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Pornography (or porn, pr0n) refers to publications, whether in photography, cinematography, or writing, which has the act of sexual intercourse as its subject and has as its purpose to sexually arouse the viewer. The abundance and easier access through online means, has made pornography a subject to Internet humour and is sometimes referred to as the purpose of the Internet. Pornography is regarded as “one of the driving forces behind the expansion of the World Wide Web”.
Pre-internet Sexual Depictions
The oldest surviving erotic depictions were in the form of paleolithic cave paintings and carvings (shown below). These depictions involved sexual scenes, often with exaggerated human sexual characteristics. In Egypt, an artifact called the “Turing Erotic Papyrus” consisted of explicit sexual acts and was painted in the Ramesside period (1292-1075 BCE). The ancient Greeks, used ceramics to paint pornographic images. They were some of the earliest examples of homosexual pornography and pederasty.
Pornography and the Internet
Although pornography has been accessible online since the 1980s, the widespread availability has been made possible in 1991 with the introduction of and public access to the World Wide Web. The Internet has allowed for the anonymous and private access of pornography in the comfort of people’s homes, thus further helping its spread.
Before the World Wide Web, pornography was mainly distributed in the form of ASCII. To send and receive images, computers needed graphics capabilities and higher bandwidth, made possible in the late 80s and early 90s
The widespread access to the World Wide Web allowed for easier access to pornography. In the Web 2.0 era, porn sites simulated the YouTube concept of user-generated and submitted content, allowing users to upload their own material and allowing for even easier access to pornographic video. This concept has been dubbed Porn 2.0.
Several image macros, parody videos and catchphrases, poked fun at the anonymous and effortless access to pornographic material, as well as the material itself:
The Internet Is For Porn
The Internet Is For Porn is a catchphrase originating from the broadway musical “Avenue Q” with the same name. It is mostly used to say that pornography is the purpose the Internet exists. The video has been the product of parody videos and image macros online.
Work-safe Porn is a fad involving manipulating sexually explicit photographs and painting objects over using photo or video editing software so as to appear like they are not explicit (thus “safe for work”). The fad originates from a series of photos of this kind, called “Make Porn Work-Safe”, from the “Comedy Goldmine” section of Something Awful.
Rule 34 is one of the “Rules of The Internet” (as declared by users of 4chan) which states that “if it exists, there is porn of it. No exceptions”. Image macros often appear online which have as their purpose to prove the validity of the rule, by turning a common object into pornographic. The images mostly focus on cartoon childhood characters, so as to surprise the viewer (see Ruined Childhood). For image derivatives check the image gallery for the Rule 34 entry.
-porn as a suffix
“Porn” has been used as a suffix, to reference a series of photographs or images, that are remarkably high quality and pleasing to the eye of the viewer. This has been prominent on Reddit where numerous sub-reddits have been dedicated to the submissions of large, hi-res photos. Examples include Earthporn, Spaceporn, Cityporn and Bookporn.
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