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Pornography in socialism

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Soviet cogitations: 258
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 03 Oct 2009, 17:50
Komsomol
Post 22 Nov 2009, 15:44
Dear comrades, porn has historically been censored in socialist countries. How has that policy been justified from a Marxist perspective?
My viewpoint is that, if people freely choose and enjoy that job without occupational problems forcing them, the State should not mind about whether a citizen chooses such a job with consentient adult colleagues.
Thank you in advance you for contributing!
If you tremble at the slightest indignation done to a fellow human, then you are my comrade-in-arms. Commander E. Guevara de la Serna
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Soviet cogitations: 6573
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 19 Sep 2005, 13:48
Embalmed
Post 22 Nov 2009, 15:55
Maybe the times and culture played a part as well.

Pornography is against the law in Zimbabwe and just only a couple of months ago a white boy at one of the top private schools in Zimbabwe got kicked out for having pornographic images on his phone (I used this really to show the difference in cultures, rather than regarding Zimbabwe as a socialist state)

In many of these 'socialist' countries there were possibly many 'freedoms' which were denied and probably were more unjustified than the censorship of pornography.

Pornography isn't seen as a bourgeoisie issue then? It's like a billion dollar industry.
Last edited by Szabo on 22 Nov 2009, 17:26, edited 1 time in total.
Now what is this…
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Soviet cogitations: 252
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Apr 2009, 21:22
Komsomol
Post 22 Nov 2009, 17:11
Well with all of the printing presses owned, and operated, by the government, just how would you expect pornography to be produced? And I can certainly think of more worthwile pursuits than pornography too. Also, if the state prohibits prostitution, why should it permit dirty pictures? It's all just bourgeois decadence anyway.
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Soviet cogitations: 258
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 03 Oct 2009, 17:50
Komsomol
Post 22 Nov 2009, 17:32
I agree that there are much more worthwile pursuits than pornography or prostitution, but I don't understand why, and on the ground of what ethical principle, a State should forbid people to engage in those activities, if those people like such jobs.
I want, anyhow, to specify that I am asking that for knowledge's sake. I would never prostitute myself or go with a prostitute even if she weren't compelled by occupational problems or forced by an exploiter, as most are, and I think I am one of the few men on earth that find the sight of other men having sex with women definitely repulsive.
Last edited by Davide on 22 Nov 2009, 17:36, edited 1 time in total.
If you tremble at the slightest indignation done to a fellow human, then you are my comrade-in-arms. Commander E. Guevara de la Serna
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Soviet cogitations: 6573
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 19 Sep 2005, 13:48
Embalmed
Post 22 Nov 2009, 17:36
Unless it's for capital gain, how does or would pornography benefit society?

If I thought about it a little more, I know I could probably use that sentence with many other things too.
Now what is this…
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Soviet cogitations: 258
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 03 Oct 2009, 17:50
Komsomol
Post 22 Nov 2009, 18:15
Well, I guess a "benefit" might be that to provide people with a job and a "product" they desire.
If you tremble at the slightest indignation done to a fellow human, then you are my comrade-in-arms. Commander E. Guevara de la Serna
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Soviet cogitations: 6573
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 19 Sep 2005, 13:48
Embalmed
Post 22 Nov 2009, 18:53
hmm I guess you're right. It just sounds sleazy though, and slightly funny that the state would be expected to provide all the different types of pornography to its citizens, which also could be seen as hypocritical when you think about some of the debates there's been on here about what's right and what's wrong.
Now what is this…
Soviet cogitations: 10005
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Jul 2008, 20:01
Ideology: Trotskyism
Philosophized
Post 22 Nov 2009, 19:57
The need for pornography will probably disappear under socialism. In the GDR, where pornography was (almost) banned (There was one magazine that published soft-core porn occasionally), people just did the things that we watch on porn sites... it has been described as "sexual anarchy". And I guess we all agree that that's much better than porn.
"Don't know why i'm still surprised with this shit anyway." - Loz
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Soviet cogitations: 252
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Apr 2009, 21:22
Komsomol
Post 22 Nov 2009, 21:24
[quoteWell, I guess a "benefit" might be that to provide people with a job and a "product" they desire.][/quote] Doesn't that constitute capitalist consumerism? Socialism isn't about wants, it's about needs.
Quote:
The need for pornography will probably disappear under socialism. In the GDR, where pornography was (almost) banned (There was one magazine that published soft-core porn occasionally), people just did the things that we watch on porn sites... it has been described as "sexual anarchy". And I guess we all agree that that's much better than porn.
I tend to feel that sex should be an expression of intimacy between two people in a commited, loving, relationship. And yes, also, why should we want to see people have sex anymore than we'd want to see people using the facilities. They're both just natural biological functions.
Soviet cogitations: 6887
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 30 Nov 2007, 08:37
Unperson
Post 22 Nov 2009, 21:36
Yes, except that one of these natural biological functions also happens to be loads of fun. On a related note... so what does this mean for my dream of becoming a pornstar?
banistansig1
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Soviet cogitations: 258
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 03 Oct 2009, 17:50
Komsomol
Post 22 Nov 2009, 22:04
Quote:
Doesn't that constitute capitalist consumerism? Socialism isn't about wants, it's about needs.


What discriminates what consitutes a need from what constitues a consumeristic want, and why shouldn't an assumed unneeded want be satisfied, if that harms nobody?

Quote:
sex should be an expression of intimacy between two people in a commited, loving, relationship


I agree because I have never had sex with women I wasn't in love with, in my private life, but that is me: why "should"?
As to comrade The Russian Lord's professional aspirations
, I think that he should be free to realize them in a socialist society.
If you tremble at the slightest indignation done to a fellow human, then you are my comrade-in-arms. Commander E. Guevara de la Serna
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Soviet cogitations: 4501
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Oct 2004, 22:04
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Resident Soviet
Post 22 Nov 2009, 22:41
Hi Davide,

In the case of the USSR the rationale behind making pornography illegal was the strictness of Soviet social morals. This policy was thus justified not primarily on the grounds of Marxist reasoning (although Marxist-Leninist justifications were probably made) but on social and cultural morality. The policy was part of the state's attempts to legislate morality, definitely an illiberal conception.

A while ago in another thread I posted a quote from a Western academic article on Soviet pornography laws and some of the reasoning behind them:

Quote:
Commentary on the Russian Criminal Code in 1960 defined pornographic works as "rudely naturalistic, obscene, cynical portrayals of sexual life that attempt as their goal the unhealthy stimulation of sexual feelings". This legal definition of pornography dominated the official commentaries until the late 1980s...

The first thing that leaps out is the word "naturalistic". The intention, although not explicit here, is that realistic portrayals (i.e. naturalistic ones) can be taken to excess, to the point that they destroy "nature" by making it mechanical. For example, the use of "plumbing shots" in pornography, while showing the natural functioning of the sex organs, would be considered unnecessarily vulgar (i.e. rude) in a work of "art". Put another way, it would be a destruction of the ideal by turning love into a physiological function.

The definition also mentions the word "cynical", which keys into a history of Russian religious philosophy. Briefly put, this tradition can be traced back to the writings of Solovev, Berdyaev and others who delineate between the eros (the "true" and spiritually beautiful love) and its poor cousin, pornography. Pornography is seen as blasphemy against divine love. It is "cynical" because it degrades beauty and destroys the spirituality of love that gives life beauty. In many ways, this relates back to the criticism of pornography as "rudely naturalistic". Both of these phrases point to a desire to prevent the corruption of the Platonic ideal forms.


Paul Goldshmidt "Legislation on Pornography in Russia," Europe-Asia Studies, 47, 6 1995

...

Quote:
The need for pornography will probably disappear under socialism. In the GDR, where pornography was (almost) banned (There was one magazine that published soft-core porn occasionally), people just did the things that we watch on porn sites... it has been described as "sexual anarchy". And I guess we all agree that that's much better than porn.


Mabool, why do you idealize your conception of sexuality in the GDR based on the statements of an avante guarde artist who hung around with other avante guarde artists? East Germany was a morally strict society, with a big protestant community, the traditional conception of marriage, and the presentation of the idealist forms of love in media and art.
"The thing about capitalism is that it sounds awful on paper and is horrendous in practice. Communism sounds wonderful on paper and when it was put into practice it was done pretty well for what they had to work with." -MiG
Soviet cogitations: 10005
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Jul 2008, 20:01
Ideology: Trotskyism
Philosophized
Post 22 Nov 2009, 23:34
I've spoken to former GDR citizens about this topic. Have you? Probably not. So don't lecture me about how morally strict it was.
"Don't know why i'm still surprised with this shit anyway." - Loz
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Soviet cogitations: 4501
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Oct 2004, 22:04
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Resident Soviet
Post 23 Nov 2009, 00:20
I don't question that you know more about the GDR from your readings and discussions with citizens. It's just that it seemed to me in the "Sexual Anarchy in the GDR" thread that you were using the interview to prove your conception of sexual morality in East Germany, rather than just to confirm what many other readings and talks with ordinary citizens had told you.

Edit: Here are a couple relevent selected quotations from an academic article which included East Germany in its study:


Quote:
In Germany, national differences in family policy have proved among the more contentious issues that have had to be resolved as part of reunification. In East Germany, state socialism has promoted gender egalitarianism in the workforce, while leaving the traditional gender roles in the private sphere of the family relatively unchanged. In West Germany, post-war family policy tended to be very patriarchal, although recent repeals have left the way open for women to embrace alternative lifestyles, with an increasing number opting out of marriage and the traditional wife/mother role.(11) Yet the German divide is not as straightforward as policy differences might indicate. The two situations have been characterised as public progressivism and private traditionalism in the East; and public traditionalism and private radicalism in the West (Chamberlayne 1994). Evidence for this can be seen in the fact that, despite the very different religious profiles of the two parts of Germany, the incidence of cohabitation and divorce is quite similar...

Regarding pre-marital sex, East Germany, Sweden and West Germany are by far the most liberal, with United States and Ireland at the other extreme. The range of disapproval across countries is very substantial with only 3 per cent disapproving of pre-marital sex in East Germany compared with 43 per cent in Ireland...The pattern is, however, very different when it comes to attitudes concerning homosexuality and here the two Catholic countries are the most disapproving (Poland 82 per cent followed by Ireland 77 per cent). The United States is also quite traditional (74 per cent) while West Germany is the most liberal (52 per cent). East Germany, Sweden and Britain are, on this issue, in the middle. For extra-marital sex, attitudes are universally disapproving and the cross-country variation is small. However, Germany (both West and East) are significantly more liberal than other countries although, even then, over 80 per cent disapprove


Scott, Jacqueline Changing attitudes to sexual morality: a cross-national comparison. Sociology v32, n4 (Nov, 1998):815
Last edited by soviet78 on 23 Nov 2009, 00:53, edited 1 time in total.
"The thing about capitalism is that it sounds awful on paper and is horrendous in practice. Communism sounds wonderful on paper and when it was put into practice it was done pretty well for what they had to work with." -MiG
Soviet cogitations: 10005
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Jul 2008, 20:01
Ideology: Trotskyism
Philosophized
Post 23 Nov 2009, 00:36
Actually I talked to ordinary citizens to confirm what the interview had said... before reading this, I would never have thought about the sexual morality of the GDR. But apparently, they were really really open... which is actually quite strange, because sexual openness is usually considered to be a sign of bourgeois degradation.
"Don't know why i'm still surprised with this shit anyway." - Loz
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Soviet cogitations: 4501
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Oct 2004, 22:04
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Resident Soviet
Post 23 Nov 2009, 00:56
Sorry I edited my post after you posted. But in regard to openness, articles I've read mentioned progressive government policies on contraception, abortion, divorce, and eventually homosexuality. Still, according to the Scott article 80% or 4/5 of people disapproved of extra-marital sex.
"The thing about capitalism is that it sounds awful on paper and is horrendous in practice. Communism sounds wonderful on paper and when it was put into practice it was done pretty well for what they had to work with." -MiG
Soviet cogitations: 10005
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Jul 2008, 20:01
Ideology: Trotskyism
Philosophized
Post 23 Nov 2009, 01:56
Um... does this article actually postulate that 4/5 of Germans disagree with any sexual activity outside of marriage? Or did they mean cheating on your married partner? Because if it wants to imply that 4/5 of Germans think that you should only have sex in a marriage, it is plain wrong.

But I can post a few numbers as well...

In 1990, 49 per cent of Eastern students had had sex before their 18th birthday, compared to 23 per cent of Western students. In the eighties, 95 per cent of 22-year-old female students in the East had experienced orgasms, whereas the female orgasm was still treated as a myth in West, even by feminists.

(German) source: http://www.heise.de/tp/r4/artikel/15/15768/1.html

I'd also like to translate a few sentences from this article, because it's really well written.

Quote:
She believes that Eastern women flirt more consciously and aggressively than Western women because they're more self-conscious. Western women want to be conquered, they're more passive. [...] But the decisive factor is not how well women perform in bed, but the immensely different possibilities of sexual development, depending on the respective political-economical system. In short: It's not Eastern women but socialism that's hotter.

Jobs, health care, pensions and daycare were guaranteed - that's what people dream of today. In addition, there were very liberal laws regarding abortion, homosexuality and divorce (In case of divorce, women usually were granted the children and the residence, and men weren't forced to pay for the children.) Such living standard insurances make people independent, adventurous, keen to experiment.

The fun that you could have for free with your neighbor in earlier times costs 69 cents per minute at the moment. (69 cents/minute is the usual price for phone sex.) The rate of profit and the rate of orgasms have a common tendency to fall: Uncertainty in the economy corresponds to uncertainty in bed.
"Don't know why i'm still surprised with this shit anyway." - Loz
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Soviet cogitations: 4501
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Oct 2004, 22:04
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Resident Soviet
Post 23 Nov 2009, 02:38
Extra-marital sex is when a married person has sex with someone other than their marriage partner.


Probably the key issue when talking about 'sexual morality' is that of casual sex (i.e. sex in the absence of emotional attachment or love). Female assertiveness, sex at a young age, liberal state policies for abortion, contraception and divorce do not necessarily mean widespread general acceptance of casual or anonymous sex. I haven't been able to find any studies or statistics about this issue. Perhaps you have some anecdotal evidence from people you have spoken to, or articles in German?
"The thing about capitalism is that it sounds awful on paper and is horrendous in practice. Communism sounds wonderful on paper and when it was put into practice it was done pretty well for what they had to work with." -MiG
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Soviet cogitations: 14448
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Sep 2006, 22:05
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Philosophized
Post 23 Nov 2009, 02:53
Sexual openness is in no way bourgeoisie. If such were the case America would be sex on every channel, paper, and website. Yet we're about as repressed sexually as a nation can be. Sexual morality is a retarded backwards concept from a bygone era. Socialism will bring true sexual freedom.

Also porn is as old as humanity and won't end anytime soon. As long as there are awkward/ugly teenagers there will be porn, either as live action sexing or drawn/animated porn.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 02 Apr 2009, 23:59
Ideology: Other Leftist
Party Bureaucrat
Post 23 Nov 2009, 03:09
What about people who just aren't naturally promiscuous? People tend to forget that sexual abstinence can be a choice. For instance, one can get laid more easily than some might think, even if they are "un-attractive". But many choose a more sexually conservative lifestyle out of personal preference, while still looking at porn now and then so they don't have to go insane. Nothing wrong with it.
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