Pornography: harmless or heinous?
Some social misogynists – or ‘lads’ for all you football enthusiasts out there – do society a great service and receive little recognition for it. They are the only demographic that discuss pornography on a regular basis without fear of being cast out as social pariahs and immoral deviants. Whilst never intentionally helpful, the ‘lads’ have at least promoted a dialogue and awareness of the porn industry; something (as you may have observed) few seriously do.
Pornography: “the explicit portrayal of sexual subject matter for the purpose of sexual gratification.” Its etymology lies in the Greek term ‘pornographos’- meaning, ‘writing about prostitutes.’
Sticking with etymological ancient Greek imagery, the porn industry functions like a publisher that treats sexuality as a commodity that can be re distributed. As an industry therefore, it functions just like any other; it provides a supply to meet a demand. The rather amusing problem is that unlike normal media, pornography is something that most will only engage with privately- the first rule of masturbation being that you do not talk about masturbation. As a result, the porn industry functions (ethically) a lot Brad Pitt’s fight club…
“Fight Club was the beginning, now it’s moved out of the basement…”
In order to have a rational discussion about the nature of pornography, you first need to do away with any moralistic or pathetically subjective notions that the ‘premise’ of pornography is the reason for its despicableness as an industry. It is the social demand for pornography that has engendered an industry that capitalises human sexuality; remembering that pornography isn’t a naturally occurring resource or necessary for survival, despite what some may think. Whether you believe pornography is morally reprehensible is irrelevant; an adult has control over their body and may conduct themselves as they see fit, but should always be privy to a level of respect and statutory protection. Pornography is an industry in demand and critics should now be calling for transparency, legality and ethical conduct within the industry.
Unlike other industries, immaturity has crippled objectivity and pornography has never been subject to proper ethical moderation. The lack of support for workers within the industry, the ambiguity of what meets acceptable decorum, the prominence of horrific voyeurism, the ethically questionable and self-controlled crowd source sights and the lack of crowd published distribution and privacy law enforcement demonstrate how damaging our negligence has been. Arms of the industry are allowed to operate like private clubs: monopolising an individual’s aesthetic attractiveness or ability to engage in a sexual act under misrepresentation, dissimulation, contractual ambiguity, public ignorance of the industry and a social impunity that stems from the fact that we still treat human sexuality as something to be discussed in hushed tones; approached only by channel 4, and bra burning feminists.
The unacceptable arrogance of an industry that isn’t subject to transparent industrial rules should seem abhorrent to you. Pornography fulfils a human desire and the industry operates like any other within the capitalist system. Our inability to recognise the industry has engendered ethical ambiguity and a societal taboo- there’s no such thing as an ethical no man’s land, only the opportunity for debate and refinement. I don’t believe there is anything principally wrong with pornography; only in the abandonment of ethics due to prudishness do we truly demean ourselves.