Pornography - 410

Pornography - 410 - Pornography Pornography represents one...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–3. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Pornography Pornography represents one of the most controversial issues facing American society. Indeed, in some respects it is equally as controversial as drugs and prostitution, albeit for somewhat different reasons. In broad sociological terms, pornography is any material that is intended to arouse or satisfy sexual feelings. This material can take many different forms and includes short stories, videos, pictorial magazines and internet sites. Unlike drugs and prostitution, most pornography is sold openly in x-rated venues that are operated as legitimate businesses. Although much of the material sold in “porn shops” is probably illegal, law enforcement agencies rarely interfere with the distribution and sale of pornography unless public complaints force them to take action. 1 There are two major reasons for this widespread toleration. First, the use of pornographic materials is much more widespread and accepted by mainstream society than either prostitution or drugs. This acceptance creates a social and legal tolerance that far exceeds that accorded to prostitution and any drug except alcohol. Second, the illegal nature of most pornographic material is frequently difficult to ascertain without a court decision, and most law enforcement agencies feel that it is a waste of valuable resources to pursue criminal charges except in extreme cases, or where public opinion demands it. For these reasons, pornography has developed into a huge industry that doubled in size from 3.9 billion dollars to 8 billion dollars between 1993 and 1998 (CNS, 1999). It is important to emphasize that the term “pornography” refers to a sociological category that has little importance in legal proceedings. In fact, the criminal law makes little explicit reference to pornography and instead focuses on the definition of “obscenity”. In this respect, much pornography may not be legally “obscene”, and some “obscene” material may not meet the sociological criteria for pornography. In the latter respect, some types of art have been ruled obscene, despite the fact that they were never intended to cause sexual arousal. Although the definitions applied to different types of sexually explicit material vary somewhat, there is general agreement on the following categories. Erotica can be defined as sexually suggestive material that does not contain actual sexual activity. It is also usually interwoven into a “story line” so that it plays a 1
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
legitimate role in advancing the plot. 2 Erotica is generally permitted in mainstream entertainment, although it often causes the material in question to be censored or otherwise restricted by state regulatory boards. In the case of movies, it is common for such boards to employ rating systems that are intended to warn the public about the content of the material, as well as restrict the ages of people allowed to view it. 3
Background image of page 2
Image of page 3
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 02/02/2012 for the course SOC 410 taught by Professor Nicklarsen during the Fall '11 term at Chapman University .

Page1 / 20

Pornography - 410 - Pornography Pornography represents one...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 3. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online