Pornographication

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Pornographication or pornification is the absorption by mainstream culture (i.e., music, television, movies) of styles or content of the sex industry and the sexualisation of Western culture, sometimes referred to as raunch culture. [1] Pornographication, particularly the use of sexualised images of women, is said to demonstrate "how patriarchal power operates in the field of gender representation". [2] In Women in Popular Culture, Marion Meyers argues that the portrayal of women in modern society is primarily influenced by "the mainstreaming of pornography and its resultant hypersexualization of women and girls, and the commodification of those images for a global market". [3]

Contents

The phenomenon has been discussed by authors such as Marian Meyers and Kath Woodward. Pornographication also features in discussions of post-feminism by Ariel Levy, [4] Natasha Walter, [5] Feona Attwood, and Brian McNair. [1] [6]

History

Pornography and the modern sex culture have been around for many decades. In ancient Greece and Rome, there were many sexually charged images on walls. The invention of the printing press made it much easier and cheaper to distribute information to the masses. What most people think about Western pornography and the sex culture started with the Enlightenment of the 18th century. Many more people had access to pornographic material during the Enlightenment, and in England books such as Fanny Hill; or, Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure [7] had commercial success as one of the earliest forms of erotica. During this time, people started thinking more freely, so pornography could challenge the norms of the time, as with Marquis de Sade's book Justine. [8] While most pornographic images before the 19th century were images or books, when the motion picture was invented, it created a whole new medium for sexual imagery. At the start of the 1920s, it became popular throughout the West.

Blue Movie , a 1969 American film written, produced, and directed by Andy Warhol, [9] [10] is the first adult erotic film depicting explicit sex to receive wide theatrical release in the United States, [9] [10] [11] Blue Movie, a seminal film in the Golden Age of Porn (1969–1984), helped inaugurate the "porno chic" [12] [13] phenomenon in modern American culture, and later, in many other countries throughout the world. [14] [15] According to Warhol, Blue Movie was a major influence in the making of Last Tango in Paris , an internationally controversial erotic drama film, starring Marlon Brando, and released a few years after Blue Movie was made. [11] In 1970, Mona , the second adult erotic film, after Blue Movie, depicting explicit sex that received a wide theatrical release in the United States, was shown. Later, other adult films, such as Boys in the Sand , Deep Throat , Behind the Green Door and The Devil in Miss Jones were released, continuing the Golden Age of Porn begun with Blue Movie. In 1973, the phenomenon of porn being publicly discussed by celebrities (like Johnny Carson and Bob Hope) [13] and taken seriously by film critics (like Roger Ebert). [16] [17] began, for the first time, in modern American culture. [12] [13] In 1976, The Opening of Misty Beethoven , based on the play Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw (and its derivative, My Fair Lady ), and directed by Radley Metzger, was released theatrically and is considered, by award-winning author Toni Bentley, the "crown jewel" of the Golden Age of Porn. [18] [19]

After the start of widespread adoption of internet in the 1990s, more people could express themselves sexually online, and anyone could post pictures or videos if they chose to. [20] Pornography in the West is generally much more widely accepted, and "66% of men and 41% of women consume pornography on a monthly basis". [21]

Effects of media

Movies

Jamie Dornan January 2013.jpg
Dakota Johnson 2014 (cropped).jpg
Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson were cast in the lead roles in the BDSM inspired movie, Fifty Shades of Grey .

The real-life effects of watching film sex and violence have been heavily disputed. While some groups argue that media violence causes viewers to be more violent, [22] [23] there is no academic consensus on this and indeed large studies suggest that there is no causative link between images of violence and violence in spectators, [24] nor between images of sex and sexual behavior. The links between films and spectator behavior are complex and while pornography undoubtedly plays a big role in how people view sex and relationships, we should always be wary of attributing a single source (e.g. pornography) to a single action (e.g. sexual violence) as human behavior is so much more complex than this. The only common correlations for violent behavior relate to dysfunctional or violent childhood environments and substance abuse, but neither of these can be seen simply as causal, only significant contributing factors to real-life violence. [25]

Television

Teens who were exposed to highly sexual content on TV were more likely to "act older" than their age. If what was being shown on TV was educational, it could yield a positive result on teenagers. For example, on one specific episode of Friends, which had nearly 2 million viewers at the time, one of the characters had gotten pregnant even after using contraception. After the episode, teens were actually more likely to engage in safer sexual activity, and as much as 65% remembered what was in that episode. [26]

Books

Literature which people read for sexual satisfaction is one of the earliest forms of media portraying sexuality. Now, there are various websites to satisfy most people's varied sexual preferences and tastes. As erotica was a form of social protest against the values of the culture at the time, as was with the famous book The Romance of Lust , written as a few volumes between 1873 and 1876. Described in the book are homosexuality, incest, and other socially unacceptable concepts. The values of the Victorian era perpetuated purity and innocence. So this book offered a new perspective. [27] In recent years, erotica has become the new norm, and is extremely popular. The most recent commercial success was Fifty Shades of Grey , describing in detail scenes of sadomasochism and other forms of kink. [28] It sold over "31 million worldwide", and has been adapted into a film starring Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan. [29]

Magazines

Magazines often portray sex in a very indirect way. As seen in advertisements throughout, sex is portrayed without anyone needing to say a word. However, in a lot of ways, this can be devastating to people's psyches, especially women. Magazines feature women barely clothed in provocative positions, which can communicate that women are not good enough. One of the more unlikely effects is it affecting dieting patterns. [30]

See also

Related Research Articles

Radley Metzger was an American pioneering filmmaker and film distributor, most noted for popular artistic, adult-oriented films, including Camille 2000 (1969), The Lickerish Quartet (1970), Score (1974), The Private Afternoons of Pamela Mann (1974), The Image (1975), The Opening of Misty Beethoven (1976) and Barbara Broadcast (1977). According to one film reviewer, Metzger's films, including those made during the Golden Age of Porn (1969–1984), are noted for their "lavish design, witty screenplays, and a penchant for the unusual camera angle". Another reviewer noted that his films were "highly artistic — and often cerebral ... and often featured gorgeous cinematography". Film and audio works by Metzger have been added to the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City.

<i>The Opening of Misty Beethoven</i> 1976 pornographic film directed by Radley Metzger

The Opening of Misty Beethoven is an American pornographic comedy film released in 1976. It was produced with a relatively high budget and filmed on elaborate locations in Paris, New York City and Rome with a musical score, and owes much to its director Radley Metzger. According to author Toni Bentley, The Opening of Misty Beethoven is considered the "crown jewel" of the Golden Age of Porn (1969–1984).

<i>The Image</i> (1975 film)

The Image is a 1975 American adult drama that was re-released in an edited version in 1976. The film is also known by two other titles: The Punishment of Anne and The Mistress and the Slave and was directed by Radley Metzger. The film is based upon the classic 1956 sadomasochistic novel L'Image, written by Catherine Robbe-Grillet and published under the pseudonym of "Jean de Berg".

Opposition to pornography

Reasons for opposition to pornography include religious objections, feminist concerns, and claims of harmful effects, such as pornography addiction. Anti-pornography movements have allied disparate social activists in opposition to pornography, from social conservatives to harm reduction advocates.

Lesbian erotica Visual art deciption of female-to-female sexuality

Lesbian erotica deals with depictions in the visual arts of lesbianism, which is the expression of female-on-female sexuality. Lesbianism has been a theme in erotic art since at least the time of ancient Rome, and many regard depictions of lesbianism to be erotic.

<i>Score</i> (1974 film)

Score is a 1974 American erotic romance film directed by Radley Metzger. One of the first films to explore bisexual relationships, it was part of the brief porn chic fad in the early 1970s that also included Behind the Green Door, The Devil in Miss Jones and Deep Throat. The film was based on an off-Broadway stage play that ran for 23 performances at the Martinique Theatre from October 28 through November 15, 1971 and featured Sylvester Stallone in a brief role. The theatrical version of Score was written by Jerry Douglas, who later became a mainstream screenwriter. It was set in a shabby Queens tenement, while the film was set in an elegant, mythical land and sported a relatively high budget for an independent film of that era.

<i>Blue Movie</i>

Blue Movie is a 1969 American film written, produced, and directed by Andy Warhol. Blue Movie, the first adult erotic film depicting explicit sex to receive wide theatrical release in the United States, is a seminal film in the Golden Age of Porn (1969–1984), and helped inaugurate the "porno chic" phenomenon, in which porn was being publicly discussed by celebrities and taken seriously by film critics, in modern American culture, and later, in many other countries throughout the world. According to Warhol, Blue Movie was a major influence in the making of Last Tango in Paris, an internationally controversial erotic drama film, starring Marlon Brando, and released a few years after Blue Movie was made. Viva and Louis Waldon, playing themselves, starred in Blue Movie.

Pornography Explicit portrayal of sexual acts and intercourse

Pornography is the portrayal of sexual subject matter for the exclusive purpose of sexual arousal. Pornography may be presented in a variety of media, including magazines, animation, writing, film, video, and video games. The term does not include live exhibitions like sex shows and striptease. The primary subjects of present-day pornographic depictions are pornographic models, who pose for still photographs, and pornographic actors who engage in filmed sex acts.

Golden Age of Porn 15-year period in which sexually explicit films experienced mainstream success

The term "Golden Age of Porn", or "porno chic", refers to a 15-year period (1969–1984) in commercial American pornography, which spread internationally, in which sexually explicit films experienced positive attention from mainstream cinemas, movie critics, and the general public. It began with release of the 1969 film Blue Movie directed by Andy Warhol, and the 1970 film Mona produced by Bill Osco. These films were the first adult erotic films depicting explicit sex to receive wide theatrical release in the United States. Both influenced the making of films such as 1972's Deep Throat starring Linda Lovelace and directed by Gerard Damiano, Behind the Green Door starring Marilyn Chambers and directed by the Mitchell brothers, 1973's The Devil in Miss Jones also by Damiano, and 1976's The Opening of Misty Beethoven by Radley Metzger. According to Warhol, Blue Movie was a major influence in the making of Last Tango in Paris, an internationally controversial erotic drama film, starring Marlon Brando, and released a few years after Blue Movie was made.

The 1960s in the United States are often perceived today as a period of profound societal change, one in which a great many politically minded individuals, who on the whole were young and educated, sought to influence the status quo.

Feminist views on pornography range from condemnation of all of it as a form of violence against women, to an embracing of some forms as a medium of feminist expression. This debate reflects larger concerns surrounding feminist views on sexuality, and is closely related to those on prostitution, on BDSM, and other issues. Pornography has been one of the most divisive issues in feminism, particularly in anglophone (English-speaking) countries. This deep division was exemplified in the feminist sex wars of the 1980s, which pitted anti-pornography activists against sex-positive ones.

Susanna Paasonen is a Finnish feminist scholar. She is a Professor of Media Studies at the University of Turku, and was a visiting scholar at MIT in 2016. She gained her PhD from the University of Turku in 2002; her dissertation was on gender and the popularization of the internet, which was later published through Peter Lang. After holding positions at the universities of Tampere, Jyväskylä and Helsinki, Paasonen was appointed Professor of Media Studies at the University of Turku on 1 August 2011, and publishes on internet research, media theory, sexuality, pornography and affect.

<i>The Private Afternoons of Pamela Mann</i> 1975 film by Radley Metzger

The Private Afternoons of Pamela Mann is a 1974 American hardcore adult film starring Barbara Bourbon and directed by Radley Metzger that is considered one of the classics of the Golden Age of Porn (1969–1984). It was a step forward in the development of the genre, as it had a plot and good acting. The movie can be seen as a meditation on voyeurism, due to the trope of Mann being spied on by a private detective hired by her husband, and the production of pornography itself, as the detective films her sexual encounters.

<i>Barbara Broadcast</i>

Barbara Broadcast is an American adult erotic film released in 1977. The film was directed by Radley Metzger and filmed in several elaborate locations in New York City, including the Olympia ballroom and restaurant in the Royal Manhattan Hotel.

<i>Maraschino Cherry</i> (film)

Maraschino Cherry is an American hardcore pornographic film and comedy released in 1978. The film was directed by Radley Metzger and filmed in several locations in New York City; it was his fifth and final hardcore film.

<i>Naked Came the Stranger</i> (film)

Naked Came the Stranger is an American adult erotic film released in 1975. The film was directed by Radley Metzger and filmed in several elaborate locations in New York City.

<i>The Tale of Tiffany Lust</i>

The Tale of Tiffany Lust, also known as Body Lust, is a 1979 American adult erotic film. The film was directed by Radley Metzger and filmed in several elaborate locations in New York City.

The World of Henry Paris is a 1981 American compilation film documentary of the 1970s erotic films directed by Radley Metzger, working under the alias name of "Henry Paris".

<i>Aphrodesias Diary</i>

Aphrodesia's Diary is a 1983 American adult erotic film directed by Radley Metzger and Gérard Kikoïne.

<i>The Sins of Ilsa</i>

The Sins of Ilsa is a 1985 American adult erotic film, based on a novel by Iris Murdoch, that was filmed in New York City and, for exteriors, in Paris. The film is notable as the last film directed by Radley Metzger and, as of November 2019, has not yet been released publicly.

References

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Further reading