Does Pornography Exploit or Liberate Women? Essay

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Almost as lucrative as the oil industry; the omnipresent multi-media pornography industry is said to be more profitable than the music and video industries combined. The European Parliament (2003) estimates that more than two-thirds of the £252 million spent by European internet users during 2001 was received by various pornographic websites. This recorded expenditure does not, however, account for the widely available non-internet based pornographic literature, theatre and DVD trade, or for prostitution – the age-old trade from which the term pornography is derived (Potter, 1998); thus effectively deeming the pornography industry to be indescribably profitable.
As the pornography industry is undeniably extortionately profitable, such an industry is able to present itself with utmost ease as glamorous, often enticing impressionable young women with quick and easy cash incentives. This essay will investigate and discuss this notion, and present the findings to answer the question – does pornography exploit or liberate women? There are many who not only believe pornography exploits women, but also increases the rates of sexually-motivated crimes (Dworkin, 1981; Morgan, 2001); whilst on the other end of the exploitation/liberation spectrum, many others believe pornography to be extremely artistic and liberating for both men and women (McElroy, 1998; Tatchell, 2008). This essay will also investigate the role of women in various societal institutions such as employment, family and the home; and in specific cases, how pornography can relate to, influence and equally be influenced by these institutions.

Whilst the term 'pornography' for most people conjures the stereotypical seedy image of a woman being sexual dominated by at least ...

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...d by anti-porn campaigners, there is indeed “ [for] the production of erotic sexual material that is not based on power and dominance which presents women as having agency and choice and contains no violence, abuse or degradation.” (O'Connor, 2006, p.10). Once again, such a statement appears to promote equality regarding sexual activity; however, a deeper insight reveals ignorant contradiction in that the statement notes a request to end specifically female submissiveness and degradation, despite the fact that many males are regular participants in sadomasochism – often requesting to be dominated, humiliated, abused and degraded by a female dominatrix (Kenney, 2002). Thus, if males are requesting to be treated as such for sexual gratification, then it is arguably fair to equally state that some women will request to be voluntarily submissive and degraded.

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