Pornography or Erotica?
I never got the hang of the WordPress reader.
Shortly after I made this blog I tried to have a weekly thing where I’d recommend a blog for people to read. Riffing on Twitter’s “Follow Friday”, I called it “Subscribe Sunday”. Naturally, soon after I started that I had trouble filling the slot with new blogs, and then the powers that be at WordPress changed the “subscribe” button to “follow”, to my great annoyance, and I abandoned the project. I was having enough trouble just writing any posts at all.
But I do pick up more blogs as time passes, most of them I’ve set up to email me daily or weekly, so I can keep up with them. I still manage to only skim most of those, of course. And there are more languishing in my reader, only checked when it occurs to me that I haven’t seen anything from that blog in a while, or more often when someone else links to it.
To say nothing of the many excellent blogs that, for whatever reason, aren’t on WordPress.
The gist of it is that a man was reading Trish’s blog and his wife asked what he was reading, which led them to their first conversation about porn after six years of marriage. But what interests me about it is the part about porn vs erotica.
The difference between porn and erotica is one of those things that I’ve never seen two people completely agree on. Honestly I’ve never had a solid distinction myself. My inner-12-year-old provides “erotica is porn that’s still interesting when you’ve finished masturbating”, but I’m not sure how useful that is for discussion.
Yet the subject is interesting. To Trish Causey the difference is one of power, women represented in porn are caricatures, mere fantasies for the amusement of men, while in erotica things are far more equal between partners. These would be useful definitions for discussion, but it’s clear that they aren’t in popular use.
To my knowledge there isn’t a solid set of criteria to define porn, the famous line “I know it when I see it” comes to mind. Erotica is often used to describe erotic art of all kinds… and that’s probably the closest thing there is to a general consensus on the words. Erotica is exalted, pornography is vulgar. Porn is entertainment, erotica is art. (Erotica is Madonna, porn is whore?)
Come to think of it, did anyone ever figure out a solid line between art and entertainment?
Wikipedia addresses the question in its page on erotica, and seems to draw the distinction in intent. So works intended to be high-art are erotica, while more commercial works are pornography. Being Wiki, of course, it then contradicts itself a little.
It’s also interesting to note, though possibly irrelevant, that Wiki’s pornography entry is about ten times longer than the erotica one, and seems to include erotica within it. If Wikipedia is a mirror of society, then society considers erotica a subset of porn, not the other way around.
Like far too many interesting questions, there isn’t a satisfying answer, at least that I’m aware of. But I like to see how different people draw the line in different places.
And I also wanted to recommend Aroused Woman, which is usually interesting even if she does call orgasms “Os”, which has annoyed me at least since the movie Office Space.
Posted on October 4, 2012, in Daily Post and tagged Aroused Woman, erotica, I expect bad jokes in the comments, postaday2012, questions without answers, Trish Causey, Wordpress's spellcheck doesn't recognize "Wordpress". Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.