Pornography: Sex or Subordination?


In the late Seventies, America became shocked and outraged by the rape,
mutilation, and murder of over a dozen young, beautiful girls. The man who
committed these murders, Ted Bundy, was later apprehended and executed. During
his detention in various penitentiaries, he was mentally probed and prodded by
psychologist and psychoanalysts hoping to discover the root of his violent
actions and sexual frustrations. Many theories arose in attempts to explain the
motivational factors behind his murderous escapades. However, the strongest and
most feasible of these theories came not from the psychologists, but from the
man himself, “as a teenager, my buddies and I would all sneak around and watch
porn. As I grew older, I became more and more interested and involved in it,
(pornography) became and obsession. I got so involved in it, I wanted to
incorporate (porn) into my life, but I couldn\'t behave like that and maintain
the success I had worked so hard for. I generated an alter-ego to fulfill by
fantasies under-cover. Pornography was a means of unlocking the evil I had
buried inside myself” (Leidholdt 47). Is it possible that pornography is acting
as the key to unlocking the evil in more unstable minds?
According to Edward Donnerstein, a leading researcher in the pornography
field, “the relationship between sexually violent images in the media and
subsequent aggression and . . . callous attitudes towards women is mush stronger
statistically than the relationship between smoking and cancer” (Itzin 22).
After considering the increase in rape and molestation, sexual harassment, and
other sex crimes over the last few decades, and also the corresponding increase
of business in the pornography industry, the link between violence and
pornography needs considerable study and examination. Once the evidence you
will encounter in this paper is evaluated and quantified, it will be hard not to
come away with the realization that habitual use of pornographic material
promotes unrealistic and unattainable desires in men that can lead to violent
behavior toward women.
In order to properly discuss pornography, and be able to link it to
violence, we must first come to a basic and agreeable understanding of what the
word pornography means. The term pornography originates from two Greek words,
porn, which means harlot, and graphein, which means to write (Webster\'s 286).
My belief is that the describe, in literature, the sexual escapades of women of
pornography has grown to include any and all obscene literature and pictures.
At the present date, the term is basically a blanket which covers all types of
material such as explicit literature, photography, films, and video tapes with
varying degrees of sexual content.
Now that pornography has been defined in a fashion mirroring its content,
it is now possible to touch upon the more complex ways a community, as a society,
views or defines it. Some have said it is impossible for a group of individuals
to form a concrete opinion as to what pornography means. A U.S. Supreme Court
judge is quoted as saying, “I can\'t define pornography, but I know it when I see
it” (Itzin 20). This statement can be heard at community meetings in every
state, city, and county across the nation. Community standards are hazy due to
the fact that when asked what pornography is to them, most individuals cannot
express or explain in words what pornography is, therefore creating confusion
among themselves.
Communities are left somewhat helpless in this matter since the federal
courts passed legislation to keep pornography available to adults. The courts
assess that to ban or censor the material would be infringing on the public\'s
First Amendment Right (Carol 28). Maureen O\'Brien quotes critics of a
congressionally terminated bill, the pornography Victim\'s Compensation Act, as
saying “That if it had passed, it would have had severely chilling effects on
the First Amendment, allowing victims of sexual crimes to file suit against
producers and distributors of any work that was proven to have had \'caused\' the
attack, such as graphic material in books, magazines, videos, films, and records”
(Carol 7). People in a community debating over pornography often have different
views as to whether or not it should even be made available period, and some
could even argue this point against the types of women used in pornography: “A
for greater variety of female types are shown as desirable in pornography than
mainstream films and network television have ever recognized: fat women, flat
women, hairy women, aggressive women, older women, you name it” (Carol 25). If
we could all decide on just exactly what pornography is and what is acceptable,
there wouldn\'t be so much debate over the