Over the period of many years the consumption of pornography has massively expanded causing it to have presently created itself a significant position in culture. Society has learnt to accept and receive porn as part of its natural and regular routines. Whether it’s the control factor which porn allows its audience to hold or the fact that porn requires minimum effort and commitment, either way at least 40 million adults regularly find themselves visiting pornographic sites. (microtrends,2007, page 276) According to (George Barna, Boiling Point: It Takes One Degree: Monitoring Cultural Shifts in the 21st Century, p. 23) sales on the internet for pornographic images seem to exceed the sales of other online products.
The demand of porn remains active as users place their confidence in the discretion factor which pornography holds. This demand contributes to the reason in which porn has created its significant niche into society, becoming effortlessly integrated into popular culture. Unlike technology used every day which is almost always provided with warnings for its consumers, pornography comes with no warnings.
Material can range from contemporary and soft to offensive and degrading, yet many individuals believe that porn in a choice, in which its viewers take their own risk in any dangers it may cause. Whilst porn was once seen as an expression of male ethos, it has grown to have become enjoyable for both male and female nations. The extensions of sexual fantasies created by both the male and female mind are part of the contribution towards the change in the industry in which pornography has gone from practically invisible to globally unavoidable.
Whereas many had once scorned porn or found it humiliating to be considered having any link with the industry, the substance is now much more open and can often be socially discussed. Whilst it may have once been demeaning to be seen with a ‘Playboy’ or ‘Nuts’ magazine, these images have now become part of our mainstream media creating an undistinguishable line of what one may consider as soft or hard porn. As porn has become progressively embedded upon philosophy, a wider range of pornographic footages and images become available for its audience at affordable charges, creating an overwhelming growth in the pornography industry.
Alongside the growth of technology, this shift in culture has concluded in media finding itself with an excessive amount of porn accessible over the internet. Many of these images being classified as ‘extreme porn. ’ So what is extreme pornography? Commencing the 26th January 2009, laws on ‘extreme porn’ were put into action by the United Kingdom Government meaning it became illegal to possess any extreme pornography that may be ‘grossly offensive, disgusting or of obscene character’, alongside any pornography which may ‘portray any explicit and realistic way of extreme acts. (http://www. cps. gov. uk/legal/d_to_g/extreme_pornography/) Extreme porn was defined by the Government under specific sexual acts. The ministry of Justice put into place that any acts containing a result or likely result of serious injury to a person’s genitals, anus or breasts would be considered as extreme. Deeds threating a person’s life or sexual acts involving a corpse were also placed under this act. Pornographic images or footage which may be defined as such are strictly illegal in the United Kingdom meaning those found distributing or publishing may face conviction.
Throughout the early stages of extreme porn publishing, images and videos were put together by students and television authorities with the help of prostitutes in order to create what would be the future of porn. Much of this media caused shock and controversy throughout many diverse cultures and societies who believed extreme porn should be categorized with child pornography. The Obscene Publications Act was put into place in order to support an argument in which would claim that limits were to be set in order to diffuse the growth of extreme pornography in order to protect children and the general public from the pornographic industry.
The controversies around porn clearly show the modification of the purpose of pornography. As it was once used for satire, pornographic images gradually began and remain to be used in order to stimulate and satisfy. According to Gail Dines (How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality) the vast majority of porn which is being viewed today contains violent and extremely graphic images. Being an anti-porn feminist Dines feels porn is degrading to women who are often the receivers of the violent behavior.
In writing her book, Dines expressed her feelings on the hard-core pornography industry and how she feels that pornography is changing the way in which men and women explore their sexual relationships, as if porn is celebrating the use of forcefulness, violence and humiliation in intercourse. Dines opinion is questioned by pro-porn feminists who believe women have as much of a right to explore their sexual fantasies which may involve forms of seduction and violence, as do men.
As many more women believed that being involved in pornography was a right which they had themselves, more content began to become produced. As the desires of both men and now women began to grow so did the content used in porn. In April 2006, Chanel 4 released a series ‘The Dark Side of Porn’ in which researchers studied the adult pornography industry. Extreme pornography was explored throughout the series, particularly during season two, where bestiality was travelled in which Bodil Joensen’s life as a porn star was laid out for viewers.
Joensen was known to have had sexual intercourse with animals in at least 40 extreme pornographically movies. Her sexual activities caused much shock however allowed her to create a celebrity status for herself. ‘Animal Farm’ contained sexual corruption meaning it wasn’t to be allowed for official release however this seemed to draw in more viewers who were eager to find out more about the film and to discover the reasons in which it may have been banned.
Like many porn stars who may have engaged with sexual activity with animals, Joensen received much demand and attention from users who use porn in order to feel better about themselves. Whilst many might have found the footage to be offensive, conversely many users gained complete satisfaction as they believed that if Joensen would engage in sexual intercourse with animals she would also consider intercourse with them. Their gratification went on to turn into a fantasy, creating an increasing demand.
Joensen, now known as the queen of bestiality, may have once disturbed many with her sexual activities, though now it seems as if her life is celebrated. This became an influence for other upcoming porn stars who also craved the attention of the public, using pornography to get to the top. However, many attempts were rejected by Hollywood who originally wished to have nothing to do with the porn business. As culture and society began to change, Joensen became one of the many porn starts to have created a distinguished career.
Today porn stars are regularly placed into the same grouping as singers, actors and other mainstream celebrities, particularly as many personalities also become part of the pornography industry with the help of leaked home sex tapes which are often sold for unimaginable amounts of money. The industry has gone global in which the standards of porn anticipated by those who sell sex is beyond belief. In order to generate a celebrity status for themself, porn stars pornographic footage or images must be talked about.
Due to television, magazines and music videos, soft porn will no longer create this image. As society becomes more comfortable with soft porn which is faced on a daily basis, porn stars are pushed to their limits in order to be noticed. The use of soft porn in daily media affects the whole society and has become a main contribution to the reason in which many individuals are left unconcerned with today’s mainstream pornography. ‘Sex sells,’ is often a statement used by the media in order to justify the use of sexual images throughout their broadcasting.
As progressively more industries begin to use sex as an advertising tool, pornography starts to become the normality meaning it also becomes less offensive and more accepted. Hard-core need to involve the substances which soft porn lacks in order to achieve its desired effect. Whilst soft porn would have once been used as a method of arousal, magazines and television allow their audience to experience this pleasure every day, contributing in soft porn becoming more socially acceptable. An example of this can be seen in music videos in which women are often displayed as sex symbols where they dance erotically wearing racy clothing.
Being exposed to these messages on a daily basic has created a sense of monotony towards soft pornography meaning the porn industry is pushed to its boundary in order to re-build the satisfaction factor it wishes to impose upon its audience. One of the main factors which contribute to porn being less offensive over the years is through acceptance. Pornography has become more established into many diverse cultures and societies, although many anti-porn feminists and religious icons may disagree, many will argue that pornography caries its advantages involving the non-judgemental form of stimulation it provides to its audience.
Whilst once the use of porn in media was scorned, society has become more tolerant of the industry, even discussing the use of porn with minors on series such as ‘The Sex Education Show’ airing on Chanel 4. The growth of pornography has been joined by nourishment for the industry as many take on the approach that society has no choice but to live with porn and assume the responsibility that it may hold. Alongside being more accepted into popular culture, pornography has also become more accessible. This relates to both soft and hard-core porn.
DVD’s, the internet, magazines, television and many other new technologies have allowed sexual media to become widely available to everyone including underage children. The average age of children wishing to explore sex decreases, as the typical age of internet porn expose is at a tender eleven years. (www. familysafemedia. co. uk) Children not only view sex, they are often manipulated in order to become part of sexual fantasies for adults. The availability of porn has as much contribution to the formation of extreme porn as the acceptance of soft pornography.
Being seen as a delivery system in which porn can be easily accessed or delivered to its audience with no commitment or effort needed, pornography has broadened the perimeter of the amount of porn which can actually be accessed. The porn which has today grown to become widely available for viewers is far from contemporary, soft and friendly porn. Hard-core porn has become increasingly abusive containing numerous events of humiliation towards women. However, if women aren’t offended by the content shown in porn then how could society question a man’s enjoyment in watching a female being degraded.
Pornography is often discussed throughout women’s magazines in which it becomes embraced; with journalists offering advice on how porn could become integrated into an individual own life. In defence of pornography women liberals believe that a woman’s body becomes a woman’s right in which she may enjoy any pleasure, whether or not it be degrading to others as each individual decides what liberating and demeaning may mean to themselves. Sexual, global socialization has had many consequences upon today’s culture, as years progress, pornography seems to become more acceptable, more accessible and more extreme.
It becomes clear to see the factors in which have contributed the most towards the shift of pornography and to the change of outlooks towards the industry. By media producing sexually explicit material and publishing it for the nation to see, pornography industries have pushed themselves to their limits in order to provide new material to fulfil the needs and fantasies of its audience. Pornography has become legitimized and celebrated resulting in fewer cases of society being offended by its content. But is there more to come?
Courtney from Study Moose
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