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    Pornography and First Amendment

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    In her essay “Let’s Put Pornography Back in the Closet,” Susan Brownmiller, argues that pornography should not be safeguarded by the First Amendment. Her position is based on that pornpgraphy is demeaning abusive towards women. Rather in “ A First Amendment Junkie”, by Susan Jacoby where she believes that there is an substitute to allow one simultaneously condemn pornography and to the forecast of expression assured by Americans in the First Amendment. I agree with Jacoby on three point she made in her essay. Firstly, she believes pornography cannot even be defined as to what is obscene or what is art; I believe that art is in the eye of the beholder. Secondly, pornography should be made for people who make it or view it.

    And thirdly that we should elucidate the First Amendment. If we change the First Amendment it and will only leave more areas that people will argue about. If someone perceives their pornography film as art, then it cannot be censored. And today pornography is very easy for people to find because of the internet and how accessible it is for everyone to find it, but you have to search for it, porn does not just pop up on the pages you search for. Jacoby believes that porn can be defined as art. But that is in the eye of the beholder. For example, a renoir drawing is a nude drawing of a girl is art because it captures the sensuality and beauty of a women. It does not put down women in any shape or form. Helen Longino defines pornography as “ A verbal or pictorial material which represents sexual behaviour that is degrading or abusive to one or more of the participants” This specification often leaks into the realm of art. In 1945 Rene Longino made a art piece called “The Rape” which was quite controversial. Rene responded by saying “ Because such an image of mindless physicality justifies rape, it can be understood as a clear and present danger to women”.

    As our attitude towards sex becomes more comprehensive, sex in art becomes more common. In Susan Brown millers “ let’s put Pornography Back in the closet” she states “ It’s amazing to recall that in 1934 the question of whether James Joyce’s Ulysses should be banned as pornographic actually went to court.”. In another case Jeff Koons series “Made In Heaven” 1989, is not art it is porn since it leaves nothing to the imagination. I believe the Koon wanted to elevate into porn by giving his art a more “spiritual” depth. Sexual experiences involve our most powerful and emotional feelings. If pornography offers these experiences then that principle be lifted into the realm of art. Just like art Jacoby argues that porn should be made for the people who make it and view it since it is open to everyone. Today pornography is more accessible than ever since the dawn of the internet. A child can easily go on a computer and search up porn and watch it. Just a week ago Florida House declared porn to be dangerous. State Representative Ross Spano argued that viewing porn can lead to “mental illness” along with anomalous or vexed sexual behaviors. While there is some evidence that proves mental damage, but no scientific unanimity that porn has positive or negative effect on the watcher.

    In the article “ Early Adolescent Boys’ Exposure to Internet Pornography: Relationships to Pubertal Timing, Sensation Seeking, and Academic Performance”(Beyens, eta), this article contradicts Spano’s argument; Beyens states “Boy’s sexually explicit Internet use might be associated with boys’ total media exposure, not just porn exposure. For instance, boys’ porn exposure might be an indicator of adolescents’ total media use, which may elicit a time displacement that leads to lower academic achievement.” (Beyens, eta). This maybe true that children watching pornography at a young age can cause difficulties for the child but nothing damaging. Back in the fifties people were only able to see porn in burlesque theaters. In the seventies there was a controversial pornography film called “Deep Throat” directed by Gerard Damiano. This movie was the first adult movie to have a plot. This film starred Linda Boreman (Lovelace); She writes in her biography (Ordeal) about her ghastly experiences in the porn business. Linda came out with stories stating that got raped, forced prostitution, and sexual abuse in the porn industry. In the documentary “ Inside Deep Throat” you can see bruises on Boremans body. But back then the only people who could see this movie were the people who went to these burlesque movie theaters. But since porn is protected by the First Amendment it broaches a bunch of grey areas.

    A vast majority of Americans misinterpret the First Amendment with their own morals and beliefs. Doing this leads to fallacious assumptions of protection under the First Amendment. In the article “The New Narcotic” by Morgan Bennett, he contends that porn should not be protected by the First Amendment. To Bennett the constitution is protecting pornography because people can identify it as a form of artistic expression. Bennett states “In order to protect pornography the federal government has defined forms of speech so they could be protected by the First Amendment” (Bennett). This is seen in freedom of expression (a form of speech) by burning of a flag . In 1989 Shawn Eichman burned a flag on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. The Supreme Court appealed the case which led to the case of United States v. Eichman (1990). To Eichman his flag burning was an expression of symbolic speech and so to be protected under the First Amendment. In article 1 section 8 of the constitution congress is allowed definite dominance over some topics.  “Congress is granted the power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises; to borrow money; to regulate commerce; to establish rules and laws regarding naturalization and bankruptcies; to coin money and regulate its value; to fix the standard of weights and measures; to provide for the punishment of counterfeiting and piracies.”There is nothing in the constitution that states that the federal government has power to regulate, oversee, or censor any type of free speech may it be any movie, advertisement, Tv show, websites, etc.

    The fact that any of those things might be pornographic does not change the fact that porn is still protected by the First Amendment. Pornography in a sense is salubrious and sometimes harmless. But it does not mean that pornography is not ghastly, unethical, or even degrading to women. Because of the protection of the First Amendment Pornography can be seen as an artistic form of expression, but there are many grey areas where people cross the line. Today porn is everywhere at least a form of it is part of your everyday life such as your favorite movie or tv show. The misconstrue of the First Amendment has abused the purpose of freedom of speech. Pornography is a moral topic not a political one.

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    Pornography and First Amendment. (2022, May 11). Retrieved from https://artscolumbia.org/pornography-and-first-amendment-176425/

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