Pornography as a Civil Rights Violation for Women
Pornography as a Civil Rights Violation for Women
Pornography, popularly referred to as porn, refers to the sexually explicit sexual information that is disseminated for the consumption of the public. It can also be defined as materials in print or visual form that is intended to arouse sexual excitement (AskOxford. com. 2002). These materials can be in the form of visual materials, textual or aural and portrays a sexual behavior or activity, or in some instances just show off the reproductive organs (Thornburgh and Lin, 2002). All these materials are aimed at making the viewer or rather the consumer of the same to be sexually excited.
It includes but not limited to erotica that entails the use of images that can sexually arouse the viewer. A clear boundary however, should be drawn between nudity and pornography: whereas the latter refers to the depiction of sexual exploits, the former implies the performing of the sexual exploits to live audience. Erotica is considered to be high level pornography that is better produced, executed, packaged and even conceived and is always designed for a generally better class of audience (http://216. 58. 07. 91/CFQuotes/ EROTICA. html). As many would like to believe, pornography has been around for a little longer and this goes back up to the pre-modern era of 1960’s (http://www. wendymcelroy. com/xxx/chap4 . htm). During this period, the pornography industry flourished with new freedoms that were collectively called sexual liberation due to the new political dispensation. The development has taken a journey through the days when the pornographic images of cave paintings were done by the ancient beings.
Most scholars however, regard these ancient arts as more of erotica than pornographic. Mass production of visual and print pornographic materials occurred in the 20th century and this marked a turning point for the industry as since then it has only witnessed an upward growth, with the number of audience keeping pace with the growth from the days when it was enjoyed by a limited social class to the modern times of improved technology when it is consumed by masses across the social classes.
The invention of VCR, around the 70’s and 80’s, the access to these materials were made more easy whereby people were in a position to consume them within the comforts of their homes. This boundary has been pushed further in the 90’s with the new advancements in this industry and it does not stop there since the players are hell-bent on trying new and exciting ideas that will bring out some uniqueness and accompanying excitement (http://www. slais. ubc. ca/ COURSES/libr500/03-04-wt1/assignments/www/G_Abaee/history. htm).
Various people in the society have divergent views on the pornography issue: some people do hold the opinion that the continued survival of the pornographic industry is at the behest of the authorities whom they claim are reluctant in prohibiting it since they do profit from the revenues generated while another set of people do believe that the pornographic industry continue to flourish because the members of the society continue to enjoy and always want to have access to it. The religious groups and other academic educators do share the view that pornography does demoralize the values and ethics of the society (http://www. lais. ubc. ca/ COURSES/libr500/03-04-wt1/assignments/www/G_Abaee/views. htm). In her testimony to the Justice Department on behalf of the Attorney General’s Commission on pornography, Ms Dworkin highlighted her reasons for believing that pornography is a civil right violation against women. She confesses that millions of pictures of naked women, with their legs spread apart are made and at the same time being called inhumane names like pussy and beaver. At the same time, their genitals are pasted and tied, make up added so that they can pop out: all these are too inhuman.
She says that their pictures are quite often made in postures of giving in to sexual advances and access such that their vagina and anuses are exposed in readiness for penetration. This does not end there since their throats have not been spared in the ordeal; they are put into the same role as if they too are genitals for penetration. According to her submissions, she argues that women are raped, violated and humiliated in the pornographic materials that are viewed in the entertainment joints across the country and interestingly, people like it to the point of asking for more instead of condemning the whole ideology (Dworkin, 1986).
In the views of a renown women activist and scholar, Mackinnon, she believes that women undergo two forms of ordeal in the pornography industry; during their production and their impacts on the consumers who undoubtedly are men, as was the case of Linda Marchiano in the movie Deep Throat, they are forced to involve themselves in the production of these explicit materials. Like Linda put it in her confessions later after staring in the movie, she was involved in the movie after being threatened with death and while staring, a gun was always in her head so that she could continue.
She admits that whatever people were viewing was her being raped (http://www. spectacle. org/1195/mack. html). The bad news is that from the movie, the men went mad and started forcing around women to try out the tact’s that Linda herself was only able to perform under hypnosis. The result, as could well be predicted, led many women to be hospitalized whereas some were simply gang raped by strangers.
Pornography has an influence on how people view rape to the effect that when a woman is raped and pleads that she did not consent to the sexual intercourse, those used to watching the pornographic materials do hold the view that no matter what she says, she did give in and whenever the woman says she is not interested, it is taken to mean more beer. Worse still, if she prefers to go home to having sex, she is labeled a lesbian who requires some corrective exercise (Stuart, 2006).
In a nutshell, pornography does promote the rape myths and encourages people violence against the females to the extent that the pornography consumers need to be violent to become sexually aroused Mackinnon draws parallels to whatever women undergo through using an analogy whereby there is a hypothetical market place for sadistic torture videos that are set in camps and those with unsound mind and drug addicts put to star in them. She reckons that not very many people will consider it amusing by watching the scenes.
Yet the same groups of people would find it quite entertaining to watch women being raped in the pornographic movies, which according to her bear moral resemblance (http://www. spectacle. org/1195/mack. html). In the typical set up of the society, there is freedom of speech, which more often than not has been used by the strong and mighty to suppress the weaker ones. In this scenario, the men, who are the stronger party, has effectively used this in their favor to silence the women.
Mackinnon points out that speech can be used to silence speech and in some instances used to even attack the self-worth of another party. This speech include but not limited to the sexual bombardments and harassment received by the women as well as the racial abuse (MacKinnon 1995). . In pornography, the women are penetrated by objects and animals, are urinated on and used interchangeably to the extent that mature female adults look as though they are children that are surrounded by toys. All these are done to entertain the general public, much to the humiliation of the female folks.
In other instances, the grown up females are portrayed in pornographic magazines with their pubic areas shaved so as to look like children. Some pornographic film makers take advantage of the mentally retarded female and physically challenged folks and use them in the movies they produce. This is evident in the amputee pornography as though this is fetish to their male counterparts. There are also instances where the females are sexually exploited based on their skin color, and this is portrayed as a form of sexual appreciation for the women of color who are depicted to be begging to be raped, abused and hurt.
In such a scenario, the black skin is shown as though it is the female genital, with all the abuse and violence that is usually directed at the female genitals being directed towards the skin of the women. During concentration camp pornography, women are hung from the doorways and ceilings as well as being tied from the trees. All these are done as a form of entertainment and justified to exist as a form the victim’s sexual pleasure, who in spite of the real abuses manages to orgasm. In some environments, there is pornography that is solely intended to humiliate the women folks.
In such environments, the only way for one to be humiliated is to be taken as a form of sexual pleasure, for both the viewer and the person being viewed: the women are covered in such filth as mud, painting, blood, feces and even semen and the women are tortured, much to the delight of the men who are conduct the torture and those that do watch the unfolding scenario. Sometimes women end up being killed for just for the sexual pleasure and the fun that both the viewer and the executor associate it with. To some, this is a form of freedom, ironically, even to those whose such atrocities are done.
The poor women who are by no way involved in the commercial pornography industry are forced into prostitution, making them to imitate whatever is viewed in the pornographic movies. This is done notwithstanding the fact that up to about 70% of the women involved in the pornographic movies are engaged in incest and or child abuse, who are held back by their poverty levels; they don’t have opportunities within the society and are run away that are more often than not are picked up by pimps who later on exploit them whole at the same time filming the rape ordeal.
This in effect forces these ladies into prostitution through blackmail. Trafficking in women and girl children has also been on the rise due to the quick money that pornographers get by exploiting the situations in which the trafficked victims find themselves into (Balos, Beverly, 71). The pornography articles are then used by the men on prostitutes whereby they are required do perform the same sexual acts as they appear in the pornographic material, with total disregard to any potential damage it might cause to the lady. This has even seen an increase in the number of rape cases captured by cameras and sold at market places.
More often than not, pornography is used to plan, choreograph and engender the excitement of conducting rape. Those materials which show group sexual exploits on a single lady gives the rapist the reassurance that after all it is normal to share a single lady amongst multiple men thus leading to the situations of gang rapes (Balos, Beverly, 90). Pornography has been used to harass the women folks at their work places, more so in the non traditional jobs, and to create terror and compliance at home (the most unfriendly place for women in the society). They have also been used to harass women in education.
In the neighborhoods where the pornographic materials are easily accessible, people from other areas come to prey on the natives of such a place and this has an effect of increasing the physical attack as well as verbal assault. With the passing of time, it has reached a point whereby people involve in rape for profiteering purposes. The tapes that are filmed during rape ordeals are protected speech and also pornography is seen in most of the recent murders. There have also been an upsurge in the number of gang rapes especially in the elementary schools, with the boys imitating the act of pornography.
There have also been evidence of sexual assault after death of the victim since the assailant holds the view that there would be a particular kind of sexual pleasure derived by engaging in sex with a dead woman. There has also been an emergence of trade in women whereby they are being tortured as a form of entertainment. This in a nutshell dehumanizes the female folk since they are treated as though they are subhuman beings. Also, along the same line, any form of torture, featuring a woman becomes an instant source of entertainment and it is immediately protected by speech.
They are, according to Dworkin (1986), being treated like second class citizens whereas their male counterparts are the first class citizens and this can never be captured more accurately than when she bemoans the situation where its becomes a source of entertainment when a female is raped, creating a lot of hopelessness fro the women as they live a nightmare of potential and or actual sexual abuse, with the full knowledge that their nightmare is the other’s freedom and another’s source of pleasure and entertainment.
The pornographer have since moved to have control over more public space unlike in the past. A vast number of the men are quickly adjusting to the pornography culture and many more are joining in (Weisz, M. G. , & Earls, C. M. , 35). In contrast to the gloomy picture of what the female folks undergo in the form of pornography, there has been a concerted effort to legitimize the outrightly uncouth behaviors. These include some lobby lawyers whose services have been enlisted by the pornographers who give them good rewards for their services.
And given that these are the same group of people who are entrusted with the translation of the laws of the land, they seem then to be doing this to favor the baker, who in this case, are the pornographers There has also been collusion between the pornographers and the American Civil Liberties Union (CLU) and this collusion includes but not limited to taking money from the pornographers. They utilize the same buildings that the pornographers own, without paying any rents due. It also entails using the pornography in benefit so as to raise funds.
In return, they not only defend this bunch of pornographers in the courts of law, but also do the same in the public forums. The other group that colludes so as to support these pornographers are the members of the fourth estate (media). They portend that there is a First Amendment under the law that is absolute and indivisible, and yet this has never been the case. It is this First Amendment that protects speech that is expressed by an individual from any interference by the state organs.
It therefore protects the media owners and also there is no affirmative duty to open up the channel of communication to the minority in the society who are to some extent powerless in the society. It is due to these that the media owners including electronic, and the print media seem to be comfortable to see the bodies of women defined as the speech of pimps, since they are after safeguarding their profit margins as they believe that is what the First Amendment is intended for.
Politicians too are not spared from this web, they collude with the pornographers in a number of ways and these include: zoning laws that are drafted by the politicians themselves have not helped much to keep the pornographic materials out of the cities. Therefore as much as they try to demonize them on moral grounds, they are in support of the same through the zoning laws; it is the same zoning laws that allow for the availability of the pornographic materials within the neighborhood, slums and high class residential areas, where people of color also live.
They therefore have to contend with the increase in the rate of crime besides the sexual harassment, and the degradation of one’s quality of life (Weisz, M. G. , & Earls, C. M. , 35). The state therefore helps make some people as others rake in profits. Despite all these, there has never been any persecutions because the lawyers, who are charged with the responsibility of translating the laws of the land, are evidently on the other side and therefore a partisan in the matter. And the most affected are almost powerless in this matter even in their own municipalities.
Besides, the pornographers, given their vast wealth, buy large chunks of land that are targeted for development and hold the same hostage. Through negotiation to release the lands in question, they gain political power so that they not only make crazy profits from them, but also gain the invaluable influence necessary for their trade within the local governments. The other person who have been known to collude with the pornographers is or rather was the then presidential commission on obscenity and pornography as they played a very vital role in legitimizing the pornographic industry.
The consumers are not spared either in the collusion game towards legitimizing the pornographic industry. Statistics showed that in the year 1979, the industry worth was a staggering $4 billion a year. This then looks like a far cry since a ? a decade later, this net worth had doubled to $8-billion a year industry. This could not have been realized without the complete support of the consumers, who happen to be men from across all the societal classification.
In spite of the glaring evidence of the harm the women suffer due to pornography, they continue to remain invisible due to the assumption that the acts are somehow natural; even if they are forced to do them, they are still considered to be within their natural responsibility as a woman (Pornography & Censorship in the World of Internet). Ironically, when the boys are exposed to the same kind of exploits, it is considered brutal and outrageous and perceived as unnatural. Even if the women are forced into doing their natural obligation, the force and violence
University/College: University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 9 November 2016
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