Regis College Senior Honors Program
Thesis - Open Access
Number of Pages
Often in today’s Western culture, pornography is considered to be “no big deal.” More and more people are routinely consuming more and more pornography, more varied and more extreme than ever before, all the while acclaiming pornography and defending it from censure. These responses are based on perceptions of the essence of pornography as an art form, a legitimate means to sexual exploration and self-expression. Unfortunately, attempts to truly engage the question of pornography’s essence have been sadly lacking, both in popular culture and academia; most commentators focus their energies on expressing their initial reactions to pornography, while skimming over or ignoring completely the question of essence or definition. Yet an understanding of what it means to be “pornography” is a necessary precursor to constructing an appropriate human response to the reality of porn; as such, this thesis represents a direct investigation into the essence of pornography. Ultimately, I will demonstrate that pornography is not a subset of art but is in fact antithetical to art in terms of its actual effects in society and individuals, and that the essence of pornography lies in a deep disrespect for and misrepresentation of sexuality and human reality. As such, we ought not praise, consume, or even ignore pornography, but instead must recognize and fight against the tangible dangers it presents for society and humanity as a whole.
Date of Award
© Jacob Wilkerson
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Wilkerson, Jacob, "The Problem of Porn: An Ethical, Historical, and Aesthetic Investigation into the Essence of Pornography" (2016). Student Publications. 799.