Pornography is popularly conceived as text or images that intend to arouse the reader/viewer . Certainly, pornography has been cast outside of what is socially acceptable in most societies (though not all). Supporters against pornography have used such arguments as the etymological origins of the word "pornography" to display just how bad it really is. "Porne" in Greek essentially means a sex slave or prostitute while "graphos" essentially means the depiction of a certain thing. Do words like "pornography" hurt? There is an excellent article by Stephanie Ross
called How Words Hurt
which essentially outlines the metaphors words such as pornography and other perceptively profane words convey and attempt to undermine equality and trust in the female species.
Feminist critiques very often point out the harms in pornography. From Betty Freidan's Feminine Mystique
to Rosemarie Tong's Postmodern Feminism
, pornography has all together been seen as a bad reference in sexism, both in terms of men and women (even though the majority of work in feminist literature is authored by females). A feminist by the name of Catherine MacKinnon exclaimed in Only Words
that, "pornography makes sexism sexy." I could go into conservatism and all that, but that is not as much abstract as it is historical social influence. Although it is important, the philosophical side is much more interesting. Not to mention, the feminist perspective offers a glimpse at the issue from within a pivotal part of the overall movement.
But in an abrupt contrast to these anti-pornography views, there are also people in full support of pornography, including an ever growing cadre of "pro-sex" feminists. These feminists acknowledge the fact that though pornography can be hurtful, there is also a liberating quality to it. Pornography, they argue, is an exercise of sexual experimentation. In response to hurtful pornography, there is in fact a calling for an equally strong sexual language (and possibly action) to counter negative pornography in popular culture. The two notions must collide to diffuse one another, otherwise the excessive balance of one side will hurt the entire issue. So say you were against pornography. That means that you are against freedom of speech. In some typical points, if pornography is prohibited in order to protect women, does that in turn have just as bad connotations? It may just end up as a sacrifice of free speech and also the negative perception of women as unequal in terms of preferential treatment.