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Pornography F2011

Pornography F2011 - Pornography and Free Speech The...

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Pornography and Free Speech
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The Business of Pornography * Tracks technology: printing, photography, film, video, Internet (esp. Web 2.0), virtual reality… * $10-14 billion industry in the U.S. (Cf. WalMart ($428.1B); McDonald’s ($22.6B); State lotteries ($53B). * Return on investment: Deep Throat cost $25K to make; FBI estimates it has grossed $100 million.
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Some rankings (alexa.com) Site USA Google 1 NYT 28 Apple 29 PornHub 47 72 (world) LiveJasmin 54 52 (world) Wash.Post 81 YouPorn 85
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Porn “Oscars” 2011 AVN (Adult Video News). For the Best . . . Oral Fuck Face Orgy/Gangbang Fuck Team 5 Interracial It’s Big, It’s Black, It’s Jack Young Girl Cum Spoiled Brats Clever Title of the Year The Devil Wears Nada MILF Dirty Rotten Motherfuckers
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Content Soft core vs. hard core. Pornography vs. erotica. Genres: Age/Size/Anatomy Race/ethnicity BDSM Shemales Pissing Strange object insertions and so on . . .
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4 Main Approaches 1. Moralistic arguments : sex is for procreation only; sex is “dirty” (inherently immoral); sex ought to be private. 2. Harm-based arguments : people are harmed in the production & consumption of pornography; women are harmed in societies where pornography flourishes; pornography contributes to the oppression & thus to the social, economic and political inequality of women.
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3. Sex discrimination argument : pornography is a practice that subordinates and silences women. See Catharine MacKinnon, Only Words (1993). This approach resulted in the Anti-Pornography Civil Rights Ordinance signed into law in Indianapolis in 1983. It was ruled unconstitutional in American Booksellers v Hudnut, 771 F.2d 323 (7th Cir., 1985).
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Agency-based critique : people choose to consume pornography and choose to maintain their sexual fantasies. Deliberately fantasizing about demeaning/degrading/humiliating others corrodes one’s character. See Susan Dwyer, “Enter Here—At Your Own Risk” (2005).
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Language Matters We use definitions and characterizations to do (at least) two things: 1. Help us identify things in world by finding things that fit those definitions or characterizations. ( Identification function of language.) 2. Help us formulate arguments, by making clear what things we are talking about. (Strategic function of language.)
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2 types of characterization 1. Descriptive characterization: does not contain any evaluation: “Sally sung an aria” 2. Normative characterization: contains evaluation: “Sally screeched and howled her way through 30 bars of Puccini” “Charles is 8 feet tall” “Charles is a freak”
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Talking about pornography “Pornography is the undiluted essence of anti- female propaganda”. (Susan Brownmiller, Against Our Will , 1975, 394) Pornography is the purest expression of human sexual and spiritual liberation. Pornography is the explicit depiction of human beings engaged in sexual activity.
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Descriptive characterizations make identification easier: It is easy to find things that are explicit depictions of human beings engaged in sexual activity.
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