Thoughts on politics, religion, violence, inequality, social control, change, and random other things from an autonomous, analytical, adopted, abolitionist, anarchist who likes the letter A

What is Pornography?

September 23, 2010 By: Mel Category: Art, Sex

I was getting all ready to write a long diatribe in response to another one of those anti-porn feminists who claims that all porn is rape.  You know, the people who refer to those of us who disagree as male-identified, “fun feminists.”  This “feminist” was particularly irritating me.  It’s bad enough when we women judge each other, but this feminist was a man.  And I really don’t appreciate some man labeling women as victims or oppressors because we don’t excoriate anyone who participates in porn.

But then I decided that, if I’m going to dive into the porn fray, I need to get a little more basic first.  I need a good definition of pornography.  So what is it?  According to, it means writings, drawings, photographs, films, etc. that are

  1. obscene
  2. designed to stimulate sexual excitement
  3. of little or no artistic merit

Well shit.  Now I have to define obscene, evaluate the artistic merit of a work, and crawl into the mind of the creator.  I guess I’ll start with defining obscene.  Back to  Looks like obscene means disgusting, offensive, indecent, immodest, depraved, corrupting, repulsive, repellent, unacceptable, and causing uncontrolled sexual desire.

I think I’m beginning to get it.  If a whole bunch of people think it’s yucky, then it’s obscene and nobody should be able to do it or watch anyone else do it.  And if society thinks it’s yucky, but the person watching it can’t help but get turned on anyways, well then it is triply as bad and they should probably be put on a sex offender list somewhere.

O.k.  Let me give this a go.  I think the first half of Monsters Ball had artistic merit, but the second half was crap.  I don’t think the whole movie was designed to stimulate sexual excitement, but the sex scene between Billy Bob and Halle Berry probably was.  I find watching Billy Bob have sex really yucky.  Which means it’s obscene, right?

Crap.  I thought I had it.  But I’m just confused all over again.  Do we ban Monsters Ball or not?