Pornography Redefined

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Pornography: Sexuality Redefined Despite increasing legal and educational efforts, the rates of sexual assault and other forms of gender-based violence have remained steady. It is hypothesized that this is a direct result of the vast misunderstanding of what sexual assault is, in addition to society’s apathy which is maintained through various mediums. This literature review and synthesis will detail how the media plays an integral role in the preservation of rape culture through rape myth acceptance and justification. The scope of this review is intended to address how rape culture exists in the media, specifically within pornography; so much so that it perpetuates and reinforces rape myths. Due to the volume of research regarding this topic, …show more content…
A judge famously regarded, “I can 't define pornography, but I know it when I see it.” (Jacobellis v. Ohio 378 US 184 (1964)). This ambiguity has made it that much more difficult to discuss the problems associated with it. One definition, proposed by Catherine MacKinnon and Andrea Dworkin, states that pornography is, “the graphic sexually explicit subordination of women through pictures or words that also includes women dehumanized as sexual objects, things, or commodities; enjoying pain or humiliation or rape; being tied up, cut up, mutilated, bruised, or physically hurt; in postures of objects or animals, or presented in scenarios of degradation, injury, torture; shown as filthy or inferior; bleeding, bruised, or hurt in a context that makes these conditions sexual” (Tong 67). This definition focuses on the violence portrayed within pornography. While violence alone has its own set of associated problems, the primary issue when discussing pornography is that it depicts violence and deems it ‘sexy.’ This normalization of oppression and cruelty is one of the most troubling aspects of the porn industry and feeds into a culture where it is not sex that sells, but domination and …show more content…
This approach is flawed in that it neglects to consider the relation between pornography and rape culture. While many studies have been dedicated to linking rape culture and sexual assault, few have observed if pornography and rape culture do, in fact, go hand in hand. If it is found that pornography is inherently present within rape culture, then it would logically follow that pornography plays a role in sexual assault. This can be deductively concluded if rape culture and pornography are found to be interdependent. Studies that examine this line of thinking do exist, but receive far less discussion and publicity than those that merely aim to reveal causal relations. In multiple studies, men have exhibited reaffirmation of beliefs and attitudes of sexual aggression, sexual assault, and rape with increased pornography use (Davis et al., 2006; Garcia, L. 1986). Furthermore, research performed with both male and female participants have suggested that such increased exposure is significantly correlated with behavioral aggression, trivialization of rape, greater acceptance of rape myths, and a decrease in empathy and compassion towards victims of sexual assault (Foubert et al., 2011). The description above is eerily similar to that of rape culture. Rape culture can, therefore, be regarded as the missing link that connects pornography to sexual assault. Studies that do not

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