Debates regarding whether or not a work that is deemed to be pornographic should be censored and publicly funded typically depend on controversial claims about various definitions of pornography and guidelines for censoring and public funding. In this paper, I proceed to offer a general description of pornography using specific examples. I then develop an argument in support for public censorship of work’s which relate to pornography. Finally, based on my definition of pornography and support for censorship, I concluded the paper arguing how public funding should not be granted for works depicting pornography.
Public nudity is prohibited by virtually every known human society, using written or written rules. The extent of prohibition varies from just the pubic region to also including the breasts. Even though public nudity is prohibited, adult nudity in paintings and photographs is generally acceptable to society. Nudity has been a crucial component of many famous classical artworks, including Gustave Courbet’s L’Origine du Monde and Sandra Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus. Some people might argue that the depiction of nudity in these paintings is pornographic; whereas, others might consider nudity as a part of the artist’s message and non-pornographic. The main question to ask here is what is pornography? In my opinion, pornography is the portrayal of human beings engaged in a sexual intercourse with a certain content, explicitly sexual representation, and a certain intention, sexual arousal. By sexual intercourse, I refer specifically to oral, vaginal, and anal sex only. It does not incorporate kissing and simple nudity.
In his article Toward a More Valid Definition of Pornography, David Andrews implies “that pornography is an area of ironic purity in which works of pornography are invested with a single intention, namely, the intention to arouse” (460). Andrew’s statement regarding pornography further support my argument that displaying purely explicit sexual content, pornography aims to stimulate erotic feelings, feelings which arouse sexual desires in viewers. Explicit refers to a work which fully and clearly demonstrates a sexual activity, leaving nothing to imagination. For a work to be considered pornographic, it must encompass an aspect of some sex content (Andrews 470). If a work only expresses nudity without any erotic intention or sexual intercourse, it does not qualify as pornographic.
For instance, The Birth of Venus, painted in the fifteenth century, was proved revolutionary to its period. This painting portrays an elegant nude figure of Venus, Roman goddess of love, after being born from the sea. It does not involve any kind of sexual act intending for sexual arouse. The exquisite and graceful posture of Venus in the center of the painting, even though scandalous for the Renaissance period due to nude female figure, does not unveil any sexual interaction making it non-pornographic. In contrast, Robert...