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Art and Pornography: Philosophical Essays
Art and Pornography – Essay | Tate
Until recently, reflection on pornography has come mainly from outside philosophy. The result was that another understanding of pornography broke surface for the first time, centering on its role in affecting women's social inequality. This understanding challenged a prevailing one that variously revolved around the neutral notion that pornography is simply sexually explicit material intended for sexual arousal. Feminism revealed that pornography's sexually explicit content is overwhelmingly about showing and endorsing sexual means of harming people, mainly women, and conditioning consumers' arousal to cues that present women as sexually vulnerable and violable, for instance, enjoying pain, humiliation, rape, being tied up, cut up, mutilated, bruised, being sexually submissive, reduced to their sexual body parts, etc. Catharine MacKinnon, a pioneer of these developments, summarized some of their implications, which compel us to rethink clear lines that have been drawn between pornography and other areas of life and culture, including art, so as to appreciate previously hidden continuities between them insofar as they thus promote women's inequality, and otherwise to ask new questions of these areas.
The chapters in this collection are ranged under four broad themes. Part I tackles the central issue of whether or not art and pornography are mutually exclusive in the most direct way. Part II explores the topic of imagination and fictionality in relation to pornography. Issues surrounding medium and genre provide the central focus of Part III, while Part IV addresses ethical and feminist concerns about pornography. Keywords: art, pornography , aesthetics , erotic art , sex , feminism.
The distinction between erotic art and pornography is often debated, but rarely agreed upon. As western society becomes increasingly liberal, art becomes more experimental and the distribution of porn, commonplace. As a result art and pornography continue to merge.