Philosophy and Pornography

Published: 2021-06-29 06:42:58
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Philosophy and Pornography
Pornography has many different meanings and definitions depending on one's societal and/or cultural background. Philosophy is about finding meaning in our everyday decisions. When philosophy is used to explore our reasons for allowing the production, distribution, and consumption of pornography, we can come to a better understanding on the how and why we continue to permit it. Whether pornography is right or wrong . . . it is here; and by exploring its impact on society in a philosophical manner, we will gain a better understanding of it. Through critical and philosophical analysis, I will state both sides of the pornography debate and express my own view backed with ethical theories.
The central issue in this debate is the immoral and unethical presentation of women in pornography. The dominance of man over woman suppresses all the work and rights that woman and feminist have fought so hard for. Pornography fuels the fire of abuse towards women and children. Though certainly not the main or only contributor to abuse, pornography could be a "gateway" if you will, similar to how marijuana is a gateway to hardcore drugs. This gateway is only made bigger with the softening of censoring and regulation.
The censoring and regulating of pornography has been a prevalent ethical topic among a majority of the public looking to change the views of women's subordination to men. "Indeed, according to 1993 National Opinion Research Center data, 95% of Americans favor restrictions against the sale of sexually explicit materials to minors, and 54% support regulations on adult consumption" (as cited in Sherkat & Ellison, 1997, p. 958). Meanwhile, liberals view such censoring as government taking our liberties (the right to govern ourselves) away from us. "Censoring pornography may thus place us on a dangerous "slippery slope" to further censorship of other material; and may have a general "chilling effect" on expression, making people reluctant to say or publish things that might be construed as pornography and for which they could be prosecuted" (West, 2008, the dangers of censorship, para. 2). Many see the consumption of pornography as a right that if taken away infringes on our rights as Americans.
""Porn Is Here to Stay," sociologist Amitai Etzioni could assert with complete confidence in 1977,1 by assuming that any attempt to abolish pornography would be tantamount to trying to eliminate sexual impulses" (Diamond, 1980, p. 686). The liberal movement behind the staying power of pornography is an individual's right to sexual expression. Many feel that by oppressing pornography, other sexual matters will be oppressed as well such as birth control, sex education, and sexual studies. "Since free and unfettered sexual expression is valorized as a force leading to human liberation, liberals have associated pornography with the progressive and the good" (Diamond, 1980, p. 687). Those who support pornography dismiss claims that it will lead to sexual urges going unchecked so much so that it would become problematic for police officials to handle. While there are many sexual crimes committed, it is difficult to tell what can be attributed to pornography.

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