Arts & Culture

Pornography: Problems, Pleasures, and Perspectives

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From deodorants, chocolates, to mango drinks, anything and everything can turn into a sexual innuendo when it comes to commercialisation of sex.

They say that the only constant is change, but the one fact about business that has not changed is this: sex sells, and it sells large and fast. For the student population, pornography has a multi-layered significance. In terms of education, pornography provides a plethora of possibilities for research and dialogue. Its feminist understanding, religious connotations, psychological significances, political debates, and discourses from across disciplines are unending. To young individuals, porn supplies an entire spectrum of entertainment.

Criticism of pornography has been heavy, but sometimes misguided. Shaurya Singh Thapa, a second-year History student at Hindu College, offers an insight into the seldom discussed diversity presented in the porn industry, “We talk about diversity these days, and surprisingly, porn has a lot of representation (in terms of sexualities, body sizes, races, etc) and I appreciate that. It might be capitalistic in nature to cater to sexualities and preferences, but if it is not making your relationship abusive or making you addicted, it is a source of pleasure, and I think that is its positive side.”

However, the other side of the argument regarding porn may question the kind of representation diversity truly derives from porn. Feminist scholar, Ann Garry, analysed why sexual objectification of particular groups may be harmfully related to the loss of respect, for the entire class. She writes, “Losing respect for men as a class (men with power, typically Anglo men) is more difficult than losing respect for women or ethnic minorities as a class.”

One may even be of the belief that like all art, porn should get creative liberties. Its function, after all, is to stimulate one’s sexual desires based on their personal preferences, so why must it be brought to determine the moral fabric of its society? However, the political, legal, and hence universal interests in pornography make it impossible to be dismissive of the psychology and sexual morality porn targets. The influence of porn, like all art, is real but it is more threatening in its reality because online porn is visual, and that increases its reach massively.

The influence of porn cannot be dismissed, and its connotations ignored, because sex as an act is most often linked with harm, or at least negatively, in the society. Thus, when one watches women being slut-shamed, ethnicities being dehumanised through stereotyping, and resistance being the doorway to pleasure, it opens the psychological possibility of living those scenarios.
In Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes, Bundy admits to having been “without question, without exception, deeply influenced and consumed by addiction to pornography”. As a psychopath serial killer and rapist, Bundy’s intents may not be trusted at face value, but it only adds value to a pattern of men pointing towards pornography as an enabler for their violent tendencies. As a concept, pornography does not intend violent influences, but a large chunk of porn shows resistance as foreplay.

Besides, with the unrealistic imagery of sex and its pleasures porn acts as a blow to self-esteem and causes disappointment in its practices.

Despite these criticisms, we shouldn’t degrade porn as whole. The narrative that needs to be set in non-derogatory form of porn is of sex being a healthy fulfillment of mutual desires between individuals who want it. The narrative needs change, because misrepresentation of communities and desires is the common phenomenon, and sex does not have to sell on it.

Featured Image credits- Pixabay
Featured image caption- Sex is a normal occurrence in real life but it’s to be understood that porn isn’t a representation of real life.

Anushree Joshi
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Anushree Joshi is trying to be a writer by procrastinating most days and writing on some (productive) nights. This over-thinker studies English literature at your anti-national, feminist hotspot Lady Shri Ram College, and has strong opinions on why your #IAmHumanistNotFeminist attitude is the problem with the society and the system of patriarchy. She writes 1000-word articles, reiterating why To Kill a Mockingbird is the greatest lesson in empathy, and argues that Manto should be taught in schools and colleges. If you wish to rant or report or want me to write your story, mail me at [email protected].

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