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Except for a 1993 amendment regarding “child pornography,” the criminal law does not use the word “pornography” but rather “obscenity.” Some people consider any depiction of nudity or sexual activity to be pornographic.What is objectionable to others, however, is not sexual content per se, or “erotica,” which depicts normal consensual sexual activity, but material in which one or more participants are demeaned, degraded or abused in some manner. What is viewed as pornographic varies from one person to another, from culture to culture, and over time.The term “pornography” can be used in discussion and debate to refer broadly to material that is sexually explicit, or more specifically to sexually explicit material designed primarily to produce sexual arousal in viewers, or to sexually explicit material that subordinates women or is harmful to women and children, or with some other definition in mind.
It is clear, however, that pornographic material is more easily accessible than in the past, mainly because the Internet has created new opportunities for downloading, exchanging and distributing such material.
To begin, it explores the definitions of pornography and the challenges resulting from the lack of agreement over what is meant by the term.
A great deal of the difficulty in discussing pornography results from lack of agreement over what is meant by the term.
Pornography, according to this view, is material that condones or encourages sexual debasement.
Such a distinction cuts across conventional definitions because it means that very explicit sexual depictions can be called “erotica,” while sexual material with relatively unexplicit but demeaning content can be called “pornography.” At the same time, much conventional pornography depicts naked women, and it is argued that such material perpetrates images of women as sexual objects and, thus, can victimize women directly and indirectly.
This practice presents unique challenges for the enforcement and prosecution of law related to pornography, since crimes committed over the Internet are “often envisioned as being borderless.”(1) It has also been suggested that community standards have changed to the point where 30% of all Canadian newsstand sales in the mid 1980s consisted of periodicals that would have been illegal 20 years before.