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Does Pornography Qualify as Art?

Use this forum to have philosophical discussions about aesthetics and art. What is art? What is beauty? What makes art good? You can also use this forum to discuss philosophy in the arts, namely to discuss the philosophical points in any particular movie, TV show, book or story.
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Re: Does Pornography Qualify as Art?

Post by Greta » May 27th, 2015, 6:47 pm

LuckyR wrote:A great case of: "yeah, but..."

Yeah, but we aren't discussing sex, we're considering erotica, the depiction of sex, not sex itself. Personally my answer to the OP's "does pornography qualify as art?" is : generally no, but it can.
We are discussing sex but I take your point and agree with your ultimate conclusion. I think I just get frustrated by prudishness, because it always smells of hypocrisy. It's often been interesting and enlightening when the surface of "morals campaigners" are scratched ...
The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated—Gandhi.

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Re: Does Pornography Qualify as Art?

Post by Mark1955 » August 12th, 2015, 3:37 pm

How about the following separation

Erotic Art - something that I am prepared to admit sexually arouses me.

Pornography - Something I am uncomfortable admitting sexually arouses me.
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Re: Does Pornography Qualify as Art?

Post by Belinda » August 12th, 2015, 3:45 pm

I prefer:

Erotic art titillates. 'Erotic art' is not an evaluation.

Pornography portrays people as pawns in a deliberately false picture or text. An evaluation that's commonly applied to sexual portrayals. Wherever lies are wrong pornography is wrong.
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Re: Does Pornography Qualify as Art?

Post by UniversalAlien » August 12th, 2015, 5:31 pm

Belinda wrote:I prefer:

Erotic art titillates. 'Erotic art' is not an evaluation.

Pornography portrays people as pawns in a deliberately false picture or text. An evaluation that's commonly applied to sexual portrayals. Wherever lies are wrong pornography is wrong.
Strange you can say it is false to see what is really happening - to me that is true not false. And wrong you say? The is your morality which you are entitled to - But a good percentage of entertainment art show people beat up, killed and otherwise physically harmed. So does your morality say that it is alright for people to harm and destroy each other and you can call this art - But if they are experiencing sexual pleasure that is false and wrong? To some sex may be considered the highest of all arts and sexual sub-conscious psychology may be at the root of most other art. To some just the word pornography implies dirty sex - But what's in a word and just exactly what is clean sex - Like I've said in other posts all biological life sucks - so until we evolve into androids sex can never be a completely clean act - biological beings, such as Man, carry bacteria, diseases, etc. On the other hand sex with androids might be very strange.

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Re: Does Pornography Qualify as Art?

Post by Belinda » August 12th, 2015, 6:29 pm

Universal alien, the pornography that I've seen is not about people as people really are. The sexual encounters in the pornography I've seen are not as sex really is for most people most of the time. That's why pornography is a lie. I hope that you don't expect sex to be like pornosex. Commercial porn actors don't even look like most real people look.

Porn is not about dirty sex and clean sex. Porn is about sex that is extremely romanticised so that it has ceased to be real. But porn is so prevalent and so commercially viable that inexperienced people and even some experienced people believe that is how sex should be and if they don't measure up there is something wrong with them.

People worry that their breasts are too small or too whatever. People worry that their penises are too whatever that is not matching the porn ideal that sells best. People worry that they don't have enough orgasms, or that they don't enjoy certain sexual activities. All this is due to lies that are told about what good sex should be like. True, lies are also told by some strict religions, and by some repressed people who think all sex has something bad about it. The truth is not to be found in porn either. Real people have feelings and passions besides sexual excitement. Porn narrates nothing except what happens next and who does what to whom but unlike the harmless erotica, porn does not tell the truth about real human nature.
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Re: Does Pornography Qualify as Art?

Post by UniversalAlien » August 12th, 2015, 7:12 pm

Belinda I can agree with most of what you just said BUT would this not also apply to ALL film art? Isn't all film art an exaggeration of reality and the film artists perception of reality, possibly with the exception of true stories and even there their artistic expression in books, movies,etc is often altering the truth.

Now as far as the 'value' of pornography and how it affects people - Yes it could be harmful - Again, the same could be said of watching violence, murder and mayhem in ordinary films. On the other hand it could be argued that at least some pornography is of educational value - for young healthy people it might give them things to explore - and pause to think about whether or not they want to do whatever - This could also be said about violence in entertainment - When people see excessive violence I would think and hope that though they find it entertaining, they themselves would not so engage.

Long age the Supreme Court finally gave up on trying to define obscenity - Obscenity is in the mind of the beholder. Personally I find soap operas with all their emotional hang-ups and over expression to be obscene - Emotion can be more obscene than sexuality and often is - probably leads to a lot more violence than sex.

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Re: Does Pornography Qualify as Art?

Post by Mark1955 » August 13th, 2015, 6:21 am

Belinda wrote:I prefer:

Erotic art titillates. 'Erotic art' is not an evaluation.

Pornography portrays people as pawns in a deliberately false picture or text. An evaluation that's commonly applied to sexual portrayals. Wherever lies are wrong pornography is wrong.
How do I know someone is being portrayed as a pawn?

-- Updated 13 Aug 2015 11:23 to add the following --
UniversalAlien wrote: until we evolve into androids sex can never be a completely clean act - biological beings, such as Man, carry bacteria, diseases, etc. On the other hand sex with androids might be very strange.
Assuming by android you mean a non biological machine what would be the point of sex?

-- Updated 13 Aug 2015 11:26 to add the following --
Belinda wrote: porn does not tell the truth about real human nature.
So why do humans make it and look at it?

-- Updated 13 Aug 2015 11:31 to add the following --
UniversalAlien wrote: This could also be said about violence in entertainment - When people see excessive violence I would think and hope that though they find it entertaining, they themselves would not so engage.

Long age the Supreme Court finally gave up on trying to define obscenity - Obscenity is in the mind of the beholder. Personally I find soap operas with all their emotional hang-ups and over expression to be obscene - Emotion can be more obscene than sexuality and often is - probably leads to a lot more violence than sex.
I have long failed to understand why the portrayal of sex, which can be so pleasant and is generally legal is so proscribed when violence which is certainly not pleasant to me and is generally illegal is so commonly permitted to be portrayed.
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Re: Does Pornography Qualify as Art?

Post by Belinda » August 13th, 2015, 7:26 am

Mark wrote:
How do I know someone is being portrayed as a pawn?
When their personality is omitted from the portrayal. The pornographic artist is not a sexual participant but is an observer and recorder. The pornographic artist deceives himself if he believes that the consumers of his artistry confine his observations to sexual titillation alone. They often don't. The consumers too often start to believe that the artists' work portrays what women and men are like in their social relations as a whole, regarding each other as means to ends, and in their romanticised physical characteristics and sexual athleticism. Pawns are not agents, not selves , not persons, they are cardboard cut- outs of people, sort of tools.

Porn is enjoyed because people like to be sexually titillated. 'Pornography ' not only connotes a negative evaluation, it also denotes a social and psychological series of events. Sexual titillation good : lies that people are means to ends bad.
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Re: Does Pornography Qualify as Art?

Post by UniversalAlien » August 13th, 2015, 4:43 pm

Belinda wrote:
When their personality is omitted from the portrayal. The pornographic artist is not a sexual participant but is an observer and recorder. The pornographic artist deceives himself..........
I'm pleased that al least you used the words 'pornographic artist', and yes if you try to suppress your pre-conceived prejudice against so-called pornography they are artists. I once asked a hooker why she was in the business she was in and she said she liked sex - a simple and probably true answer. Many people like sex but they would never consider being hookers or porn stars, that is not who they are. And how many 'normal' people would consider debating philosophical subjects on a philosophy forum or even worse becoming professional philosophers {ie. writing books or teaching philosophy} - But that is who we are - and from societies point of view we might be considered stranger than hookers and porn stars :lol:

You would agree that the Human body is art - would you not? Would you also agree that sex can be an art? And how about the portrayal of Human sexuality - Can this not also be an art? Curious but before the Supreme Court rulings in the US legalized almost anything sexual in film, the legal porno of the past which often came from Europe and was shown in a censored R rated version in the US was shown in what they used to call 'art' movie theaters - of course the moralists were still screaming about the obscenity of it.

I just got finished watching an excellent sci-fi series titled "First Wave" and co-staring in many of the episodes the former porn star Traci Elizabeth Lords - One of the few porn stars who successfully switched to mainstream acting - and did it well. Now getting back to the way you seem to be demonizing pornography and its actors - I think this prejudice from someone who calls herself a socialist to be hypocritical. About a year ago I found out that some websites were showing free pornography {of course they are also trying to sell you something} and began to watch what I wouldn't pay two cents for if I had to pay for it - Its been a strange, interesting and educational trip. What becomes obvious after awhile is variation in quality and art in theses film. And what also becomes obvious is the better quality, more erotic, and yes, more artistic films are being done by people who are relatively young, healthy and really enjoy what they are doing - In no way are they pawns - the only pawns might be the people who start paying to watch it - but what else is new in our capitalist world of profit?

So just because you do not like so-called pornography, other people do - And who are you who call yourself a socialist to criticize the poor woman who might be good looking, attractive, and not too bright because the one thing in the world she became good at is sex :?:

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Re: Does Pornography Qualify as Art?

Post by Belinda » August 14th, 2015, 4:48 am

Uni versal Alien misrepresented me as follows:
So just because you do not like so-called pornography, other people do - And who are you who call yourself a socialist to criticize the poor woman who might be good looking, attractive, and not too bright because the one thing in the world she became good at is sex :?:
I'm sorry that you seem to have misunderstood my meaning. I'll try once again to make my meaning a little clearer. Sexual titillation is good and is expressed by erotic art forms. Some erotica is pornographic. Pornography is a name for erotic art forms which include some or all of the following implications and subliminal messages:

Women, men, children, and animals exist to please paying customers.

All men and women are sexual athletes and if you fail to be a sexual athlete you are not normal.

Exploited and or coerced sexual participants are unharmed by porno productions.
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Re: Does Pornography Qualify as Art?

Post by Mark1955 » August 14th, 2015, 5:40 am

Belinda wrote:Pornography is a name for erotic art forms which include some or all of the following implications and subliminal messages:

Women, men, children, and animals exist to please paying customers.
At times I try to please paying customers, that way they keep paying me. Why is wanting paying wrong; should I always do everything people want for free [that sounds like slavery to me].
Belinda wrote:All men and women are sexual athletes and if you fail to be a sexual athlete you are not normal.
How do I know I've failed?
Belinda wrote:Exploited and or coerced sexual participants are unharmed by porno productions.
So as long as the participants don't pretend to be coerced it's not pornography?
If you think you know the answer you probably don't understand the question.

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Re: Does Pornography Qualify as Art?

Post by UniversalAlien » August 14th, 2015, 6:25 am

Belinda wrote:Uni versal Alien misrepresented me as follows:
So just because you do not like so-called pornography, other people do - And who are you who call yourself a socialist to criticize the poor woman who might be good looking, attractive, and not too bright because the one thing in the world she became good at is sex :?:
I'm sorry that you seem to have misunderstood my meaning. I'll try once again to make my meaning a little clearer. Sexual titillation is good and is expressed by erotic art forms. Some erotica is pornographic. Pornography is a name for erotic art forms which include some or all of the following implications and subliminal messages:

Women, men, children, and animals exist to please paying customers.

All men and women are sexual athletes and if you fail to be a sexual athlete you are not normal.

Exploited and or coerced sexual participants are unharmed by porno productions.
That sounds crazy to me: {implications and subliminal messages :?:}- sounds like the fantasies of the Church during the Inquisition when they burned thousands if not millions of people to death for Witchcraft - sometimes maybe because they looked a little too erotic for their taste.

But fear not Belinda I will put you back on my ignore list {the forum has this optiion} so I will not see your replies - This is nothing personal but maybe you have proven your point - Maybe we still do need some censorship - Some craxy ideas are a lot more dangerous than sex acts portrayed in film :!:

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Re: Does Pornography Qualify as Art?

Post by Belinda » August 14th, 2015, 8:20 am

Mark1955 wrote:
Belinda wrote:Pornography is a name for erotic art forms which include some or all of the following implications and subliminal messages:

Women, men, children, and animals exist to please paying customers.
At times I try to please paying customers, that way they keep paying me. Why is wanting paying wrong; should I always do everything people want for free [that sounds like slavery to me].
Belinda wrote:All men and women are sexual athletes and if you fail to be a sexual athlete you are not normal.
How do I know I've failed?
Belinda wrote:Exploited and or coerced sexual participants are unharmed by porno productions.
So as long as the participants don't pretend to be coerced it's not pornography?
Wanting to be paid for services or goods is absolutely okay. What is not okay is divorcing one's body from one's soul in acts of immoderate loyalty to customers or clients. Likewise an employer should not require immoderate loyalty or services from an employee. If some sex worker enjoys the sex then it's not porn unless the photographer or author implies that something is the case about sexual activity which is not true to human nature or which hurts somebody. Really , assessing whether or not some erotica is pornographic is the same process as assessing whether any art form is truthful or not.

One never knows whether or not if one has Failed ! as there is no absolute criterion. The criteria for success that the commercially successful pornographer implies are usually impossible to measure up to. IMO it's best to judge sexual success or failure against the criterion of pleasuring oneself and whoever else might be participating. In order to do so most people feel happiest if they don't compare their pleasure with what they are supposed to feel. And it's usually reckoned best not to regard any sexual activity as a test of ability.

Intimacy is important to most people so even if the intimacy involves no sexual passion at all, I'd say the sex is good and certainly not a failure.
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Re: Does Pornography Qualify as Art?

Post by Mark1955 » August 14th, 2015, 9:57 am

Belinda wrote: If some sex worker enjoys the sex then it's not porn unless the photographer or author implies that something is the case about sexual activity which is not true to human nature or which hurts somebody. Really , assessing whether or not some erotica is pornographic is the same process as assessing whether any art form is truthful or not.
So since I can't know the mind of the performers how can I say something is porn?
Belinda wrote:One never knows whether or not if one has Failed ! as there is no absolute criterion.
So again we don't have a criterion for porn except against teach individuals view?
If you think you know the answer you probably don't understand the question.

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Re: Does Pornography Qualify as Art?

Post by Belinda » August 14th, 2015, 4:30 pm

Mark1955 wrote:
Belinda wrote: If some sex worker enjoys the sex then it's not porn unless the photographer or author implies that something is the case about sexual activity which is not true to human nature or which hurts somebody. Really , assessing whether or not some erotica is pornographic is the same process as assessing whether any art form is truthful or not.
So since I can't know the mind of the performers how can I say something is porn?
Belinda wrote:One never knows whether or not if one has Failed ! as there is no absolute criterion.
So again we don't have a criterion for porn except against teach individuals view?
The best criteria for evaluating any art work including erotica are those that are employed by people who can assess whether or not the art work is true to life. Qualifications for believable art criticism are scepticism about commercial pressures, ability to pick out important themes if any, appreciation of the quality of the production techniques, entertainment potential, sound moral judgement regarding the production methods, the themes and the semiology.

Erotica is a special case in these times because while sex is so important and so engrossing there is a lot of ignorance about sex and a lot of rather bad ideas linked to it. This makes it quite important to separate bad erotica from good erotica.

My comment Failed ! was about the nature of failure, not particularly about sex. However sex is so important to most people that it's important that people don't feel themselves to be failures if they don't experience what porno actors appear to be experiencing.

Mark you do realise, don't you, that the semiotics incorporated in all art media signifies not only public prejudices but also reinforces them ?
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