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Why Pornography Shouldn'T Be Banned

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Why Pornography Should Not Be Banned

It seems to me there are two ways of defending pornography. The first is pornography does not harm anyone, and so it should not be banned. The second is pornography can't accurately be identified between what pornography is and what it's not. With these two main points I will prove pornography should not be banned.

Pornography does not harm anyone. In mainstream pornography, all parties are willing participants. The women who grace the pages of Playboy, Penthouse, Hustler, Swank, etc. are paid to do so. They have entered into a contract in which they sell their services. Their services in this case are the displaying of their naked bodies for the "masturbatory delight" of millions of readers and viewers. The pornography critic will point out that these women are harming themselves by volunteering to be an object like this. They will argue that a world in which these women's best possible source of income is to be used as a simple object. I respond that all work-for-wages jobs are an example of simplified human behavior. For example when I apply to flip hamburgers on the grill at my local Burger King, the manager does not hire Donald Hamilton. He hires a body to serve a purpose. As soon as I put a Burger King Paper hat on my head, I become not a person, but a tool. I exist, as far as Burger King is concerned, as a hamburger flipper and nothing more. Pornography does reduce the men and women who star in it down to a mere tool for hire. But so does every single situation in which a person is paid wages for their work. Furthermore, I suggest that this simplification in pornography brings with it a level of individuality unheard of in most other work-for-wage jobs. The popularity surrounding a particular "porn star" (Jenna Jameson, for example, a star of pornography in whose honor entire festivals are thrown) is something that could never be found in my local Burger King, no matter how well I flip the hamburgers. The fact that the stars of pornography are simple objects does not mean that they are harmed. Indeed, the real harm would come in taking away an opportunity currently available to them (probably the most efficient opportunity currently available to them) to make money.

We can never draw the line accurately between what is pornography and what it's not. The problem comes when the government or public are of the opinion that it is wrong. When that happens, they attempt to identify what is pornography, and what is art. Those who try to define pornography (and who want so-called art like Lady Chatterley's Lover and Michelangelo's David excluded from that definition) will typically create some sort of test to define the difference between pornography and art. This is no answer at all. One of two arguments will defeat it, depending on one's viewpoint. For example whether a particular piece of would-be-pornography is art or not is determined by the creator or a consumer. A certain piece is defined by what the creator intended it for or by what consumers (government and critics) believes it to be. If the distinction between art and pornography is based on intentions, then the response is that we never can accurately and actually know the intention of the artist. Just as I believe we could never really begin to accurately describe the intentions of our fore fathers when they came up with the U.S. Constitution. If the distinction is based on the interpretation of the courts, then we can accurately say the problem lies with unqualified tastes of who currently resides as a court official or judge. All it does is create an artificial distinction based on one person's (or one small group of people's) views and experiences. Any defining test (to determine art or pornography) will have to rely either on the creator or on the consumer.

I have narrowed it down to three reasons why a person may think pornography should be banned. (1) It is sex without love and affection, (2) there is an invasion of privacy, and (3) it overly simplifies the erotic experience. Regarding the first point, I can only say that it is right.



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