Why the debate of “art vs porn” is a logical fallacy

birth of venus

Call it what you will. This is not pornographic in the slightest.

I’ve heard a lot about the so-called “debate” of “art vs. porn”. If you ever want to debate about “art” and “porn”, you must first define what both of those terms mean. Naturally, I want to define art and porn myself. In my view:

  • Art is anything creative that has a message, meaning, rhyme or reason to it, and it is also meant to be appealing to the eye.
  • Porn is any visual medium with the sole purpose of stimulating sexual thoughts, mainly through depicting sexual acts or gesture.

By this logic, I can conclude that The Birth of Venus (the example painting at the top) is not porn, because there are no sexual acts taking place. The only thing that is remotely sexual is the fact that Venus is naked. She was drawn that way for a reason, because she is the Greco-Roman goddess of love and sexual desire.

Looking back, and when you see all the classic paintings featuring naked ladies, I must ask myself, what is the whole reason for this debate? When it all comes down to it, the whole “debate” is completely illogical, because surely people are able to differentiate between art and porn without some snobby London art critic telling them what’s what.

Take a look at the works of John William Waterhouse (who I have looked into in 2010). Plenty of his paintings feature beautiful women, some of which are naked. However, I can say confidently that none of his paintings count as pornography, not even the nudes. Why?

  1. None of them feature the act of sex
  2. The nudes are too tame to be pornographic in nature.

I think that the only reason we have this debate in the first place is because we still have this negative attitude towards women appearing naked anywhere, as well as having the whole pornography taboo in modern society. The whole debate is false because it stems from outdated notions of sin, that were implanted into our minds during the rule of the church, which, during the medieval age, pretty much decided all of morality for us.

Let’s remember that the church was the force that was obstructing artistic freedom, up until the Enlightenment era.

It’s the 21st century, so maybe it’s time we stopped being so prudish about nudity in art. I’ve taken art as an A-level course, so I know what kind of symbolism can be employed with nudity. The artists wouldn’t dream of making porn for its own sake during their time, because they were aware of the taboo.

If we really were about freedom of expression, we wouldn’t have this silly debate anyway. In the meantime, I’m going to identify art and porn my own way.

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2 thoughts on “Why the debate of “art vs porn” is a logical fallacy

  1. Question; when it comes to porn,there is really a lot f different types and categories, considering it all just a “thing” and leaving all of the greys and shades out of the question, really is not taking the essence of the matter in consideration, considering porn just as an act of sexual nature is really limiting the debate, pornographic films thought as parodies have many characteristics of what you described as “art” the controversial nature of some of these is there. Also there are many different genres to consider, say a pornographic animated movie, it can also cross many boundaries and cause many of the sensations you explained as being part of the artistic experience, think for example about hentai, it is a type of pornography that consists in animation made in the Anime style, that genre alone has many sub-genres that can challenge the mind and have many aspect of different types of arts. Saying that are “different things” is making the whole idea too plain to even begin to doing a serious analysis. It might be the taboo towards what porn implies and of what it is based on (sexuality not only the sexual act).

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