Originally posted at: http://mattfradd.com/whats-adult-about-adult-entertainment/

by Matt Fradd


Pornography is, no doubt, a form of entertainment. But what are we to make of the protest of porn advocates that pornography is “adult entertainment.” What is it that they mean? I think they mean either a) pornography is not for children. or b) pornography is adult entertainment in that it is appreciated by the sophisticated—like blue cheese, good scotch, and Dostoyevsky. Perhaps they mean both. Either way, let’s address each point:

Pornography is not for children

If this is all that porn advocates mean, then fine; I agree. But if this is meant to be an argument for the legitimacy of the adult use of pornography, it’s hopeless. That would be like arguing that since racism, heroine, bigotry, and mockery of the poor are not for children, that it therefore follows that they are for adults. Certainly it would be less disturbing to see these actions in an adult than a child but that doesn’t mean they’re not disturbing actions for an adult to commit.

Pornography is sophisticated entertainment

Seriously? What exactly is sophisticated about porn? The acting? The script? The man who sneaks away from his wife late at night to get a “fix” from his iPhone?

It says “Adult”

Yes, strip clubs and porn stores have large, often flashing, neon signs that say “adult” or “gentlemen’s club.” But, doesn’t this seem a tad defensive? I can imagine the following conversation taking place between two co-owners of a strip club:

Erk: They’re saying that what we’re doing is immoral.

Bob: Immoral?

Erk: Yeah! That “real men don’t go to strip clubs.”

Bob: The nerve!

Erk: How can get across the fact—that you and I both realize—that paying women money to pretend to like you is totally manly?

Bob: Huge neon sign that says “Manly”?

Erk: Nah, too blatant.

Bob: “Gentlemen’s Club”?

Erk: Bloody brilliant!

Actions speak louder than words; even when those words are five feet high, neon, and constitute the phrase “gentlemen’s club.” It seems to me that the attempt to make sexual deviancy appear gentlemanly was nothing more than the attempt of weak men to justify shameful behavior; and I think deep down we all know this. I think deep down even porn stores realize this! The back entrances and covered windows have more to do with their noble desire to safe-guard the innocence of children.

So, in my humble opinion, it seems that, despite the porn industry’s protestations to the contrary, “adult entertainment” is very efficient means of making those who buy into it increasingly juvenile.

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