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Pornography, according to this view, is material that condones or encourages sexual debasement.
Such a distinction cuts across conventional definitions because it means that very explicit sexual depictions can be called “erotica,” while sexual material with relatively unexplicit but demeaning content can be called “pornography.” At the same time, much conventional pornography depicts naked women, and it is argued that such material perpetrates images of women as sexual objects and, thus, can victimize women directly and indirectly.
This practice presents unique challenges for the enforcement and prosecution of law related to pornography, since crimes committed over the Internet are “often envisioned as being borderless.”(1) It has also been suggested that community standards have changed to the point where 30% of all Canadian newsstand sales in the mid 1980s consisted of periodicals that would have been illegal 20 years before.
Under Canadian criminal law, the term “pornography” occurs only in section 163.1 of the (section 163).
In other words, unlike child pornography, pornographic material involving consenting adults is legal in Canada if it is not deemed to be obscene.
As a consequence, child pornography tends to be much more clandestine and difficult to detect than adult pornography, which is readily accessible in retail stores through the sale and exchange of DVDs, videos, films, books and magazines, as well as in theatres, on television and over the Internet.
This paper reviews the evolution of Canadian pornography legislation and provides the facts and arguments that have informed the debate surrounding the censorship and regulation of pornographic material involving adults and children in Canada.
Except for a 1993 amendment regarding “child pornography,” the criminal law does not use the word “pornography” but rather “obscenity.” Some people consider any depiction of nudity or sexual activity to be pornographic.
What is viewed as pornographic varies from one person to another, from culture to culture, and over time.
The term “pornography” can be used in discussion and debate to refer broadly to material that is sexually explicit, or more specifically to sexually explicit material designed primarily to produce sexual arousal in viewers, or to sexually explicit material that subordinates women or is harmful to women and children, or with some other definition in mind.