Tenth Chapter – Legitimacy

07/30/2008

When you live in a society where government bodies don’t think twice about using taxpayer money for funding a public photography display that includes shots of people urinating, you know that somewhere, values got messed up.

 

Visual pornography sites often masquerade as other than pornography for a number of reasons. First of all, it may help them to avoid prosecution if there’s anything (such as the age of the subjects) which is crossing the line legally.

 

Secondly, it helps break down the resistance of the type of customer who is more concerned about the morality of what they are doing. It provides a kind a reassurance that what they are viewing can be rationalized or justified. This results in guilt-free viewing (or at least lesser-guilt viewing). It’s a kind of ‘end-run’ around the ‘everybody’s doing it’ argument. Not everyone is doing this, and so it brings legitimacy to the web pages concerned.

 

The first kind of porn that is so justified would be that which could be designated “art.” Usually these consist of the work of a single photographer. The backgrounds and sets are tasteful (so to speak) and often expensive, and lend the appearance of a higher class of eroticism. This is pornography with sophistication; surely this must be the type of pornography for the upper middle class.

 

The second kind of site is the one which appears to be marketing models who are seeking work. By all appearances, this is a wholesale market for the catalog industry, and we wouldn’t want to stand in the way of corporate America, would we? By extension, this expands to include the modeling industry as a whole. Many of the sites consist of faux magazine covers. This then expands to include the beauty pageant industry. From there, it’s not a big step to junior beauty pageants, the websites of which are often fodder for pedophiles, even if the child models are somewhat clothed.

 

Both of these types of site generally move faster to the credit card payment stage, and why not? Their existence is more easily justified and rationalized and their clientele often has a greater means to pay the price of admission.

 

The third kind of site in this category deals with the naturism (a.k.a. nudist) lifestyle. I recently encountered and spent about a half hour on a website – it had no pictures – which consisted of page after page after page of articles and notes justifying naturism from a Christian perspective. Yes, you read that right: from a Christian perspective. This person used a great quantity of Bible references to back their position. If some Christian people feel this way, you can bet that the population as a whole have no particular issue with it.

 

The challenge here is that these pictures are designed to look – pardon the pun – natural. Increasingly, there seems to be a greater tolerance of what was once considered a peculiar behavior. The lifestyle is characterized as family-friendly. From there, it’s easy to see that these sites have no problem including family shots which may include teens and even children. In light of that, there are some sites that I am surprised aren’t shut down sooner. Hopefully, as I write this, some of them have been.

 

A fourth attempt at legitimacy has been noticed more recently. At this writing, I no longer have any reason to be viewing the standard pornographic websites, but having done so in the past, I can now spot sites a mile away that are trying to subvert our worldview. This newer type of website masquerades as a more general gallery of a variety of photographs, collected from different sources. However, after the site has been running for awhile, one in every ten pictures is a nude image. Then, a few months later, it’s one in eight. Then, weeks later, one in five. Sometimes it levels off there; with the website’s other pictures and past history legitimizing the inclusion of naked women. Many times the viewer enters these sites innocently looking at the nature scenes and urban landscapes. Because these web pages are the work of professional photographers, the images are very high resolution and the mix of images provides the shock factor or ‘kick’ factor that can feed an addiction in a different way.

 

So whether it’s art that is ‘tasteful,’ portfolios of models who are simply trying to make a living, or the healthy living of naturism, both the site providers and the person viewing has another reason to believe the lie that, “there’s nothing wrong with it.” And in a world where the term “wrong” is slowly going the way of extinction, it’s easy to see why some people have no problem spending several hours each week viewing this material.


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