Originally Posted by Elfwreck
That's certainly possible. However, the basic topic of a book doesn't tell you whether it "glorifies" people as sex objects, or the abuse of children, or murder, or any other crime or depravity. And sex carries such a negative stigma that books that feature a lot of it wind up getting tagged "erotica" regardless of what themes or story tropes they also have.
"Books that encourage poisonous mindsets and inspire messed-up people to commit atrocities" aren't limited to any one or two genres, and they can't be identified by their marketing tags.
"Erotica" isn't the problem. "Hardcore explicit erotica" isn't the problem. Nor is "explicit erotica focused on kinky practices that most people find disgusting." "Books that treat people as sex objects" might be the problem... but doesn't that include books for teenage girls that tell them they'll never get a boyfriend if they don't learn how to apply eyeshadow correctly?
Objectifying people has nothing to do with explicit descriptions of body parts. Condoning abuse has nothing to do with descriptions of sex. There is no way to separate out "books that are bad for society" based on objective content descriptions. The books that are toxic are so because of context, because of their meaning in today's cultures, and there's no computer program that can identify those problems.
I agree with so much of what you write here. Very well stated! I do think that books that teach girls to value themselves only for their ability to make themselves attractive to a potential partner qualify as objectifying those girls. I totally agree that the way in which a book treats its subject (be it violence, sex, etc) is what determines whether or not that book is dehumanizing or not.
So, yes, tagging and categorizing in order to avoid dehumanizing books would be difficult if not impossible in the current market. Perhaps that was one value of the traditional publisher-driven model? Not sure, and also don't want to return to the traditional model. At this stage, perhaps simply tagging the content and offering clear descriptions is the best we can do.
Originally Posted by QuantumIguana
Let's do a thought experiment. If reading books of erotica made people into sex offenders, then we would expect to see that illiterates would be less likely to be sex offenders than readers are.
So, for this thought experiment, can the illiterate people view movies, surf pornography on the internet, listen to audio books, purchase adult magazines, etc?