- What do we mean by porn?
- How objectively can we call something porn?
- Are we going to discuss porn from the inside or the outside of experiencing porn?
Not everything that arouses however comes at the expense of others. I think of the adjacent image by Robert Mapplethorpe. We could be critical of how it operates inside the narrow range of what is usually depicted as sexually alluring – fit, white and female. (The blame there lies with my choice; Mapplethorpe’s range is much wider.) Despite that I don’t feel any invitation to have power over the subject. There’s no tone of deceit or exploitation, quite the reverse. Yet I still find the picture arousing.
For some people this raises a contradiction. For some people if another persons image arouses us in a sexual way then that is intrinsically exploitative or in some other way wrong. Lust is the name of the vice and it covers all aspects of the sexual gaze. It is always objectifying and always selfish. Only a cooler appreciation of beauty, as non-arousing, is non-exploitative. Under this model, all material that is designed to titillate and arouse can share the label porn without too much difficulty.