General Question

hitomi's avatar

Should a college group be allowed to screen hardcore pornography as an event?

Asked by hitomi (1137points) April 6th, 2009

There is a problem currently at the University of Maryland where a group of students were showing pornography as an event and now people are up in arms about it being inappropriate, while others say that it is censorship and a violation of student rights to tell them that they can’t.

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42 Answers

DrBill's avatar

Yes, When in college, it was required for my major.

asmonet's avatar

What was the purpose of the showing?

Porn for porn’s sake I don’t agree with if it’s using the campus resources.

But otherwise, yeah, why the shit not?

It’s not like they’re not watching Real Sex in their dorms.

lisaj89's avatar

Absolutely not!!! Who would even WANT to attend?

Jayne's avatar

@lisaj89; most people, I’m sure, even if they don’t want to be seen attending…

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

What the blazes was the goal of the event? To examine the most pitiful trash to ever be turned into video?

lisaj89's avatar

Would you really want to be associated with a college which boasts free porn?!? College is supposed to be concerned with education. Why couldn’t the screening be moved to a location off campus? I wouldn’t mind them having censored advertisements, but using a campus facility just seems absurd to me.

KatawaGrey's avatar

I think if everyone was informed of what event they were attending as they walked in, so as not to create confusion and to keep out the people who didn’t want to see and if everyone’s ID was checked so no one underage could get in, I see no problem with it.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

I think this is one of those confuzzled cases of what may be “legal” and what may be necessary. For what purpose would you need to do something like this? This is supposed to be higher learning here.. not retardedry 101.

YARNLADY's avatar

It’s happening here in California also. I see no problem with it.

asmonet's avatar

@lisaj89: Uh, if it’s for sociology, or anthropology…Me? We’re not all prudes.

asmonet's avatar

@NaturalMineralWater: People seem to be thinking about this as if there is no value in studying pornography. It’s actually quite fascinating to dissect.

You should really look into it. ;)
It does have some merit.

Of course, I’m assuming there was a purpose, I’m not up to date on the specifics. I’ll read up on what’s going on and return!

EmpressPixie's avatar

Asmonet has it exactly right. To be honest, I’ve never heard of a sociology major who hasn’t seen porn in a class a some point. Like it or not, it’s an important part of society today and a fascinating look at gender roles.

lisaj89's avatar

Well, if I’m a prude b/c I don’t want to have the audio of a porno as background music for my accounting lecture, then so be it! And if you really have to view the film for class, why not do it in the comforts of your own home? Is that too unreasonable? Sorry, I guess I’m just old fashioned?

asmonet's avatar

@lisaj89: You can’t beat pornography, a lecture, pausing, dissecting, and/or classroom discussion by staying at home and watching porn on your own. It’s a different forum which does not allow you to absorb the material, only enjoy it momentarily for it’s effects not it’s educational value.

And your accounting class? I doubt it would be near an auditorium, even if it was in a classroom… I’m willing to bet they would have taken the needs of other classrooms nearby into account and moved that particular lecture elsewhere.

So, yes. I’d say it’s unreasonable. Shall I give up my studies to accommodate yours?

Think.

asmonet's avatar

After reading this article.

I am more than ever convinced that the school should be allowed to receive the funding they normally would and the students are completely justified.

The end.

/hopsofsoapbox

creatrixe's avatar

It’s interesting to see people getting so upset that someone might deny them the right to view porn.

asmonet's avatar

Seriously.
Then again, we did start out as Puritans.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

@asmonet Sounds like rubbish to me. Then again I’m old fashioned.. I still think pornography is demeaning to women (and I’m sure in some cases to men these days too). I’m not old.. but I’m still of the persuasion that I should open the door for my wife.. buy her flowers from time to time.. treat her like a human being. For me this extends to the video world too. If it is demeaning.. I really have no interest in supporting it (no matter the medium in which it presents its ugly head).

It’s a guilty little pleasure that people have become desensitized to imho. It subtly creates separation in marriages (and I can hear the skeptics already..“Well for us it is fun to do and has brought us closer together”.. to which I raise the ever present BS flag.. but that’s another story) and becomes an addiction for many. It’s simply garbage to be disposed of with the rest of your refuse (preferably chopped up nicely by that nifty garbage disposal).

Have I watched it before? Of course I have. Did I enjoy it? Of course I did.. but just like too much candy will rot your teeth.. too much porn will rot your mind. And given its addictive nature… it’s simply best to avoid it entirely… especially in an environment where we’re supposed to be learning something valuable to further a career path (excluding those select few who are trying to wrangle themselves a degree in risque film making… which.. of course requires no more qualifications than does the fry cook at your local fast food place).

I know someone can (someone always can) give me some eloquent story about psychology and human nature and how valuable the study of porn is in our colleges. In fact, I’d love to hear it.. it’s been a while since I’ve had a good laugh.

(gets the big hook from stage right.. falls off his soapbox.. and returns backstage to prepare his next rant)

EmpressPixie's avatar

@asmonet: Seriously?!?! After reading that article, I think the students should have a sit-in at that guy’s office. And be outside his freaking house on the sidewalk. I’m sorry, but using public office to threaten to cut funding to a school because of ONE, totally scholastically legit activity? Especially now that it IS a students’ rights issue. Using public office to lean on University to say, “You can’t teach that.”????? This is not the mid-west and evolution. Universities are on a totally different level. This is obscene. Not the porn, the man in office. I really hope some of those college students are busily working on the campaign against him.

I’m going to go let my head explode.

Also, @NaturalMineralWater, your views on porn are actually half of why it is discussed and dissected. Sociology classes look at it and say, “is this what is happening? Are we becoming desensitized? What is this doing to American society? The world?” And they discuss the problems with porn inside the industry as well as the problems with porn in society. Or the lack of problems. The point is that, as such a large part of modern life (like it or not), it is important to discuss it. Otherwise a discussion on the modern American falls short. It’s like talking about the 60s and 70s and choosing not to mention riots or violent demonstrations because you find them distasteful. You don’t have to mention them, but if you don’t your analysis of the era is poorly constructed. It’s college. We’re supposed to be teaching them to think. Teaching them to selectively ignore that which upsets them is failing everyone. The students who put their trust in the school, the parents who pay for their children to go there, and public that supports the school as a higher institution.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

@EmpressPixie
I feel the need to add my standard disclaimer here: I’m a very whimsical fellow and my responses.. while sarcastic, satirical, and downright ruddy.. intend no offense.. I’m just a bloke who enjoys a good textual spat.

Wow.. a whole entire brainstorming session is needed to discover that, indeed, porn is bad?

Ow. Hit head on brick wall. Must examine. Indeed.. brick is of a solid material. When head come in contact with brick wall.. solid material does not shift aside. It stay put and nerves in soft head tell me there is pain. When hit head many time on wall forehead become numb. Me believe that… (collapsing noise)

I mean.. what are we talking about here? At some point over analysis should stop and cognitive action begin! You’re not ignoring a problem by leaving it out of the classroom for pete’s sake.. you are acknowledging an unhealthy thing for what it is and avoiding it! In a sense boycotting it.

How many people will go to bear island to examine the bears only to be eaten? Yeeeahloooo McFly.. bears are dangerous!

Should we swim naked in shark infested waters with open wounds on our necks to study the sharpness of shark teeth? (insert Jim Carrey voice) I for one vote… neeooooooo!

Now, I’m not about to go picketing the college and crying about naked people on video on the campus.. it’s just amazing how corrupt our world is becoming imho.. There used to be a time when women would agree with my view on porn.. now it seems there are more arguing for it than against it.. (cue Twilight Zone theme song)

Ahh.. this makes me think of a great song:
This world is not my home I’m just a-passing through
my treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue
the angels beckon me from Heaven’s open door
and I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.

EmpressPixie's avatar

But without careful analysis you can’t just say it is bad. When you hit your head against a brick wall, you know it is bad because you’ve hit your head before. If you had never hit your head before, you wouldn’t know it hurt. When it is the brain and psyche, it’s much harder. For years and years people lived by the saying “spare the rod and spoil the child”. Beatings were absolutely part of bringing up children. Now we think that possibly beating the snot out of someone for getting their Sunday best dirty may hurt them in more ways that the physical.

Similarly, you have to look at the porn and say, “what is this actually doing to society?” If anything. I, personally, disagree with you that all porn is bad, by the way. I’m one of those feminists that will argue for it at times. For example, people who have extreme social-sexual difficulty may need to see porn as part of their therapy. There are ways you can be pretty screwed up in the head that porn actually helps to CURE.

At the same time, we have to look at porn to be able to address the problems it presents. If I’ve never seen porn, how can I really talk about the growing gap in cultures fed to men and women as they mature. Women are fed a lot of romantic crap and Twilight and told to engage in abstinence, while men go online and seen porn. And think women, mature adult women, should come hairless. Because that’s what they’ve been introduced to. Porn, like it or not, formulates some of society’s standards in how women should look. So then men have this one standard based on their sexual experiences (ie, porn) and women have this other standard and when they meet CABLOOEY! It’s an evolving part of our society and you really think it’s not important to address when we talk about our society?

aprilsimnel's avatar

When I was in college (almost 20 years ago now) as a film major, yes, indeed, we watched porn in some of my classes; one on the changes in modes of production and the wake of the new filmmaking after the studios system was totally destroyed after ca. 1970, and in an Womens’ Studies/Media elective about the rise of pornography correlating with the rise of home viewing machines and how the nature of porn changed in the 1980s because of all the money coming in from people being able to watch porn privately at home. We also looked at it to question the assumptions about male and female behavior codified by these sorts of films and the repercussions in the wider society.

There’s definitely legitimate academic reasons to study pornography. And these kids seem to have been emphasizing the free speech angle of their screening. I may not want to attend such an screening, but I’d’ve loved to have been at the discussion afterwards.

Jayne's avatar

Aside from the fact that it is ridiculous, and totally arrogant, to just say something is bad and leave it at that, especially when there is a significant portion of the population who clearly does not share that same opinion (I doubt, somehow, that there is a large head-banging-against-wall lobby in America), we need to remember that the point of studying porn is not to determine its “worth” at all. I would be far more worried by a sociology or anthropology class that does nothing but sit around, passing judgment on things, than one that wants to get off on some porn. The goal isn’t even to analyze the effects of porn, at least not exclusively; that would be more suited to a controlled study than a viewing such as this. It is, or at least could legitimately be, an effort to understand the aspects of human nature that are behind pornography; something so popular as porn, and which despite its carnal appearance wields an entirely psychological influence, must surely say something fairly fundamental about our brains and about the society of which those brains form a part. And of course, the very reaction that this incident has produced is of interest to sociologists who would study the curious relationship that porn and sex has in our society. The fact that we here are arguing about the topic makes it a legitimate point of study; and I personally don’t care to study something that I have never seen.

asmonet's avatar

I…was gonna, you know, say stuff.
But Pixie stole all the good words.
April as well… Jayne too.

Well. That’s it for me then.
Just, I would be severely disappointed if throughout my academic career I did not view pornography for at least a few f my classes. I hope to become at least and Anthropologist, I would find it an incredible disservice to me if others who may not have the ability to appreciate what makes up my education decided what I was exposed to.

hitomi's avatar

I just want to thank everyone who has answered this question so far…when I was asking it I was ACTUALLY interested in BOTH sides of the argument and was worried that I would get either (A) Everyone ranting and talking JUST one side with no ACTUAL discussion present or (B) Some discussion, but all of it people simply saying “Yes, porn it allowed” and “No, because porn is bad” as I have seen after some questions.

Thank you for discussing this intelligently and giving me a better idea of both sides of the argument. Even though I am biased because of my views I am appreciative of both sides.

asmonet's avatar

@hitomi: Out of curiosity, what is your opinion? Join the fun. :)

tonedef's avatar

I want to echo @EmpressPixie in that the fact that elected officials are threatening to pull all of a school’s funding for this is abhorrent. The sexy, cunning, and well-informed input from @asmonet and @EmpressPixie capture anything I might have wanted to say here. I have a total brain crush on y’all and @dynamicduo.

asmonet's avatar

:-*
Reciprocated, tonedef. :)

hitomi's avatar

@asmonet I was raised by a Northern Californian (she grew up in the Bay area in the 60s and 70s) and so I’m all about freedoms and people being allowed to do what they want as long as they’re not hurting anyone. As long as something isn’t FORCED on someone I don’t really think you should judge it – needless to say I’m pretty okay with porn (I also personally happen to find it HIGH-STERICAL)

As for this issue, I have been involved in higher ed for AGES and I was HUGELY involved as a student and I PERSONALLY, think that it’s short sited to disregard the educational value of a screening like this just because it’s offensive to some people. I agree with what others have said about pornography’s value sociologically and I am always a proponent of discussion rather than just saying “it’s bad” without any other thought put in to it (saying anything is just flat-out “bad” also seems to be closed-minded to me).

That pretty much sums up how I feel on this in the simplest terms!

asmonet's avatar

I like you! :)

hitomi's avatar

I like you too :-D

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

Toilet paper: 3$

Toilet seat cover: 10$

This line right here: “There are ways you can be pretty screwed up in the head that porn actually helps to CURE.”….. Priceless.

There’s nothing more I can say.. my opinion is out there.. I respectfully (and quite adamantly) disagree with .. well.. most of you.. but that’s life.. it wouldn’t be much fun if you all agreed with me anyway. It’s all part of the great plan anyway I think.. we (as a society) will become slowly more and more liberal until we collapse. Remove the foundations.. let the building fall.

(strolls away humming the tune to: ”..this world is not my home, I’m just a-passin through”)

creatrixe's avatar

I am so with you on this one, @NaturalMineralWater. I nearly laughed out loud when I read that! Mind you, I’ve been the victim of several extremely bad attempts at “sexual technique,” which my partners had learned through watching porn. Very painful. I think porn should be banned simply for that fact that men can get the impression that clamping down on a woman’s labia and trying to tear it away from her body feels good for the woman. I even saw a snippet of the movie where that little gem was taken from.

As for a question of free speech: what speech! It’s grinding, the lowest form of sex. Fight for it all you want, because well… someone’s got to defend the innately boring. Young women who fall under the spell of men who teach them that it’s “liberal” and “progressive” to approve of porn (which is an extremely reactionary, patriarchal view of pleasure), are always the ones who shout the loudest about free speech rights and blah blah blah when it comes to porn. To each her own brainwash. In my recent young-old age, I’ve learned that I’m the one who’s progressive in my views on porn :) I don’t let anyone tell me what I should think about sex anymore. Or what qualifies as a free speech issue.

I was friends with a young woman who had been in a couple of movies; she didn’t seem utterly scarred by the experience, however. She was just like every other young woman who does drugs and can’t keep friends, who thinks that every guy she lays is The One. Probably a pretty random sample. I bet those enemas felt good though. Totally within her rights to have them, and thank god she did, because hey: hardcore porn really speaks to women, when they don’t have anything interesting to say for themselves.

EmpressPixie's avatar

The right to free speech means defending at the top of your lungs, your entire life, the right for someone to express that which turns your stomach and disgusts you. If you don’t defend all free speech, one day it won’t be free at all. Come on, you should know this!

You don’t have to think porn is empowering for women or men to think that a group should have the right to see it and discuss it. Like we basically all said above, you can’t talk about the pitfalls of porn in society—an important topic considering most guys in this day and Internet age have their first sexual experience with porn—by ignoring porn. You don’t have to like it to have a mature, academic discussion about it.

As for porn in therapy, not all of it is totally ridiculous you know. The stuff that is relatively accurate can be used in surrogacy therapy. Heck, considering it’s totally normal for guys to watch, even the crazy out-there stuff can be. But then, given your attitude towards porn, you probably don’t believe in surrogacy therapy either. That’s a shame since it has helped lots of people.

Qingu's avatar

@NaturalMineralWater, I take it you also think we should tear out all the “porn” sections of the Bible—such as when Moses commands his troops to keep the captured Midianite virgin girls for themselves as “booty” in Numbers 31—lest college students become corrupted and our civilization begins to collapse?

creatrixe's avatar

I totally don’t understand how my above post got posted… that was my brain-diarrhoea, pre-edited. I thought I posted my less vitriolic version. I apologize for the inflammatory bits—pick your own, it was all a first draft.

I’m all for academic discussion. Is that what this screening was about? The original question asked if porn should be screened as an event. An event, in my mind, is usually associate with beer, ice cream, or flag-waving. People tend to enjoy events. Such was my reading of the question.

What I conveyed in my unseen-second version was that men need better sources—living women—to gain their sexual education from. Porn hurts women in a very literal, physical sense, besides the effect on the psyche of repetitive exposure. That is what I am opposed to. I’ve wound up bleeding profusely due to foreplay “techniques” men have learned from watching porn. It’s really sad what is out there, and the perception it breeds of what is “pleasurable” to women’s bodies.

Please don’t talk about what’s normal for guys. If you’re talking norms, I understand the sentence. But it’s too late in civilization to pretend that the word “normal” has not taken on connotations that leave many people feeling like there is something wrong with them. It is no more the norm for guys to sit around watching hardcore pornography (we’re not talking softcore) on a consistent basis than it is for them to not sit around watching hardcore porn. Of course, compulsive viewers are obviously out there. Again, talking about specific effects of porn and not generalizations, I dated a man who had been addicted to hardcore pornography and coke for 12 years. Lost his wife. Lost his kid. Tried to kill himself three times. I broke up with him after he asked me to pee on him. Normal to watch porn, and normal to act it out? How bloody unfortunate for those of us who actually see the effects firsthand.

I do not believe the governor (?) was right in threatening the withdrawal of funds, but I’m sure everyone here must understand that he was put in a very difficult position by this issue, especially in the eyes of his constituents. He may have been acting against his personal beliefs, for all we know.

“The amendment would have made exceptions for films shown in a classroom for a course such as cinematography.” (http://www.wtop.com/?nid=25&sid=1639999)

I believe that a showing as part of a classroom lecture conjures a completely different set of circumstances—that is, educational circumstances—than a student “event” viewing of porn. That reads as prurience. Could have something to do with the perception of this event. Were the events in Cali, etc, screened in class, or by students on campus? Just curious.

hitomi's avatar

@creatrixe As someone who was very involved in Student Activities at my university it didn’t occur to me to clarify the word “event” any activity that is not officially a part of a class and invites the whole of the campus population is generally considered and “event”. We broke out events into “social”, “community service”, “fundraiser” and “educational”, but I should have specified that it was (to my knowledge) and Educational “event”.

As for porn hurting women in a physical sense, I am sorry about your experiences, that must have been horrible, but generalizing by saying that this is a fact of porn and not just the incompetence of your sexual partners is rather limited. I am a firm believer in “to each his own”...some people ARE sexually aroused by pain and rough sex. I don’t think you should blame porn, but rather blame your partners (and in some cases possibly yourself) for not differing behaviors based on the needs of the person you’re with. Porn “techniques” when done properly might be very effective for some women and not at all for others…similarly, the gentler more passive methods of pleasuring might NOT work for someone.

Every person is different and it’s up to the people involved to discover what works for them and communicate about it. I think that using porn to generate discussion amongst strangers might make SOME people more comfortable talking about it with someone they are intimate with. If you can watch pornography and discuss it with people you’ve never met, you should be able to talk about your needs with your partner.

EmpressPixie's avatar

@hitomi: Lurve. And lurve again.

adreamofautumn's avatar

It’s been said by a number of people already, but I think that anything that has scholastic merit and can be justified as such has as much of a right to be on a college campus as any other scholarly event. My school just got up in arms about whether or not we should allow Norman Finkelstein to speak here or whether prohibiting the group that wanted to bring him to campus was censorship. I believe that if there is a strong basis for the event and something that can be gained/learned than that is what college is about.

I also want to point out that I think a number of people in here made me like them that much more (or at all if it’s the first time i’ve encountered you) purely for the way this question was handled and the fact that it did not dissolve into name calling and general childishness. Yay Jellies!

DREW_R's avatar

Yep, as long as there are a bunch of willing women to watch it with. ;)

BBQsomeCows's avatar

allowed?

Are they all adults?

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