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Soft Porn

The famous story goes as such:

A father of some teenage children had the family rule that they could not attend PG-13 or R rated movies. His three teens wanted to see a particular popular movie that was playing at local theaters. It was rated PG-13.

The teens interviewed friends and other families (of all ages) to find out what was offensive in the movie. The teens made a list of pros and cons about the movie to use to convince their dad that they should be allowed to see it. The cons were that it contained ONLY 3 profane words, the ONLY violence was a building exploding (and you see that on TV all the time they said), and act of intimacy was ONLY implied. The pros were that it was a popular movie - a blockbuster. Everyone was seeing it. If the teens saw the movie then they would not feel left out when their friends discussed it. The movie contained a good story and plot. It had some great adventure and suspense in it. There were some fantastic special effects in this movie. The movie's stars were some of the most talented actors in Hollywood. It probably would be nominated for several awards.

Much of the feedback they received concluded that it wasn't "very bad". Therefore, since there were more pros than cons the teens said they were asking their father to reconsider his position on just this ONE movie and let them have permission to go see it.

The father looked at the list and thought for a few minutes. He said he could tell his children had spent some time and thought on this request. He asked if he could have a day to think about it before making his decision. The teens were thrilled thinking; "Now we've got him! Our argument is too good! Dad can't turn us down!" So, they happily agreed to let him have a day to think about their request.

The next evening the father called in his three teenagers, who were smiling smugly, into the living room. There on the coffee table he had a plate of brownies. The teens were puzzled. The father told his children he had thought about their request and had decided that if they would eat a brownie then he would let them go to the movie. But just like the movie, the brownies had pros and cons.

The pros were that they were made with the finest chocolate and other good ingredients. They had the added special effect of yummy walnuts in them. The brownies were moist and fresh with wonderful chocolate frosting on top. He had made these fantastic brownies using an award-winning recipe. And best of all, the brownies had been made lovingly by the hand of their own father.

The brownies only had one con. The father had included a little bit of a special ingredient. The brownies also contained just a little bit of dog poop. But he had mixed the dough well - they probably would not even be able to taste the dog poop and he had baked it at 350 degrees so any bacteria or germs from the dog poop had probably been destroyed.

This illustration is obviously pointing to the fact that even a little bit of compromise will require justification and explanation. Even then, you cannot separate the bliss from the contamination. It’s time to take the ‘dab of poo out of the brownies.’

No matter how soft core the porn is, its still porn. And as a society, as parents, as spouses and couples, we have become so accustomed to it, that we don’t stop to consider its affect. We don’t argue it. We don’t debate it. We just live with it. Why are we? Can we undo what’s been done? Are we willing to? What if it’s just in your individual area of impact? With your kids? Or in your home? Your business? Who or what gets your business?

What does modesty at a healthy level look like? Who gets to define it? In the end, its each person’s opinion. We’d like to encourage as many as possible to consider what they’re putting inside of themselves as well as those around them.

Soft-core (sawf-kawr)
of, pertaining to, or containing sexually arousing depictions that are not fully explicit: soft-core pornography.

Blog after blog documents a nostalgia for soft-porn. Declaring it antiquated, but attached to fond memories of adolescents. Almost always referring to it as the ‘gateway’ or ‘initiation’ as a teen into puberty and sexual discovery. Thinking fondly of watching scrambled channels of ‘skin-a- max’ and feeling accomplished and as if they have conquered when a breast could be easily seen through the blurry lines and grainy screen. Many conversing of how hard it was to get their hands on good soft-porn; whether they stole a VHS tape from their parents, stayed up late enough to watch an HBO sneak-preview and hope they would forget put a stop to it and play the whole movie, which happened from time to time. Feeling they have made the score of a lifetime. As well, as future generations that stayed up all not just to watch the commercials from Joe Francis and Girls Gone Wild.

In his article, Under 21 Softcore Porn!, Ezra Klien states, "Mr. Francis's cameras have constructed a huge business out of recording the semi-nudity of "girls" who are not in "the business" at all: naïve girls, canny girls, drunken girls, pretty girls and not-so-pretty girls--regular girls, if one may put it that way. Above all, young girls. Mr. Francis has made it socially acceptable for a freshman at, say, Ohio State--living in a dorm room in Columbus like thousands of freshmen before her--to participate in soft-core porn."

Today, softcore pornography is easily accessible online, through many websites, including Netflix, HuluPlus, mainstream TV series on HBO or other movie channels and more in the ‘teen movie’ craze.

Is the world of softcore porn, normal for you to participate in, observe and seek out?

These same men and women say that now, after entering the world of hardcore pornography, they step back to the soft-core porn of old, for a ‘break’ from the ‘rough, mechanical and predictable’ sex of hardcore pornography. Stating, soft-core has desirable plot lines, sensuality and a more peaceful approach to sex. Almost arguing that softcore brings them back to the reality of relationship and sensuality.

Pamela Paul, Pornified, states,‘Softcore pornography has a very negative effect on men as well. The problem with softcore pornography is that it’s voyeurism teaches men to view women as objects rather than to be in relationships with women as human beings.’

Do you agree?
How has soft-core porn progressed and evolved? Is it more accessible?
Has it been normalized?
Is it a sign of liberation?

Let’s talk.

About women and softcore pornography.

It’s not a secret that most pornography is geared towards men, depicting women who blindly cater to their needs in a state of surrender, begging him for it. That didn’t work for most women, softcore pornography was created to appeal to the relationship, pursuit and intimacy focus that most women prefer.

Lyn Leahz, in her article entitled, 50 Shades of Pornography Addiction states,“Today, many women read soft core pornography as an escape and as an extension to their interest in romance novels. One such recently popular title Fifty Shades of Grey has made great inroads into this niche. And because of that trend, some women are moving to online pornography from soft core and romance novels.’ She goes on to talk about how softcore pornography is incredibly mainstream and ‘tend to glamorize unhealthy relationships depicted in them, and by extension, pornography in general. It seems soft core porn is viewed by most as a harmless distraction, but too often, it’s a gateway to more hardcore pornography and addiction.’

Many argue that this has lead to an increase of addiction in women, with women comprising 30% of ALL online pornography viewers, today. Leahz, argues that women face more of a stigma than men for viewing pornography. She points out that women tend to view problematic romantic and sexual behavior as a relationship or intimacy problem, not an addiction or sexual issue.

Many women, because of 50 Shades of Grey and other NY Best-Seller novels, have felt liberated sexually. They are finding it easier to talk to their friends and colleagues about sex and declare that it’s ‘about time’ that women be as free to express themselves, their fantasies and desires publicly and socially.

Let’s talk about teens.
Is there a correlation between the impressions made on youth and the desires of adult women?
How has the film industry evolved and changed in their descriptions of teen movie and other film ratings?

Not too long ago, pornography was created and consumed in the dark, but mainstream advertising has normalized sex and skin. Many are talking of how it has made it’s way into the limelight and that pornography plays a role in contemporary life. Some argue that teens are conditioned from quite a young age by advertisements at Abercrombie and Fitch, Urban Outfitters and like stores, as well as magazines, fashion, music videos and celebrity culture.

“….a growing number of critics are raising concerns about the way an X-rated atmosphere is making its way, in diluted but unmistakable form, into popular entertainment. "The standards and aesthetics of pornography have really infiltrated the mainstream culture," says Pamela Paul, author of "Pornified," which examines the role pornography plays in contemporary life. "It's not just that the culture has gotten sexier. It's that the culture is directly referencing pornography."

She and others go on to discuss how these advertisements and mainstream actions that directly refer to pornographic movements, poses, actions ect., have served as a ‘sensory-wallpaper’. Thus, our convictions against pornography have lessened because it has seeped into our daily culture and desensitized us, creating a world where women are sex objects and men are dominating. Basically explaining that the standards of pornography have become totally acceptable and ‘barely edgy.’

The film industry ratings have undoubtably evolved. The initial rating categories were G (appropriate for all ages), M (for mature audiences, but all ages admitted), R (persons under 16 not admitted without an accompanying adult) and X (no one under 17 admitted). The M category was eventually changed to PG (parental guidance suggested), the R age limit was raised to 17 and on July 1, 1984, the PG-13 category was added to indicate film content with a “higher level of intensity.” According to the MPAA, the content of a PG-13 film “may be inappropriate for a children under 13 years old” and “may contain very strong language, nudity (non-explicit), strong, mildly bloody violence or mild drug content.”

Starting in 1990, every film given an R rating also received a short explanation as to whether it contained violence, drug use, nudity or hard language. This policy was later expanded to PG and PG-13 movies. Additionally, the X rating was changed to NC-17 (anyone 17 and under not admitted) because it was believed that “X” had come to connote pornography. According to the MPAA, the NC-17 rating “does not mean ‘obscene’ or ‘pornographic’ in the common or legal meaning of those words, and should not be construed as a negative judgment in any sense. The rating simply signals that the content is appropriate only for an adult audience.”

Today, the explains, that ‘more than brief nudity will require at least a PG-13 rating, but such nudity in a PG-13 rated motion picture generally will not be sexually oriented…A motion picture’s single use of one of the harsher sexually-derived words, though only as an expletive, initially requires at least a PG-13 rating. More than one such expletive requires an R rating, as must even one of those words used in a sexual context. The Rating Board nevertheless may rate such a motion picture PG-13 if, based on a special vote by a two-thirds majority, the Raters feel that most American parents would believe that a PG-13 rating is appropriate because of the context or manner in which the words are used or because the use of those words in the motion picture is inconspicuous.’

MPAA.ORG, has released that an NC-17 rated motion picture is one that, in the view of the Rating Board, most parents would consider patently too adult for their children 17 and under. No children will be admitted. NC-17 does not mean "obscene" or "pornographic" in the common or legal meaning of those words, and should not be construed as a negative judgment in any sense. The rating simply signals that the content is appropriate only for an adult audience. An NC-17 rating can be based on violence, sex, aberrational behavior, drug abuse or any other element that most parents would consider too strong and therefore off-limits for viewing by their children.

Has softcore pornography and the normalization of it directly contributed to the ever changing and more inclusive descriptions of film ratings? Click here for a timeline of the evolution of NC-17(