Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964517 | Print ISBN: 9781412909167 | Online ISBN: 9781412964517| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
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 define 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 While ...