I had to chuckle a bit when I read the following from the Daily Kos:http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2005/12/25/202526/34Would it bother you to find porn your significant other had bought?
Rimjob's diary :: ::
With as much TV that I record, I probably should have a TiVo, but I've just never gotten around to it. My mother told me about one of her friends last night that bought a TiVo for the family this Christmas, late last month. This friend of my mother is the type of woman that goes nuts if her husband so much as looks the wrong way at the hot waitress at a restaurant. I once was with my mother, when I saw her go nuts over him being a half-hour late without "checking in".
Well, the husband seemed to like the new TiVo a little too much. I guess he started using the TiVo to record Girls Gone Wild & Dirty Debutantes 27 while his wife wasn't looking. However, I'm told the TiVo will "suggest" & record programs that it thinks you like based on the viewing habits of the user. So I guess the TiVo started recording all the Cinemax-porn it could find. The wife goes to watch TV, looks at what's stored on the TiVo & finds it. She goes batshit, and has threatened to leave him, all thanks to Mr. Tivo (and her husband not being smart enough to disable functions on the damn thing). I've always heard stories about the guys busted by their wives & girlfriends looking at internet porn, when they didn't erase the history in the browser. This is the first time I've heard of TiVo doing something like this though.
However, I have to feel that it was just a matter of time for this guy. If he's recording this shit onto the TiVo, you know he's got to have a stash of porn hidden in a closet somewhere his wife couldn't find. Being in my 20's, that's one of those things that has always scared me when seeing other peoples marriages. The idea that someday you might have to act like you're 15 years old again, having to stash a Playboy under the mattress from your "wife/mom" is pathetic. However, the other side of this would say this is about having a "relationship". You have to be considerate of what bothers your partner, if you care about their feelings.
However, maybe this is somewhat short sighted or selfish, but I've always felt that if you can't trust your mate, to the point that you get upset if they're looking at the waitress or a half-hour late, maybe its time to end it...
And that got me to thinking: what exactly is porn anyway? Now certainly this is an area which lends itself to fuzzy set theory
): there are things which any reasonable person can look at and will say "now THAT is pornography) and there are things at which any reasonable person will look at and say "no way that is pornography".
So I turned to the internet to do some research (and no, that doesn' t mean that I surfed to porn sites!) and found the following:
http://www.slais.ubc.ca/courses/libr500/fall1999/www_presentations/c_hogg/define.htmWhat is pornography?Before discussing pornography on the Internet, it is useful to discuss what is meant by the term pornography. Defining pornography is complicated mainly because the way it is used in common language or defined in dictionaries is much different than the legal definition of the term (Easton 1998, 605). Generally speaking, pornography should be differentiated from obscenity, which is associated with things that are some how repulsive to the senses and is the term most often used in laws dealing with illegal pornography (Easton 1998, 605).
- From the University of British Columbia Library and Information Studies Department
Pornography is easily recognized but is often difficult to define concisely. The word pornography originates from the Greeks who defined it as writing about prostitutes (Easton 1998, 605). The Canadian Dictionary of the English Language defines pornography as "sexually explicit material that sometimes equates sex with power and violence." (1997). This definition, by specifically including the concepts of power and violence, is perhaps too restrictive. Pornography has also been defined as "sexually explicit material that subordinates women through pictures or words" (Easton 1998, 605). This definition, by strictly associating pornography with the subordination of women, may also be too narrow. The broadest way to define pornography is as a sexually explicit depiction.
A good definition using this approach is from The Encyclopedia of Ethics, and defines pornography as "the sexually explicit depiction of persons, in words or images, created with the primary, proximate aim, and reasonable hope, of eliciting significant sexual arousal on the part of the consumer of such materials." (VanDeBeer 1992, 991)
This definition is necessarily broad and covers most dictionary definitions of the term and how it is understood in general use. It is also clear from this definition that not all pornography is illegal, .....
- National Academies "Net Safe" program point of view:
WHAT IS PORNOGRAPHY?“I shall not today attempt further to define [obscenity]; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it….”That famous statement, uttered by the late Justice Potter Stewart in 1973 when faced with a case involving obscenity, illustrates the difficulty of trying to determine what constitutes obscene or pornographic content. The term “pornography” has no well-defined meaning, certainly no legal definition. And if a Supreme Court justice had trouble defining the nature of sexually explicit material, how easy is it for the rest of us—each of whom looks at the world in a different way? Lack of consensus is one reason the subject of pornography is such a contentious legal issue.You Must Decide for YourselfWhen it comes to judging content, your definition of what’s unacceptable, pornographic, or even damaging to your children might well differ from someone else’s. One parent might feel that exposure to violence is much more harmful to children than exposure to sexually explicit material. Another might believe that sexually explicit material poses a moral danger. Some feel it’s a matter of degree, others remain unsure. Furthermore, not everyone agrees on what material is sexually explicit.* A line drawing of a sexual organ in a medical textbook might be regarded differently than a photograph of the same organ in an adult magazine.Even if the distinction were made between extremely sexually explicit imagery and, say, responsible information on sexual health, there are ambiguous areas that are often the center of parental, school, church, and civic debate. These include: sex education, dimensions of sexual desire, sexual orientation, sexually suggestive advertisements, content from mainstream art and science, and celibacy sicussions.Topics of Contention
Sex education: This is a highly contentious subject that some public schools avoid teaching because parents have such different perspectives on what information is appropriate for young people. The idea of providing educational material about sexuality often incites debate.
Dimensions of sexual desire: Opinions differ on how people should behave romantically and sexually. The traditional “script” depicts romantic heterosexuality, in which the male is active and powerful, both in pursuit of a female partner and in sexual activity. The female is often portrayed as passive and coy, whose power lies in luring men. Materials that explore nontraditional roles, thereby broadening choices that people make about their sexuality, often cause controversy.
Sexual orientation: Some materials depict or describe what it means to be lesbian or gay in sexual orientation. What for some people is a description of positive feelings about one’s orientation might for others be an endorsement of an unacceptable lifestyle. Some parents, however, find such material useful in helping their children explore aspects of their own sexuality.
Sexually suggestive advertisements: Mainstream media have grown more sexually suggestive. Materials such as Victoria’s Secret ads and Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issues, for example, make some parents uneasy and others angry about what they consider inappropriate material. Others consider this material to be completely harmless, or they aren’t offended by how it depicts women.
Content from mainstream art and science: Some people might consider some graphic elements used in these disciplines pornographic. For example, a plaque carried on Pioneer 10, the first space probe to leave the solar system, was called pornographic by some because it included nude human figures. Others object to images of classical Greek and Roman statues or other depictions of nudity; for example, Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man. And there are parents who don’t consider any of this improper.
Celibacy discussions: Underage adolescents wishing to remain celibate might engage in sexually explicit discussions with like-minded others in order to deal with questions and feelings associated with managing their sexual desire and dealing with peer and media pressure.
*On this Web site, NetSafeKids uses the term “sexually explicit material” to mean material—text-based, visual, or audio—that depicts sexual behavior or acts, or that exposes the reproductive organs of the human body. From common usage, “pornography” can be seen as usually involving sexually explicit materials.
pornography n. pictures and/or writings of sexual activity intended solely to excite lascivious feelings of a particularly blatant and aberrational kind, such as acts involving children, animals, orgies, and all types of sexual intercourse. The printing, publication, sale and distribution of "hard core" pornography is either a felony or misdemeanor in most states. Since determining what is pornography and what is "soft core" and "hard core" are subjective questions to judges, juries and law enforcement officials, it is difficult to define, since the law cases cannot print examples for the courts to follow.
- Pornography contrasted with Erotica
What's the difference between erotic art and pornography? Lots of people want to ban pornography but no one really talks about banning erotic art. Both are representations. How do we draw the line between "good" erotica and "bad" pornography? John gives a definition of both the erotic the pornographic. Why does pornography have the extremely negative connotation? Ken puts forth the idea that a lot of negative reaction to erotic art is out of fear for the power of the erotic. Then, Ken introduces the guest, Professor Anne Ashbaugh from Colgate University. The erotic shapes our life in a very important way. People use sexuality to shape their identity. But, why are sexual desires any more important than, say, our desires for food? Couldn't being a vegetarian shape my life in a way that is just as important as my sexuality? Ashbaugh says that they are both important. All our desires are important and removing any of them negatively impacts the person. Does everything go in porn? Surely not. There are things everyone is or should be revolted by, such as child porn. Where does the line get drawn though? Ken, John, and Ashbaugh talk about several possible definitions for pornography, but which should be adopted? Ken broaches the subject of objectification of women in porn. He thinks that porn objectifies women and strips them of their agency. An ex-porn actor calls in and points out that porn is basically pretend. But, our perception of the world, our view of the world, influences our actions in the world. So does saying that it is just pretend make it better? How does pornography relate to the limits of free speech? A completely free society would say, "Anything goes." A completely decent society would certainly implement restrictions. But it is not clear how or where modern American society should draw the line between the two. It is also important to consider to what extent pornography even is speech.
What is Erotica?
In this lesson we will look at the difference between pornography and erotica, explore how word choices create sensual, erotic images in the mind of the reader, and examine what terminology should be used to name or describe body parts and sexual acts. In addition, resources will be provided that will help the novice, or make the pro think. Erotica vs. Pornography
What is erotica? What is the difference between erotica and pornography? These are a couple of the questions that will be answered in this section of our lesson. In addition, we will look at word choices that could best convey the sensual, sexual scene you have in mind.
Erotica may be thought of as a literary or pictorial portrayal that arouses or sexually stimulates using soft, sensual imagery. Examples of erotica may include the material found in Playgirl’s “Reader’s Forum”, classic novels like Jong’s Fear of Flying, D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterly’s Lover, or contemporary stories like those written by Caleb Knight, RJ Masters, or Lonnie Barbach.
Erotica is stimulating fiction that is often included with equally-stimulating pictures. Erotica includes foreplay, intimacy, and a mutually-satisfying experience. It serves to gradually arouse the reader, giving the reader the sensation of almost “being there”.
Pornography, on the other hand, is considered to be far more “hard core”, more of the “wham-bam thank you ma’am” scenario. Pornographic material is more controversial, more likely to be sold in specialty adult bookstores, or in sealed plastic at the newsstand.
The primary difference between erotica and real pornography is that pornography has little or no socially redeeming characteristics and is intended to arouse the prurient interests of its readers. Pornography is generally less art and more degrading.
My comment: I have to admit to being a bit skeptical and cynical in this erotica vs. pornography debate. It appears to me that the real criteria is this:
- If it appeals to mostly men, then it is pornography.
- If women like it, then it is erotica.
Anyway, back to the sources:
- From an artist (while discussing the role of ambiguity in the appear of sexy images)
[...]I shall begin with most titillating example I can think of: pornography. I shall concentrate my attentions on graphic pornography, that is, photographs of females. My impression is that there are three broad classes of such pornography. First, there's the swimsuit pinup, a photo of a woman in a revealing but still legal bathing suit. We often see such pinups pinned up on the walls of male workplaces (but the times, they are a-changing). Next come the R-rated photos; these are characterized by bare breasts and possibly some visible pubic hair. Lastly, there are the hardcore shots, mostly closeups of genitalia.
Note that the sequence I have described constitutes a sequence of explicit display of female genitalia. The most legal, proper stuff, stuff that you wouldn't be ashamed to put on the wall of your mechanic's garage, shows scantily clad women. Their genitalia and bodily form are partly revealed, but critical components of the visual experience are withheld: nipples, pubic hair, and so forth. The next class of pornography reveals more, but not all female genitalia. This R-rated class is less publicly acceptable than the first class; the proper gentleperson of the 90s would confine its display to his Harley mechanics' shop. The third class, hardcore pornography, is simply not permissible for mature individuals &emdash; at least, not openly.
Now, male sexual fantasies tend towards the explicit, so one would expect that the popularity of pornography would be proportional to its explicitness. Yet this does not seem to be the case. At this point, I must confess to a virginal lack of data on my part: I have not carried out extensive statistical studies of the relative popularity of various kinds of pornography. Moreover, the data is not readily available because most males are understandably reluctant to reveal the extent of their pornographic consumption. Me, I don't even own a pornograph [...]
My Interest in All of This
When I asked the question of "what is pornography", I really didn't have the above in mind. What I was wondering about was photos of women (I use "of women" since I am a heterosexual male) who are dressed in attire that is commonly worn in public and are not overtly or blatantly simulating sex acts, but are considered "sexy" in one form or another.
- Cases where the sexual aspect is part of the appeal and is intentional.
It is no secret that I love to watch women's beach volleyball. That the organizers of this sport use sex to market it is no secret.
Pucker UpOlympic SexAthletes in the flesh raise ire of press and temperature of fetishists
by Tristan Taormino
September 7th, 2004 12:30 PM
"Athlete or Sexual Plaything?" asks a USA Today headline, and columnist Ian O'Connor answers with the latter in his article criticizing American athletes for posing in popular pinup magazines. O'Connor's article is representative of a raging media debate about the propriety of female Olympians taking off some or all of their clothes for the pages of FHM, Stuff, and Playboy. From the St. Paul Pioneer Press to The New York Times, the arguments have been mostly one-sided, calling the flesh-baring degrading, disgusting, and dishonorable. Critics say that the Olympics is about national pride, fair competition, and dignified athleticism; it has nothing to do with sex. Um, did we watch the same Olympics? I could not escape the homoeroticism, fetish, and explicit sexuality of 16 days in Greece. If pornography's intent is to arouse, then so-called adult channels can't hold a candle to what NBC delivered: plenty of fodder for this girl's fantasies.
"What does he do that gets you excited, Tim?"
"Uh, just about everything, Al."
Amateur gay porn dialogue? Nope, those were the voices of Olympic commentators Dagget and Trautwig discussing Isao Yoneda before his high-bar routine. And that's just an example of the, um, aural homoeroticism. There was plenty of visual male bonding, too, from beach volleyballer Stein Metzger mounting his teammate Dax Holdren after a match win to underwater camera shots of men's water polo—a tangled aquatic gang bang of Speedoed groins and bare legs.
On the Sapphic side of things, there's no shortage of butch women in sports, regardless of their sexual orientation. When you're strong enough to lift 360 pounds or run with a debilitating knee injury, you're pretty butch. But it was a decidedly different kind of girl who caught my eye this year: Logan Tom, star of indoor women's volleyball and cute dyke extraordinaire. If she's not a lesbian—come on, with that name, that haircut, those hands—then someone had better cast her in The L Word so she can play one on TV.
And then there were the women of beach volleyball. In bikinis. Which is actually their uniform, outlined in Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) guidelines and explained with phrases like "project a healthy image" and "sun, sea, and sand are forces to be dealt with." It wouldn't seem so glaringly one-sided if the men wore equally skimpy Speedos, but the guidelines prescribe shorts and tank tops for them, which raises suspicions of sexism. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Americans Misty May and Kerry Walsh dig and spike. Sure, I was partial to May, whose ample ass wasn't made for the standard-sized bottoms, thus providing plenty of bare cheek for Walsh to grab and slap when they scored. But those bikinis do not eradicate their amazing athletic ability. They are fierce competitors and hot babes, and one does not discredit the other.
Even before the first bikini made its appearance, there was an abundance of websites devoted to documenting naked or nearly naked athletes, including the man-watching hotolympians.com and wannahaves.nl for Olympische Babes from nine different countries—no translation needed. Thank God for fleshbot.com, or I'd never have found half of them, including blogs filled with stills from men's gymnastics and wrestling, accompanied by snarky sexual comments.
It's undeniable that the Olympics can be a sexually charged viewing experience for some of us. We fetishize athletes' bodies—what they look like and what they can do. These bodies seem to defy laws of speed, nature, gravity. I can see how this serves as an example of what some pundits call the "pornification" of America, but that ignores some of the more complex issues raised when we watch. For women, Olympic bodies offer us alternative body types and beauty aesthetics to covet or adore, different than those we see in fashion, bodies that are stocky and muscular, tall and strong. For the most part, the typical competitor's body is still a rather skinny, unattainable one, but instead of waif-like (which evokes fragility and helplessness), athletic-thin is buff and ripped. It's not that Kerry Walsh just looks hot on the beach; if you got fresh with her at a bar, she could kick your ass. That's sexy.
When some athletes choose to make their sexuality more blatant, reveal it, use it, and flaunt it, critics are ready to take them down. Former Olympic gymnast Dominique Dawes, now president-elect of the Women's Sports Foundation, gave only backhanded support. "It's a personal choice, and if an athlete wants to portray herself in a certain light, it's up to her," said Dawes. "It's not anything I would do, but women have earned the right to make those kinds of decisions." Her seemingly feminist statement about the right to choose is laced with judgment and distance, as if to say, if she wants to make herself look like a slut, that's her choice. I support her, although I wouldn't do it.
The dialogue on this subject dredges up several problematic gender "ideals" and reinforces that tired Madonna/whore dichotomy all over again. Why can a woman only be either an athlete or a sexual plaything, as the USA Today headline posits? Why does an erotic photograph erase a woman's hard work, accomplishments, and ambition? I'm sick of society telling women that if we take our clothes off for pictures, there must be something wrong with us. The implication is that if a woman chooses to represent herself as a sexual being, then she cannot be a person of good judgment, an upstanding citizen, and, in this context, a true Olympic athlete. All this dialogue clearly sends the message to women that chastity equals honor, prudishness equals pride, and our sexual power is dangerous to our values, our careers, and our images. What O'Connor and others are essentially saying is "Role model or porn star?" with no chance that a woman could embody both. Clearly these critics haven't read Jenna Jameson's memoir, which makes a good case that you can.
NBC and its affiliates ogle and fetishize bodies of Olympians to the tune of $1 billion in advertising revenues. Why shouldn't the women (and the men—don't think people of all genders wouldn't cough up serious cash to see Michael Phelps's swimsuit sneak just a little bit lower) have the choice to present themselves, on their terms, in other forms of media and profit from it?
So, do photos of women's beach volleyball constitute pornography?
- Cases where the sexual aspect is the primary appeal
Here I think that there is a difference; there are the "clothed models" and those where "regular women" are merely "clowning around" and then there are some ambigious areas:
I think that the first photo is clearly one of a woman "clowning around"; I admit that I like it but I doubt that anyone other than the most prudish person would call it pornogrpahy. The last photo is learly posed and designed to arouse (and designed rather well...); I am not so sure as to where the middle photo falls. It strikes me as a "model "wannabe" type of thing.
- What about the "in public" voyeur type photo, either when it is openly encouraged, or when it is really a "public voyeur" type of thing?
In a previous post (when I was responding to being "tagged" and thereby listing wierd stuff about myself) I showed the kind of photos I sometimes sneakingly take of my wife:
But, what about those photos of women who wear provocative attire in public?
Are these ponographic?
What about these, where the "sexiness" is either unintentional or at least "less obviously intentional"? Or even borderline intentional?