The Great porn debate- Poison’s Argument


Here at The Infection we value the exchange of Ideas. In living up to this ideal >N@T3< and myself, Poison, have entered the debating arena. The subject- ‘Can pornography be justified as respectable?’ While my colleague argues that it can in no way be justified as respectable, I say that it can be. I say that pornography is nothing more than another art form and it can be justified as respectable due to the fact that as an art it is no more different than any other form of art that has existed in the past 2000 years. In the fine arts we have seen complete nudity and sexuality as well as the pushing of the moral limits of society. This is the same for pornography, yet we deem fine art as respectable although it contains the same subject material as many works of porn.

To begin, in both pornography and the fine arts we have seen the existence of complete, full and frontal nudity. Now some may argue that there is a difference between nudity in pornography and in fine art. One of the differences being that in fine art the nudity is tasteful and well composed. My question is this, who decides what is tasteful or not? What can be considered tasteful is only a matter of opinion. Tasteful as defined by dictionary.com is …

1.

having or showing or conforming to good taste [ant: tasteless]

2.

free from what is tawdry or unbecoming; “a neat style”; “a neat set of rules”; “she hated to have her neat plans upset” [syn: neat]

If we define what is tasteful by this definition then that would mean that a large amount of fine art featuring the nude figure is to be considered tasteless due to the fact that all of the models are in an unbecoming or compromising position. With the changing ideas of what good taste is, who is to really decide that pornography is tasteless? As values change so does taste. There was once a time where women wearing jeans was considered tasteless but now it is not only the norm but it’s fashionable. The only real difference between nudity in pornography and nudity in fine art is that porn is on film while fine art leaves the acts of porn to the imagination.

Next, we have the issue of pushing limits. There have been many works of art that have pushed the limits of society’s values. Some examples include the 1989 work ‘Piss Christ’ by Andres Serrano which features a photo of a small plastic crucifix submerged in the artists’ urine or blood. Another example of controversial work is the 1996 work, ‘Yo Mama’s last Supper’ by Renee Cox which features a nude self portrait of her as Jesus surrounded by 12 men in a spoof of Leonardo DaVinci’s ‘Last Supper’. Both of these works have gained notable controversy over their merits as ‘art’ but they have been considered art although one of them uses human waste material and dips a holy figure in it while the other features a naked black woman in the place of a holy figure. Now I argue this, both of these works have been argued against for their merits but they have been defended on the argument of ‘freedom of expression’. Through freedom of expression we can argue that pornographic videos like the infamous ‘two girls, one cup’ video can be considered art. This video, although disgusting to the majority of the population is an expression of some people’s interest in human fecal matter as an erotic device. There are many animals that use scat as a tool in the mating ritual so why are we, humans, not allowed to use scat as a device for our mating rituals? Other more mainstream porn videos that I will not cite can also be argued as art because of freedom of expression and the performers in this can be called artists because they produce art. Although this form of art is not championed by mainstream media, neither was abstract expressionism when it first was introduced to the world but over time people came to appreciate it.

Finally, we have sexuality in fine art versus sexuality in pornography. This is where the real issue lies. In pornographic material they display acts of adultery, rape, incest and all the other horrors of the imagination but why are people complaining about that in porn when it’s easily found in other mainstream material that people treasure as works of art? Works like The Rape of the Sabine women by Rubens displays a horrific scene of women being raped in the streets yet it’s considered a great piece of art. The third installment of the Godfather movie series, although not the best of movies by this writer’s opinion, has another example of mainstream incest. Another example of incest is in The Lion King 2, note that Simba’s daughter ends up getting hitched with his first cousin and nobody ever bothers to point this out. Although some circles can dismiss their marriage as non-incest due to them being lion royalty, marriage between blood relatives of any sort qualifies here. Many television daytime soap opera’s as well as classical plays like Romeo and Juliet promote the same values as pornography yet those actors are considered respectable. There has been an adult version of the play Romeo and Juliet produced yet many people would not consider it art due to the pornographic aspect. Why? Is it simply because they happen to be having sex for many people to see? Sex is a natural act, if discovery channel can film other animals mating then why should pornography be considered disrespectable? Pornography is nothing more than animals having sex. The target of disrespect is not the act of having sex but the values promoted but this is just an act. Other actors who do the same thing, act, are respected as well as their art form so what wrong has pornography done? It has promoted no more ill morals or values than the average soap opera or the drama in some cases; the only real difference is that there is no real attempt to hide the immorality in pornography.

In conclusion, pornography is a respectable trade because it is art. Although not championed by mainstream media it does have its merits to be considered art. Now, this does not mean that pornography is suitable for everyone to be exposed to but this doesn’t mean that it’s not respectable. For something to be respectable is one thing but what people need to remember is that everything has it’s time and place. The only reasons why porn can be considered art is because the nude figure which is exposed in pornography has been exposed in art for hundreds of years prior to the rise of video. The pushing of limits has been a natural part of art since the beginning as well as the presence of sexuality. In total, porn is respectable because it is art no matter how you want to look at it.


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