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Monday, July 4, 2022

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Porn degrades women


Students got an intimate look at contemporary pornography Thursday at a presentation sponsored by the Women’s Resource Center.

"There are many different perspectives on porn," Womens’ Resource Center program director Beverly McPhail said. "There are conservative views and liberal views. We’re looking at a feminist’s critique that closely analyzes the objectification of women and how domination is eroticized."

Social work graduate student Kara Smith presented a slide show highlighting two types of porn – classic "feature" type pornography and the newer, more popular hardcore Internet pornography.

These shorter segments, known as "gonzo porn," are typically low-end and high-profit, focusing on the domination and degradation of women, Smith said.

Celebrities like Britney Spears and Paris Hilton paved the way for a new form of pornography, according to the presentation prepared by Gail Dines of Wheelock College, Rebecca Whisnant of the University of Dayton and Robert Jensen of the University of Texas.

"Men learn from these celebrities that it’s okay to refer to women as ‘slut’ or ‘ho’. It’s incredibly demeaning," Smith said.

The slideshow presented several successful and well-known gonzo porn Web sites to the audience. The explicit images led about half of the viewers to leave the seminar.

History major Angie Kirby-Calder stayed for the presentation and said she calls herself a "Playboy scholar."

"I’ve been studying the Playboy magazine and general pornography in order to analyze the gender roles present," Kirby-Calder said.

Kirby-Calder said she felt the presentation was extremely one-sided at first.

"There are feminist sex-positive outreach programs that weren’t included in the research," Kirby-Calder said. "There was an underlying assumption that women (should) only enjoy sex in a monogamous relationship. Why can’t women enjoy sex the way men do?"

Philosophy adjunct professor Ed Aiman disagreed with Kirby-Calder a called contemporary pornography a slippery slope that continues to become more extreme and more graphic.

"People in society are wanting more," Aiman said. "What can we do? We become hardened and it’s almost impossible to avoid. There is a sort of avid consent among the consumers that keeps the industry in a downward spiral."

Psychology sophomore Angela Chardiff said she has no problem with most porn.

"I enjoy Playboy magazine," Chardiff said. "I think the objectification of women has always been around, but this (seminar) showed the hardcore side of porn and it wasn’t pretty."


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