Research Paper: Pornography: Women Are No Longer the Oppressed Victims

Pages: 8 (2677 words)  ·  Style: Harvard  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Women's Issues - Sexuality  ·  Buy This Paper

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] An article in the Australian publication Mamamia.com, depicts some model dummies in American Apparel boutiques that are exploitative and actually nasty, or as Patty Huntington writes, one "squatting store mannequin who was flashing rather a lot of va-jay-jay" (Freedman, 2010). A person walking past this boutique in Australia would see a mannequin's legs spread far enough apart to view the panties. Another photo presented in the Freedman article shows a fashion model with legs spread far apart with the words, "Now Open"; this is clearly evidence that pornography has hit the mainstream, and advertisers are taking risks by using women in very controversial scenes.

However, not all readers of mamamia.com were offended by the pictures of female mannequins with legs spread wide open. "Jeremy Harding" writes that it seems all right for woman to wear very "slutty" or "expository" clothing (and presumably to show panties), but to criticize the advertisements of clothing in that same slutty format is "hypocritical" (Freedman, p. 5).

"Helen" asserts that on any Saturday night "girls crotches" are on display "left, right, and center. Gen Y can't leave the house without their 6-inch heels and 6-inch skirt. Having your fanny on display is mandatory, if you're a Gen Y" (Freedman, p. 5).

Meanwhile what we do know about pornography, Attwood explains, is that online pornographies are exploding on the Web and they offer a "…key site for moral, political and legal debates about sex and regulation." That said, since the 1990s much of the focus has been on "the child victims of porn" and the pedophiles that are believed to be "lurking online" waiting for a chance to somehow interact with young online users (Attwood, 2010, 172).

[One reason that many citizens link pornography with child victims is the publicity that surrounds cases where purveyors of child pornographic materials are arrested. For example, the Associated Press reported on May 21 that seventy people were arrested in New York City on May 20 for "trading of child porn over the Internet" (Hays, 2014). Among those arrested on the 20th were a police officer, a paramedic, a rabbi, a Boy Scout leader and a registered nurse, Hays reports. The five-week investigation led to the arrests, and of the 70 suspects, just one was a female.]

However, there is a far bigger story to be told when it comes to today's online pornography than the sometimes exaggerated fears that online predators are out to molest, rape and otherwise harm children. A scholarly piece by Attwood in the journal Sexuality & Culture posits that the "disquiet" and "social anxieties" experienced by some media scholars are over the top and in most cases inappropriate. She quotes journalist Edward Marriott who concludes that online pornography is "…addictive, deadening…a sources of bondage" (2003: 89) (Attwood, 2005, p. 66). And while she admits that there has been a "vast" amount of quantitative research on pornography (online porn and other sources), she adds that there has been "relatively little qualitative empirical work" on the subject (66).

Previous research has tended to focus on "effects" that pornography has supposedly had on audiences, Attwood writes; for example, does pornography cause men to be "violent"; or do men adopt callous attitudes towards women because of pornography? (67). She views this form of "effects" research as "inadequate" because the methods used include experiments that "bear little relation to the actual conditions in which pornography is consumed" (67).

However, Attwood goes on to present -- through qualitative research -- a scenario that does relate to the actual conditions in which pornography is consumed. To wit, a qualitative-themed interview with feminist Lisa Palac reveals that once Palac "figured out how to use porn and come," her life was "irrevocably and positively changed" (Attwood, 69). In fact Palac learned to look at an "erotic image" and use her "sexual imagination to turn desire into a self-generated orgasm"; and hence porn has allowed Palac to become "sexually autonomous" for the first time in her life (Attwood, 69).

Some women see pornography in a positive light

Attwood argues that the number of female pornography consumers is "growing" and perhaps up to 40% of females in the United States embrace some form of pornography. It is clear that Attwood is advocating the notion that pornography has been wrongly condemned by media outlets and by the previously mentioned myths that pornography leads to violence and that it causes men to have perverted views of women. Journalist Loretta Loach has previously conducted research showing that women do enjoy pornography, and she interviewed women that reject the notion that women are "victims of porn" (Attwood, 72). The adult females who were interviewed by Loach asserted that women are for the most part not "victims of porn" and the belief that they are victims of pornography is "hopelessly misplaced" (Attwood, 72).

An article in Slate magazine includes a Q&A with Jacky St. James (a screenwriter and director), who is also a publicist for New Sensations. St. James has produced what journalist Amanda Hess calls "…both steamy romantic narratives and explicit all-sex releases" (Hess, 2013). St. James dislikes the idea of "porn for women" because she insists that New Sensations is not producing video for men to "masturbate to themselves," but rather the videos are designed for men to watch with their wives (Hess, p. 2).

A large percentage of the women who watch the pornography that New Sensations produces "…don't want to see cum shots above the neck…[or] something that is gonzo or all-sex" (Hess, p. 2). What women want is "connected sex and lots of foreplay" (Hess, p. 2).

In conclusion, this paper points to the fact that indeed (as mentioned in the Introduction) technology has changed the way society thinks about pornography; and this paper also pointed out that pornography has impacted the sexual identity of women to the point that women are consistently users of pornography. Also, now that mainstream fashion companies have joined in the field of pornography, there is a whole new definition for what is pornographic, and what is simply sexy advertising using attractive females to entice shoppers.

Bibliography

Attwood, Feona, and Smith, Clarissa. 2010. 'Extreme Concern: Regulating 'Dangerous Pictures' in the United Kingdom.' Journal of Law and Society, Vol. 37, 171-188.

Attwood, Feona. 2005. 'What do people do with porn? Qualitative research into the consumption, use, and experience of pornography and other sexually explicit media.' Sexuality & Culture, Vol. 9, 65-86.

Corley, Deborah M., and Hook, Joshua N. 2012. 'Women, Female Sex and Love Addicts, and Use of the Internet.' Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, Vol. 19, 53-76.

Hays, Tom. 2014. 'Dozens charged in child porn case in NYC area." Associated Press. Retrieved May 21, 2014, from http://news.yahoo.com.

Hess, Amanda. 2013. 'What Is 'Porn For Women'?' Slate.com. Retrieved May 21, 2014, from http://www.slate.com.

Freedman, Mia. 2010. 'American Appalling: this is how American Apparel likes its women.' Mamamia. Retrieved May 21, 2014, from http://www.mamamia.com.au.

Jenkins, Henry. 2010. 'Contacting the Past: Early Radio… [END OF PREVIEW]

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"Pornography: Women Are No Longer the Oppressed Victims."  Essaytown.com.  May 21, 2014.  Accessed July 17, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/pornography-women-longer-oppressed/276417.