actually contributes economically and politically, serving as a way for women and men alike to fully express their sexuality in ways that brings them profit and autonomy over their own bodies.

The benefits of Pappas’s arguments are that we get several different aspects of the porn industry teased out, and we get to see the ways that a highly stigmatized field of work contributes to the liberation and freedom revolving around sexual identities.  I think a limitation of Pappas’s argument is that we do not get a transnational perspective.  As technology and transportation increase and contribute to globalization and convergence of ideologies, we see different forms of porn being produced that cater to all cultures and groups of people all over the globe.  Therefore, we can understand that porn has significant effects globally and influences the live of people everywhere, whether they regard it as morally right or wrong.

Something that I have been questioning is whether the explicit content of the new 50 Shades of Grey movie will be regarded by some as pornography. After reading the book in class, I was left very curious as to how they would portray such sexual acts in a film.  The content will no doubt be explicit, and it has already incited much debate from anti-porn groups over what the film should be rated and in what venues it should be permissible to be viewed. Here is an article from the Washington Times that tells us more about how groups who view porn as morally wrong are talking about the upcoming film.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/jul/25/50-shades-movie-trailer-outrages-anti-porn-groups/

What’s interesting to me about this article is that is considered 50 Shades to be perpetuating imagery of violence against women. When reading the book in class, we discussed the book as more of an erotica genre piece, and we discussed it in a BDSM dominated context.  I think that what contributes to groups seeing this film content as nothing  but explicit and demeaning is their lack of knowledge about the actual workings and understandings of consent among BDSM communities.  The relationship that Christian Grey and Anastassia engage in is one of mutual agreement and understanding that they develop on their own terms.  While the content that will be displayed in the movie may be considered explicit, I don’t think that it can be considered porn, and I think that the genre of this book and film need to be more critically analyzed by their viewers and readers.

Something that not only made me laugh but made me look twice is something I found in several other articles that refer to 50 Shades as “Mommy porn.” I think that this book and movie are without a doubt an outlet for grown women and teenage girls alike to sort of experience sexuality on their own secret terms.  They view the book as their own hidden reality that lets them create their own fantasies and ideas about what the desire most sexually.  I am curious to see the public reactions, particularly from women, to this film.

In what ways does the porn industry perpetuate people’s needs for their own sexual fantasies to be played out in not such a physically sexual setting? Does 50 Shades of Grey contribute to this notion of hidden sexuality and sexual freedom particularly among older women? What do you think the reactions to such an explicit film will be?

Here www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FDTMRK7-24 is the trailer for 50 Shades of Grey! 

Advertisements

One thought on “The Important Porn

  1. I think porn is a way for people to experience their fantasies without physically doing so. It could be that they’re not comfortable with doing it in real life or they are just curious. But we all know porn is not the place to be learning about basic vanilla sex.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

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