Obscenity And Pornography – Essay Example

Obscenity and pornography Obscenity and pornography are very often viewed as synonymous; however, there are significant differences between the two. While obscenity refers to “sexual words and images which are not protected by Constitutional guarantees of free speech”, pornography refers to any illegal material that is designed to arouse sexual feelings (Britton, Maguire & Nathanson). The term ‘obscenity’ has legal implications and an act is judged as obscene when it goes against socially permitted acts, contemporary community standards of morality and decency to such an extend that they should be brought before the law. On the other hand, pornography is a commercialised and perverted version of selling sexual content and it is more dangerous than obscenity as the victims get easily addicted to pornography. Pornography targets not only the adults; it targets children and the adolescents in such a way that it becomes a primary underlying factor for sex crimes. Robert Peters, in this regard, purports that adult pornography contributes to sexual exploitation of children as “perpetrators use adult pornography to groom their victims” and to use them for sexual satisfaction (Peters 2009). Thus, one can view a direct link between pornography and sex crimes and it is likely that as pornography increases, violent sex crimes too increase. Studies have shown that rapists have been addicted to pornography and that many have been initiated into sex through imitating pornography. On the other hand, there are scholars who argue that pornography reduces violent sex behaviour in the society. For instance, a study conducted by Milton Diamond and Ayako Uchiyama showed that the massive increase in available pornography in Japan (which included sexually explicit video tapes, books, and magazines), has, in fact, brought about a ‘dramatic decrease in sexual crimes’ (Diamond & Uchiyama 1999). Therefore, it can be concluded that there are cases both for and against the belief that viewing pornography contributes to the commission of sex crimes.
Britton, P.O., Maguire, J & Nathanson, B. ‘Feminism and Free Speech’. Retrieved 24 Sep. 10 from FFE Website: http://www.ffeusa.org/html/statements/statements_pornography.html
Diamond, M & Uchiyama, A. ‘Pornography, Rape and Sex Crimes in Japan’. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry 22(1): 1-22. 1999. Retrieved 24 Sep. 10 from: http://www.hawaii.edu/PCSS/biblio/articles/1961to1999/1999-pornography-rape-sex-crimes-japan.html
Peters, Robert. (September 2009). How Adult Pornography Contributes To Sexual Exploitation of Children. Retrieved 24 Sep. 10 from: http://www.obscenitycrimes.org/news/HowAdultPornographyHarmsChildren.pdf