As such, they struck down the Child Pornography Prevention Act of 1996, enacted by Congress. They felt the law was too broad and could be misapplied to material such as movies that deal with teen sexuality yet use adult actors to portray the children (Mintz, 2005).
In the end, the punishment for using or creating pornography differs greatly by genre and by geographic area. Even in a specific area, the laws are constantly changing to meet the changing morals, or lack thereof, of society. Punishment for illegal use or creation of pornography can range anywhere from a fine to imprisonment in jail.
4. Why is pornography considered criminal or deviant?
Why pornography is considered criminal or deviant is a simple and a complex question. First, why pornography is considered criminal is quite simple. Pornography, at least in America, has close ties with organized crime (Anderson, 2002). Even if the product itself isn't criminal, this association makes it appear criminal. Add to this the fact that the illegal genres of pornography, such as child pornography, occur too often, and the fact that minors often end up the end users of pornographic materials, and one can begin to see that too much of the industry is based in criminal activities for it to be considered anything else.
Why pornography is considered deviant is a more complex question. One would think that something as natural as human sexuality would be considered just that, natural. However, pornography is often based on aspects of sexual desire that are not socially accepted or not natural. Whether it is the immoral portrayal of sex with multiple partners, or homosexual sex, or fetish pornography, these things do not sit well with the moral threadwork of society, despite the fact that a majority of that same society has at one time or another seen pornographic materials.
Besides the often hypocritical stance of immorality, the psychological effects of pornography have been another cause for it to be labeled deviant. Psychologist Edward Donnerstein (1980), of the University of Wisconsin, found that anti-social attitudes and behavior can result from even brief exposure to violent forms of pornography. When exposed to this type of pornographic materials, male viewers showed a tendency to be more aggressive toward women. They were also less empathetic to the pain and suffering of rape victims. and, these men were more willing to accept the various myths about rape. In addition, they found that exposure to violent pornography "lead to increased use of coercion or rape, increased fantasies about rape, and desensitization (occurred) to sexual violence and trivialization of rape" (Anderson, 2002). Disturbingly, another study by James Check, of York University in Canada, showed that even when men were exposed to non-violent pornography they were more inclined to use force as part of their sexual activity (as cited in Anderson, 2002).
One study demonstrated that pornography can diminish a person's sexual happiness.(14) the researchers found that people exposed to nonviolent pornography reported diminished satisfaction with their sexual partner's physical appearance, affection, curiosity, and sexual performance. They were also more inclined to put more importance on sex without emotional involvement (Anderson, 2002).
There are many harms associated with pornography. Probably the most insidious is the way it can in some instances instill sexual violence against children and women" (Hughes, 1995). All of these reasons, have led society to not only consider pornography criminal, or at the least to have criminal connotations, but also deviant, as it goes against was society holds to be normal.
Anderson, K. (14 Jul 2002). The pornography plague. Retrieved March 18, 2005, at http://www.leaderu.com/orgs/probe/docs/pornplag.html.
Donnerstein, E. (1980). Pornography and Violence Against Women. Annals of the New York Academy of Science 347. Retrieved March 19, 2005, from Academic Search Premier database.
Hughes, D.R. (2 Dec 1995). Fighting the 'most deviant and vile form of pornography'. Salon. Retrieved March 19, 2005, at http://www.salon.com/02dec1995/features/taranto.html.
Mintz, H. (16 Apr 2002). High court strikes down law banning child porn on Internet. San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved March 19, 2005, from ProQuest database.
The pervasiveness of pornography. (Mar 2004). World and I, 19(3). Retrieved March 18, 2005, from InfoTrac OneFile database.
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