Pornography and Mainstream Culture A view from Romania

Valentina Marinescu University of Bucharest-Romania

Legal framework
• Laws on preventing and fighting against pornography: 196/2003 and 496/2004
– Pornography refers to the “explicit sexual gestures or behaviors, individually as well as collectively made, images, sounds or words that through their meaning offence decency and any other form of indecent behavior related to sexual life, if they are made in public” – Materials with obscene character refer to objects, engravings, photos, holograms, drawings, writings, prints, emblems, magazines, movies, video and audio recordings, advertising spots, software and other applications, musical songs and any other forms of expressing, that explicitly present or suggest the sexual activity

Indirect” regulations
– Law for prevention and fighting against human trafficking and prostitution – On children's rights - in line with international regulations

Media laws
– European (EU Directive of Television without frontiers) and local ones – Law of Broadcasting/1992 - programs including pornography and unjustified violence are forbidden – There is no Romanian law dedicated to written press activity

Media Consumers
• • Audience of self-assumed pornographic magazines is predominantly male Tabloids have a more balanced distribution of audience by gender
Audience of m agazines and new spape rs (Percents)

76,1

82,6 71 53,1

51,8 46,9

23,9

29 17,4

48,2

Playboy

FHM

Fanatik Libe rtate a Men Women

Libertatea We ekend

The “hard-core” consumer of pornographic material - Cultural Consumption Barometer (2007-2008) – 1% (self-declared) – General profile: man residing in urban areas who frequently watches action and comedy movies on TV; he does not buy books, does not spend money on “cultural consumption” items and prefers buying new technology gadgets instead

Public Opinion
• • 2005, CURS national survey: 40% of the population agreed to the idea of pornographic materials distributed for free on the media market Internet survey, November 2007:
Do you feel yourself aggressed by the pornographic press? Do you consider that this type of m edia has to be forbidden?

56%

17% 9%
They do not disturb me. I consider them normal They do not disturb me as titles but I do not like to see their indecent covers It is unacceptable to see the at the news stalls

18%

They are imoral and damaging for our society

2007 INSOMAR national survey :
– – 80% from the respondents assessed that explicit sexuality in the content of TV programs lead to “children’s premature sexual behaviors” The most frequent promoted values in TV programs are: “violence” 60% “sexuality” 34%

The research project The survey

Methodology

The survey was made in February-April 2009 The main assumption in this case was the following:
For the public there is no clear-cut distinction between pornographic and sexy images in media.

The content analysis
The content analysis is intended to be made on three months: February - April 2009 • The sample for the content analysis is made from daily copies of three national wide newspapers, published in Bucharest: Libertatea, Click, Cancan. The unit of analysis was the theme: “Sexually explicit imagery in the printed media”. Now we present only the results for one month – March 2009, that is the analysis of 68 copies for the three newspapers The sample of Romanian articles with sexually explicit imagery in March was of 722 published articles, from which:
– – – 211 published in Libertatea 260 published in Click 251 published in Cancan

• •

The sample was made 401 students (from various Bucharest Faculties). The empirical instrument for gathering the data was a questionnaire with two open questions:
– – “Please describe as detailed as possible a pornographic image” “Please describe as detailed as possible a sexy mage”

• • •

After the completion of the questionnaire we decided to code the open answers. Twenty-four variables resulted – twelve for the characterization of a pornographic image and twelve for the characterization of the sexy image.

Analysis of the results
The main characteristic of the pornographic image

131

46 29 11
It is explicite It is vulgar It is of a poor quality/It It carries negative is tastelessness emotions and attitudes

26

8
It has no message/It can not be interpreted

6
Drawing/Emoticon

It leads to an anormal/devious behavior

Analysis of the results
(Continued)
The main characteristic of the sexy image

105

61 48 17 1
It is artistic It is suggestiv e (It It is not v ulgar/It is is not explicite) decent It carries positiv e It has its own v alue It carries an ideea, attitudes and a message emotions

15

4
Drawing/Emoticon

Analysis of the results
(Continued)
The number and gender of the actors

The number and the gender of individuals are not mentioned Many individuals of different genders A w oman and a w oman A w oman and a man A single man A single w oman Individual in general 1

162

143

77 2 2

42

52 6

27

40 46

78 84

Pornographic Image

Sexy Image

Analysis of the results
(Continued)
The nudity of the woman Questionnaire

The presentation only of the shoulders and he ad The uncle ar presentation of the naked uppe r part of the body The cle ar presentation of the naked uppe r part of the body The uncle ar presentation of the entire naked body The cle ar presentation of the entire naked body

2

4

18

4

51

4

41

216

70

Pornographic image - Frequency

Sexy image-Frequency

Woman's nudity in the photo (It is numbe re d pe r pe rson) Conte nt Analysis

Head and shoulders

3

1

5

The unclear presentation of the upper naked part of the body

18

12

22

The clear presentation of the naked upper part of the body

14

20

33

The unclear presentation of the naked body

34

18

28

The clear presentation of the entire naked body

25

17

33

Libertatea

Can Can

Click

Analysis of the results
(Continued)
The nudity of the man Questionnaire

The presenta tion only of the shoulde rs and he ad

183

1

The uncle ar pre se ntation of the na ked uppe r part of the body

3

14

The cle ar pre se ntation of the na ked upper pa rt of the body

1

37

The uncle ar pre se ntation of the entire na ked body

2

37

The cle ar pre se ntation of the entire na ked body

192

295

Pornographic image-Frequency

Sexy image-Frequency

M an's nudity in the photo (It is numbe re d pe r pe rson) Conte nt Analysis

Head a nd shoulders

5

3

9

The unclea r presenta tion of the upper na ked part of the body

1

The clea r presenta tion of the na ke d upper part of the body

12

5

7

The unclea r presenta tion of the na ked body

3

1

5

The clea r presenta tion of the entire na ked body

1

8

3

Libertatea

Can Can

Click

Analysis of the results
(Continued)
The woman's explicit character Questionnaire

Sexua l organs are put the ce nter of inte rest 148

103

1

Total and direct nudity

47

Pa rtial nudity (some parts of the body a re covered w ith pixels)

1

53

Partial undress

2

93

Provocative clothing

3

53

Pornographic image-Frequency

Sexy image-Frequency

Woman's explicit character in the photo (It is numbered per person)

Content Analysis

Complete nudity Discrete nudity (intimate parts of the body are covered with pixels) Undress

5

20

15

7

28

20

255

25

35

Provocative dressing No explicit chararcter-Normal character

128

126

130

48

50

66

Libertatea

Can Can

Click

Analysis of the results
(Continued)
The man's explicit character Questionnaire

Sexual organs are put the center of interest Total and direct nudity Partial nudity (some parts of the body are covered with pixels) Partial undress 3 129

95

40

47

66

Provocative clothing

1

39

Pornographic image-Frequency

Sexy image-Frequency

M an's e xplicite characte r in the photo (It is numbe re d pe r pe rson) Conte nt Analysis

Complete nudity Discrete nudity (intimate parts of the body are covered with pixels) Undress

1

10

3

6

4

2

1

8

Provocative dressing No explicit chararcter-Normal character

17

16

24

56

85

63

Libertatea

Can Can

Click

Analysis of the results
(Continued)
The main theme of the image Questionnaire

Cultural and educational

1

17

Love and sexuality

1

19

Love

4

Sexuality

23

186

Just the sexual act

227

19

Pornographic image-Frequency

Sexy image-Frequency

Analysis of the results
(Continued)
The type of subje ct in the article s's te xt (It is numbe re d pe r article ) Conte nt Analysis

Other type Sta rs life Politics Economy Social Cultural-educa tive Love a nd sex ua lity Love Simple sex ua lity 14 3 1 70 3

14 116

14 97 7 4

10

2

10 11 20 5 85 78

7 9 23 5 101

7 6

Libertatea

Can Can

Click

The type of subject in the article's photo (It is numbered per article) Content Analysis

Other type Sta rs life Politics Economy Social Cultural-educative Love and sex ua lity Love Simple sex ua lity 2 167 8 1 2 119

23 144 2 4 9 8 7 14 189 Libertatea Can Can Click 3

20 149 6

15

1 5 8 11 23 225 5

Analysis of the results
(Continued)
The main type of relations among the actors in the image Questionnaire
The man is subordinated 2

Violent ones

14

1

The woman is objectivized

18

11

The woman is exploited

15

1

The woman is subordinated

17

4

Of equality

20

17

Pornographic images-Frequency

Sexy images-Frequency

Analysis of the results
(Continued)
The obje ctiv isation re late d to woman in the photo (It is numbe re d pe r pe rson) Conte nt Analysis

To be in control/to domina te Submission Ine qua lity of sta tus The sta tus re duction Non-mutua l se x Avala bility for se x Ex plicite se x ua l be ha viour
11 110 20

9 4 6 13 1 102 23

3 2

3

1 14

155 28

Libertatea

Can Can

Click

The objectivization related to man in the photo (It is numbered per person) Content Analysis

To be in control/to domina te Submission Inequality of status The status reduction Non-mutua l sex Avala bility for sex Explicite se xual behaviour 12 9 1

10 4 3 7

5 3

7

6

3

10 13

27 9

Libertatea

Can Can

Click

Analysis of the results
(Continued)

The open answers at the questionnaire
Sexy image •It does not present all the details of the body and let the room to imagination. One can build up a feeling, an emotion only looking at it. •The most important element in this case is the attitude of the individuals. A person can be completely dressed and, at the same time, the photo can deliver an erotic insight. •It is artistic – many classical pictures are representative for this type of image. •It delivers the feeling of love, of emotion related to other person. Pornographic image •It is vulgar, it presents complete nudity of two (or more) people during the sexual act. •It is tasteless, the accent is put more on the sexual act and less on the mise-en-scene, on the individuals. •It has no aesthetic value; the mise-en-scene is stereotypical and the plot is the same (with minor variation: a teacher vs his student, a boss vs. his secretary, three rich men on a yacht and a young lady etc.) •It can be consumed as a “Coke” bottle, it meet a basic human need, as the “Coke” bottle.

The articles from the newspaper
(Libertatea)
The first movie with new breast 18 Mach 2009 | Article signed by C Radu Munteanu
Florina Mihăilă, known as SexyBrăileanca, came back in the movies industry, after she made a pause. During that period of time she underwent a medical intervention to improve her breast.

“I like to make movie, I want to be a XXX star world-wide known. This is the reason for which I came back so quickly on the stage, even if I am not completely recovered”, said Sexy-Brăileanca.

Despite the period of break in her activity Florina had impressed the entire movie team with her professionalism.

Between two radio shows and an interview Sexy-Brăileanca continues her career as a pono actress. At the end of the last week she played in a movie for US market, this being the first scenes in whch she appears with a new breast..

The movie in which Florina played was made by Mihai Dumitrescu, a former porn actor, now manager and movie directir of Alego Stil Agency and goldengate- ro.com site. On this internet page one can see images from this movie with cu Sexy-Brăileanca.

Conclusions
The main characteristic of the image
Porno graphic image •It is explicit •It carries negative emotions and attitudes

The gender and number of actors
•Woman and man •A number of individuals of different gender

The nudity

The explicit character

The main theme/ subject
Direct sexual act

The type of relations among actors
Woman: Exploited, objectified, subordinated

The question naire

•Woman: The unclear completely naked body •Man: The unclear completely naked body

Woman: Total nudity +sexual organs are put in the center of interest Man: Total nudity +sexual organs are put in the center of interest •Woman: Provocative clothing +partial nudity •Man: Provocative clothing +partial nudity

Sexy image

•It is suggestive •It is artistic

•Woman alone •Individual in general

•Woman: The unclear completely naked body + the unclear naked upper part of the body •Man: The unclear completely naked body + head and shoulders

Love and sex

Of equality

Photo The content analysis

•Woman: The clear and unclear completely naked body •Man: The clear completely naked body

Woman: Provocative clothing + Undress Man: Provocative clothing

Life of the stars Sexuality

Woman: Availability for sex Man: In control

Text

Life of the stars Sexuality

Conclusions
(Continued)

There is a strong similarity between the way in which the subjects had described a sexy and/or a pornographic image and the way in which those images and themes are used in Romanian newspapers. One can notice two differences:
– As regards the dimension “The type of relations among actors” the description of a sexy image assumes a relation of equality and the content analysis had stressed the fact that men were presented mainly as being in control and women as being available for sexual activity. In that case we can assume that the stereotype of describing the pornographic image can be better applied to the published photos (In the case of the pornographic image descriptions the interviewees stressed mainly the fact that the women are in a subordinate position, they are exploited, objectivised but not having an equal status). As regards the dimension “The main theme/subject” one can notice that the content analysis stressed the coverage of “Sexuality” theme (alongside with “Stars’ life”) in newspapers’ articles. In the case of the answers at the questionnaire’s questions one can notice a clear-cut distinction: The pornographic image has as it main theme the sexual act and the sexy image represents love and sexuality. Therefore we made the following assumption (which is not yet empirically-tested): The definition of “sexuality” used in the Romanian media and accepted at the level of Romanian society is very diffuse. It covers either the simple sexual act (as in pornography case) or/and a set of positive emotions and attitudes (as in the case of sexy images and stories).

Conclusions
(Continued) Possible development in the future

Due to the difficulties and limitation in defining and understanding the “sexuality” as term and theme both at the level of Romanian media and of its public we shall try to see how we can explain that situation on the basis of empirical data. In order to achieve that objective we intend to develop our analysis on the following “axes”:
– An in-depth qualitative (discourse) analysis of media messages and of the answers at the questionnaire questions. A set of focus groups on the general issue of “Defining the sexuality in life and media content” made with interviewees that previously answered at the questionnaire.

Thank you!

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