Aveneu Park, Starling, Australia

Everyone added that, in the remains of Pompeii, yet

Everyone Watches Porn, And We Always Have

 

If
prostitution is the oldest profession in the world, then pornography has got to
be the second oldest. Dating as far back as humans have recorded, there have
been depictions of humans engaging in sexual acts. Things such as Venus figures
and rock art have been found all over the globe (Rudgley). Even the ancient
Egyptians with all their advancements in architecture and agriculture engaged
in depictions of pornography.  The
picture to the left is a scene from the Turin Erotic Papyrus that dates all the
way back to 1150 B.C. Looking at, and depicting people performing sexual acts
is clearly not a new phenomenon, nor is it going away. According to Forbes.com,
the popular pornography website Pornhub.com saw 81 million viewers per day, or
a total of 28.5 billion viewers in 2017. So clearly, the act of watching
pornography is not changing. However, what is changing is the way people
record, edit, and view their pornography. This paper will seek so explain what
pornography is, and briefly go into its history. I will also go into some depth
about the advancement of technology in the porn industry, and the subsequent
effect that the porn industry has on various other industries.

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As
mentioned in the previous paragraph, pornography is not a new occurrence. For
as long as there have been humans we have like watching each other having sex.
On that topic Jeremey Black wrote in Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia:
An Illustrated Dictionary, that a large number of artifacts form the ancient
civilization of Mesopotamia, approximately 2000 BC, have been found that depict
elicit acts sex. (Black, et al.) The Mesopotamians were not the only great
ancient civilization to engage in the act of recoding pornography. Black added
that, in the remains of Pompeii, yet again archeologist found many examples of
Roman pornographic art. (Black, et al.) This love of sexually graphic material
does not stop at pictures and drawings. In the mid-16th century the
first “original English prose pornography, and the first pornography to use the
form of the novel,” (Faxon).

 

Fanny
Hill was a novel by John Cleland that was originally published under the title
“Memoirs of a Women of Pleasure.” This novel follows the life of a rich middle
aged English woman who is married and content. The novel takes place as two
separate letters to an old friend that proceeds to discuss the elicit sexual
past of the two friends, including Fanny’s stint as a prostitute in
London.  According to F. D. Faxon in
Libertine Literature in England, Fanny Hill became, “the most prosecuted and
banned books in history.” (Faxon) Again we can see that pornography is not a
new idea, and that in fact is something that all regions of the world hold in
common.

 

While
all the regions of the world have a history of porn in common it has not always
been accepted as widely as it is today. In 1784, when Fanny Hill was written,
the writers, and publishers of the novel were throw into prison for “corrupting
the King’s subjects.” (Faxon) The restricted sensibilities of the Victorian era
proceeded heavily into 1857, when the very first anti-obscenity law was passed.
The Obscene Publications act of 1857 made the sale of obscene material illegal.
However, this law did not pertain to motion pictures, as that technology had
not yet been invented.

 

With
the invention of the motion picture camera in 1895 you bet that mankind figured
out a way to make a new kind of pornography. Stephen Bottomore pointed out in
the novel Eugene Pirou that, just one year later, in 1896 the French film, Le
Coucher de la Mariée, or The Bride’s Sleep, was first published. This film is
only seven minutes long and looks in on a newlywed couple in their bedroom. The
couple then proceeds to engage in some sexually suggestive behavior,
including the husband spying on the wife while she performs a strip tease
behind a folding changing screen. (Bottomore) Despite the fact that this is the
oldest recoded erotic film it would not even begin to compare to erotic films
of today, as the lead actress in Le Coucher 6ude la Mariee is never fully nude.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

100
years after the first pornographic film was produced that the world began to
embrace its more erotic side. In 1969 the world accomplished two very important
tasks. First, we sent the Neil Armstrong to the moon, to be the first human to
walk on a foreign celestial body. Second, Denmark became the first country to
eliminate censorship, essentially making all different kinds of pornography
legal. (Rodley, et al.) The
actions of Denmark helped United States enter into what is now referred to as
the, “Golden Age of Porn.” (Paasonen) Starting in 1969 and going all the way to
1984 this 15-year period was the birth of what we know as the Porn Industry
today. For the first time in history of erotic films the main stream media was
giving it positive attention. Originally, erotic movies were made as “stag
–films” or movies that were intended to be viewed only my men in brothels or
other private quarters. (Thompson) In 1969 Andy Warhol produced a film called
Blue Movie. According to Vincent Canby, in his New York Times movie review of
the film, it made some light commentary on the Vietnam war and included several
scenes of non-simulated sex. (Canby) However, the crown jewel of the Golden Age
of Porn was the movie Deep Throat. The film was released in 1972 and was the
first pornographic film to have a plot. Despite the fact that Deep Throat was a
pornography film it got several mentions from Johnny Carson and Bob Hope on
their late night talk shows. This reverence by the mainstream media helped to
launch Deep Throat into box office success. (Corliss)

 

The
actual definition of pornography, according to Merriam-Websters.com is, “the
depiction of obscene behavior (as in pictures or writing) intended to cause
sexual excitement.” However, one man’s obscenity is another man’s art, and this
is something that has been argued in the United States courts for decades. As
recently as 1973, the Supreme Court heard a case that revolved around the
discussion of what pornography, or more importantly, what obscenity is. The
case of Miller v. California was a decision of the Supreme Court in which,
“court redefined its definition of obscenity from that of “utter9ly
without socially redeeming value” to that which lacks “serious
literary, artistic, political, or scientific value”. (Miller) However,
there have been no image based obscenity cases in the United States.

 

Despite
the fact that in 1973 the Supreme Court was essentially ruling against
pornography, technology industry has continued to embrace the pornography
industry.  Much like with the invention
of the motion picture camera the pornography industry has persistent in their effort
to take advantage of new developments in technology, the most influential technological
advancement being the Internet. According to Safefamilies.org, “More than 70%
of male internet users from 18 to 34 visit a pornographic site in a typical
month.” This advancement alone has allowed the pornography industry to grow
from a $10 million industry in 1970 to a $13 billion industry today, with “$3,075
being spent on porn every second and a new porn video being produced every 39
minutes.” (Lipton) With this much demand for pornographic content it is a
wonder that more people are not talking about this industry.

 

 

The
Internet has allowed people all over the world to have access to knowledge and
information that would otherwise be unobtainable to them. It has also allowed
people all over the world to have access to pornography.  However laws around the world differ greatly
when it comes to pornography. The image shown to the left displays the legality
of porn in different regions around the world. The green indicates the portions
of the world where most porn, with the exceptions of animal and child porn, is completely.
The yellow indicates portions of the world where porn is somewhat legal. The
red indicates where porn is completely illegal, and the grey indicates where the
stats were unobtainable (Baxter, et al.)

 

Some
people argue that pornography is a matter of free speech. Larry Flint and
writer Salman Rushdie “argued that pornography is vital to freedom and that a
free and civilized society should be judged by its willingness to accept
pornography.”(Baxter, et al.) Due to people like Flint and Rushdie in 2014, the
courts in the United States made a ruling on the matter of what exactly is
pornography. The case of Massachusetts, Commonwealth v. Rex weighed in on what
is considered to be pornography, and more specifically what is child pornography.
In July of 2014 the courts determined, “determined that photographs of naked
children that were from sources such as National Geographic magazine, a
sociology textbook, and a nudist catalog were not considered pornography in
Massachusetts even while in the possession of a convicted and (at the time)
incarcerated sex offender.” (Kernes)

 

Despite
the fact that the majority of the world is regularly watching pornography there
are still some that are vehemently against it. Many feminist argue that
pornography is degrading to women and should be outlawed entirely. One of the
main arguments against this is that pornography contributes to violence against
women, not just in the production of the pornography but also in the
consumption of it. However, there are strict laws that govern the production of
pornography that attempt to protect both the actors/actress and the consumers
of porn. In most countries around the world is illegal to produce, view, or own
pornography if you are under 18 years of age. (Kerns)

 

From
crudely drawn pictures on cave walls, to the printing press, to modern day
internet people have always watched pornography. It has not changed and it
shows no signs of stopping. More than ever pornography is being accepted and
even embraced. It is the opinion of this writer that where ever porn goes the
people will go and I see no indication otherwise. 

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