Friday, March 22, 2019

Phallic Friday - definition of pornography

Back to a Phallic post today because I saw this interesting article on the ABC website on Monday this week, discussing pornography and the current definition (or lack thereof) and a proposed new definition.

The article is written by researchers from Monash University, Melbourne, and since one woman is a PhD candidate, I'm guessing it's her PhD project. What a neat topic!?

The lack of a definition for pornography is something that I've noticed. People often ask why is what I write called erotic and not porn. The first time I was asked this, I was a bit floored. I said that I wasn't writing to arouse, but to explore a relationship fully, including the sexual relationship. It was my understanding that the primary purpose of pornography was arousal. My primary purpose in writing erotic romance is to tell a story and delve into a relationship. My primary purpose writing erotica is to use words to describe a sexual act. When I write erotica, I'm a little more focussed on the arousal aspect that with a romance, because I'm playing with words to create a mood/feeling.

The major point of the article is that in any of the current ways of defining porn, consent is not mentioned. In fact, many instances where consent is obviously missing, are still referred to as porn, when in fact they should be termed as a "sexual abuse". For example, child porn has no consent (because a child cannot give consent) and should be termed child sexual abuse. Revenge porn, is an act of revenge where one part of a broken relationship releases sexual information without the other's (or others')  consent. Rather than labelling this porn, it should be termed online sexual abuse.

The researchers say that changing definitions, and word choices, can be a powerful instigator of social change.

I love this article. I hope it gets a lot of air time, because these word choices do make a huge difference.

Thanks for the research Monash University, Sarah Ashton, and Dr Maggie Kirkman, Senior Research Fellow, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine.

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