Ouai x Byredo is back with more scented haircare
Ouai x Byredo is back with more scented haircare

Holly O'Neill

This recently renovated Ranelagh home is on the market for €1.25 million
This recently renovated Ranelagh home is on the market for €1.25 million

Megan Burns

Considering getting hitched at home? Two couples on their at-home weddings
Considering getting hitched at home? Two couples on their at-home weddings

Lizzie Gore-Grimes

With soon-to-be-three salons, a beauty brand and a little one at home, Kate Verling of Mink Hand and Foot Spa on mastering multitasking
With soon-to-be-three salons, a beauty brand and a little one at home, Kate Verling of...

Lauren Heskin

Organising a hen party? These are the 18 essential dos and don’ts for bridesmaids
Organising a hen party? These are the 18 essential dos and don’ts for bridesmaids

Geraldine Carton

Travelling with kids: what you need to know before going away this summer
Travelling with kids: what you need to know before going away this summer

Sarah Finnan

Try this crispy elderflower cocktail this bank holiday weekend
Try this crispy elderflower cocktail this bank holiday weekend

Holly O'Neill

What to do when your boss is a bully
What to do when your boss is a bully

Colette Sexton

Filming has begun on the TV adaptation of Graham Norton’s debut novel down in West Cork
Filming has begun on the TV adaptation of Graham Norton’s debut novel down in West...

Sarah Finnan

8 engrossing Netflix picks worth starting this long weekend
8 engrossing Netflix picks worth starting this long weekend

Jennifer McShane

Image / Editorial

Can porn ever be considered art? Former Disney actress Bella Thorne thinks so…


by Amanda Cassidy
19th Oct 2019
blank

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right? But can hardcore humping ever be equated with thought-provoking masterpieces? 


Hands up who knew that Bella Thorne is an award-winning director?

Well, as of last week, the starlet gained the accolade from none-other than Pornhub – the YouTube of porn for her work directing a 30-minute film featuring porn actors (Abella Danger and Small Hands). It’s called Him and Her and Thorne says it is a “beautiful visionary art.”

Pornhub, meanwhile has billed it as “a modernistic, sexually explicit Romeo and Juliet-like depiction of two star-crossed lovers who have unbridled sexual longing for one another.”

Art can mean different things to different people. That’s the point of it, really.

But for many, the definition isn’t as important as the context in which it is being presented.

Eroticism

For example, erotic art is also a historical reference to sexual preferences and styles from days bygone. Can titty magazines and viral videos of women (usually babysitters of some sort) sating men (often in degrading ways) be included in the same bracket?

I’m no prude, but appraising this kind of set-up as something more than simply an arousal mechanism is surely a little skewed?

Shouldn’t we separate aesthetic pleasure from sensual or sexual pleasure?

The moral questions around money and exploitation across the porn industry are hints when it comes to what can or can’t be viewed as something that pleases the eye. If we apply the same logic across the board, then images of non-consensual sex and child porn could also be hailed as art. In the real world, however, they are proof of criminality.

Controversial

So is porn art at all or just bad art? Shouldn’t we separate aesthetic pleasure from sensual or sexual pleasure?

Philosphers have long debated the topic of erroticism and its merit as art. One of whom is Jerrold Levinson who concludes that erotic art is an art form, and pornographic art is not. “One induces you, in the name of arousal and release, to ignore the representation as to get at the represented, and the other induces you, in the name of aesthetic delight, to dwell on the representation”.

But times have changed. Controversial exhibitions like Cosey Fanni Tutti’s Prostitution exhibition (it prompted walkouts) are de rigour. Fiona Banner’s Turner Prize-nominated Arsewoman in Wonderland was also celebrated for its artistic achievement (It was simply a transcript of a sex movie in big pink letters across a marketing billboard).

Porn of art or art of porn?

Is dropping sex into a gallery all it takes to call something thought-provoking and intellectual? Take this example; Graham Ovenden’s drawings were long considered art, he mostly drew young girls in various states of undress. His work was lauded in the arts world, until….he was found guilty of molesting his underage muses. The Tate Gallery withdrew his works from public view. It said Ovenden’s pictures worth were undermined by his actions.

Maybe we are overthinking it. Maybe art is art, as decided by the beholder.

So, the behaviour of an artist negates the value of his or her art. Does that mean Michael Jackson’s songs (his art) were warped by the accusations against him? Perhaps we are taking artistic licence ourselves by even debating this. Maybe we are overthinking it. Maybe art is art, as decided by the beholder?

Objectify

How do we respond if our 14-year-old sons protest that they are merely appreciating art on their lap tops for hours in their bedrooms?.

Feminist philosopher Anne Eaton had a different take. She believes that if there is a morally dubious message behind the art, it prevents you from appreciating it as a work of art. From a porn point of view, she believes that to enjoy porn, you have to (partly) objectify women which you can’t do while contemplating it as art.

But some believe that the definition of art is that it should prompt an emotional response, give them pleasure, appreciate the work. Before we can consider whether porn is art, perhaps we have to reconcile our feelings on porn. How do we respond if our 14-year-old sons protest that they are merely appreciating art on their lap tops for hours in their bedrooms?

Maybe many of us don’t care about the distinction between porn and art. Maybe it is all about seeing something new and provocative and that, in itself, is art…

Image via Instagram 

Read more: 4 gripping book series you need in your life

Read more: Locker room talk: Banter or misogyny?

Read more: How we need to talk to kids about respect and boundaries.

Also Read

blank
EDITORIAL
Book gift ideas for every kind of reader

Anyone who said books and socks make for boring gifts has clearly never received a delightfully absorbing book or a...

By Amanda Kavanagh

blank
EDITORIAL
Emerging after the pandemic: ‘There’s an awkwardness to my interactions, like I’ve forgotten how to socialise’

In just a few months, human contact became one of the most feared gestures. Being around people we loved was...

By Amanda Cassidy

blank
EDITORIAL
You don’t have to love football to have been affected by the tragic scenes at the Finland Denmark game

There were heartbreaking scenes as footballer Christian Eriksen was given CPR at the European Championship game Questions have been raised...

By Amanda Cassidy

blank
EDITORIAL
‘Totally allowed but totally shouldn’t: Welcome to the Great Irish Pandemic Paradox’

In a time when cool heads are needed – it’s more than the current heatwave that’s melting minds, writes Amanda...

By Amanda Cassidy

blank
EDITORIAL
I’ve been ugly and beautiful and the difference is depressing

When I was 12 I wrote a story about two girls who were best friends. One girl, the main character,...

By Sophie White

abgc_architects_aoife_herrity
EDITORIAL
A plain extension in Dublin 8 provides a blank canvas for a design-minded couple

ABGC Architects were enlisted to transform a large white box into a functional living space for two design-minded homeowners. When...

By Amanda Kavanagh

rings
EDITORIAL
Rings that help you draw attention to your newly manicured nails

Rings to help you flaunt your fresh mani? Non-negotiables. Nail salons reopened their doors to the public earlier this week...

By Sarah Finnan