Philosophical discussions of pornography have largely been dominated by moral and political concerns. However, the past decade has seen an increase of attention for aesthetic concerns. While the moral and political issues remain, some aesthetic issues arise independently of those. The central point of much recent debate is whether pornographic works should count as works of art. On the surface, many pornographic works share obvious similarities to works of art. Moreover, at least some pornographic works would seem to satisfy the conditions required to be art on most respectable definitions.
Art vs Porn: How to Explain the Difference to a Child | Protect Young Minds
What is erotic art? Do all paintings with a sexual theme qualify as erotic? How to distinguish between erotica and erotic art? In what way are aesthetic experiences related to, or different from, erotic experiences and are they at all compatible? Both people and works of art can be sensually appealing, but is the beauty in each case substantially the same?
Is it art or is it porn? Teaching kids a definition of pornography can be tricky when it comes to fine art. Even the Sistine Chapel ceiling includes nude figures of Adam and Eve and a whole host of chubby naked cherubs! How do you explain the difference between an age-appropriate definition of pornography and the nudity that is sometimes a part of fine art? Defining pornography as pictures of people with little or no clothes on is age-appropriate for a young child.
Until recently, reflection on pornography has come mainly from outside philosophy. The result was that another understanding of pornography broke surface for the first time, centering on its role in affecting women's social inequality. This understanding challenged a prevailing one that variously revolved around the neutral notion that pornography is simply sexually explicit material intended for sexual arousal. Feminism revealed that pornography's sexually explicit content is overwhelmingly about showing and endorsing sexual means of harming people, mainly women, and conditioning consumers' arousal to cues that present women as sexually vulnerable and violable, for instance, enjoying pain, humiliation, rape, being tied up, cut up, mutilated, bruised, being sexually submissive, reduced to their sexual body parts, etc.