The intent content and consequences of digital pornography
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The Intent, Content, and Consequences of Digital Pornography. Defining Pornography:. A Question. How many of you have watched or seen, at least once, voluntarily or involuntarily, what you consider pornography on the internet? Raise your hand. Keep them Raised….

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Presentation Transcript

A question
A Question

  • How many of you have watched or seen, at least once, voluntarily or involuntarily, what you consider pornography on the internet?

    Raise your hand

Keep them raised
Keep them Raised…

  • If you haven’t raised your hand you are most likely either A) lying, B) have never used a computer, C) live in Amish country, or D) are incredibly, indescribably careful while surfing the internet.

Some definitions
Some Definitions

  • In 1964, Justice Potter Stewart tried to explain "hard-core" pornography, or what is obscene, by saying, "I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced . . . [b]ut I know it when I see it . . . “ (

Webster s definition
Webster’s Definition

  • The depiction of erotic behavior (as in pictures or writing) intended to cause sexual excitement

  • Material (as in books and photographs) that depicts erotic behavior intended to cause sexual excitement

  • The depiction of acts in a sensational manner so as to arouse a quick intense emotional reaction

Federal law
Federal Law

  • The Miller Test: 1973 case Miller v. California

    • Basically, if local community agrees it is obscene, it is not protected under the 1st Amendment

    • Not very applicable to internet

  • Concerning minors:

    • Performers or subjects in pornography have to be over the age of 18

    • The 18 U.S.C. 2257 disclaimer: You must be at least 18 to view pornographic material

Porn in the written word
Porn in the Written Word!/group.php?gid=2415961099&v=wall

What the readings say
What the Readings Say

  • “Pornography is a reified product where the notions of sex, sexuality, morality, obscenity, vulgarity and prurience all converge to produce the “thing” that we identify as pornography.”

    (Shah, Playblog: Pornography, Performance, and Cyberspce)

The intent
The Intent

  • Some may argue that all pornography is simply meant for physical sexual gratification, for acquiring the orgasm.

  • Some may argue it is for mental sexual gratification, for exploring erotic fantasies and desires not likely to be achieved in the real-world.


  • Says that before the internet, the audience “took vicarious pleasures out of the acts being performed onscreen by the performers…with netporn, the performers and the audience are the same people”

  • “In Geek lingo, pr0n has very little or nothing to do with sexuality, sexual act or nudity. It is about the pleasure of control, of manipulation, of knowledge and of penetrating through a system, not by breaking it but by knowing it inside out.”



On the producing side
On the Producing Side

  • Of course the goal of making porn has been traditionally to make a profit.

  • Though this is still the case with most porn websites (who stream or provide porn but do not make it), amateurs upload porn videos all the time.

  • Interactive webcam and chats exist.

  • Because anyone can make porn, or be in porn, the intent of online porn is now uncertain.

The content
The Content

  • When was the last time you watched a porn video and were struck by the poignant and beautiful message it related regarding the human condition and what it means to be alive?


  • Consider the Pirates movies

    • The most expensive “adult” motion pictures ever produced, with a budget estimated at $8 million just for Pirates II

    • Pirates has a 7.4/10 and Pirates II: has a 7.9/10 rating on IMDB, compared to Rain Man or Little Miss Sunshine with 7.9

Pirates reviews on imdb
Pirates Reviews on IMDB

  • “Its the only adult movie I have ever watched that was meant for both men and women.”

  • “As a movie, yeah it kinda stinks, but as a porn (which it was meant to be) it rocked.”

  • “Porn movies like this follow the model of movie musicals…It isn't real sex at all, instead a sort of performance, a display put on for the audience like a song.”

More reviews
More Reviews

  • “The costumes are lavish, there's enough foreplay on BOTH parts to be appealing to couples, and while men may get hot and bothered at Jesse Jane's tongue-twisting exploits (honestly, there were times when she scared me with that thing), Evan's sense of humor and comical scenes (and he's no slouch in the bedroom either) will bring just that extra bit of sexiness to get the women steamed as well.”

The consequences
The Consequences

  • “The ‘industrialization of fantasy’ on the part of new media technologies has re-positioned such fantasizing from a private, essentially recreational and non-productive activity, to an integral, productive element of the value chain of the booming sex/porn industry.”

    -(Arvidsson, “Netporn: The Work of Fantasy in the Information Society”)


  • Does is distort the perception of sex in the real-world?

  • Does it become a substitute for sex or relationships? (Online porn addiction)

  • Like the music industry, the porn industry is now facing a crisis of file sharingand illegal downloading. How will it respond?


  • Do you yourself have rigid standards of what pornography is, or are you like Justice Stewart: you know it when you see it?

  • In your mind, how has the internet and digital media expanded the definition of pornography? Or has it?

  • What’s the future of interactive digital porn?

  • “The internet is for porn.” Do you agree?