Here's the paper you asked for (complete with bibliography). I
wrote this paper for a Human Sexuality class that I took last semester. I'm
not the best writer in the world, but I did get a good grade on the paper.
It's not the most scientific paper in the world, but I hope you enjoy it.
Write back if you have questions.
A recent controversy has started over the subject of pornography. Many
people believe that pornography is a cause of sexism and rape. However, I
will present evidence that nonviolent pornography does not have the effects on
human behavior that people often associate with it. On the other hand,
violent pornography can contribute to rape and sexual harassment. Nonviolent
pornography does not inspire negative sexual aggression and sexual inequality,
unlike violent pornography which does inspire attitudes against women.
The effect on gender inequality depends on the type of pornography that
we are considering. Many people would tend to believe that pornography would
cause sexism against women. This belief, however, is a misconception. "...
research does not support the argument that nonviolent pornography contributes
to sexist beliefs. ... the pattern of findings suggests that nonviolent
pornography is not related to negative attitudes toward women." (1:366) In
fact, "soft core pornography was found to have a significantly positive
relationship to gender equality." (1:376) In addition, "gender equality is
higher in states characterized by high circulation rates of soft-core
pornography." On the other hand, "in long-term and short-term studies,
negative effects [such as gender inequality] emerge when subjects are exposed
to portrayals of overt violence against women or when sex is fused with
aggression." (4:74) The evidence seems clear. Nonviolent pornography does
not lead to gender inequality and may even serve a social good, as opposed to
violent pornography which seems to add to sexism and gender inequality.
Nonviolent pornography does not increase to sexual violence. An
examination of the "Danish Experiment" shows how pornography may even be
beneficial. "After Denmark repealed all censorship laws, there was a marked
decrease in sex crimes, including rape and the decline continued over the
following years." (5:480) This effect that pornography has on sex crimes seems
to occur in several cultures. "Cross-cultural research indicates that the
availability of pornography may contribute to the reduction of undesirable
behavior." (5:480) Research tend to support that sexual violence does not
seems to stem from nonviolent pornography.
Violent pornography, unlike nonviolent pornography, can help in causing
sexual violence. "[According to research], pornography desensitize men to the
harm of rape." (3:22) The results of this study seems to indicate that
pornography can help increase the occurrence of rape and other sexual
violence against women. In addition, "violent scenes in which female victims
become sexually aroused produce antisocial effects in males." (5:482) This
statement shows how violent pornography can result in males lowering their
inhibitions against raping women or committing other sexually-related crimes.
These two examples seems to prove that violent pornography may aid in
increasing sexual violence.
Male attitudes towards women are affected differently by nonviolent and
violent pornography. Nonviolent pornography seems to have little, if any,
effect on attitudes toward women. "Most research suggests that exposure to
nonviolent pornography is unrelated to attitudes toward women." (1:365) With
the exception of one criticized study, no research has been able to show any
connection between nonviolent pornography and various attitudes toward women
(1:365). In another study, results showed that "exposure to sexually explicit
nonviolent materials resulted in no attitudinal changes following exposure."
(4:73) However, violent pornography affects attitudes toward women differently
than nonviolent pornography. Pornography has been used to stimulate people in
the past, which implies that pornography can, in fact, affect people's
behavior. This affect in behavior can result in the desire to develop poor
attitudes toward women. "`... pornographic movies were shown to the soldiers
[serving during wartime], `in an obvious attempt to work the men up''" (6:517)
This "attempt to work the men up" can be increased when the men believe that
the other soldiers are also being aroused. If one soldier believes that the
other soldiers are becoming aroused, he will become more aroused than if he
were alone simply because he (the soldier) believes that becoming aroused is
"what other people do", so the social impact can be much greater than that of
the pornography (2:409). Violent pornography often change the way males view
rape victims and can cause changes in how males interact with society.
"Exposure to aggressive pornography `may alter perceptions of rape and rape
victims.'" and that violent scenes can cause antisocial effects in males.
(5:482) Nonviolent pornography seems to cause no change in the attitudes men
have towards women, as opposed to violent pornography which can cause negative
attitudes toward women.
Many people are uncertain about what to do about pornography. It has
been shown that nonviolent pornography does not do any harm (and may even have
some benefits). For this reason, nonviolent pornography should not be
regulated. Violent pornography has been shown to affect the attitudes that
men have towards women. Evidence shows that it is the violence in the film,
not the erotic contents of the film, that causes the negative aspects caused
by violent pornography. "Negative effects produced by pornography may be due
to a violence component and not to a sexuality component." (5:482) With this
in mind, one might ask a question about pornography: should we restrict the
violent component that is allowed in pornography? This question, however,
brings up First Amendment concerns that will not be answered in this paper.
The information in this paper shows has a very clear conclusion. Most
results seem to prove that nonviolent pornography can help improve gender
equality. Nonviolent pornography also does not affect men's attitudes towards
women. Also, many studies show that nonviolent pornography do not cause
sexual crimes, and can actually help to decrease these crimes. On the other
hand, violent pornography can often result in sexism, and an increase in rapes
and other sexual violence. Men who watch violent pornography begin to develop
poor attitudes toward women. Although not all studies completely agree in all
respects, most studies seem to show rather conclusively that nonviolent
pornography does little harm, but the viewing of violent pornography can
result in negative side effects. The information in this paper directly
relates to the thesis. For example, the information clearly demonstrates that
nonviolent pornography does not inspire poor attitudes toward women or cause
sexual crimes, like rape. In addition, the information in this paper also
shows that violent pornography can result in rapes, sexism, and poor attitudes
toward women. The information in this paper clearly supports my thesis.
When I reflect upon the information in this paper, I realize a few
things. The first thing I realize is that it is the violence in violent
pornographic films that causes the negative side effects associated with
violent pornographic films. Also, I realize that nonviolent pornographic
films can actually serve a purpose in society because nonviolent pornographic
films have been known to be associated with greater gender equality and lower
numbers of rapes and other forms of sexual harassment. Many other things as
well could be learned from this paper when people reflect on it.
#1: Baron, Larry, Ph.D., "Pornography and Gender Equality:
An Empirical analysis." The Journal of Sex Research 27
#2: Coyne, Barry, J., Ph.D., et. al. "Effects of Social
Pressure on Erections and Evaluations of Erotica." The
Journal of Sex Research 25 (1987): 397-409.
#3: Herzog, Sandra, "Sex Without Consent: The Hidden Story
of Date Rape." Family Safety and Health (Spring, 1990):
#4: Linz, Daniel, Ph.D., "Exposure to Sexually Explicit
Materials and Attitudes Toward Rape: A Comparison of
Study Results." The Journal of Sex Research 26 (1989):
#5: Padgett, Vernon A., Ph.D., et. al. "Pornography,
Erotica, and Attitudes Toward Women: The Effects of
Repeated Exposure." The Journal of Sex Research 25
#6: Palmer, Craig T., Ph.D., "Twelve Reasons Why Rape is Not
Sexually Motivated: A Skeptical Examination." The