In most of the Western democracies pornography doesn’t enjoy protection of the freedom of speech laws. This is so, because pornography is generally considered a commercial expression, rather than implying artistic or ideological meanings. So, it seems that when a woman or man participates in the production of pornography, they do it because of pure material reasons rather than an exposure of their inner womanhood. The commercial nature of pornography is driving the field, and even the free sources are highly driven by advertisement revenues. Therefore it is considered as limitable by law, as very little or none of it is considered as commercial artifact.
Fun fact about porn – even if it is considered as a mean of increasing the oppression of women, it is one of the rare industries where women are generally paid more than most of the men. At the same time, the obscene material is considered inappropriate for many other states, making them impose limitations and/or bans on pornographic content. These limitations, as seen on the infographic of the post, are sometimes ridiculous, and sometimes reasonable. However, the ambiguousness of the non-defined terms in these laws are making us question their reasonability.
Pornography is defined as the “printed or visual material containing the explicit description or display of sexual organs or activity, intended to stimulate sexual excitement”. Here we see that what separates pornography from any other sexual images is it intention to stimulate the excitement. How can a legal system work with such an unclear definitions? We have seen in the previous posts that obscenity itself has very undefined implication, and the hard distinction of what is and what isn’t porn is not making it easier for those in power to limit our free speech.
For those of you who think that if there is a problem, it can be solved by the United States, I offer you the legal position of pornography there. Pornographic material is considered legally ‘obscene’ if it is judged to have ‘a tendency to deprave and corrupt’ the intended audience. This normally applies only to the most violent and degrading adult pornography. It is currently an offence to ‘publish’ obscene material. Possession of child pornography (‘indecent’ photographs of children under the age of 18) is a serious criminal offence under the Protection of Children Act 1978 and section 160 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988.
There are ways states approach laws on pornography, however, they are all somehow limiting our freedom of expression. And it is still unclear how clear and present is the clear and present danger, so it is a little bit of wondering around in the dark. However, no matter how much of artistic and ideological value we are prohibited through these legal systems, don’t go off crying about the poor porn industry workers – they are still managing a business that is highly demanded, consumed and paid for in our society.