The Encyclopedia of Porn or Diderot's Pornhub
Keywords:Diderot, feminism, pornography, encyclopedia, archive
Porn gets called a lot of things—"information" isn't one of them. According to all manner of moment and movement porn is art, porn is devilry, porn is just porn. Yet wherever and whatever it is, it seems always to exist, it seems always to exist in excess, and it seems always to be considered as a social problem. The genesis and growth in the digital era of online porn has heightened the extent to which the preceding claims are true while increasing cultural attention to the problem of porn, on which Evangelicals remain united and academics as fractured as ever. The study of online porn, despite its relative novelty, serves as rich battleground for feminist thought: on the one hand, as recently reiterated by digital humanities scholar Rebecca Inez Saunders, the anonymity and easy access associated with online porn may be "considered...as the definitive beginning in a teleological chain that ends with sexualized children, increased sexual violence towards women, culturally vitiating obscenity and the commodification of the female body" (Saunders 236). As a rule, Saunders and others in her infant field aim, conversely, to "recognise the cultural and academic value of online pornography" (236). This new approach—and it is mine as well—takes for granted, first, that porn is out there; second, that a lot of porn is out there; and third, that something ought to be done to analyze, define, and perhaps eventually transform the immense social role it already plays in our lives.