The statement Pornography (by depicting sexuality in a graphic and explicit fashion) does not merely serve to offend some members of society, but it serves to actually harm members of society, therefore it ought to be censored is a statement that I can agree with. Pornography is, in and of itself, a concept that isnt new to society. Pornography has been found in some forms in many ancient societies, but is now a concept that people are not only familiar with, but are often exposed to on a regular basis. Even though there are different categorizations of pornography and a debate over the actual definition of what constitutes pornography and what can be considered artistic, the fact remains that society is becoming far more sexualized in the media. These sexual images are not a reflection of real life sexual experiences, however. There is a moral issue here that wont be addressed, but there are social issues that should concern society at large. The over-sexualization in the media has become an issue for many people, especially those with children. Self-image and self-esteem are affected in even young children who are exposed to overly sexualized images in the media. Pornography, in the context previously described, also affects society. There is also, however, the issue of freedom. Pornographic images exist because of choice, and people have the right not to view graphic images just as they have the right to view them. There reasons that pornography should be censored, but not banned, with America.

In a general sense, everyone knows what pornography is. But when considered in certain contexts, what some may consider pornography others consider art. There is a fine line that one must follow when considering censorship. Obviously, some laws concerning censorship should be in place, such as laws to protect children. Besides these obvious laws, however, there are many considerations to take into account when determining the extent of the laws concerning censorship itself.

Censorship has historically been something that is often taken to extremes. Book burnings and other forms of censorship are all well-known forms of censorship that have taken place in the past. One must wonder who decides what is appropriate, and what isnt. Censorship is not an ideal, however society must take into consideration the best methods that will provide the most benefits for every citizen, rather than just a few.

Pornography has several negative social effects according to some, but studies also suggest that pornography is used only by individuals with specific personality traits. Not all people find these images arousing or interesting. One of the traits that are common among those who seek pornography is sensation seeking, which indicates a person who is interested in novel experiences and who has difficulty dealing with boredom. The act of viewing pornography, for this type of person, does not reflect actual sexual experiences, however. For example, sexuality in real life has little in common with pornography. This poses the question of whether or not pornographic materials have the effect of desensitizing people to sex one-on-one. That is to say, pornography creates an illusion of sexuality that is rarely reflected in the real world, leading to issues concerning long-term relationships and fulfilling sexual relationships in the real world.

There are gender related differences in the consumption of pornography(Paul, 343). Men are more likely to view pornographic images and media than women are, and are more likely to use these images for masturbation than women, as well (343). While this is not inherently bad, these actions can interfere with real world, one-on-one sexual experiences that are intended to bring about an emotional bond in long term relationships. Women have historically spoken out against pornography as degrading to women, but when one considers the facts about pornography, there are some issues that reflect not the industry of pornography, but the users, instead.

For example, users of more extreme pornography have been identified as being more likely to exhibit antisocial behavior, and to have less empathy and compassion for others (Paul, 345). This is only the case in extreme pornography, such as viewing bestiality, rather than standard pornography. In contrast, those who view standard pornographic images, such as those legally available in shops, are likely to exhibit no antisocial tendencies (Paul, 344). The censorship of extreme pornography is important to society. Desensitization is a very real concept that has been discussed in length concerning violence, and this can also be extended to sexual images. The misconstrued ideas concerning sexuality, in part, stem from the idea that sexual experiences are similar to those experiences viewed in pornographic scenes, which is often not true.

While these extreme images are indicative of anti-social tendencies, the use of pornography is often common even within committed relationships. Censorship can include limiting access to media containing graphic sexual acts to protect children, and limiting the definition of what is considered legal and what is not legal. We can see an example of the extremes of censorship in China, where the Internet is tightly controlled to exclude all pornographic images (China and the Internet, 1). This lack of freedom has led to the exclusion of many websites, including those with religious and political viewpoints that differ from the mainstream ideals in the country (1). Censorship such as this is extreme, and limits both the knowledge and imagination of citizens and is not ideal for America. As with most forms of media, pornography is avoided easily with some forms of censorship in place without taking the censorship to an extreme level. The sexual images that we see in the media today would have been considered pornographic in the past decades. These sexualized images are just as detrimental to society as pornography, but there are little objections to these images, leading one to believe that there is little reason to ban pornography when it is by choice that many are exposed to these images.

Feminists have been particularly active in criticizing pornography and its effects on society. Claiming that pornography degrades women and silences them, many from the feminist point of view have called for its eradication (Heins). While the viewpoint is one of the most popular attributed to feminism, even some backing the feminist position must question whether or not eliminating pornography is truly beneficial. Women who are open minded about sex, and who are willing to explore their own sexuality, may view pornography as a safe way to find their sexual selves (Showden). Pornography in its current state is one that is fairly regulated, with only some images being allowed. Feminists who discourage pornography cite rape as one of the reasons that these sexually graphic images should be eradicated (Showden). Here, we can see a prime example of how the users of pornography and pornography itself are intertwined. The users of pornography with a propensity to anti-social behavior may in fact be motivated to rape, but not because of the images themselves. The rapist, who is obviously aroused by dysfunctional sexual experiences, is someone who may actually benefit from pornography if it is used to satisfy his anti-social sexual preferences using masturbation rather than acting them out in real life . There is no real cure for anyone suffering from dysfunctional sexual fantasies, however, and there have been some cases where pornography did exacerbate their fantasies. This is also a situation where extreme pornography can be limited to reduce exposure to dysfunctional, psychopathic sexual images. With standard pornography, adults are consenting and are able to function within the world without violence.

Women may also find that by becoming more involved with the industry, they are better able to control the images that they find disturb the way that society views women by providing images that they find do present a view of sex and relationships in a way that is favorable (Showden). Quite frankly, one may find that a romantic novel is just a pornographic and demeaning to women as pornography in magazines and film. Quite frequently, these novels are read by women and contain graphic rape scenes that typically end with the victim marrying the offender. There is a fine line between what some constitute as pornography, and what is considered art. Often, even women who despise pornography cannot find this line themselves.

Sexuality is a unique experience for all people, and with the proper regulations it is possible for anyone who wants to explore their sexuality safely using pornography to do so without interpreting the images as consent to rape or degrade women. Gender inequality has existed long before modern pornography, and is in fact one of the oldest struggles that women have encountered. Although the gender gap is slowly becoming less obvious, there are still many inequalities that women encounter today. For example, women often earn twenty-five percent less than men in the same occupations as their male counterparts. The question of pornography has little to do with this inequality, however. Women have been struggling to overcome the stigma that labels them as emotional, rather than business minded and logical, for decades.

Pornography has become easier to get, even for the young, however. Adolescents, who are confirming their sexual identity and learning about adulthood, are particularly susceptible to the influence of images that can easily be found online (Cather). Even though censorship has been viewed as a particularly nasty concept, there are benefits that safeguard those in society who are not willing to be exposed to certain graphic images. Pornography is a choice that is for individuals, not an idea that should be exposed to unwilling people. Not only does some censorship protect society, it provides a safety net for exposing people to things that are potentially harmful to the psyche.

Above all, censorship of pornographic materials helps to protect the youngest members of society. While adults may have a choice in what they choose to pay attention, children are often influenced by the things that they see and hear. By placing limits on what can be produced, society benefits greatly. Standard pornography that can be purchased legally is generally accepted and used by people who are not suffering from anti-social traits and who are able to function in real world sexual relationships without using pornographic images for gratification. Women who feel degraded by pornography are not openly exposed to the images, and children do not see these images in society.  Our society as a whole has become sexualized, and pornography is just one extension of that sexualization. With the proper limits and regulations, pornography can be used by those who choose to view it and avoided by those who do not. The Internet is one area where there is little control over images, and that may benefit from more regulations concerning illegal sexual images.


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