Several laboratory studies have sought to determine the reactions of men exposed to dif­ferent types of pornography. In most cases, men are shown pornography, and then a test is done to determine whether their attitudes toward women, sex crimes, and the like are


Describe the studies that have been done examining pornography and harm.

altered. Although little evidence indicates that nonviolent, sexually explicit films pro­voke antifemale reactions in men (Padgett et al., 1989), many studies have shown that violent or degrading pornography does influence attitudes. Viewing sexual violence and degradation increases fantasies of rape, the belief that some women secretly desire to be raped, acceptance of violence against women, insensitivity to rape victims, desire for sex without emotional involvement, the treatment of women as sex objects, and desire to see more violent pornography (R. J. Berger et al., 1991; W. A. Fisher & Barak, 1991; Linz, 1989).

On the other hand, these studies take place under artificial conditions (would these men have chosen to see such movies if not in a study?), and feelings of sexual aggression in a laboratory may not mirror a person’s activities in the real world. It is also unclear how long such feelings last and whether they really influence behavior (Kutchinsky, 1991). Other studies show that men’s aggression tends to increase after seeing any vio­lent movie, even if it is not sexual, and so the explicit sexuality of the movies may not be the important factor (Linz & Donnerstein, 1992).


Define the concept of "harm" with respect to pornography.

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