March 12, 2006

Where do We Draw the Line?

Just finished reading an essay by Margaret Atwood on pornography. Here is some of what she had to say:

"This leads us back to the key question: what's the harm? Nobody knows, but this society should find out fast, before the saturation point is reached. The Scandinavian studies that showed a connection between depictions of sexual violence and increased impulse toward it on the part of male viewers would be a starting point, but many more questions remain to be raised as well as answered. What, for instance, is the crucial difference between men who are users and men who are not? Is there a clear line between erotica and violent pornography, or are they on an escalating continuum? Is this a "men versus women" issue, with all the men secretly siding with the proporners and all women secretly siding against? (I think not; there are lots of men who don't think that running their true love through the Cuisinart is the best way they can think of to spend a Saturday night, and they're just as nauseated by films of someone else doing it as women are.) Is pornography merely an expression of the sexual confusion of this age or an active contributer to it?

Noboby wants to go back to the age of official repression...Neither do we want to end up in George Orwell's 1984, in which pornography is turned out by the State to keep the proles in a state of torpor, sex itself is considered dirty and the approved practise is only for reproduction. But Rome under the emperors isn't such a good model either."

It is important to note that she is discussing hardcore and violent pornography, NOT erotica.

Should there be regulations? Do you think it is harmful? How do we protect ourselves and maintain freedom?

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