Perhaps you heard the news that Playboy decided to end its run of publishing completely nude photographs in its print publications. Such a concession from one of the iconic distributors of pornography likely shocked numerous people, but the proliferation of pornography via the Internet greatly hampered the magazine’s sales. People stopped seeing the need to purchase what could readily and freely be Google searched.
Many have noted the irony in Playboy’s decision; one of the main contributors to such a porn-rich culture now finds itself lamenting the fact that accessibility to pornography has started to drive the company out of business. In listening to one particular news report, however, I found a completely different source of irony.
The BBC, in their World News This Week podcast, interviewed a professor from Florida State University, Diane Roberts, about the subject. In her commentary,* she called Playboy “important as a libertine assault on American prudery in the 1950s and 60s” but then would go on to describe the magazine as “serving [the women] up like cakes,” presumably to be devoured. That the professor’s praise for Playboy’s initial exploits would, in nearly the same breath, turn to mourning over pornography’s negative effects on women and culture astounds me. How could the start of something as devastating as the porn industry ever be heralded as “important?”
As the spread of sexual content via media continues to cause problems for men and women; as the spread continues to ruin intimacy within relationships; and as the spread of continues to fuel the sex trafficking industry, any belief that the introduction of pornography into society could be described as beneficial to that society seems totally absurd.
*The commentary starts around the 8:10 mark.