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Custom Should Pornography Be Restricted by Law? essay paper sample

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In today’s dynamic and technological advancements it is possible to predict much more the next phase of phonographic exposure in our societies. Pornography has been in existence for a long period of time.  The definition of pornography may be seen as simple but sholars gives people conflicting responses. In his definition Craig says that “pornography means the depiction of women as prostitutes and although this may now appear an inappropriate definition some feminists have appealed to it as part of a argument for the legal restriction of pornography” (543). Craig continues to say that many people propose that pornography should be defined as the graphic sexually explicit subordination of women and men whether in pictures or in words.

Pornography therefore presents women and men as dehumanized sexual objects or commodities or as whores by nature. According to Routledge encyclopedia of philosophy, Volume 1 the “definition of pornography usually refers to the function and content of representations and leaves the question of morality and of legal restriction to be addressed separately” (544). Pornography in ordinary usage appears to be a pejorative term which expresses subjective disapproval of sexually explicit material (Craig 544).  Routledge encyclopedia of philosophy, Volume 1 says “that to be useful in  a legal context pornography must go beyond the merely subjective and make reference to content and  function in a way which is as far as possible morally neutral” (544).

Routledge encyclopedia of philosophy, Volume 1 established that “there is a considerable dispute about whether and  why pornography is morally wrong and about whether the nature of any wrongness is sufficient to justify legal restriction or prohibition” (544). Some writers argue that pornography interferes mentally with those who consume it. Craig continues to say that this claim is built in the current British law governing obscenity which goes ahead to define materials as obscene when it has a tendency to deprave and corrupt those individuals or persons who are likely to hear it, to read and see it.

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The Routledge encyclopedia of philosophy, Volume 1 indicated that “pornography acts as a kind of moral poison in the societal water supply and can serve to legitimize contemptuous attitudes towards women and possibly even sexual violence against them” (544). One of the reasons why pornography should be restricted is because pornographic material in particular is morally damaging to both the specific individuals who consume it or to the society in general. Other people feel that restricting pornography can eschew reference to moral harm either because they are skeptical about the very notion or may be because they feel that it should not be appealed in a legal context (Craig 544). 

In addition people claim that pornography is wrong only in so far as its production is concerned. Routledge encyclopedia of philosophy, Volume 1 says that this is because its production “involves the infliction of physical harm and it causes offense to unwitting ad unwilling observers” (544). It also continues to indicate that moral wrongness is not in itself any part of the case against pornography (Craig 544). The majority of writers claim that the different definitions of pornography together with different accounts of why it may be objectionable yield different proposals fro legal action. Legal Guide for the Visual Artist indicated that “the laws regulating pornography have been in the focus of much controversy and concern” (81). The book on the other hand continues to say that what the artist may create for aesthetic reasons may not be looked at the same way by viewers in the public domain.  

Moreover, Routledge encyclopedia of philosophy, Volume 1 indicated that “those who believe that pornography should be restricted because it is morally damaging to the consumer or to the society in particular are accused of being paternalism” (544). Craig says that this is a serious charge because if the liberal democratic society’s principle is followed it indicates that the state should be neutral between competing conceptions of the good (544). Routledge encyclopedia of philosophy, Volume 1maintains that “this means that it should not impose citizens to a more desirable way of living and at the same time it should not prohibit or discourage actions like pornography by the grounds that they are believed to e morally undesirable” (544).

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Furthermore Routledge encyclopedia of philosophy, Volume 1 says that the principle of free speech is very important in liberal societies and some have argued that restricting or suppressing pornography offends against that principle (544).The importance of free speech is in relation to individual autonomy in that people can best become autonomous in societies where to a wide range of opinions and beliefs from which individuals can choose for themselves (Craig 544). Most feminists claim that the free availability of pornography is itself something which undermines the neutrality of the state and also denies freedom of speech to certain groups. Routledge encyclopedia of philosophy, Volume 1 says that it is has been suggested that “pornography is akin to racist speech because pornography undermines the self-respect of women and makes it difficult for them to develop autonomy” (544).

Craig also indicated that this feminist critique of pornography also questions individualist assumptions of liberal political philosophy (544). Routledge encyclopedia of philosophy, Volume 1 says that on “this understanding the justification of legislating against pornography is not the moral harm or the offense which is done to the self-esteem of omen as a group” (94). Spector says that the idea of child pornography is based in the assumption that children are harmed by having sex pictures made of them (94). Prostitution and pornography: philosophical debate about the sex industry says that given the history of the law of pornography of adult women it is tempting to refer to it as illegal.

Prostitution and pornography: philosophical debate about the sex industry says that “the law defines the documented harms pornography which pornography does as violations of equality rights and makes them actionable as practices of discrimination of second class citizens” (94). Barnett on the other hand says that issues have engaged such as a wide range of feminist scholars in debate such as pornography has proven a difficulty and contentious issue on which little consensus has been reached (281). Barnett says that for radical anti-pornography feminist’s pornography is the graphic representation of woman’s inferior status and thus needs to be exposed for what it is not sexual imagery for pleasure but a political statement on woman’s equality (281).

According to Introduction to feminist jurisprudence “the dangers of feminist theorizing against pornography is  that this makes pornography an inappropriate and damaging site of inquiry in the pursuit of a society free from sexual discrimination” (281). The Introduction to feminist jurisprudence says that the complexity inherent in the pornography debate reflects differing political persuasions and philosophies, some of which intersect and interact with feminist approaches others which stand opposed to the feminist quest for freedom from the adverse effects of pornography (Barnett 281).

Introduction to feminist jurisprudence continues to say that “the status of women in society their equality and the effects of pornography on women in general did not receive in depth consideration and represents a shortcoming in the whole otherwise well measured and authoritative” (288). From the above implications the evidence of the harm caused by pornography itself as the term of the debate and related research is currently formulated is equivocal and provides no clear basis on which to draw conclusions (Barnett 281). Introduction to feminist jurisprudence says that “to become embroiled in arguments about evidence concerning the cause and effect relationships between pornography and sexual violence given the ambivalence of that evidence is an exercise in futility” (288).

Barnett says that the impact which pornography has on women requires that serious consideration be taken to determine the restrictions which should imposed on pornography. Introduction to feminist jurisprudence “from the legal standpoint women who are the central focus of most pornographic materials which  exist should be used in the determination of if or not whether or not the material in question is pornographic as defined by law” (290). The legal approaches to pornography with the notable exception of the Supreme Court have been masculine approaches: does this material deprave and corrupt the male consumer (Barnett 281).

In this context a number of theoretical arguments are advanced in relation to the issue of if pornography should be restricted or not. According to Barnett the first consideration should be based on the fact of the implication that pornography which represents violence and discrimination against women and accordingly should be actionable under civil law on the basis that it offends against women right to economic, political and social equality an reinforces male supremacist attitudes (290). The second legal consideration is that pornography is an aspect of free speech. With this consideration the restrictions to pornography should be based on clear evidence that pornography has considerable harms hence cannot be restricted. This according to Barnett (290) is the extreme liberal approach.

Barnett (290) says that pornography is an aspect of free speech. He continues to say that access to pornography may be restricted, however provided that the restrictions are reasonable. Another issue or basis on which pornography should be restricted is that it offends society morality. Therefore according to the conservative approach the law must protect society against pornography (Barnett 291). According to Introduction to feminist jurisprudence “pornography has no single meaning or message but from the feminist focus on pornography damages the quest for women’s equality in emphasizing woman as victim” (291).

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The Feminism and the power of law indicates that “it is possible that the criminal law on pornography could be more amenable however if it became based on notions of harm or if the concept of incitement to racial hatred could be extended to cover sex discrimination or sexual hatred” (130). Smart says that a major problem of using the criminal law to deal with the pornographic genre is that it is required to formulae judgment on the meaning of representations rather than acts (133). He continues to say that although feminists have pointed out that the pornography trade involves the exploitation of real women which is not and cannot be the focus of censorship (Smart 133).

Smart in his studies says that it is misleading to imply that laws which restrict the availability of pornography would automatically alleviate the exploitation of all women and men involved in production of pornographic materials (133). As a result Smart says that the feminist goal of using criminal law to restrict the availability of pornography usually has the focus on the interest of women at the consumer end rather than the production end of the process (133). On the other hand Thornburgh and Lin (24) maintained that pornography is used to refer women as materials of sexual exposures.

The Introduction to feminist jurisprudence indicated that pornography is an institution of the inequality which women suffer as a result f their gender (292). This is because pornography identifies and constructs women’s gender. The law in the United States under the First Amendment to the constitution protects and endorses pornography as freedom of speech. This freedom is considered to be men free speech not women’s free equal speech for that is taken away from them by pornographic representation.   

In conclusion individuals who support pornography assume that restricting it is in opposition to the freedom of free speech and expression. In addition other individuals claim that authorities should not dictate ones conduct and therefore pornography should not be contrary to the law. Different groups of people and social organizations have come up with policies and rules about pornography which draw how media houses and publications should leverage issues related to pornography. Government authorities should also evaluate these laws regularly because of the phase at which access to information has grown. The dynamics in technological advances and adjustments are inevitable but in this context pornography can be controlled and restricted with firm laws in place.

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