Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The Case for Eliminating Pornography

This is a research paper I wrote for an ethics course my senior year of college. It's a little rough around the edges, despite the great marks I received for it. Feel free to read, criticize, and reference the paper. Do not feel free to steal my work.

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As an industry of the United States, pornography[1] generates approximately one billion dollars each year, and is estimated to grow by five to seven billion dollars over the next five years[2]. This alone is testament to the incredible popularity of pornographic material. In the United States, the right to make or view pornography is an almost unlimited right, in most places regulated only by vague community standards of obscene material. This right is traced right back to the first amendment, with pornography being a protected form of free speech. Many contest that understanding, claiming that pornography cannot be protected speech because of the very nature of the product. Speech that incites to violence or speech acts that actually harm someone are not considered protected speech[3]. Determining whether or not pornography should receive the protections of the first amendment depends on whether or not it falls into the category of speech which causes harm or incites violence. The goal of this paper will be to reasonably show that pornography should not be considered protected speech under the first amendment. To show this will require several steps. First, a look at judicial and philosophical decisions surrounding pornography, in relation to the first amendment, will be necessary. The next step will be to examine the effects of pornography on men and children. Then, the similarities and connections between pornography and prostitution will be explored. Finally, the effects of pornography on women will be explored. Does pornography really harm women? Does it degrade the rights of women and reduce the equality sought after in society? The summation of these factors should show reasonably that pornography should not be protected as “free speech.”

The first stage of this paper will be to explore the background of the pornography debate: jurisprudence and the statements of philosophers. In her work, Defending Pornography: Free Speech, Sex, and the Fight for Women’s Rights, Strossen writes that the Supreme Court, when analyzing freedom of speech issues, has two guidelines: Speech cannot be restricted simply because it is offensive to an audience; and that speech may be restricted if it causes harm, and then only if this harm may be averted only be restricting this speech.[4] In Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, the court determined that it could restrict “fighting words” that inflict injury simply by being spoken.[5] It is not certain if the courts have always followed this standard. Before 1973, obscenity was always the reason for any restriction on speech, such as in the case of Roth v. United States in 1957, where obscene material was judged to be without constitutional protection.[6] Later, this was only allowed if the material in question was “utterly without redeeming social value.”[7] In 1973, the decision of Miller v. California changed the criteria for obscenity by laying out three guidelines:


(1)[T]he “average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest” in sex; (2) “the work depicts or describes in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law”; and (3) “the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.”[8]
It is clear to many that this definition is entirely too vague to be a satisfactory guide. As things currently stand, pornography is still largely unrestricted.

When discussing the philosophical ramifications of pornography, the name of Catharine MacKinnon must inevitably come up. No philosophical discussion on pornography would be complete without examining the work of one of the most passionate feminist advocates against pornography. MacKinnon’s view of pornography is more or less summarized in her speech, “Not a Moral Issue,”

Pornography, in the feminist view, is a form of forced sex, a practice of sexual politics, an institution of gender inequality. In this perspective, pornography is not harmless fantasy or a corrupt and confused misrepresentation of an otherwise natural and healthy sexuality. Along with the rape and prostitution in which it participates, pornography institutionalizes the sexuality of male supremacy, which fuses the erotization (sic) of dominance and submission with the social construction of male and female. Gender is sexual. Pornography constitutes the meaning of that sexuality. Men treat women as who they see women as being. Pornography constructs who that is. Men’s power over women means that the way men see women defines who women can be. Pornography is that way.[9]
MacKinnon’s work has been analyzed to great degree for years. Stark sums up MacKinnon’s attitude towards pornography by writing that first, she identifies the harm of pornography as harm done to women in general, not merely those who consume pornography; second, that this harm is not of offense but of subordination; and third, that it is not only causally related to the subordination of women, but that it subordinates women in itself.[10] As McGowan relates MacKinnon’s argument, pornography harms on a level that is beyond conscious awareness.[11] MacKinnon herself acknowledges that she frames the issue in terms of civil rights for women, an approach which largely avoids issues of obscenity. If the speech subordinates a woman, MacKinnon argues, why should any other value matter?[12] If it can be shown that women’s civil rights are violated by pornography, then an issue of harm can certainly be used to justify the removal of constitutional protection for pornography.

MacKinnon is not without her critics. Amy Allen, for example, writes on the various interactions of the viewpoints of between MacKinnon and those she terms “radical sex feminists.”[13] Stark criticizes MacKinnon’s approach to the relationship between speech, actions, and their effects in her paper, “Is Pornography an Action?”[14] Nadine Strossen focuses very heavily on arguments made by MacKinnon in Defending Pornography. It is not helpful to this paper to examine all of the dialogues between these authors, but some of their arguments will return to play when the arguments of MacKinnon and others are examined.

With groundwork laid, the next step is to examine the arguments and evidence for establishing a principle of harm. The first stage of doing so will be to look at how pornography affects men and children. In MacKinnon’s arguments, men are not considered “harmed” by pornography, to any great degree. Pornography helps to establish a social construct in which men receive a viewpoint subordinating and objectifying women. Despite this, men still are the aggressors, those with power who make women powerless. She does, however, allow for some harm to men. She recounts, from the Minneapolis civil rights hearings, a story from a man who had been kidnapped and forced to perform in pornographic videos.[15] Additionally, Amy Allen argues that while male power might be increased at a cultural level by pornography, it may also be undermined at a personal level by the unrealistic picture of male virility and sexuality created by pornography.[16]

The harm that men receive from pornography extends much further than that. While few of the men involved in pornography are likely harmed in such a way as previously stated, many men suffer from addiction to pornography. According to some researchers, millions of people in the US are sexual addicts, and a great number of them are addicted to pornography.[17] For men, much of this problem stems from the fact that they are built vulnerable to this. Men can receive sexual gratification visually.[18] Pornography feeds this habit powerfully. As pornography consumption increases, desensitization increases the need for it.[19] For those addicted to pornography, any semblance of a normal life is lost. Their social lives, their marriages, and even their jobs can become affected by their addiction. While there exist many organizations and religious ministries whose goals include helping men escape pornography and any addiction to it, they only help clean up the damage after it has been done. One such organization, XXXChurch, states that their goal is to help men begin to escape the problem by talking about it.[20] As our society constructs it, “addiction” to pornography is normal. Men should want to view pornography. However, in looking critically at the destruction such addictions wreak, and the powerful nature of the addiction,[21] it is clear that men can be said to be harmed by pornography.

As for children, it would not seem that any principle of harm need be established, because it is almost unanimous that pornography does harm children. It is taken as prima facie that pornography is detrimental for them. Every organization involved in the debate surrounding pornography agrees that children should not be exposed to pornography, though the debate often centers on how best to accomplish this without violating the current rights of adults to view pornography. For example, in a 1998 congressional hearing on the topic of internet pornography, teachers, school administrators, librarians, and computer programmers offered a multitude of opinions about internet filters and censorship. In all of the arguments and debate, the central idea remained that children should be protected from viewing pornography.[22] Even pornographers agree on this topic, according to Foster and Gross. Another aspect of their organization is to promote protection of children from pornography at porn conventions and trade shows, and the response is overwhelmingly positive and supportive.[23]

Unfortunately, while all parties agree that children are harmed by pornography, the courts do not see this as sufficient reason to censor pornography for adults. However, this is another instance of harm arguably caused by pornography.

The next stage in establishing the harm of pornography is in a comparison between pornography and prostitution. The two are quite arguably similar. Prostitutes are paid to have sex in privacy. Porn actresses are paid to have sex in front of a camera. Granted, one major difference between the two could be that the latter would be considered a speech act, while the former would not. Indeed, the prostitution rights group, COYOTE (Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics), argues that decriminalizing prostitution will allow women maximum control of their bodies. Freedom of speech, for the prostitute, is not the issue.[24] Is the distinction so great, however, to make one illegal and the other not on the basis of the number of people who witness the event? The distinction seems arbitrary. Perhaps it is due to limited imagination, but it is difficult to think of another scenario that is illegal in private but legal when publicized.

Another similarity between prostitution and pornography is the reasons for women to enter the “business”. Women who enter prostitution often do so because they lack options of doing otherwise. Selling one’s body for sex could certainly be seen as better than starvation. Another reason can be that a woman was sexually abused as a child, putting her on the path to a mindset that her only value comes from sexually pleasing men. Sometimes it is even coercion.[25] It is not unreasonable to say that all of these reasons, attributed to prostitution, could just as easily be attributed to pornography. All of these reasons constitute very obvious harm to a person. In leaving, women fare no better. Women often fear for their lives because of those who kept them in the business, such as pimps and drug dealers.[26] Women who escape pornography tell similar tales. Many of the women who testified during the pornography civil rights hearings as former porn actresses have been subject to slander and libel, have received threatening calls or mail, and have even been violently accosted.[27] Though these may not be considered a direct effect or consequence of either pornography or prostitution, they certainly do establish a principle of indirect harm.

While the arguments regarding the illegality of prostitution are important, it is the comparison of the harms attributed to prostitution and pornography that are of the highest importance. It is that harm towards women which makes up the final, most important piece of the puzzle in showing that pornography should not be protected by the first amendment. The best way to look at it is to first examine the indirect causes of harm, and then to look at the direct causes of harm.

Indirect harm is tricky to establish. Normal rules of causation do not always apply in cases of indirect harm. For MacKinnon, the silence pornography induces is a violation of the civil rights of women, a harm they need not suffer. The law purports to bring sexual equality. Because pornography brings about the objectification of women, they become silent about the abuses they incur. This silence becomes interpreted as consent, as the absence of any harm being incurred.[28] McGowan analyzes this train of thought. If pornography prevents women from performing certain speech acts that they should be able to, they are silenced. If it prevents women from being able to refuse sex because her “no” can only be understood as “yes,” then she has been silenced. If rape is made acceptable, or sexual arousal by violence towards or humiliation of women is made acceptable, then women are being subordinated. However, as McGowan goes on to state, if pornography does these things, it does them in a very covert manner.[29] As Stark notes, however, this causes quite the dilemma for MacKinnon and other feminists in her camp. If pornography and other sexist images have the power to subordinate and impose social inequality that MacKinnon would attribute to it, then should not a wider variety of text and images be implicated?[30] Indeed, as Strossen argues, if porn is barred because it is sexist speech, why not ban other forms of sexist speech?[31] It would seem that, by MacKinnon’s accounting, every Victoria’s Secret commercial, every sexy billboard, every media item utilizing female sexuality in public, would have to be eliminated. A cursory glance would seem to indicate that these items are just like pornography in their utilization of female sexuality. However, it can be argued that these items use a much more subtle version of female sexuality than does pornography. Perhaps it is not reasonable to say that any sexist use of female sexuality in media should be eliminated, but only that which is incredibly powerful. Pornography would qualify as powerful. Sexy ads are just not as comparably powerful.

The next instance of this to consider is the inciting to violence that is argued to be a source of harm to women. Does pornography legitimize violence towards women? Is rape made acceptable under the guise of pornography? It is true that some pornography depicts scenes of brutal violence towards women. Graphic presentations of rape scenes, even those which are entirely synthetic, are nonetheless a target for this argument. MacKinnon argues that women, as subordinated by pornography, become something less than men. Because pornography reduces their position in society, it becomes okay to be violent to women. This is an indirect endorsement of violence towards women. MacKinnon argues that sometimes the effect is actually quite direct. She gives several examples. One is of a group of hunters in the forest, looking at pornography, who gang-rape a thirteen year old girl who happened upon them. Another is of a man who kidnapped a fourteen year old girl off the street, brutally raped her, mutilated her body with knives and pins, urinated and defecated on her face, and finally returned her to where he took her. When police captured him, they found in his possession books describing the horrific crimes he had committed against the girl.[32] As MacKinnon argues, sex offenders use pornographic material of this nature as a stimulus to acting upon such desires. It is akin to practice for them. When they can no longer live vicariously through the fantasies depicted in the pictures, they have to act them out sexually.[33]

Strossen argues strongly against this type of argument. She writes that exposure to violent sexual material does not leave men more prone to act violently towards women. While MacKinnon may cite studies where men were more likely to abuse people with electric shocks after having viewed pornography, this does not prove her case. MacKinnon’s argument is based on anecdotal evidence. Strossen stresses studies from groups such as the National Research Council that “Demonstrated, empirical links between pornography and sex crimes in general are weak or absent.”[34] The correlation of data does not support any connection of this variety, either. She cites the examples of Utah, where availability of pornography is ranked 49th of all the states, but the ranking of rape incidence is 25th; and the example of New Hampshire, where the rankings for porn availability and rape are 9th and 44th. [35] Strossen argues this point much further, but suffice it to say that she brings up a lot of scientific studies and data which conclude that there is no connection. Even if the connection were made, it would have to be proved that pornography intentionally incites men to violence.[36]

Strossen brings up another very good point: By the way MacKinnon structures the qualities for “violent pornography,” some material could unintentionally be caught in the crossfire. One example given of this is the painting, The Martyrdom of St. Agatha. According to legend, the Christian saint Agatha rejected the love of a Roman governor and was summarily thrown into a brothel to be subjected to violent tortures, which included the cutting off of her breasts.[37] This classic work of art, depicting a scene of a brutal sexual crime, could very well be subject to such a law. Is this desirable? No, and this is perhaps one of the arguments where anti-pornography arguments must yield. As good as arguments might be that violent pornography causes men to not only believe that violence against women is acceptable, but to become more likely to commit violent sex crimes, the science simply does not support these suppositions.

The final aspect of this to consider is the direct harm that women receive from pornography. This is not hard to establish. As previously stated, many women enter pornography against their will. MacKinnon would argue that women cannot actually choose pornography. The societal subordination of women into thinking of themselves as merely sex objects and the lack of economic alternatives should give pause to those who think pornography is a free choice. Just because a woman thinks she is freely choosing it does not, in fact, mean she is.[38]

One famous example of a woman forced into pornography is Linda “Lovelace” Marchiano. Linda starred in the now infamous movie Deep Throat. In the movie, she played the role of a woman whose clitoris was not in her crotch, but instead in the back of her throat. This enabled her character to receive great sexual pleasure from performing oral sex. While many think of this movie as being very sexually exciting, Linda does not recall it as such. As she recounts, she was kidnapped, systematically beaten, and forced to perform for the movie. Her life and the lives of her family were threatened if she should attempt to escape. She even talks about being hypnotized in order to perform the acts she did in the movie, which required getting around the natural gag reflex. It was not a “career move” she made by choice.[39]

Some opponents of MacKinnon argue that, while this illegal coercion is the case for some women, it certainly is not the case for all of them. Many women enter for the money, the opportunity for fame and glamour, or simply because it allows them to have a flexible “work” schedule.[40] For women who choose porn because they find it empowering, MacKinnon must argue that their “female power” is a contradiction in terms. It would seem to be contradictory to feminist principles to ignore or to take lightly the accounts of other women’s experiences.[41] As Allen quotes Sally Tisdale:
(Anti-pornography feminists) are concerned with how men act and how women are portrayed. Women cannot make free sexual choices . . . What a misogynistic worldview this is, this claim that women who make such choices cannot be making free choices at all--are not free to make a choice. Feminists against pornography have done a sad and awful thing: They have made women into objects.[42]
On the surface, this seems to make sense. One consequential example that could be examined is the husband and wife “amateur” porn seen on the internet. Surely these women, having sex with their own husbands, are not being coerced or forced into performing. However, the case against MacKinnon is not sealed. If these women, any woman, are freely choosing pornography, how can one know the difference? Linda “Lovelace” certainly appeared more than happy on camera to be doing what she was, although she was really miserable. What if those women who say they willingly chose pornography really did not, but cannot bring themselves to say it or simply do not realize it? Unless it becomes possible to assure that only those women who legitimately chose to be in pornography were present, it would seem that the issue of harm is strong enough to warrant rescinding the first amendment rights of pornography.

What is ultimately left? While the first amendment is a sacred aspect of the U.S. Constitution, it simply cannot be justified to include pornography in its protecting reach. Protecting it is not reasonable when the arguments are viewed against the background laid by the philosophical and judicial arguments. Men and children, it can be shown, are harmed significantly by pornography. Prostitution, already an illegal act in the U.S., bears a very strong resemblance to pornography, both in act and in effect. This correlates directly to the harms women receive. Some of the harms pornography causes to women are direct, and some are indirect, but all are very real. It should be granted that some of the arguments of those who would defend pornography as speech that should be protected by the first amendment are powerful and convincing. It does seem difficult to tell consenting adults what they can and cannot do, and there is a natural reluctance on the part of Americans to limit freedom of speech. However, these arguments ultimately fall short in the face of the incredible injustice and harm perpetrated by pornography. The tragedy of losing such freedoms would pale in comparison to the benefit this country would see with the restriction or even elimination of pornography.

References
[1] For the sake of this paper, “pornography” will refer almost exclusively to heterosexual pornography, as most of the arguments examined in the paper will refer, to great degree, to the relationship between women and pornography. While it is not unlikely that homosexual pornography could fall under the same arguments due to its effects on those that participate in and consume it, the introduction of other variables take it beyond the scope of this paper.
[2] “Porn Inc. Factoids.” XXXChurch – The #1 Christian Porn Site. Eds. Foster, Mike and Gross, Craig. December 9, 2004. URL
[3] Boss, Judith A. “Freedom of Speech.” Analyzing Moral Issues. 2nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill. 2002: 425.
[4] Strossen, Nadine. Defending Pornography: Free Speech, Sex, and the Fight for Women's Rights. New York: New York University Press, 2000: 41-42
[5] MacKinnon, Catharine A. “Francis Biddle’s Sister.” Feminism Unmodified: Discourses on Life and Law. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1987: 192
[6] Boss, Judith A. “Sexism, Pornography, and Violence Against Women.” Analyzing Moral Issues. 2nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill. 2002: 467
[7] Strossen, Nadine. Defending Pornography: Free Speech, Sex, and the Fight for Women's Rights. New York: New York University Press, 2000: 52
[8] IBID, p. 53
[9] MacKinnon, Catharine A. “Not a Moral Issue.” Feminism Unmodified: Discourses on Life and Law. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1987: 148
[10] Stark, Cynthia A. "Is Pornography an Action? The Causal vs. the Conceptual View of Pornography's Harm." Social Theory and Practice. 23.2 (1997):277
[11] McGowan, Mary Kathryn. "Conversational Exercitives and the Force of Pornography." Philosophy & Public Affairs. 31.2 (2003):169.
[12] MacKinnon, Catharine A. “Francis Biddle’s Sister.” Feminism Unmodified: Discourses on Life and Law. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1987: 175.
[13] Allen, Amy. "Pornography and Power." Journal of Social Philosophy. 32.4 (2001):512-531.
[14] Stark, Cynthia A. "Is Pornography an Action? The Causal vs. the Conceptual View of Pornography's Harm." Social Theory and Practice. 23.2 (1997):277-306
[15] MacKinnon, Catharine A. “The Road on the Other Side of Silence.” In Harm's Way : the Pornography Civil Rights Hearings. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1997: 13.
[16] Allen, Amy. "Pornography and Power." Journal of Social Philosophy. 32.4 (2001):516.
[17]Morrison, Keith. “Battling Sexual Addiction.” MSNBC Interactive. February 24, 2004. December 9, 2004.
[18]Arterburn, Stephen, and Fred Stoeker. Every Man’s Battle: Every Man’s Guide to Winning the War on Sexual Temptation One Victory at a Time. Colorado Springs, Colorado: WaterBrook Press, 2000: 65.
[19] MacKinnon, Catharine A. Feminism Unmodified: Discourses on Life and Law. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1987: 267.
[20] “Get Involved.” XXXChurch – The #1 Christian Porn Site. Eds. Foster, Mike and Gross, Craig. December 9, 2004. URL
[21]Associated Press. “Addiction to Porn Destroying Lives, Senate told.” MSNBC Interactive. November 19, 2004. December 9, 2004.
[22] United States Congress Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. Internet Indecency: Hearing Before the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, United States Senate, One Hundred Fifth Congress, Second Session, February 10, 1998. Washington D.C.: Congressional Sales Office, 1999.
[23] “Porn Road Show.” XXXChurch – The #1 Christian Porn Site. Eds. Foster, Mike and Gross, Craig. December 9, 2004. URL
[24] Weitzer, Ronald, ed. “The Politics of Prostitution in America.” Sex for Sale: Prostitution, Pornography, and the Sex Industry. New York : Routledge, 2000:175
[25] Davis, Nanette J. “From Victims to Survivors.” Sex for Sale: Prostitution, Pornography, and the Sex Industry. New York: Routledge, 2000:150
[26] IBID, p. 153
[27] MacKinnon, Catharine A. “The Road on the Other Side of Silence.” In Harm's Way : the Pornography Civil Rights Hearings. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1997: 12.
[28]MacKinnon, Catharine A. “Francis Biddle’s Sister.” Feminism Unmodified: Discourses on Life and Law. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1987: 170.
[29] McGowan, Mary Kathryn. "Conversational Exercitives and the Force of Pornography." Philosophy & Public Affairs. 31.2 (2003):162.
[30] Stark, Cynthia A. "Is Pornography an Action? The Causal vs. the Conceptual View of Pornography's Harm." Social Theory and Practice. 23.2 (1997):304.
[31] Strossen, Nadine. Defending Pornography: Free Speech, Sex, and the Fight for Women's Rights. New York: New York University Press, 2000: 39.
[32] MacKinnon, Catharine A. “Francis Biddle’s Sister.” Feminism Unmodified: Discourses on Life and Law. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1987: 184-186
[33] IBID, p. 185.
[34] Strossen, Nadine. Defending Pornography: Free Speech, Sex, and the Fight for Women's Rights. New York: New York University Press, 2000: 250-251
[35] IBID, p. 254.
[36] IBID, p. 45.
[37] IBID, p. 158.
[38] MacKinnon, Catharine A. “Francis Biddle’s Sister.” Feminism Unmodified: Discourses on Life and Law. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1987: 180.
[39] IBID, p. 182.
[40] Abbot, Sharon A. “Motivations for Pursuing an Acting Career in Pornography.” Sex for Sale: Prostitution, Pornography, and the Sex Industry. New York: Routledge, 2000:19-27
[41]Allen, Amy. "Pornography and Power." Journal of Social Philosophy. 32.4 (2001):516.
[42] IBID, p. 516.

3 comments:

Chymera said...

(A) The First Amend. is intended to protect all--not "all you like" which is why it applies to hate groups and religious fanatics groups that I might add do more harm than porn ever has (Oklahoma City has a monument to that effect). (B) Porn is not the sale of sex--it is the sale of the fantasy of sex--big distinction there. And though porn sells a twisted idea of sex it wouldn't be nearly as popular were the society we live in not so damned prudish and puritan about such issues--check the porn stats. for places like Germany or France where the idea of a breast showing in public doesn't call for stoning the offending woman. (C) And the idea that the women are being forced into this horrible porn machine is ridiculous. More women turn to lazy, bigoted, useless pieces of shit and call them husband than to porn. Women suffer daily under the slave-like instituion of marriage, because they aren't treated equally by the Family Values praising society in this country. Lets rid these bible-thumping chest-banging morons in control of their control of womens rights, and then see how denegrated women are.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps we ought to take heed of the Gospel according to Chymera (The devout pursuer of temporary pleasures from nowhere or should I say far yonder in Indiana.


I for one am not in agreement with you nor will I concur with empty claptrap chymera....

Irrespective of your stand point/s I am appalled at your dogmatic demeanor mate!

I reject your convenient approach and slander and as you put it
'A damned prudish and puritan society which the rest of us Non-Americans happened to be a part of.

Yes you may well be referring to your local Indianapolis vicinity but like the many millions of people around the world I represent mainstream society and therefore reject particularly your fragile nonsensical verbiage with reference to point/s B.) and C.)

Need I reiterate that it isn't only the American population observing and or reading the pompous you delivered with tingeing insinuating insults, but to many millions of Bible believing, God fearing, non-self opinionated, spiritually solaced Bible nourished individuals such as myself around this magnificent globe God created!

I am in the midst of reading Halbert's skillfully deduced enlightenment on this delicate topic and thus far it is a tremendous read and can relate to it hugely.

Pornography is catastrophic as it is a global epidemic not simply in my humble educated opinion but that of many thousands of recovering addicts whom I not only meet in several clinical discussions but across the world via the powerful World Wide Web.

On the other hand I can unashamedly and vehemently claim that whilst I am in pursuit of RIDDING this despicable act thankfully through the intervention of expertise help, it is indeed a struggle for me, else why must it be an ongoing battle for addicts, regardless of geographic contstraints?

It is not sex that is the problem, as someone once said but LUST!
Oh yes that I can relate to. Those who profess say otherwise are plainly in DENIAL!

As communicated, I am in the midst of delving into Halbert’s seemingly well researched findings. Once finished I will endeavor to write

The need and want for more and much more and need I say an endless darkened understanding of not being content!

Torolf said...

I liked your paper, though it is as you said, a little rough around the edges.

It was beyond the scope of your paper, but I must disagree with you that sexy ads are not a powerful force. If you even cursory look back ad advertising (in the US, at least) over the last fifty years or so, you can see an increasing trend in the use of sexual persuasion to sell product.

As you touched upon in your paper, as the populace becomes desensitized to one level of stimulus the advertisers often resort to increasing the level of stimulus to sell product. This has had many detrimental results on US society, including but not limited to a general desensitization of sexual stimuli, which is harmful both inside and outside of marriage, an increasing in the rate and intensity of pornographic viewing and addiction, and an overall increase in harmful consumption cycles (most I think would view this as good using the dubious reasoning that it help 'the economy,' but I believe that a look at the debt to income ratio in the US shows otherwise).

Another thing which was probably beyond the scope of your paper but that I'd have liked to see addressed was the issue of modesty.

If you accept that sexual persuasion on men is a real affect, (which I think you must to one extent or another) then immodesty is:
1). Another form of manipulation and as such, harmful to men.
2). Harmful to women in general sense it desensitizes men to sexual stimuli (like pornography) outside the context of a relationship.
3). Can be construed as adultery since it is a (minor) form of a sexual relationship outside the context of wedlock.

Immodesty is also harmful to women in that:

4). It places both the specific woman who is dressed immodestly other women so dressed at increased attention for unwanted sexual attention (such as harassment, stalking and rape)

In the end, modesty is about respect. Specifically, modesty is about for:

1). Respect for the woman herself. A woman is valuable and gifted enough not to need to resort to attempting to display her sexuality for some short-term gain such as momentary attention. Doing so has limited returns in any case, for if she stops, she loses all her gains.
2). respect for the men who view you (by not manipulating them visually/sexually)
3). Respect for the other women who are in relationships with the men. What woman doesn't feel annoyed or insecure when her man is around other provocatively dressed women?

Making immodesty acceptable trains the woman to be disrespectful both of herself and society around her, and is not a healthy behavior for either the woman or society.