Saturday, March 15, 2008

Inquisitive minds ask -- why is it that porn is allowed and prostitution is not?

A non -- Omega 5 oil question

Our readers have asked us to comment on the question why is it legal to pay someone for sex on camera?

While we normally focus on the wonders of omega 5 oil and how it benefits the human skin, we decied to take on this little challenge.

Every time a politician is caught with a prostitue readers have asked why laws don't treat pornography and prostitution the same way. Having sex on camera for an adult film generally won't get Jenna Jameson in trouble, but doing it with a john is illegal everywhere except in parts of Nevada. What's the difference between porn and prostitution?

Porn stars are paid to act (really); prostitutes are paid for sex.

Performers may engage in sex as part of their roles—they presumably follow a script—but that doesn't count as sex for hire. Sex in the course of creating a movie or a photo is just plain old expression, protected under the First Amendment.

Free-speech advocates argue that this ought to hold true for "gonzo" films, in which the person behind the camera also joins in on the action; no significant cases have gone to court, however. Compared with sexually explicit media, though, live sex shows have received less protection. But the Supreme Court in Oregon did overturn two state laws concerning sex shows, on free speech and expression grounds, in 2005.

The porn-or-prostitution issue came up in the 1980s, when California prosecutors argued that an adult film producer named Harold Freeman was guilty of pimping because he had hired five women to perform sex acts for a movie called Caught From Behind II.

The state's highest court ruled that anti-pandering, or anti-pimping, laws weren't intended to apply to porn films and that Freeman's acting fees weren't paid "for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification, his own or the actors'."

(The sexual gratification of people who watched the movie was irrelevant.) The court also said that even if the actors had engaged in prostitution, applying the anti-pandering laws to skin flicks would impinge on the First Amendment.

Ashley "Kristen" Dupré

Here’s the fantasy that the prostitution ring, the Emperor’s Club V.I.P., was selling Governor Spitzer about a young woman it called Kristen, who calls herself Ashley Alexandra Dupré: that she was a successful swimsuit model who’d traveled the world (as opposed to a singer getting nowhere with a boyfriend who’d paid her rent, as The Times reported yesterday); that she enjoyed civilized pursuits like dining at exclusive restaurants (actually, she’s been hoping for work at a friend’s restaurant); and that she liked sampling fine wines (no mention of the drug abuse she’d reported on her MySpace page). The site also described her as 24 (in fact, she’s 22, an age that might have sounded dangerously collegiate to an affluent clientele).
The fantasy that the Emperor’s Club was marketing apparently had its appeal, not just for men, but for women. Once the news broke about the fees, women all over New York were cracking jokes about how they’d picked the wrong field (and going so far as to do the math on all that tax-free income). One friend, a working mother with three children, confided that she kept picturing this Kristen relaxing on the train.

No comments: