But is it really porn?

So now and again we get people insist that x title shouldn’t be counted because it’s intended to be viewed as porn (especially if that product is from a country outside the English speaking world… because reasons).

Reasons for this assumption often include:

  • The presence of explicit fan service or sex scenes
  • The inclusion of ridiculous double standards
  • Fans having labelled it as an erotic product on their own wikis
  • The publisher having actual porn products in their catalog

But generally this just assumes that by shoehorning in some sexualized content a product immediately becomes excluded from criticism.  Very few products exclude all content from their own genre (plenty of action movies have a romantic subplot for example).

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Generally a lot of the cross genre trends have a pretty basic premise behind them, it helps improve the audience investment:

  • Comic relief in horror and thriller helps avoid the audience becoming desensitized or burnt out from the tension
  • Having a love interest can humanize a protagonist (or an antagonist) and increase your ability to get invested in them
  • Mixing a little mystery with your modern fantasy story reminds the audience of how little we really notice or know about the world around us and makes them more accepting to the idea of secret magic

So, what purpose does having ultrasexualized costumes for female characters and regular arbitrary fan service?  Well, mostly it’s because of the general belief that certain demographics need a lot of reassurance that some products are okay for them, and in fact made exclusively for them:

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It’s been covered before, but I really feel the need to restate that the main reason for this is a very simple reasoning: x genre is a for (straight cis) men so we need to market exclusively to them and make sure they know we’re doing it (even if they think it’s already being overdone and kind of insulting).

(Evidence suggests this works… but only in the sense that it does make a lot of people think that the product is not for them and hence don’t buy it. Or just have more fun mocking it than they’d have playing it.)

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That’s not to say that there aren’t products or stories where including sexual content gives it a boost, but generally you’ll want to do it in a way that makes sense and does actually improve the product and that still doesn’t make it porn.

You can physically eat a lot of things, but just as you wouldn’t call it food unless you buy it specifically to eat it, you shouldn’t call it porn unless you buy it specifically for sexual gratification.

– wincenworks

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