Pornography in the Media

It started by way of messengers and scribes, evolved through

the presentation of newspapers and radio, brought us together with

television, and now serves us world-wide via the ever-popular

Internet. It is the mass media, and even from the earliest days of

its existence, it has contributed greatly in ways that both enlighten

and enrich society, and ways that deteriorate and perplex it. It is

not a surprise to learn, then, that the mass media is the most

powerful source of information we have, and nothing else in today?s

world influences public perception quite as heavily.

Unfortunately, however, most of what is broadcast or

transmitted in the news today is with reference to the chaotic

condition of our planet, or something else that society as a whole

sees as detrimental or damaging. But the news on television is not

the only type of media taking the criticism of society. Other forms

of mass media, specifically movies and television programs containing

pornography and violence have been heavily criticized. The underlining

concept to be debated here is that society is negatively influenced,

specifically, by these images of pornography and the result is

increased violence against women. This assumption, and it is indeed

only an assumption, is completely fallacious, however, as no concrete

and completely conclusive evidence has ever been formulated in

support of the theory. The key premise here is that the mass media

does not cause undesirable social behaviour and in actuality, the

media people should not be dubbed as the ?bad guys?. They simply use

their power in the most constructive ways possible in order to promote

their ratings and popularity. One way to do that is to concentrate on

what sells: sex, violence and disaster.

Having said this, why is it then, that many in society still

believe otherwise; why do they continue to believe that pornography is

?evil? and is a major cause for violence against women, specifically

rape? There are many reasons for this misinterpretation and through

the following few points, an attempt will be made to show that

pornography has very little to almost no correlation with violence

against women (of course nothing is ?absolute? in society). In order

to demonstrate this, it must be made evident that pornography is not

?evil? and does not cause undesirable social behaviour by displaying

nude women in sexually explicit circumezces. Thus, it is important

to indicate that women are not treated only as sexual objects through

the media. This is done in an attempt to quash any traces of ?evil?

in pornography. Subsequently, a second point, that some may consider

to be completely bizarre, can be addressed; that pornography actually

reduces the amount of violence against women.

For thousands of years, sex itself has been considered ?evil?

and revolting. This is exactly why the concealment of the sex organs

and teaching feelings of shame toward human sexuality is so common

worldwide (Christensen 1990:4). These same feelings of shame are the

chief reasons that sex is considered a personal and private matter.

Contrary to the beliefs of many, the mass media did not create these

settings; society creates this image. In some societies, women have

no reservations with regard to living their entire lives completely

naked, while in other societies, females cover themselves from head to

toe, only revealing their eyes. The media has been bombarded with

criticism, overwhelmingly from the female community, relative to the

amount of sexually explicit material that is published in magazines

and that appears on television and in the cinemas. A common argument

against pornography is that the media portrays women as being nothing

more than sexual playthings and objects to satisfy male sexual

desires. As before, the media once again, is not to be held

responsible for creating this image; these views are products of


It would be downright absurd to assume that women in this

society are treated as sexual objects only because the media releases

or broadcasts pornographic material. A magazine associated with

make-up and skin care, for example, will quite obviously not be

concentrating on much else. Such a magazine would not display

pictures of women who mountain-climb or women who water-ski; only

images of make-up and text referring to skin care would be relevant.

Clearly, society does not consider women to be beings who?s only

purpose in life is to worry about make-up and