Helen Longino Pornography

1318 Words 6 Pages
The pornographic industry has a reputation of being a causal factor in the degradation of women for the satisfaction of the current patriarchal society. Feminist Helen Longino defines pornography as the “verbal or pictorial explicit representations of sexual behavior that… have as a distinguishing characteristic ‘the degrading and demeaning of the role and status of the human female as a mere sexual object to be exploited and manipulated sexually’” (106). She distinguishes pornography from what she considers to be a more acceptable form of sexual imagery that she labels as erotica. Erotica is sexually explicit material where the women involved are able to maintain their dignity and humanity (Longino, 107). Longino believes there
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Longino believes that pornography condones crimes against women because it puts forth a distorted view of women where they are seen as non-autonomous beings (106). The actions and language used in pornography can be graphic and the images tend to put women in the “inferior position”, but Longino is the one who is giving entertainment power over women in society. Pornography does not teach people how to treat women in society, it portrays fantasies for entertainment and shock-value. Pornographic videos are not meant to be used as a manual for how women or men should behave. Longino is demeaning men and women by saying that they use exaggerated entertainment to define their role in society. Following this logic, Sleeping Beauty should be considered harmful because she teaches young girls that they should marry the first man that saves them from a crisis. Reality is different from what entertainment portrays. Nevertheless, like all violent and mature material, people certainly should not be exposed to pornographic images before they are of age to understand the use of pornography. In addition, children should be taught that pornography is not reality by their authority figures. If individuals are aware of the use of pornographic material, there is no need to worry about any misinterpretations that could …show more content…
Pornography is dominated by both female and male fantasies and is meant to facilitate more pleasure than pain. Longino is perpetuating a feeling of shame within the male and female communities by defining what she feels is oppressive towards women. What she feels is harmful is very subjective. It is unfair to ostracize people, or more importantly women, who enjoy pornographic media. These women are not necessarily demeaning themselves, they are just partaking in the uses of pornographic material. Ellen Willis, another feminist philosopher, believes that Longino’s definition of pornography could potentially hurt women psychologically (112). Society has had some history of repressing women’s sexuality. Defining what pornography is appropriate for women supports an idea that women cannot determine what is appropriate and beneficial for themselves. Women who watch pornography should not be shamed for exploring their sexuality (Willis, 113). Anti-pornography feminists, like Longino, claim that porn reduces female porn stars to sex objects, but this claim robs the performers of control over their bodies (Longino, 106). These claims shame porn stars for taking part in an industry that provides them with the finances to conduct their life and the opportunity to explore their sexuality. By hating porn, people portray

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