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Essay/Term paper: Pornography in the media

Essay, term paper, research paper:  College Papers

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It started by way of messengers and scribes, evolved through the
presentation of newspapers and radio, brought us together with
television, and now serves us world- wide via the ever-popular
Internet. It is the mass media, and even from the earliest days of its
existence, it has contributed greatly in ways that both enlighten and
enrich society, and ways that deteriorate and perplex it. It is not a
surprise to learn, then, that the mass media is the most powerful
source of information we have, and nothing else in today's world
influences public perception quite as heavily.

Unfortunately, however, most of what is broadcast or transmitted in the
news today is with reference to the chaotic condition of our planet, or
something else that society as a whole sees as detrimental or
damaging. But the news on television is not the only type of media
taking the criticism of society. Other forms of mass media,
specifically movies and television programs containing pornography and
violence have been heavily criticized. The underlining concept to be
debated here is that society is negatively influenced, specifically, by
these images of pornography and the result is increased violence
against women. This assumption, and it is indeed only an assumption, is
completely fallacious, however, as no concrete and completely

evidence has ever been formulated in support of the theory. The key
premise here is

that the mass media does not cause undesirable social behaviour and in
actuality, the

media people should not be dubbed as the "bad guys". They simply use
their power in

the most constructive ways possible in order to promote their ratings
and popularity.

One way to do that is to concentrate on what sells: sex, violence and

Having said this, why is it then, that many in society still
believe otherwise; why do

they continue to believe that pornography is "evil" and is a major
cause for violence

against women, specifically rape? There are many reasons for this
misinterpretation and

through the following few points, an attempt will be made to show that

has very little to almost no correlation with violence against women
(of course nothing is

"absolute" in society). In order to demonstrate this, it must be made
evident that

pornography is not "evil" and does not cause undesirable social
behaviour by displaying

nude women in sexually explicit circumstances. Thus, it is important
to indicate that

women are not treated only as sexual objects through the media. This
is done in an

attempt to quash any traces of "evil" in pornography. Subsequently, a
second point, that

some may consider to be completely bizarre, can be addressed; that

actually reduces the amount of violence against women.

For thousands of years, sex itself has been considered "evil"
and revolting. This is

exactly why the concealment of the sex organs and teaching feelings of
shame toward

human sexuality is so common worldwide. These same feelings of shame
are the chief

reasons that sex is considered a personal and private matter. Contrary
to the beliefs of

many, the mass media did not create these settings; society creates
this image. In some

societies, women have no reservations with regard to living their
entire live completely

naked, while in other societies, females cover themselves from head to
toe, only

revealing their eyes. The media has been bombarded with criticism,

from the female community, relative to the amount of sexually explicit
material that is

published in magazines and that appears on television and in the
cinemas. A common

argument against pornography is that the media portrays women as being
nothing more

than sexual playthings and objects to satisfy male sexual desires. As
before, the media

once again, is not to be held responsible for creating this image;
these views are

products of society.

It would be absurded to assume that women in this society are
treated as sexual

objects only because the media releases or broadcasts pornographic
material. A

magazine associated with make-up and skin care, for example, will quite
obviously not

be concentrating on much else. Such a magazine would not display
pictures of women

who mountain-climb or women who water-ski; only images of make-up and

referring to skin care would be relevant. Clearly, society does not
consider women to be

beings who's only purpose in life is to worry about make-up and skin
care; but why are

the complaints only directed towards pornographic media then? The
answer to this

question may be more complicated, however, what remains obvious is that
the media

does not portray women as only being able to fill male sexual desires.
To say that

pictures featuring nudity, etc, are making objects out of women is
foolish. One should

consider females who pin-up posters of male rock stars or children who
collect hockey

or baseball cards. Society, however, does not say that objects are
being made out of

these rock stars and sports heroes; pictures of clothed people are no
less objects than

pictures of naked people.

Many complaints are also made to the effect that pornography
only offers a one-

dimensional view to life; that women are seen as nymphomaniacs who are

addicted to sex. It should be pointed out that events such as hockey
games, boxing

matches, horse races and operas all offer a one-dimensional view of
life. One does not

attend an opera hoping to see a horse race. The underlying problem
here is that the

above mentioned events are socially acceptable; media displaying
pornography is not. It

is also said that the media reduces women to a collection of body parts

pornography. But why then are their no complaints of advertisements in

displaying only ears, for example, or a nose, or feet? The reason is a
simple one; society

considers certain body parts to be "shameful" or disgusting and once
again, the media

can be "let off the hook".

Realistically, the only way to prevent women from being seen
as sex objects is for

them to be seen as other things as well; but to say that women are not
sexual beings

would be misleading because both men and women are very much sexual.
Similarly, to

say that women are singled out in the media is fallacious due to the
many examples of

media where men are seen catering to the needs of women; something
known as

chivralic sexism. Take, for instance, a recent television ad portraying
young men

groveling at the feet of supermodel Cindy Crawford, almost begging to
be the "one" to

cater to her needs. There were no lineups of men aching to announce
their displeasure

with the sexist ad; and this is precisely why male stereotyping in the
media often goes

unnoticed. Similarly, it is pornography in the media that is noticed
and shunned by anti-

pornographic and censorship organizations because it seemingly singles
out females for

their bodies. It should be well noted, however, that paperback romance
novels, which

make up an incredible 40% of total paperback sales, depicts males as
sexual objects,

performing what is called "Sweet Savagery" (rape), just as pornography
depicts females

as sexual objects. But once again, this goes unnoticed.


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