In his rant of November 2010, Poster of Oduza Okasa argues in no uncertain terms that NyaaTorrents is pushing pornography. The reason?
The figurines of women with exposed breasts is porn; the figurines of characters touching themselves in obviously sexual manners is porn. This isn’t artistic stuff and there’s no way to take it any other way. So Nyaa is purposefully pushing porn.
Thus, he writes, NyaaTorrents exploits women.
It seems a very neat piece of moral outrage, but it is plagued by fundamental inconsistencies. Figurines of women are not actually women, any more than the classic image of a pipe by Magritte is a real pipe.
Furthermore, the distinction drawn – sexuality versus art – is inherently problematic. Many works of art make use of sexuality, and would be robbed of their meaning without sexual context. Porn may be sex bereft of art, but art is certainly not bereft of sex. Thus, sexuality tells us nothing about whether or not a work is art.
The term “exploitation” is loaded. When DancingQueen reviews an ecchi figurine, is she engaging in the exploitation of her own gender? Or is she merely writing about a subject which interests her, in which some parties are interested because of a sexual component? And if we accept that some part of the readership has prurient interest, should we allow that to dictate how everyone views it?
While ads that mimic softcore porn with inanimate objects may be reminiscent of exploitation of women to some viewers, even uncomfortably so, they cannot possibly be exploitative of women when no real women are in the photos. (Whether disrobed women who are paid for their photos are in actuality exploited is another issue to be examined, but in this case the issue does not even arise.)
This distinction will be novel for some readers, but it is neither subtle nor trivial. The only thing that can be injured (if anything is indeed hurt by an ad showing a figma in a suggestive pose) is the viewer’s concept of women. Inviting someone to alter their concepts is not a crime; it is the basis of discourse. It is not morally wrong: each reader is expected to formulate his or her own opinions and code of morality.
If people cannot handle women responsibly just because they are faced with ads that suggest objectifying them, then society is impossible.