Violence and Pornography

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 an 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
my fantasies under-cover. Pornography was a means of
unlocking the evil I had burried 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
much stonger 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 pornogrpahy needs
considerable study and examination. Once the evidence you
will encounter in this paper is evaluated and quantified,
it will be hard not come away with the realization that
habitual use of pornographic material promotes unrealistic
and unattainable desires in men that can leac 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 pornogrpahy originates from two greek
words, porne, which means harlot, and graphein, which
means to write (Webster's 286). My belief is that the
combination of the two words was originally meant to
describe, in literature, the sexual escapades of women
deemed to be whores. As time has passed, this definition
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.

For Catherine Itzin's research purposes pornogrpahy

has been divided into three categories: The sexually

explicit and violent; the sexually explicit and

nonviolent, but subordinating and dehumanizing; and the

sexually explicit, nonviolent, and nonsubordinating that

is based upon mutuality. The sexually explicit and

violent is graphic, showing penetration and ejaculation.

Also, it shows the violent act toward a woman. The

second example shows the graphic sexual act and climax,

but not a violent act. This example shows the woman

being dressed is a costume or being ?talked down' to in

order to reduce her to something not human; such as a

body part or just something to have sex with, a body

opening or an orifice. Not only does ?erotica' show the

entire graphic sexual act, it also depicts an attraction

between two people. Her research consistently shows

that harmful effects are associated with the first two,

but that the third ?erotica', is harmless (22). These

three categories basically exist as tools of discerning

content. Although sometimes they overlap without a true

distinction, as in when the film is graphic in the

sexual act and also in violence, but shows the act as

being a mutual activity between the people

participating.

In my view, to further divide pornography, it is
possible to break it down into even simpler categories:
soft and hard core pornography. Hard core pornography is
a combination of the sexually explicit and violent and the
sexually explicit and nonviolent, but subordinating and
dehumanizing categories, previously discussed. Soft core
pornography is thought to be harmless and falls into the
category known as ?erotica'; which is the category based
on mutuality. In hard core pornogrpahy, commonly rated
XXX, you can see graphic depiction's of violent sexual
acts usually with a man or group of men, deriving sexual
gratification from the degradation of a woman.
You can also see women participating in demoralizing
sexual behavior among themselves for the gratification of
men. In a triple-X movie all physical