Pornography Penetrating the European Union

Pornography is a growing trend that is strongly correlated with the use and availability of the internet, increasing amounts of leisure time and increasingly blurred lines between pornographic material and mainstream culture. Pornography’s penetration into the European culture effects the EU’s economy, law, politics and culture; as well as it’s image. Ultimately, the consumption, content and availability of pornographic material is driven by demand, and with the increasing availability of pornographic material, it is safe to say said demand is quite large. The availability, demand and normalization of pornography has affected or been affected by people living in the European Union.

Whenever economies are booming and incomes are flowing, people start to venture off into many different categories of leisure. Come home from work, kids are still at daycare for another few hours (because you can afford it), and thousands of free porn sites are just waiting at your fingertips ready for your viewing pleasure. Prosperity does not necessarily create new issues, rather perpetuates existing issues into the social, political and global spotlight. The European Union has been at peace since the second world war, so issues that are more nitty and gritty have surfaced, such as the viewing of pornography and how the industry should be regulated. Before the internet, pornography was much easier to regulate. Since the internet (which was arguably innovated around the idea of sharing pornography), the porn industry has taken off, become popular, normalized and accepted by a majority of our populations.

The next step for the EU, and the rest of the world, is to figure out how to regulate this industry without impeding on the rights of its citizens. Pornography has penetrated deep into the European culture, and not one single person, company, region, country or continent can be solely blamed. Erotic material has been a human “thing” since humans have been human, and the way us humans deal with that reality is the only thing that has evolved. During our current time in human history, that erotic nature is displayed in the form on free online porn.

Why is this an issue?

There are a few reasons why the bottomless supply of pornography might pose a problem for the EU (and the rest of the world). The methods of delivering this adult entertainment to anyone in the world who has the at least the slightest bit of internet connection are advanced and advancing. Since the technology is there, and difficult to regulate without censoring the internet from people’s freedom of speech and expression, a few walls still have to be built in order to make sure the industry does not cross into forbidden territory. An example of this is the ban of child pornography. In the year 2000, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography.

In a nutshell, it requires all states to prohibit the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. An example of a European Union member state that complies with this protocol (among all others) is Germany. Germany does not explicitly state that an internet service provider must report to any mandated agency; however, it is a punishable offense for any ISP that knows of any child pornographic material on its website to not delete the illegal content.

So why doesn’t Germany, along with most other countries that have laws banning child pornography, just force ISP’s to report to law enforcement? Well, this brings us back to the rights of the people. If, by law, ISP’s were forced to report anyone who might be suspected of say, viewing child pornography, a lot of people who either accidentally come across something of the sort while browsing the internet or key in the words “child porn” a bunch of times in order to write a research paper, would have a little bit of dignity stripped away while they are being interrogate by police.

To wrap it up

Child pornography was just one example of the many implications the presence of the porn industry carries around. My point is, erotica is, and always has been a part of human nature. It dates back to the early days of human history; petroglyphs have been discovered demonstrating sexual behavior dated back over 25,000 years ago. It is not something that will go away because a law tells people its not allowed. It is a reality that the European culture has to define for itself- either let it be or shove it back into the closet.

5 thoughts on “Pornography Penetrating the European Union

  1. William Tingley

    I wrote about a similar concept for my Gods, Ghosts, and Ancestors class, focusing on the sexuality and sharing of that sexual material between Chinese males in the 16th century, and how that inevitably found its way into the ghost stories of the time, combining aspects of the supernatural with the sexuality and gender expectations of men and women of the time period.
    Similar to what you’ve wrote about how sexuality and pornography has been around for thousands of years, as long as humans have had written or drawn history, it occupies a fundamental aspect in today’s world. We can see it in advertising, and even the stories, movies, and various types of media we read all tend to encompass some aspect of sexuality, because it is a core aspect to humanity.
    I think in this case Europe won’t be able to bottle it, and the best way for them to deal with it is regulate the obviously harmful and otherwise let it carry on as it is.

  2. Taylor Dancer

    First and foremost I want to commend you on your title. It is extremely creative and compelling.
    For my Irish Women and Drama class, I wrote a proposal for a propaganda campaign aimed at recruiting and gaining support for the Irish Republican Army in women. The first connection that I see with your project is the pervasiveness of media. The pornography industry often uses the sort of traditional marketing (posters etc,) that we hoped to use to reach the women in Ireland. However, they are able to reach a much larger audience with the internet. If my proposal were set in modern times we would hope to be able to get the reach that this industry has.
    The concept of free speech is another connection that I see. In Ireland during the time of Easter Rising, free speech was not a right. We hoped to reach women through gatherings, but they would have to be held very secretly. I think that it is important and significant that European countries respect these rights today, even when it involves sex work.

  3. Kylen Veilleux

    What an interesting and modern topic! I have noticed a huge insurgence of movies on netflix about sex workers and pornography in recent months but this is truly a global issue. I studied Irish Women and performance this semester and it think it is so interesting to see this whole view of sexuality change over the past 100-150 years, reading a play form the 1900’s I remember how scandalous it was for a women to even lift her skirt and how it is easy for children to see this really graphic material. I like your point about about territory and child pornography because I think it can be really dangerous to stray from 2 consenting adults to something illegal as we have seen on even as mainstream medias as facebook where live streams of gang rape have been broadcast. What do you propose we do about steams like that on platforms essentially intended for children.

  4. Hannah Thompson

    This is a really interesting topic that I wouldn’t have thought about until I read your abstract. Your point about increased leisure time was a great theory to explain why the porn in on the rise in the EU. In Shaking the Sprit my class talked about how society is commodifying people to make a profit, which is basically what the porn industry is. We looked at examples of banana advertisements, we talked about how the banana was portrayed as a fun loving female that looks like she is ready to go dancing. One of the earliest Chiquita banana features a duo of musicians play for a banana dancing, and later advertisements have cut out any cultural reference, and it just features a women. Viewing people as commodities is seen everywhere in out society, as well as our two classes.

  5. Tyler Wright

    I think the fascination with pornography and pornographic material is incredibly interesting. It’s interesting to see different perspectives on the topic and see how pornography is viewed culturally around the world. In my studies, we discussed Afro-Caribbean communities and how voodoo influences these communities. One of the voodoo spirits we looked at is a spirit named Gede. The main defining feature of any Gede statue or art piece is that his phallus is always out. In this community it’s not viewed in any sexual aspect, yet first seeing these images, that’s exactly how I took it and how i’m sure other communities from your studies would take it. It’s curious to think about how sexuality is vastly different from community to community and it makes me wonder why the communities I looked at don’t view something like Gede’s phallus in the same way myself or others might.


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