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Pornography, Contemporary-Mainstream
Encyclopedia of Gender and Society
  • Rebecca Whisnant, University of Dayton
Document Type
Encyclopedia Entry
Publication Date
Once a relatively small‐niche market, pornography in recent years has become a mainstream, technologically sophisticated multi‐billion‐dollar industry, one that plays a significant role in shaping our ideas about gender and sexuality. Like many complex and politically contested concepts, pornography can be defined in a number of different ways. While some defined pornography simply as any sexually explicit written or graphic material, others include additional criteria, such as that the material be produced for the purpose of sexually arousing its audience or that the material convey certain (typically sexist and degrading) ideas and attitudes about women, men, and sexuality. While these varying approaches to defining pornography raise questions worth exploring, for most practical purposes, it is sufficient to delimit the boundaries of the concept by pointing to the products of a specific and identifiable industry. This entry discusses the production and content of contemporary mainstream pornography, the effects of pornography consumption, and contemporary legal issues concerning pornography.
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Sage Publications
Place of Publication
Thousand Oaks, CA
Peer Reviewed
Citation Information
Rebecca Whisnant. "Pornography, Contemporary-Mainstream" Encyclopedia of Gender and Society Vol. 2 (2008)
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