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join the discussion: Is pornography, especially hardcore pornography, too widely available in the United States today? Would you support action by the federal government to crack down on porn?

Dear FRONTLINE,

In reply to the previous post by Paul:

"all pornography is exploitation" -- So if you take a polaroid photo of your naked self and put it in a drawer, you've automatically exploited yourself?

"It is that of men who view the material" --And women like myself who view the material? And gay men viewing images of consenting gay men? And lesbian women viewing images of consenting lesbian women?

"women who subject themselves to be downgraded and objectified" -- Are male models also downgraded? Or are they empowered by freely displaying their gifts?

"children who's innocents is is stolen" [sic] -- The discussion here is about pornography explicit adult images, not criminal child pornography. Child pornography is rare compared to regular pornography. If you want to discuss child porn, go to a forum about that.

"teens who are victimized by the industry" -- The industry in the U.S. is heavily self-policed against contact with teens. Companies check multiple identification of staff to make sure everyone is an adult.

If an 18 or 19 year old person has the right to make his/her own decision about how to drive, whether to drink alcohol, whether to join the army and law down their life for their country, then they certainly have the All-American right to decide for themselves whether they want to remove their own clothes and show off their bodies in photographs and videos.

"and the families of America whom are broken down"

--If an actual family can be broken down purely by the effects of pornography, I would like to know what the heck is wrong with that family.

Pornography is like any other media, it can be used in moderation for entertainment, or it can be used to excess. The sin is in EXCESS, or LACK OF MODERATION -- it has little to do with what hobby the individual has allowed to become an inappropriate or excessive obsession.

Van Nuys, CA

Dear FRONTLINE,

It never ceases to amaze me that the people who are in favor of seeing these women brutalized by multiple partners, will scream "you don't have to watch, no one is forcing you, free speech, etc" will be the first to condemn this industry if their little girl or boy was preyed upon or coerced into becoming a "star".

What parent would like to see their son or daughter perform in some of the most disgusting scenarios the human mind can think up?

The reality is that porn is like an addicting drug. Some people can resist, other who can't, like any addicting drug, will eventually destroy their lives.

People can justify all they want, that the porn industry is just giving the public what they want, but whose version of the public?

Like in any business, only the top people in the industry become wealthy. But these same people should just remember, that they can't take any of their wealth, power, riches, whatever with them when they leave this earth.

Common sense tells us that porn does not benefit our society in any way, nor does it make us any more civilized. It is a victim-oriented industry.

Tom's River, NJ

Dear FRONTLINE,

I think this whole issue is ridiculous. Porn is made BY ADULTS FOR ADULTS and when it's sold at a retail outlet it's usually only sold through an ADULT store of some sort.

As ADULTS we can CHOOSE to watch it or not. What gives anyone the right to tell me what to watch just because they find it offensive. Maybe I don't.

People who want to limit our freedom should move to China.

los angeles, california

Dear FRONTLINE,

I see so many people in the response section focusing only how they disagree with the religious anti-pornography stance and neglecting to address the critical analysis anti-pornography approach which delves into the harm pornography poses to women in this culture wherein women's bodies are commodified and objectified for capital gain.

Perhaps because the truth is a more difficult thing to counter than a religious belief?

At any rate, I saw the program and felt there was too little focus on critical analysis - too much of "this is what people want!" from the pornographers, and kind of a one-sided view of the porn industry from the people who are frankly getting rich by exploiting others and greatly "enjoying" the money side of it, quite obviously at the expense of people whose opinions were not solicited for your program.

Why were no feminist or other groups interviewed in the process of making this documentary? Did Frontline *really* stay after hearing that a "woman would be beaten" but didn't know it yet? Did Frontline contact authorities, does Frontline condone such unconsensual "freedom" i.e. beating up a woman who is not aware she is to be beaten up in a private setting?

Why does the site have interviews with the porn CEOs? Why were there no groups akin to Spiderwomen who are listed on your links interviewed who offer a different perspective than the "religious" debate?

I thought it was great that Frontline showed AT&T, the Hilton, the Marriott, and GM's connections to porn, but I felt there could have been more done with the program as a whole. Anyway, thanks for at least trying to approach the issue in a subjective manner, even if you ultimately failed to do so

Yellow Springs, OH

FRONTLINE's editors respond:

Regarding the scene in which a woman was beaten up during the making of a sex video:
As FRONTLINE's producer reports in the documentary, the crew wasnít sure how consensual this was and wondered whether they were covering an assault. As the scene continued, they realized the actress was a willing participant in the incident, but after enough coverage to satisfy journalistic needs, they left. The actress has subsequently appeared in other Extreme Associates productions.

With regard to the treatment of women generally by the porn industry:
FRONTLINE believes that one of the most telling moments in the film is the testimony of a porn producer who describes how young women are used up and burnt out after three years. FRONTLINE believed it was necessary to reinforce that observation by showing, to some extent, what is being done. The reporting also shows that in addition to all the female actors in the business, some of the strongest players are women directors and producers.

Dear FRONTLINE,

I am a former PBS producer and I want to commend you for an outstanding hour of television. There was no bias in the presentation of the story, it was balanced, the pacing was fantastic, it was visually compelling without being gratuitous. Bravo. You are to be commended for an marvelous production.

Washington, DC

Dear FRONTLINE,

I was appalled at what I saw . . . I see absolutely nothing sexy or beautiful about young women being victimized or about girls being beaten and tortured during sex. Where are the feminists? How can we say that this industry has any value to our communities? What are we saying to our children? Is sex meaningless, void of love, beauty and mutual respect?

I am so upset about this subject that I plan on writing my congressmen, the president, Atty General Ashcroft, various members of the media, and whomever else I can think of. By the way, I am not a member of the any conservative political group, and I tend to vote for Democrats. And YES, I am offended!

San Angelo, Texas

Dear FRONTLINE,

I'm disturbed by the number of the self serving opinions here on the issue of porn. "We have the right.....consenting adults.....no government control.....first amendment.....no harm done....".

Most comments are ignoring a major issue that DOES need government interference. A lot of people IN the porn industry are hurt. Girls with no other means of support are "forced" the be in the business and most end up on drugs, diseased, and have either multiple abortions or pregnancies because of it. These girls are "used" until they aren't wanted anymore. Most older ex-porn women if they are still alive don't look on their past with much pride. They realize only too late that they WERE victims, not necessarily "willing participants".

They ARE the victims of pornography and I want somebody, even the Government, to step in and attempt to help them by controling the magnitude of its production and ease of distribution.

Glasgow, Montana

Dear FRONTLINE,

I have noticed that you have provided many links against pornography and erotic content and none for them. I was particularly surprised by this because of FrontLine's reputation of being fair to both sides of a discussion. I must admit I am dissappointed because it seems Frontline is only asking questions so that it can respond with answers it has already decided upon.

Daytona Beach, FL

FRONTLINE's editors respond:

Please look again on the Readings and Links section. There is a sizeable number of links to first amendment groups. Also, please check out the Special Reports section of this site which has several articles, including "The Eloquence of Pornography."

Dear FRONTLINE,

Pornography offends some people and is enjoyed by others. Religious programming on Sunday mornings offends some and is enjoyed by others. The Jerry Springer show offends some and is enjoyed by others. The Miss America pageant offends some and is enjoyed by others. The Beatles band offended some and was enjoyed by others.

I can go on and on. But, let's face it, if something offends any of us, all we have to do is NOT WATCH IT, or LOOK AT IT, or LISTEN TO IT.

No one is putting a gun to anyone's head to look at porn. But, if some people in the government have their way, these people "will" in effect be putting a gun to our heads if we actually do want to look at it. If that happens, then our government only differs from the Taliban by degree.

.

Watertown, Massachusetts

Dear FRONTLINE,

Excellent report, but I found it very right wing bias.

The report seemed bent on the negative aspect of pron, which as everything certainly contains, but there are good aspects also. For one of the main reasons it is good is that it allows a release for people that might otherwise act-out these behaviors in society, which be much worse than meerly viewing them.

Houston, Texas

Dear FRONTLINE,

In reading parts of the discussion, I've made an observation.

Men, on the whole, seem to be in favor of no restrictions, and women cover their eyes. Obviously, porn has gone too far. Anyone who can't see that is blind!!!

Women need to stop being so naive and demand that the men in their lives do not subject themselves to this trash. I'm so relieved that we have such a great president and staff and very anxious to see what steps they take to clean it up around here.

Seattle, Washington

Dear FRONTLINE,

I found the program disjointed and lacking any clear theme. Allso, the attempt to blame Clinton for the rise of pornography was anything but subtle.

What should have occurred was a serious discussion on the right of adults to watch, read, think or do what they please without politicians or religionists trying to dictate how they should think or behave.

My local mkt.'s "special editing" was laughable and deplorable, considering the fact the program was aired at 11pm, two hrs later than normal, and carried a warning label on it throughout. It amounted to blatant censorship imposed on adults. Shame on OPB!!

portland, oregon

Dear FRONTLINE,

It's appropriate for the government to get involved in regulating porn because of the effect it has on those who watch it.

The negative effects of porn and glorified sex are real. Wednesday night, two female tourists were lured into accepting a ride from 3 men they met on Bourbon Street. They were gang raped repeatedly by the men at a motel and dropped off on a roadside the next morning. The nudity all around these men could not have helped, and they likely decided they were going to get some -- just like in that extreme productions movie.

New Orleans, La

Dear FRONTLINE,

Porn is here to stay. It is ingrained in our society from workplace conversations to internet pop-up windows. It is a clear barometer of how our society views women, as either the virgin or the whore.

Will there be an end to the objectifiction of women? Will we ever be taken seriously based on our mental prowess, or will the fact that we don't have external genitalia always hinder us and hold us back?

Porn as an educational tool can be fun and exciting. Porn that clearly shows the woman in control, enjoying herself, with a monogamous partner, can be complementary to the female.

On the other hand, the poorly educated Lizzie Borden, inflicting rape on her 'best friend' is so repulsive to myself and my partner, we had to change the station. WHY WHY WHY would a woman who has been abused herself want to appeal to that population of men who are insecure and power hungry, and tantalize them through rape scenes.

Portland, maine

Dear FRONTLINE,

Being an individual that came across this garbage at an early age, I must say that it almost destroyed me.

I would now like to see you come up with a program that shows the other side of porn, the destroyed lives of individuals, marraiges, relationships, and how it leads to sexual crimes against children boys and girls, women and possibly create serial killers. I will back up all legislation that will put an end to this industry, and would like to see a major crack down. If you all ever do decide to do a Frontline documentary on the effects of Porn I will be more then glad to share the pain that it brought about in my life.

Austin , Texas

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