Beauty Redefined Blog

Porn & Pop Culture: A Deadly Combination

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In the last year, I have spent hours on the phone with a good friend as she discovered her boyfriend’s heavy use of pornography and his eventual cheating on her.

I have cried with a colleague who carries the burden of finding out her dad, a long-time viewer of pornography, has cheated on her mom and she can’t bear to tell her.

I have listened to accounts of women whose lives were consumed by pornography that distanced them from any meaningful relationships.

I have been out with men who openly admitted to pornography addictions that broke up their marriages because they couldn’t resist the images.

I have spoken with women who stumbled upon pornography at age 6 or 7 that ended up teaching them how they should look, act and what they should value for a lifetime.

I have stayed up late into the night talking with a friend whose sisters were molested by her dad, a pornography addict who eventually committed suicide.

I have been invited to powerful meetings and heard about the staggering costs of pornography paid for by individuals, families, businesses and tax dollars.

Because of these heartwrenching experiences, I’ve directed my research to the ways pornography has infiltrated our lives and smoothly made its way into mainstream media, where it is presented as safe, normal and unquestioned. I know I’m not alone in my experiences, so let’s break the silence that surrounds this secretive, dangerous and addictive force in so many lives. Let’s break the silence about the pornography industry’s huge gains at the expense of the people within its grasp. Let’s break the silence on how such objectified, degrading images have become unbelievably prevalent and normalized in mainstream media. Though it may seem like an abnormal first step, we must begin by redefining our very definition of “pornography.”

Pornography Redefined

Before talking about the dangerous consequences of our porn-saturated culture – from sexual abuse to failed relationships and body hatred – we need to define what porn is. At this point, the average person hears the word “pornography” and imagines a computer, a vision of the World Wide Web, or a magazine hidden under a mattress. But scholars  define pornography as “a state of undress and a mode of representation that invites the sexualized gaze of the viewer” (ex: Mooney, 2008). Webster’s Dictionary describes it as “the depiction of erotic behavior intended to cause sexual excitement.” Working from these definitions, we find these dangerous messages in many other places than just behind closed doors.  In fact, we find them everywhere. Academics and journalists seem to agree the line between pop culture and pornography has blurred in just the last 10 years. The last decade of our lives has been called “the rise of raunch,” “porno chic society” and “striptease culture,” which marks the way media makers incorporate sex into their messages while totally denying they are pornographic.

In the last 10 years, porn stars are now mainstream icons; the music industry continues to push the limits to the point of “soft-core” pornography in words and images; and, as author Gail Dines (2010) describes, the pornography industry has worked carefully and strategically to “sanitize its products by stripping away the ‘dirt’ factor and reconstituting porn as fun, edgy, sexy and hot.” Today, the Playboy brand is a hit phenomenon for men and women – featuring the hit TV shows “The Girls Next Door” with Hefner and his harem of blondes, “Kendra,” a former Playmate, Playboy’s “Holly” and her Vegas Peep Show – or any number of movies (2011’s animated hit “Hop” featuring the Playboy logo for our youngest audiences and 2008’s “House Bunny,” for example). Little girls adorn themselves in Playboy bunny T-shirts and young women apply to be Playboy Playmates every day as the ultimate in feminine accomplishment.

Playboy and companies like it openly celebrate their status as pornographic, while other powerful media corporations feature the same images packaged as “safe.” For example, Playboy, SI Swimsuit Issue, and Victoria’s Secret share many of the same models from year to year – all wearing little or no clothing. But Sports Illustrated is the “most respected voice in sports journalism,” so when the hotly anticipated Swimsuit Issue hits mailboxes and coffee tables, pornography quickly moves from beneath the mattress to your kitchen table. Victoria’s Secret is “for women” and they specifically claim their images are far from the “cheesiness” of pornography, but represent “beauty and artwork,” all while featuring women who also pose for Playboy and other pornographic outlets with nearly-nude poses perfectly reflecting porn, as discussed in my recent analysis and ongoing doctoral research. Further, the best-selling women’s magazine since 1972, Cosmopolitan, is nearly indistinguishable from any magazine geared toward men on the newsstand.

But the “pornification of culture” goes SO much further. We’re not just talking about Victoria’s Secret’s ever-present images, nor are we only referring to the SI Swimsuit Issue as examples of normalized pornography. Many of the most popular TV shows feature pornography, or sex-focused images and talk, at every turn without censorship. Considering again that pornography includes any “mode of representation that invites the sexualized gaze of the viewer” or “the depiction of erotic behavior intended to cause sexual excitement” (Webster’s 2011), we have to recognize that those images and messages are literally everywhere. Reality TV brings us “Jersey Shore,” “The Real World,” “Bad Girl’s Club,” etc.  Even basic cable TV shows that find their way into otherwise conservative households bring very sex-centered content at every turn, including “Desperate Housewives,” Gossip Girl,” “90210,” “Two and a Half Men,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and even all sorts of children’s programming and the most popular toys for little girls.  Top movies every year feature women’s naked bodies and private acts watched by millions: “American Pie,” “Good Luck Chuck,” “Love and Other Drugs,” among thousands of others.

Television commercials don’t shy away from these images, either. Ever seen an Axe Body Spray commercial? They exclusively feature women in sexually degrading ways and are shown on TV all hours of the day. (And don’t forget Dove – the company that sells “self esteem” is owned by the same company that owns Axe Body Spray! Really, Unilever, really?!) Pick up any number of popular men’s and women’s magazines, from Esquire and Rolling Stone to Cosmopolitan and Shape, and you’ll find pornographic images and messages on display. Drive down the freeway and you’ll see sky-high billboards with parts of women’s bodies made to represent women themselves in sexually objectifying ways.

When we understand that pornography includes ALL of the depictions (in images or words) that are meant to invite a sexualized interpretation and incite sexual feelings, then we see that otherwise “mainstream” media choices are actually working as gateway drugs to more secret, addictive forms of pornography. These constant pornographic images and messages are causing boys, girls, men and women to be desensitized to images and messages that people would have RUN from just a few years ago. If seeing sex acts or nearly nude, zoomed-in images of objectified female bodies on network TV or billboards isn’t that shocking, then XXX Internet videos or blatantly pornographic magazines won’t seem like that much of a shock either.

We can’t forget that the Internet has contributed to skyrocketing rates of production and consumption of pornography, with an estimated 420 million pages of porn online, and 13,000 porn videos released annually while more than 900 million videos are rented (MEF, 2008).  In the 90s, hits on pornographic websites outranked ANY other website by 10 to 1. And today, the most powerful media corporations like CBS (who gains massive profit from airing the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show each year), Time Warner, and News Corporation collectively earn $1 billion annually from pornography, either by direct distribution or by producing and licensing porn-related content and cross-promoting it through their media outlets. Today, pornography has redefined itself as just another safe media message, and many media powerholders thrive off keeping it that way.

This is not just a feminist argument calling out all the harmfully objectifying messages we are exposed to every day in the name of female equality. This is a fight for male and female mental and physical health, for safety, for meaningful relationships, for women’s worth, for the power to recognize and reject these proven harmful influences if we want to. The power of pornographic images — presented to us as normal and natural in the last decade of our lives — is REAL and is worth fighting against.

Here’s why we must fight back:

* In 2009, a neurosurgeon revealed alarming evidence that pornography triggers changes in brain chemistry and functioning like those caused by cocaine and meth. These changes result in an “enslaving addiction” that damages the brain, reducing the size of the brain essential for self-control and prudent judgment. Other psychiatrists around the world echo these findings claiming that today’s ever-present pornography “is a form of heroin 100 times more powerful than before.” (Dr. Donald Hilton, The Lighted Candle Society)

* Research tells us girls and women who learn from media to pay extra attention to the way they look have fewer mental resources available in their brains for other mental and physical activities, including mathematics, logical reasoning and athletic performance (ex: Fredrickson & Harrison, 2004; Gapinski, Brownell, & LaFrance, 2003).

* Studies claim men and women who viewed just six hours of pornography (one hour each week for six weeks) reported significantly reduced satisfaction with their present relationship, both with their partner’s sexuality and appearance.  Participants also reported being faithful to their partner was less important by study’s end and their view of sex without emotional involvement rose in favor (Bryant & Zillman, 1988).

* A study of 813 college students across the US revealed 66.5% of college-aged men agreed viewing pornography is acceptable and 48.7% of college-aged females did. In all, 87% of men reported using pornography at some level, with one fifth reporting daily or every-other-day use and nearly HALF reporting a weekly or more frequent use pattern. One third of women reported using pornography at “some” level. AND these results revealed connections between porn acceptance/use and risky sexual attitudes and unsafe behaviors, as well as connections between pornography use and alcohol and drug use (Carroll and Padilla-Walker, 2008).

* A survey conducted by Employment Law Alliance found 25% of employees in the US visit pornographic sites during office hours in 2004.  Six years later, an investigation found the US Securities & Exchange Commission had 31 employees who were “serious offenders” of porn on the job: One senior attorney spent up to eight hours a day accessing Internet porn, an accountant attempted to access porn websites 1,800 times in two-weeks, another uploaded his own explicit videos onto porn sites on his work computer, and yet another attempted to access porn sites 16,000 times in a single month.

* Studies demonstrate repeated exposure to sexualized female bodies encourages women to view and value themselves from an outsider’s gaze, positively endorse sexually objectifying images in the future, and experience body hatred (for recent reviews, see Groesz, Levine, & Murnen, 2002; Holmstrom, 2004).

* In 2003, the top 1,600 U.S. divorce attorneys submitted data showing 62% of the divorces they handled claimed the Internet as a major cause of divorce and 56% of those went further to claim “one party having an obsessive interest in pornographic websites.” Keep in mind the current no-fault divorce statute in place makes it advantageous for attorneys to entirely ignore and never record the causes of divorce, which means this 62% statistic is shocking and most likely drastically higher.

* Adolescent girls who value themselves primarily for how their bodies look to men, based on years of objectifying media images, make unhealthy sexual choices, measured by decreased condom use and weakened sexual assertiveness – the ability to say “no” (Impett, Schooler, and Tolman, 2006).

HOW YOU CAN FIGHT BACK!

RUN from Normalized Pornography: Sexual images and dialogue are now a normal part of media all hours of the day. You now know research is very clear that pornography changes the way men and women view each other, it gets in the way of us forming loving and healthy relationships with family and friends, it skews our perceptions of female bodies, our sense of self-worth, and leads to unhealthy choices. Do not just walk away – RUN FROM IT! We give power to media messages and images when we continue to view and read them. Recognize the ways pornographic images and content show up in regular, “mainstream” media and continually remind yourself to turn off those shows, put down those magazines, throw out those movies, block those websites, cancel those channels, etc. Recognizing and rejecting those normalized pornographic depictions can prevent us from falling into the trap of more blatant pornographic content later.

Be an Advocate for CHANGE: If this information is alarming to you and you’d like to get involved in fighting it on a larger scale than simply turning away, volunteer or apply to join with organizations that support civil litigation against those that profit from pornography, finance research to study the effects of pornography, publish information to help people combat it, and counsel those harmed by pornography.  A simple Internet search will give you contact information for many anti-pornography organizations that will help you get started in meaningful ways.

Go on a Media Fast: Choose a day, a week, a month, or longer to steer clear of as much media as you can. That way, you can see how your life is different without all those messages and images, and when you return to viewing and reading popular media, you will be more sensitive to the messages that hurt you and those you love. One group of male college students in Utah went on a “media fast” for three months, and at the end of that time, the men claimed they found the real women in their lives more beautiful while they were on the fast, and continued to find them more beautiful once the fast was over because they realized what real women look like when they weren’t bombarded with sexualized and unreal images of women in media.

Object to Objectification: Pay attention to media that is objectifying to women, which means it shows females as just PARTS of themselves. That happens when the camera pans up and down their bodies, or zooms in on certain body parts. This also takes place when magazines or movies and TV talk about women’s bodies in ways that degrade them and turn them into just body parts instead of thinking, feeling humans. Boys and men exposed to sexually objectifying messages learn to primarily view and value females for their outward appearance and actually endorse objectifying images in the future. The same goes for girls exposed to these messages. Yikes!

Take Media Into Your Own Hands: Post links or start discussions on blogs and social networking sites to continuously spark conversation about dangerous ideals like normalized pornography and to bring to light those who profit from us seeing those ideals. Join us on Facebook HERE for regular updates and links to share with your own friends and family. And when thinking about your future college studies and/or present career, consider going into journalism, advertising or media production so YOU can produce messages that uplift rather than degrade.

The Power of Media Makers: Media decisionmakers like editors, producers, writers, directors and web developers can and should disrupt the steady stream of sexualized messages by refusing to air or publish pornographic content, refusing advertising dollars from those that advertise with the use of sex-focused content, and use your voice to speak out against the onslaught of normalized pornography in media.

Make Your Voice Heard: If our suggestion to turn away from pornography is not enough for you, consider your fierce influence as an advocate for truth and uplifting messages. When you come across a company’s pornographic advertising or a magazine that objectifies women, speak up! Blogging your disapproval is a great start, and so is posting links to news stories that reveal harmful ideals or new research on social networking sites. If you’d like to go a step further, write to and/or call your local cable company, TV station, newspaper and any other media outlet perpetuating harmful messages. Get the word out that the media message you have seen is inappropriate and dangerous and threaten to boycott if it is not removed. If your complaints are not heard, do NOT patronize those institutions and suggest the same to your loved ones.

Check Your Vision: Be conscious of the vast amount of media we consume each day, whether voluntarily or involuntarily. In fact, the average American spends about 4.5 hours every day watching TV or movies and another 3.5 hours on the Internet, on top of being exposed to about 3,600 advertisements from every angle. As you go through your day, pay attention to what you see and what messages speak to the normalized pornographic images you read about here.

Get Help: If you find you are choosing to view pornography often, you feel addicted, or it is getting in the way of your productivity and healthy relationships, help is available. Hundreds of counselors, therapists, and psychiatrists specialize in treating pornography addiction and you are not alone. Though pornography addiction is dangerous and often “enslaving,” you can fight it and win. Speak to a health professional immediately and take your power back!

By Lexie Kite, 2011. “Let’s Talk About Sex: Pop Culture & Pornography” Published at www.beautyredefined.net on March 1, 2011.

For the full list of references, click HERE.

  1. Ashley
    Ashley03-02-2011

    This is great Lexie. Thank you so much for your dedication and hard work to fight the good cause. This needs to get out to the world!

  2. Daniel McKnight
    Daniel McKnight03-02-2011

    Thank you for posting this. As a guy, the growth of normalized pornography is troubling. I can’t even go to the grocery store without being confronted by it. It is there at the check out stand right next to the candy.

    I am grateful to have read something that admits that avoiding pornography is harder than just avoiding certain web sites or not looking at a Playboy magazine. It really is everywhere.

    I am truly grateful, also, for women who that your message to heart and do not dress to reveal. By not “flaunting their features” they are truly saying that there is more to them than their bodies. With pornographic images and messages popping up everywhere, it is nice to know that many women refuse to be “walking pornography”.

    Thank you for taking a stand and being vocal about this growing problem.

    • Laura
      Laura03-18-2011

      Daniel, your comment made my day. I just came across this article via a friend on an anti-pornography group and I absolutely agree with everything. Porn has ruined my relationship to the point of no return, simply because my then-fiance refused to even try to stop looking at porn. I stopped eating because I felt too fat and was unhappy with every part of my body simply because he felt like looking at other women whose bodies were NOTHING like mine. Thank you for making me realize that there are some men out there that understand there is more to life than having the perfect woman in front of your eyes.

    • Rozy
      Rozy01-09-2013

      Thats really cool for a guy to be aware of this issue! I still have some faith in humanity. ;)

  3. Vanessa
    Vanessa03-02-2011

    Thanks Lexie,
    I’ll definitely be posting this on Facebook. It was a great reminder that we all do need to take a stand and fight back. Like the comment above, I too find myself in the checkout lines covering up the bad magazines with better ones to protect my children (nor do I want to look at it). It frustrates me to no end; as does taking my kid’s to the mall to see Santa who is located right in front of Victoria’s Secret! I have definitely been encouraged by your blog to let my voice be heard! Also, we no longer have cable in our home and I have found that I can’t even stand looking at MSN headlines now without being annoyed. So I know that avoiding these things can help us get back to recognize what is pure and normal. We are all impacted by porn, even if we aren’t seeking it ourselves. Thanks for what you do and for giving me that extra push to fight back!

  4. Jenalee
    Jenalee03-02-2011

    I totally agree with you. I think pornography surrounds us. The magazines at a checkout, the advertisements in magazines and on TV, even the way the models look in catalogs have all bothered me for some time now. It is hard now for women and girls to buy new clothing that doesn’t have too wide of a neck, too low of a scoop neck or too deep of a plunging v neck, making it hard for women not to be pornographic with the clothing they wear. Thanks for sharing your insights and suggestions on what we can do to fight back.

  5. JayInAtlanta
    JayInAtlanta03-02-2011

    Well written analysis. I’m supportive of your efforts to attack objectification and reveal the problems that pornography addiction can cause.

    I did have two quick questions. You seem to be against “normalized” porn, which throughout the article I gathered meant the pervasive amount of sexual images of women (and men) in popular culture. How should we refer to pornography made for private consumption, and consumed by couples and individuals?

    Second, and somewhat related, you advise readers to: “apply to join with organizations that support civil litigation against those that profit from pornography.” I’ve got to admit this stands out to me. Since most of your article focuses on “normalized” porn — other than references to the damage porn can do in general — are you saying that porn has no right to exist as a business model at all?

    Thanks for your article and your time.

    • Beauty Redefined
      Beauty Redefined03-02-2011

      Hi Jay,
      Thanks so much for your support and your questions! We love to get men involved in these discussions as much as possible. For your first question, we just refer to that by it’s normal definition as “pornography.” That pretty much sums it up. It fits the standard definitions we presented and we hope it stays in locations where it can be accessed by those who deliberately choose to do so, and doesn’t leak into the mainstream “normalized pornography” we see in every other outlet.

      To answer your second question, we have to admit that personally (as women, researchers and health/body image activists), porn has absolutely no merit. But in terms of its right to exist as a business model for private consumption, people have the right to produce and consume any type of content they’d like (within certain bounds, like children’s rights). For us, the problem with the industry comes when its degrading and proven-harmful material then also pervades mainstream media in nearly unavoidable way, as it does now. When the porn industry, in an attempt to lure in and cash in on more curious people, infringes on others’ rights to avoid that type of content and protect their families from it, that’s where their rights as a business need to be stopped through litigation, activism – whatever. We need stricter regulation against the presence of normalized porn out in the open – on billboards, magazine newsstands, TV commercials, entertainment media on network TV all hours of the day, etc. The porn industry is thriving off making its presence in mainstream media look invisible and unquestioned. We want people to question it and fight against it. Thanks again for your comments and support!
      -Lindsay

      • Beauty Redefined
        Beauty Redefined03-02-2011

        P.S. (from Lexie): Porn unfortunately has the right to exist as a business model – one of the most lucrative in the world, in fact! But that gives individuals and organizations who see harm in their messages the right to combat it, as well. All businesses work within some sort of guidelines or framework, whether they are governmental or otherwise, and when the FCC lets some companies perpetuate harmful messages on primetime TV without any fines or repercussions, (as one example), others need to step in and do the work, too.

        Of course, this is an individual issue for each person. For those that elect to consume porn, and hopefully think critically about the types of porn they view and how it affects their perceptions/beliefs of real-life women (as well as if it fits into their moral/ethical framework), then that is their own decision. Beauty Redefined is all about taking back health and beauty and teaching how to critically analyze the ubiquitous messages we see. This is another of those messages :)

      • Kirsten
        Kirsten03-03-2011

        Actually, pornography is obscene. There are federal obscenity laws that make most pornography illegal. The making of pornography is NOT considered a First Amendment Right.

      • Beauty Redefined
        Beauty Redefined03-03-2011

        Thanks for that clarification, Kristen. Consuming obscenity/pornography in your own home without exposing children is legal. The illegal part is the distribution of pornography. Interestingly, most people don’t know the distribution of pornography is illegal because people who want to avoid those stores/sections/channels/websites/etc. just avoid them, which means the judicial system receives relatively few complaints about porn distribution and therefore doesn’t enforce the laws very well. Without complaints, no one gets prosecuted.

      • Richard
        Richard10-16-2012

        The only problem with this is that ‘obscenity’ is only vaguely defined and then based on ‘community standards'(whatever that means) in the US. So a court would have to prove it violated tha standards of a given community. Given that even in the US opinions are divided, that might be hard; the internet is a worldwide medium whichdoesn’t respect borders too well so whatever is stopped in one country could easily be distributed from another.

        And I wonder how much the courts would given this fact be cosidered ‘obscene’ if porn is ‘normalised’; however the reason so much gets through is perhaps due to it never havign been adequately tested in court. (and given too how some of the real hardcore stuff is that disgusting and degrading, as I know to my shame, it would not be that hard.)

      • Alyson
        Alyson06-13-2012

        Thanks for this reply, as I had the exact same questions as Jay.

        I love this article in that it really gives a voice to a viewpoint that at least *I* haven’t heard before. We are barraged with images of scantily clad women all day, every day and if we complain about it we are “prudes” or “too conservative”. Never in a million years would I consider myself a prude or conservative, and I had never really considered myself anti-porn either, but I certainly don’t think we should be out flaunting everything we’ve got either. It’s dangerous to our children and young men and women. I’m glad you’ve given a voice to this issue as it’s been really confusing to me as to what should and shouldn’t be acceptable and appropriate, due to all of the mixed messages we get from the media.

  6. Brian Hanson
    Brian Hanson03-03-2011

    Very good piece. Good job.

  7. Ron Sutler
    Ron Sutler03-03-2011

    Thank you for your excellent work on this topic. I spent nearly 30 years of my life immersed in porn, and it colored every relationship I had. I allowed it to poison my marriage. i take full responsibility for the damage I did, but porn was a contributing factor that made it so much easier to choose the choices I chose that would eventually lead to promiscuous anonymous sex….and would threaten my marriage. Praise God the marriage is restored, thanks to a forgiving and loving wife. We now use these experiences to help other couples who were in the same dark places.

    My wish and prayer is that young women would reclaim their inherent power — the power to tame and civilize society. Men will do what is necessary to please and attract a woman, so if women refuse to accept boorish and objectifying behavior, men would be compelled to change their behavior. Problem is, we (men, that is) have convinced women that the slutty, skin-displaying images on TV and the magazines is what they must compete with for our affections, and women buy into it. Someone once said men are pigs….and they may be right. But women are the pig farmers. Men need to ‘man up’ and make a covenant with their eyes to not look with lust, and women need to dress up and regain some modesty.

  8. Anna
    Anna03-03-2011

    I don’t think porn has a right to exist as a business model where the practices involved in producing it are so unethical. The porn industry is a largely unregulated industry that often involves criminal elements, trafficking and the sexual exploitation and abuse of both women and children. There have been instances where even ‘legitimate’, mainstream porn titles have exploited underaged girls, sexually abused women, mentally ill women, addicted women who were not able to give informed consent. One porn title which is considered a porn ‘classic’ was actually the filmed sexual assault of a woman (Deep Throat). Linda Boreman testitfied to this in her book Ordeal and also in a court of law. The issue is not simply whether we’re offended by pornographic images. The production of pornography itself is largely unregulated, exploitative, unethical and often criminal. I don’t accept that as a legitimate business model.

    • Beauty Redefined
      Beauty Redefined03-03-2011

      Couldn’t agree with you more.

    • Rozy
      Rozy01-09-2013

      Me neither.

    • Maude
      Maude02-07-2013

      Yes, let’s not forget that porn ‘actresses’ are essentially prostitutes, and I have heard it said being in porn is actually much worse than being a prostitute. Many women in the sex industry are shuffled from porn to prostitution to escort agencies and back again. The porn industry is abusive–the issue shouldn’t just be about how people consuming porn are affected, but how the women within porn are affected. Often young women go into it thinking it’s going to be glamorous (hello! Look how it’s so normalized!), they will make money, impress men, be famous, or any other reason, only to end up abused, raped, addicted, with serious health problems, STDs–and not well paid on top of it. I appreciate that this blog article tries to stay ‘neutral’ when it comes to the treatment of prostituted women, but there’s no equality as long as such an industry is unregulated and women and children are regularly abused and forced/coerced into and kept in lives of degradation. I find it quite disgusting that people indulge and derive pleasure from porn, where they are not even sure if the woman is consenting, if she is in pain, if she has been sexually abused, etc. An interesting but painful-to-read blog is by a former prostitute, Rebecca Mott: http://rmott62.wordpress.com/

  9. Harold
    Harold03-03-2011

    It truly is difficult to find knowledgeable people for this topic, however you be understood as you know exactly what you are writing on! Bless you

  10. Bo4610
    Bo461003-03-2011

    THis is a really good post. I agree in everything you said here. Pornography seems like accepted now in every culture and media is to blame here. But these stuff in my opinion are gonna be with us until the end of this earth. The way we an avoid these and of course protect our children too I think is to strengthen our characters by indulging our selves to positive things, don’t want to be religious here but I strongly agree with what the scriptures are saying and showing us. IT IS STILL THE WORD OF GOD THAT HAS MORE POWER TO CHANGE SOMEONE THAN ANYTHING WE CAN THINK OF. =)

  11. Jerry
    Jerry03-04-2011

    Firstly, let me make it clear that I DO find it a sad state of affairs our society has become dominated by the hyper-sexualization of our youth, especially today. However, I have a fair number of bones to pick with your article.

    1) For someone with a PHD I cannot understand your improper use of citations. Other than citing the author’s name and year a study, research, findings, etc. was released, there are zero references to any of the books, journals, papers, etc. these “facts” come from. I tried Googling the names and dates to find the source material, but came up empty handed with each attempt. So if you could please reference the actual title each of these have come from, that would be fantastic.

    2) This entire article seems a bit too biased towards one sex, namely female. Other than highlighting the awful things that viewing porn apparently does to a man’s mind, you haven’t addressed any issues from that side of the story. Are men not equally being exploited in this culture dominated by “pornography redefined”? Where is the mention that guys have to face images of rock-hardened chests of steel, tanned bods, etc. that equally provide a negative image of what a man “ought to look like”? Not too mention the other issues that could be associated.

    3) The only link I could click on, to try and see where some of this information came from, took me to a website that is basically propaganda. However, at least the Lighted Candle Society website had clear citations so I can further investigate where the statistics etc. are originally from; at least in the “science” tab. Though I have to say, until I can read these full articles I have no idea how much weight these quotes have in context. Oh, and here’s a great example of a website dedicated to only publishing hard fact: there’s a link where ANYONE can send in their stats!

    4) That brings me to my next point: a look over the statistic section presented me with all kinds of information… unfortunately, these too are not cited correctly. Well how am I supposed to check any facts to make a completely informed decision when all I am told is this particular quote is from “internet-filter-review.com”?

    Furthermore, anyone who has taken a “Methods and Statistics” course at a University can tell you, it is pretty easy to publish statistics that turn out the way you want them to. Before anyone attacks this point, let me clarify: I am not saying these stats are straight up B.S. However, any group with a vested interest can easily pay a group of researchers to conduct a study until the results show up the way they want. Businesses do it all the time so they can slap “One in three people say…” labels on their products and have “the research” be able to back up said claim.

    You also present these stats as if they are completely sound and concrete when there are many other factors involved. This one, for example:

    “One in three American girls will be sexually molested by the age of 18 and 87 percent of convicted molesters of girls admit to viewing pornography (MEF, 2008).”

    So I am clear, the act of molestation is a disgusting act and one that disturbs me a great deal. I do not in any way shape or form think it is right, and I do think there should be harsher laws with regards to it and rape. But returning to the issue of the stat itself; I could do a survey and find that these same 87 percent of molesters also drank alcohol to excess, or were themselves sexually abused. I could find any number of things to specifically link and draw a conclusion from, which is why I have been taught to question statistics. They appear everywhere, but can often be used to push a specific agenda etc.

    Darrell Huff’s book, “How to Lie with Statistics” (1954), has many examples of how statistics can be manipulated with great ease.

    5) Beyond the pervasiveness of “pornography” in the mainstream, you also attack the porn industry directly by saying it hold no merit. Sorry, but how much research did you do with those who are actually involved in it? I am not denying that there has been some major issues surrounding the industry, such as some of the things you mentioned; however, you are painting a picture with some very broad strokes here by not substantiating some of your claims from that side of the ledger.

    With that in mind, and after checking out the Facebook page you have, how do you feel about the Suicide Girls website? Is this too completely devoid of any merit, despite it being a form of protest against the some of the same issues you’ve brought up?

    Well you must be supportive of them at least, considering this website shares the same name as the second book they’ve published in 2008, ” Suicide Girls: BEAUTY REDEFINED”. Which by the way, happens to be a wonderfully produced hardcover, with some absolutely stunning photography.

    Again, let me reiterate I do find it quite disturbing how much society in North America is being dominated by sex in the mainstream. If anything, I am playing devil’s advocate mostly because I feel this is an incredibly biased article and one that is not supported correctly.

    Considering you are a PHD graduate, I am also wondering if you could direct me to any articles you have written that have appeared in a Scholarly Journal?

    Thank you for your time in clarifying these things.

    • Beauty Redefined
      Beauty Redefined03-04-2011

      Hi Jerry, I’ll try to address each of your concerns in the order you brought them up.
      1) the method of citation has simply been modified for online publication. You’re right that it isn’t proper journal-style, and that’s because we’re writing for a very broad audience and trying to provide as much information as possible in a reader-friendly format — not because we’re trying to conceal sources or don’t have a clear understanding of proper citation protocol for academic writing. We are more than happy to provide the full list of references upon request, which we will also post here (at the bottom of the post).

      2) If you’ll take note, the examples of pornography’s harm we cite reference the harm done to both men and women. Bryant and Zillman’s study used a sample of men and women, as did Carroll & Padilla-Walker’s. Dr. Donald Hilton is speaking about the brain itself, and we never referred to a male or female bias there. Further, the SEC report references both men and women at fault and we never solely blamed men for consuming pornography. In fact, the emphasis on Victoria’s Secret images is directly speaking to women who consume those messages. If you’ll take a look at our focus, declared throughout this site and through each of our previous pieces of work, we are primarily concerned with media representation of female bodies and what influence that has upon perceptions of female health/beauty/worth/etc. That focus exists in this piece as well. Undoubtedly, males are harmed by pornogrpahy’s influence and depictions of male bodies also. No argument here. But calling something biased just because it doesn’t include a complementary area of research you’re interested in is misguided. We maintain (as we have always maintained) a clear focus on women’s bodies and the ways they are represented in media. Narrowing our focus is a deliberate decision that any writer or researcher must make, and it does not take away from the value of our contribution to the understanding of media’s harmful influence upon females.

      It sounds like your #3 and #4 can also be grouped into the #1 concern about citation. Most of our sources are to academic journals that can’t be linked online, which is why links are not provided. Those will be made available as a full citation. The “propaganda” source you noted is actually a highly regarded non-profit that is actively fighting the harms of pornography through scholarly research and the legislative process. They are a spectacular organization and source for concrete research on the effects of pornography from a medical standpoint, as well as a psychological standpoint. We stand by our link to the Lighted Candle Society’s site. As far as your concerns with statistics, that argument could be made anywhere you see a quantitative analysis or numbers made to represent any research finding. Obviously there are many more factors behind any statistic on earth. We see no need to defend the general use of statistical research on this site or anywhere else.

      #5: As you know, our comment that the pornography industry has no merit was made in the “comments” section and is not found in the piece. It carried the disclaimer that it is a personal opinion, and that opinion is based off the research and findings outlined in this piece, as well as a firsthand knowledge of the harm pornography causes too many people. As far as the Suicide Girls, we are not affiliated with them or familiar with their work. If we are fighting the same battle, as you stated, then that is fantastic. The fact that their second book shares our title of Beauty Redefined is by chance, as we also began using that title for our project in 2008. Finally, if you’ll take a look at our “About Us” section or any of the pages on this site where we mention our place in the academy, we are second-year doctoral students, not PhD graduates, as you infer. We’ll be there soon! Thank you for your comments and your support in fighting against sex-dominated mainstream media!

      • Julie
        Julie07-31-2011

        I am not a PhD, but I am a woman who saw your billboard and came to your website. I read this article and the comments. You said in point 1, to “Jerry”:

        “1) the method of citation has simply been modified for online publication. You’re right that it isn’t proper journal-style, and that’s because we’re writing for a very broad audience and trying to provide as much information as possible in a reader-friendly format”

        Wikipedia is very easy to read and for a broad audience. And considering that the billboard I saw today said, “You are capable of much more than being looked at,” it does sadden me that there are seemingly low expectations here. I care more about acquiring info than I do how friendly the format is…

        I did look at your PDF of references. But, I do want to mention: I find putting the links in a PDF a VERY unfriendly format. In order to check your facts, I have to download the PDF. Then I have to check back to your article to see what reference I need to click on. Once I see what reference I need, I have to scroll down the PDF to find it. When I finally find it, after downloading and scrolling and matching it up with your article, I can finally see what one of your sources says.

        I was especially surprised by one statistic, which I looked up first:

        “One in three American girls will be sexually molested by the age of 18 and 87 percent of convicted molesters of girls admit to viewing pornography (Media Education Fdtn, 2008). ”

        But your source isn’t reliable or easy to use either. It’s a study guide for a film in PDF form, it’s 21 pages long, and I have to scroll through the pages just to try and find your excerpted data. You didn’t give a page number and so I looked through the whole thing.

        And I saw that it often doesn’t cite its own sources! For example, it claims, “Pornography is involved in about 70% of sexual abuse cases” and then it gives NO citation to back this up. I have NO idea where they got that info from, because they don’t say. They just say it as if it’s true, and expect everyone to believe it.

        In fairness, they do include a bibliography — but what good is a bibliography if they don’t say what excerpts came from where? After all, there are 92 books and articles listed! It’d be like looking for a needle in a haystack.

        But, back to the original quote you used in your own article. You quoted “http://www.mediaed.org/assets/products/235/studyguide_235.pdf ” as saying:

        “One in three American girls will be sexually molested by the age of 18 and 87 percent of convicted molesters of girls admit to viewing pornography”

        And that quote wasn’t in your source. I checked and I went through the pages. I assumed I had to be wrong, and must have missed what you cited. I really did give you the benefit of the doubt, and I want to make that clear. To make sure I didn’t make a mistake, I even searched for the following words: 18, eighteen, 87, eighty-seven, three, America, American, molest, molested, convict, and convicted. None brought up your quote.

        No matter how much I checked, assuming I must be wrong and it must be there, it didn’t turn up. Your statistic isn’t in your sourced link… so, I’m guessing you typed up the wrong one.

        Also, citing MEDIAED doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, anyway. I feel this way because you’re a non-profit citing another non-profit, with the same views, for scientific data. Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to actually cite a scientific source? To cite where the data actually comes from?

        I also tried checking Google, but I could only find other people citing the same source you did or citing nothing at all. I couldn’t find any scientific backing, and I did try to.

        Also… I felt like your article was biased. You opened with examples about how porn is bad, and said:

        “Because of these heartwrenching experiences, I’ve directed my research to the ways pornography has infiltrated our lives”

        But in the examples you gave, I don’t see how porn is the direct cause of the misery. For example, one you listed was this:

        “I have spoken with women who stumbled upon pornography at age 6 or 7 that ended up teaching them how they should look, act and what they should value for a lifetime.”

        In my own view, a child who comes across pornography that young, and models themselves on it, has worse problems than porn. A young girl who’s 6 or 7 is going to have other people tell her how to be: parents, teachers, schoolmates, television, movies, Barbie dolls, even Disney princesses. If porn is the primary teacher in a child’s life, I don’t think that’s the porn’s fault.

        Since I don’t know the stories behind the examples you gave, I know my opinions don’t mean much and could be invalid. I admit that. I’m only trying to convey how your article came across to me, as an individual.

        I do believe that beauty isn’t only skin-deep. I do believe that the media puts too much emphasis on how a girl looks. I also believe that the media uses really warped standards to judge looks. But I don’t believe all of the things you said about pornography in your article. It seems like an opinion, not scientific fact, to me. And opinions don’t convince me.

        I am willing to be convinced porn’s bad. After all, an open mind is good to have, and I change my mind regularly by learning. But I need facts. And when I tried to learn more from you, by checking out your references, I wasn’t able to. It was also a pain to try and do.

        I’m hoping my feedback will help you understand why I wasn’t convinced, and can help you as well. I find that disagreeing on the internet is often offensive, sadly, and so is disliking things… and I don’t mean to offend. I’m honestly trying to give helpful feedback. What I want is for you to understand my view, so that you can better understand what didn’t work for one member of your broad audience. I’m also hoping that viewing the references will be made easier, and that the link I tried to use will be fixed.

      • Stocklone
        Stocklone12-10-2012

        Thanks for writing this. I am not convinced at all that pornography is the source of our problems. We have much bigger issues going on. Sex being used to sell everything but sex is a much bigger issue.

      • london
        london01-23-2013

        I agree wholeheartedly with Julie’s comment.

        I think the article is trying too hard to say that porn is evil. There is a difference between actual porn (the explicit videos and magazines people buy for sexual arousal) and mainstream sexual images that can be seen in a supermarket or on the street.

        I agree that the saturation of sexual images in today’s world has reached a horrendous level that is plainly unacceptable. These images objectify women everyday to the public (including children and teenagers) and needs to be regulated.

        However, I don’t think the evidence put in this article is enough to prove actual pornography is bad. Marriages and relationships are ruined not because of pornography but because of pornography ADDICTION. There’s a big difference. When you say a marriage was ruined by alcohol, you would mean alcoholism. No one would go as far as to say alcohol is bad, it is just the over-consumption that is bad. The same goes with porn.

        The causation links made in this article is quite ridiculous especially coming from someone with a PHD. For example, the statistic about molestation and that 87% of the perpetrators watched porn. Well 87% maybe sleep on the right side of the bed, or like orange juice without pulp. It doesn’t actually indicate anything. It’s a very weak attempt to try and link pornography with sexual assault and molestation.

        The article makes fair points, but it is marred by the way the information is presented. If you want to be taken seriously you should present an article that is balanced, scientific and logically sound.

        Otherwise just make it an opinion piece and forget trying to prove that porn is objectively evil.

        I myself do not like porn or the idea of porn as the whole industry is ethically wrong, exploits women and gives men and boys unrealistic expectations about sex. It would have been better if you focused on these aspects rather than trying to make porn responsible for the moral failures in society.

      • Zee
        Zee08-25-2013

        So what are you actually saying, Julie? That the author’s writeup isn’t valid simply because you couldn’t find the links/references? Really?

        Lexie herself said that she wrote it up in a very casual reader-friendly manner. This is a blog after all, not some scientific journal, the authors have to appeal to a broader spectrum of readers who aren’t research-inclined. I’m sure they as PhD holders, don’t really need an entire lecture on how to present their research/citations, seriously. I’m sure if you were so inclined and interested, emailing them for a list of citations won’t kill. In addition, you finding documents in pdf difficult to read is YOUR problem, not the authors’.

        And I completely disagree with yours and London’s comments about how the author ‘tries too hard to make porn look evil’. So what are you both trying to say there? Neither of you have made any attempts to present a ‘scientific fact’ of the other side of the argument. In fact both of your comments are really just YOUR opinions. And are you both really trying to argue that porn ISN’T evil? What exactly about porn is good then? Would really love to hear your scientifically backed logic (no opinions allowed).

        Yes Julie, a 6-7 year old girl who stumbles upon porn and models herself after it has worse problems than porn, I agree. The root causes of these problems might not be ‘porn’s fault’ entirely, but still you cannot deny the fact that porn was acted as the TRIGGER for these problems. Whether these issues the girl had with herself, or maybe a poor family environment etc are lying around undetected, viewing porn at such a young age acted as the catalyst to trigger a whole host of unhealthy behaviours there after. Yes, porn might have not been the root cause, but it was a MEDIATING/MODERATING factor, and you cannot simply say ‘it’s not porn’s fault’. Also, If you are not convinced yet after reading these facts, that’s alright and that’s your problem, but the comments on this board here show that a lot of other women are, and i’m glad for that.

        I might have came across abit harsh, but I won’t apologise. I’m a researcher myself and I find it incredibly annoying when a fellow researcher is trying to present sound research for people to digest and think about, but these main issues get completely dismissed and glossed over for silly things like ‘oh pdfs are unreadable’ and ‘ I can’t find your references so i’m not gonna believe a thing you say’; and then go on to dismiss the research as an opinion, whilst offering an opinion at the same time with no scientific evidence. Completely misses the point. And completely contradicting yourselves.

        To the authors, this is incredible work. And I’m really grateful that there are people like you that are writing about these issues affecting our society. These are serious concerns that need to be continuously addressed and fought against. I really admire your great work. Keep up the great posts! :)

      • LauraJ
        LauraJ09-08-2011

        Actually the ‘suicide girls’ are idealized female bodies… with tattoos! This is why I was surprised that your site endorsed them. The majority of them are in their teens and twenties, thin, and posed in a sexualized manner (for the most part). The only difference being the aforementioned tattoos, piercings, jewel toned hair, and other gothic trappings. They are as unattainable a standard for most girls (and any woman over the age of 29) as any ‘Barbie’ or Lingerie model could ever hope to be. Kind of disappointing. Research fail.

      • Beauty Redefined
        Beauty Redefined09-08-2011

        Hi Laura, we definitely don’t endorse the Suicide Girls! They happen to have a book with the title of our site and project on it, but no, we in no way endorse them.

      • Kat
        Kat05-18-2012

        I agree about the suicide girls. At first, I thought, well that’s a good idea… as I am someone who dressed my own style before it was “alternative style” was handed out in uniform style packaging.. but the suicide girls now… yuk! I read an article in Bust magazine several years back about how is was an abusive racket and how some of the most early members had splintered off to tell the story of exploitation – some guy was behind the big part of it although it was always represented as for grrls about grrls or whatever. It reminded me of stories told by the members of the group the Runaways, although now the suicide girls are legion. The original ones would be at least 35-43 by my estimates, although this is just going by when I first came into knowing about them. Anyway.. way over the hill…right? I was almost happier to find out that a woman, Joanna Angel had taken the suicide girls and made it into what it really is- porn. At least Burning Angel production had guys in it also and the abusive stuff was no longer just implied.. you saw it happen. I guess it made me happier to know that all the men who masturbated to it had to see attractive men, more attractive, alpha abusive and hotter than they could ever be. So, maybe I have a problem. The other interesting thing about those Burning Angel dvds is that a lot of them have the sex scenes play on the other side with actor and directors commenting on the scene, I presume while getting a bit wasted, so you get to hear… what was really going on. Or a closer skin to the core, anyway.
        I digress. Suicide girls…. yuk. Very disappointed in you. Hint… Japanese foot binding is all the new cool. You should (not) do that. Sarcasm.
        Thanks.

  12. Irwin DaGuru
    Irwin DaGuru03-04-2011

    I am a male teacher in the public schools and I encounter misguided views about sexuality and pornography all of the time with today’s youngsters. I felt I needed to write a book putting some of these things in perspective for young people who don’t know better.

    You can check it out at my link:
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/44437016/Teenagers-Say-the-Darndest-Things

    Also, although I explain this in my book, there is a great article on porn addiction and ED in New York Magazine. I think as anti-pornography crusaders you might want to start publicizing this problem more.

    http://nymag.com/news/features/70976/

    I appreciate your efforts and keep up the good work,

    Irwin

    • Beauty Redefined
      Beauty Redefined03-05-2011

      It’s so great to connect with people who are doing such amazing work to combat this issue. I’m impressed! Thanks for your comment, and for your clear dedication to this cause. Hopefully it becomes clear to even more people that porn is doing a serious disservice to just about everyone, and the ED issue is a great (depressing) example.

  13. Darrell
    Darrell03-05-2011

    Thank you for your article, and all the honest, mature, thoughtful comments made.

    I have a related opinion, without formal studies to back it up. We see the obvious increase in advertisements for medical help for real or perceived erectile dysfunction on TV, in magazines, on radio, etc. I admit there are many factors, such as health and severe stress in our society that can cause ED. But with the constant barrage of sexually stimulating images, sexual themes in TV and written literature, along with the pervasive Internet porn, men and women can become sexually anesthetized (numb) to normal, private looks, touch and feeling. Sexual intimacy between husbands and wives is threatened, and the perception that it will all work wonderfully by taking a pill is a crock. If husbands and wives do their best to shut out the FLOOD of sexual signals from media, choose special moments for each other to build wholesome relationships, go on a special date once a week, and sincerely compliment each other, those “signals” for intimacy and marital satisfaction will trigger a healthy and enjoyable long-lasting marriage. THAT is what our society needs.

    • Beauty Redefined
      Beauty Redefined03-05-2011

      Well stated. Thanks for that thoughtful insight. And it sounds like as of late, your ideas are being backed up by formal studies and expert opinions. (Check out Irwin’s comment on this post). It makes sense to me! Thank you for helping to spread this message about the harms of normalized porn – to men AND women.

  14. Jennifer Shewmaker
    Jennifer Shewmaker03-06-2011

    Lexie, this piece is well done and right on the money, in my opinion. As the mother of three daughters, I find it personally offensive to have to walk past large posters of scantily clad women at Victoria’s Secret stores just to take my daughters to the mall. Seriously, I wrote a post on my blog about this experience. As a psychology professional who works with children, I find it unhealthy for both boys and girls. It is true that the “pornification” of pop culture is alive and well. In my own academic study of this, I’ve even seen the use of sexualized images and postures moving into the mainstream for some minor-aged (under 18) celebrities.

  15. Collett
    Collett03-06-2011

    Hi Lexie
    My name is Collett and I too fight this fight alongside you from Australia. I would love permission to reprint this article (with links back to your blog). My blog is called The T(w)een Factor here: http://thetweenfactor.blogspot.com/

    It is so encouraging to find others around he world who ‘speak the same language’. I am embarking on my PhD and intend to narrow it down to analyse the effects of sexualised media on boys and their view of relationships. I will keep in touch.
    Collett

    • Beauty Redefined
      Beauty Redefined03-06-2011

      Hi Collett,
      Yes, please feel free to repost this with our attribution and links! Your blog is fantastic. We love networking with such powerful people across the world! Thank you for the support, and keep up your excellent work!

      • Collett
        Collett03-07-2011

        Awesome – thank you!! I will schedule it tomorrow.

  16. Sonora
    Sonora03-10-2011

    Wow. There are so many incredible points and facts in this article that I can’t even think of where to begin. Porn of any kind was something I was taught at a very young age to avoid and why. I believe that those younger years when I learned those lessons (age appropriate lessons of course) really helped me to avoid things like this. What terrifies me is how accepted it is everywhere. In fact, recently there was a song on the radio that my daughter (who is 6 years old) recognized from her bus (the bus driver plays the radio) that was all about this guy trying to get a girl to leave a club with him so he could show her a love she had never known before.
    Sex is everywhere. It is so important to take a stand and to fight for what you believe. We have to keep our kids, ourselves, and our futures safe!
    Amazing post!

  17. Laura
    Laura03-18-2011

    I’ve read all the replies finally, and I’d like to add mine. This was a wonderful article. You’ve officially received a cyber hug ((HUGS!!)). I one hundred percent agree that society and the media put too much sexuality into our lives in very bad ways. My ex-fiance expected me to look and act like his porn pals. Well, needless to say it broke me down to a point that I didn’t want to wear anything except for sweatpants because he made me feel crappy and useless. Now, I believe in healthy marriages. I think that if a couple wants to create their OWN videos or pictures or whatever and ONLY that couple views it, then great! In my opinion, that’s part of a healthy relationship–appreciating each other and loving each other and NOT viewing other people, but viewing the one that you love instead. After all, you did the deed, why can you not watch it? :)

    I would also like to add that after I realized that my ex was completely addicted to porn (we would fight and instead of working out, he would watch porn…) I forbid it to be in our house. He agreed, but it never stopped. Every single time I found out, he apologized and said it would never happen again, but then 2.5-3 months later it always did. He eventually became very verbally and physically abusive because he didn’t get his “fix” and I wouldn’t allow him to smoke pot either, so I guess I was just the worst woman ever @.@. It all went hand in hand. The pot, the porn, the anger, and eventually the end of our relationship. I hope the computer keeps him as warm at night as I did.

    I will definitely be posting this on FB. I feel so alone, though, in my fight against pornography. Sometimes it feels like everyone else in this world is totally okay with it and people will view me as a scorned female with no real basis for my issues with it. *sigh* The times we live in.

  18. Tom
    Tom03-30-2011

    I agree with the “movement” or your fight back against “pornography” in whichever way you define it. It is so good to hear that people will put forth the effort to rid as much of the world of pornography as possible. I can tell you first-hand that porn is degrading in several ways because I am, in fact, addicted to pornography. This war in me has been off and on for about 16 years which is sadly the larger portion of my life. I could sit and write a massive story and try to convey all of my thoughts but this would result in a comment-novel-nightmare!

    Bear with me please as I voice my opinion on a few of these matters and what thoughts arose as I read your article.

    First off, your message was a bit “fluffy” but at the end I pieced it together: this is porn, how it’s in our society, please help fight it. Good article though. (I do agree with Jerry’s comment on statistics and such but I don’t feel compelled to go on about that)

    Second, please continue to do what you can to help people prevent, avoid, and even change the addiction that breaks so many out there.

    I see myself as a good person. I treat people – especially women with the utmost respect. I have never molested anyone, nor have I lashed out or been abusive because of my addiction – physically or verbally in any way towards anyone, especially any girlfriends, or my ex-fiance(I am still single). I have never cheated or intentionally persuaded anyone to do so. I know how it feels to be cheated on and how deep of a cut it really is. I can only imagine how deep of a cut pornography is to one’s spouse or loved ones.

    I feel that intentional exposure to Pornography WILL degrade the mind’s eye towards how you will feel about the opposite sex. I will admit that I have been affected this way. I’ve lost a portion of that virtue in my mind’s eye that upholds the sacredness of the human body and of wholesome and pure physical intimacy.

    I hate, let me say that again – hate, my addiction. I wish so much that I could be rid of it so easily. Reading articles and statistics like the ones on this blog have weighed on me enough to make the decision to be completely honest and open about my addiction to any potentially serious girlfriends – which has resulted in not so many serious relationships (you’re supposed to laugh here). One day I know my addiction will rest in the past and I pray that what virtue I have lost will be restored to me.

    Now why am I writing all of this? It is because I feel that so many individuals out there who face addictions like these are quickly judged and placed into stereotypical slots such as; abuser, molester, user, home-wrecker, rapist, etc. Unfortunately, there are those who are affected by addiction so much that these are some of the outcomes of such unbridled passions. We need to do what we can to prevent such things from happening in the future.

    I write this because not a lot of people realize that the battle you speak of is already being fought by so many good people who want so much to be free. There is much inner strife and there are many quiet tears shed over this desire to be freed from the chains that hold them down. When it comes down to the affected individual, please, love them. “Hate the sin but not the sinner.”

    Some behavior is unacceptable, it’s true, but as we approach special or delicate matters we need to be mindful of how it effects everyone.

    Thanks again!

    • Beauty Redefined
      Beauty Redefined03-31-2011

      Tom, thanks for your comment! I’m so sorry to hear about your pain and your struggles, and I intentionally made this a more personal, casual post (especially my experiences in the first paragraph) to remind everyone just how often pornography tears people apart from their own happiness, other people, their own values, etc., in extreme ways like a few of those stats and subtle ways, too. I have no doubt you’re a great man and am so glad you have been taking up the fight to conquer this addiction. I know there are many great people around the world fighting back, and this post was hopefully a bit of motivation to push back against the power of the pornography industry that has now quietly infiltrated our lives without ever claiming to do so. I wish you all the luck in the world with your own battle and am grateful for your thoughful comments here. Have a happy day!

  19. Jamillah
    Jamillah04-12-2011

    The dialogue in these comments are amazing and I have to say it is a testament to the value and the quality of this post. I also have found the obsession with porn really disturbing and the how porn can influence especially young women is outrageous and scary.

    But the facts in your “why we should fight back” are really scary and your call to action is really helpful and informative.

    Thank you so much for posting this and sharing so much.

    • Beauty Redefined
      Beauty Redefined04-13-2011

      Thank you so much, Jamillah! Your support is much appreciated. We’re so grateful for all the thoughtful comments!

  20. Michelle
    Michelle04-19-2011

    I just wanted to add that I think romance novels can also be another form of culturally-accepted pornography, a form that I suspect probably affects more women than men.

    I love the comment about keeping this stuff OUT of a marriage. I think that is another element of our culture that is harmful — allowing distorted views of sexuality to come into a marriage.

    I also just wanted to add a voice of hope for those who are personally in a situation where they are affected by a pornography addiction (whether as addict or loved one of an addict). It is true that pornography addiction can destroy relationships, but it’s also true that there are success stories of couples being able to work through this difficult trial. As a website editor who had the opportunity to interact with several people who have walked this path, I have been inspired by hearing their stories. I have heard some say that they don’t hear enough of such success stories, so I thought I’d share a few links from recent interviews/submissions posted on our website. (Hope that’s ok, ladies.)

    http://bit.ly/dGE6CU
    http://bit.ly/gwYGIu

    Voices for Virtue is another great resource on this topic. You can find them on Facebook:
    http://www.facebook.com/#!/voicesforvirtue

  21. Michelle
    Michelle04-19-2011

    p.s. Ladies, well done. It’s so good to have lots of voices out there taking a stand. We have to do it, and I really believe that women and men who do take a stand on things like this can make a difference — not only by trying to have an influence in our communities and with our choices, but also being educated ourselves so that we can more actively teach the next generation the things that can help keep them from falling into traps like the slowly-being-boiled-to-death process that can happen when garbage creeps into popular culture.

    • Beauty Redefined
      Beauty Redefined04-19-2011

      Thanks Michelle! And thanks for providing those links. They are great resources – and you are too. We’re happy to do our part to alert people we’re already in the pot of hot water, whether or not we recognize it! Hopefully we can avoid the serious boiling. Thanks again!

  22. Christopher Reeves
    Christopher Reeves06-07-2011

    If you haven’t yet, you should check out the book, “Drug of the New Millenium” by LDS author Mark Kastleman. It is all about the science of how Internet pornography radically alters the human brain and body.

  23. Artists and Games
    Artists and Games07-19-2011

    The actual issues over the doable outcome of the development of contemporary art are in the center of my personal interest for the theme of skill interaction with the sport as cultural activity. The necessity for far better choices within area connected with game portrayal echos increasing passions towards the severe conditions connected with individual conduct that reveal the deepest aspects of each of our nature.

  24. Sydne
    Sydne08-03-2011

    I still don’t think porn is that bad. ( I could go on about both side of that for a while but I wont) But I do agree with you that it should be separated from public media and be represented as “normal”.

  25. pornisextremelysexistsick,damaging&womanhating!
    pornisextremelysexistsick,damaging&womanhating!09-06-2011

    The Daily Illini

    The Independent Student Newspaper

    Column: Pornography: a vicious cycle
    Dan Mollison

    Updated: October 26th, 2005 – 12:00 AM

    Tagged with: Dan Mollison, Person Email Address, Technology, Opinions

    What part of the entertainment industry is bigger than the NFL, the NBA and the MLB combined?

    You guessed it – it’s pornography. The porn industry has grown into a $10 billion a year business, with some of our nation’s best-known corporations – including General Motors, AOL Time Warner, Marriott, Hilton and Westin – silently raking in big profits from pornography without mentioning it in their company records. Pornography has become so pervasive that in 2003, Americans spent more money on porn than they did on going to see Hollywood movies.

    Even though pornography stretches into the homes of millions of Americans, we don’t openly talk about it much. We’re even less likely to discuss how those who use pornography – who are primarily men – might be affected by seeing these images. I recently had the opportunity to be part of such a discussion, and I came away from it with a new perspective on how the men in my life, including myself, have been impacted by our exposure to pornography. When men choose to use porn, their lives and relationships pay the price.

    I was at Indiana University for a men’s conference on sexual assault prevention last weekend, and we talked about pornography’s influence on men. We focused on the type of pornography that is consumed the majority of the time, the graphic material that depicts a man – or men – sexually dominating a woman. These films usually include a standard series of sex acts including oral, vaginal and anal penetration, which are often performed while the men call the women by a multitude of derogatory names. While they’re being penetrated, women are expected to say over and over again how much they like the sex. And when the man reaches orgasm, he will typically ejaculate on the woman’s body, sometimes on her face.

    These sex scenes convey to viewers the idea that women are not human but rather are objects to be used by men to satisfy male sexual desires. In order for a man to get pleasure from watching a woman being verbally, sexually and sometimes physically abused, he has to deny the woman’s humanity. If he’s thinking about the fact that this woman has the same feelings, relationships with loved ones, dreams and aspirations as his mother, his sisters and his female friends, there is no way he would be aroused by a scene in which a man treats a woman like garbage as he’s penetrating her; he’d find it sickening. Pornography dehumanizes women, and when a man is exposed to it for a long period of time, it becomes easier for him to ignore the humanity of the women in his life.

    One of the men at the conference shared how his past experiences with pornography have had a deep impact on his life. Like many of his peers, he was first exposed to pornography in middle school, years before he would have his first serious sexual experience with a woman. Pornography offered him a rare glimpse into the world of sex that nobody was talking about, and because he wasn’t given accurate information about what sex was like, he started to believe that the acts he had been witnessing in pornography – of men sexually dominating women – is what sex is supposed to be. He then carried these beliefs into his romantic relationships, and caused his partners, and himself, a lot of undue grief.

    This experience has become a downright common one for men, and it’s truthfully a hard bind to be in. Pornography offers men a taste of something they can never have, a feeling of being completely in control. But when men return from these fantasies to a world that doesn’t always go their way, they crave the feeling of being powerful even more; and they may even seek it out in their relationships.

    To me, being a man means accepting that I won’t always get my way in life. It’s difficult to escape from the trap that pornography sets on men, but it will always be more satisfying – and more manly – to respect women, rather than use them.

    Dan Mollison is a junior in LAS. His column appears every Wednesday. He can be reached at opinions@dailyillini.com.

  26. pornisextremelysexistsick,damaging&womanhating!
    pornisextremelysexistsick,damaging&womanhating!09-06-2011

    Pornography is extremely sexist and woman-hating and it teaches and normalizes sick distortions of women,men and sexuality,and it sexualizes male supremacy,sexist gender inequality,male dominance,women’s subordination and submission to men,,male supremacy objectification and dehumanization of women as only sex objects to be used,ejac*lated all over,and disgarded, for men,often calls women woman-hating names like s***s,b******,and w***** and even male violence!

    And because it sexualizes and normalizes all of these sick things and sexist injustices, and has been wrongly mainstreamed and made acceptable in a sexist sick woman-hating male dominated society,that created and normalized it in the first place,more women are sadly disturbingly being influenced to think this is what normal hetrosexuality is,and it teaches men that this is what women want and like, and that they want to be treated by them this way! Attitudes like yours really make any hope for change seem hopless!

    Many men who used to use pornography when they were younger who are now anti-pornography anti-sexist anti-male violence educators include, former all star high school football player Jackson Katz who wrote the great important book,The Macho Paradox How Some Men Hurt Women and How All Men Can Help and he writes about how pornography sexualizes men’s power,woman hatred,sexual objectification and dehumanization and subordination of women,and this is all connected to male violence,and gender inequality,and how the pornography industry has sold this woman-hatred and men’s power as normal and liberating to the public.

    Therapist Russ Funk who is a anti-racist,anti-sexist,anti-male violence educator has written books and articles on this as well and he had a chapter ,What Pornography Says About Me(n) in the book,Not For Sale:Feminists Resisting Prostitution & Pornography in which he said that when he used pornography he saw all women as just f***able even women he saw in classes,business coleagues and women on the street .He said being commited to justice and using pornography is inherently contradictory,because one can not look at others as fully equal,empowered,dynamic human beings if one is also looking at them through the pornographic gaze.

    He also did a presentation in 2006 at The Center For Women Children and Families,Pornography What’s The Harm? On his site it describes 3 workshops he presents to people on the harms of pornography.He also wrote a book in 1993,Stopping Rape:A Challenge For Men and he includes pornography as one of the causes of rape culture.

    The important organization,Men Can Stop Rape also discusses and educates on how men’s sexuality is socialized by pornography.

    And Robert Jensen has written great articles and his important book,Getting Off Pornography And The End Of Masculinity.And Dr.Michael Flood’s recent report is great too.John Stoltenberg’s excellent 1989 book,Refusing To Be A Man Essays On Sex and Justice that consists of brilliant important speaches he made from the late 70’s -the late 80’s also discusses how pornography eroticizes and sexualizes male supremacy, sexism,woman hatred,violence,male dominance and female submission and subordination of women,and makes it feel and seem like sex to people and even makes sexism necessary for some people to have sexual feelings and arousal,keeps it this way, makes it the reality that people believe is true, and keeps people from knowing any other possibility.He co-founded Men Against Pornography In New York.

    Paul Kivel who is the founder of The Oakland Men’s Project in California who has been a long time anti-sexist,anti-racist,anti-male violence educator,also wrote about how harmful and sexist pornography is in his great important 1999 book,Boys Will Be Men Raising Our Sons For COURAGE,CARING,and COMMUNITY.

    He writes that it is not surprising that an industry worth billions of dollars a year,which may be bigger than the record and movie industries combined,has developed many ways to justify it’s existence and insinuate itself into mainstream male culture.

    Paul then says that there are several books that describe in detail the harm pornography does to men as well as to women.He says these books listed in the bibliography,also contain descriptions of the pornography industry’s efforts to suppress and disrupt people organizing against it.The books he lists are,Men Confront Pornography edited by Michael S.Kimmel,Making Violence Sexy:Feminist Views On Pornography by Dianna E.H.Russell,and Pornography:The Production and Consumption Of Inequality by Gail Dines et.al.

    Paul also says in this book that talking to another adult can also help you decide if this is a situation in which you want to forbid the presence of porn in your house or if you just want to make it clear to your son how you fell about pornography but will let him decide what to do with the magazines or videos he has.He says in either case,it’s important to find out your son’s thoughts about pornography .He then says he may no little about the industry,it’s exploitation in the production of pornography,or the effects on women,men,and their relationships when men use it.He says it might be useful,if you have the stomach for it,to look through some of the material with him and talk about what you see.

    Brooklyn College psychology professor Dr.Robert Brannon was a co-chair with Phylis B.Frank for 20 years from 1990 of The New York NOW’s Task Force on the harms of pornography,trafficking, and prostitution and he is co-founder of NOMAS National Organization For Men Against Sexism and he;s the organization’s group leader of their Task Force on prostitution and pornography.THere islso a n excellent recent report by pro-feminist Australian gender studies and sociology professor Dr.Michael Flood,The Harms Of Pornography Exposure Among Children And Young People and he also includes a lot of great research studies about the effects on adult users.He explains that Adults also show an increase in behavioral agression following exposure to pornography including non-violent or violent depictions of sexual activity (but not nudity) with stronger effects for violent pornography.He has a lot of researchers as references.

    Dr.Flood also then explains that in studies of pornography use in everyday life,men who are high frequency users of pornography and men who use ‘hardcore’,violent, or rape pornography are more likely than others to report that they would rape or sexually harass a woman if they knew they could get away with it.And they are more likely to actually perpetrate sexual coercion and agression.His reference for this is studies by psychologist Neil Malamuth et al 2000.Dr.Flood also says that perhaps the most troubling impact of pornography on children and young people is it’s influence on sexual violence. And he then says that a wide range of studies of the effects of pornography have been conducted among young people age 18-25,as well as older polualtions.

    He says across these,there is consistent and reliable evidence that exposure to pornography is related to male sexual aggression against women.This association is strongest for violent pornography and still reliable for non-violent pornography particularly for frequent users. His source is psychologist Neil Malamuth et al 2000.He also says that in experiemental studies adults show significant strengthening of attitudes supportive of sexual aggression following exposure to pornography.He then says the association between pornography and rape supportive attitudes is evident as a result of exposure to both non-violent (showing consenting sexual activity) and violent pornography while the latter results in significantly greater increase in violence-supportive attitudes.He also says exposure to sexually violent material increases male viewers acceptance of rape myths and erodes their empathy for victims of violence.

    His source for this is Allen et al 1995.He explains adults also show an increase in behavioral aggression following exposure to pornography including non-violent or violent depictions of sexual activity(but not nudity) with stronger effects for violent pornography.Allen et al 1995.

    He also explains there are many studies that show that teen boys who are frequent users of pornography more often sexually harass girls and believe it’s perfectly OK to hold a girl down and force her to have sex.

  27. Cindi
    Cindi09-06-2011

    Juile and Sydne disturbingly don’t get that pornography is so terrible and damaging and why!

    Studies by Dr.John Court found that in Australia Queensland did not allow easy distribution of pornography but South Australia allowed easy and accessible pornography.He compared the rape rate of 100,000 at risk for more than a 13 year period and found Queensland had no increase in their rape rate,but South Australia’s rape rate increased 6 times! In 1974 Hawai allowed easy distribution of pornography and their rape rate increased,then they restricted it and the rape rate went down,and then they allowed wide distribution again,and the rape rate went up again and then when they restricted again,the rapes decreased!

    Sociologists Larry Baron and Murray Straus also did a state-state circulation rate of pornographic magazine sales and the connection to states with the highest sales of these magazines including playboy and the rape rate in those states.And in Alaska and Nevada is where the pornographic magazines sold the highest,and those 2 states also had the highest rape rates compared to any other states.They repeated this study the next year and the findings were exactly the same,even when they controlled for other causes,and it was only sexual assault that increased not other crimes.

    And,

    Linnea Smith By Patricia Barrera

    Linnea Smith is your average woman of the 90s. She has a satisfying family life, rewarding career in mental health and interests that include traveling with her husband, spending time with her daughters, babying her dogs and reading pornography. Yes…reading pornography–and using her professional skills and expanding international network to fight it. Like most of us, she never really thought about pornography as a critical social issue until a 1985 media conference where she learned about past and present research on pornographic materials. And what she learned shocked and angered her.

    As a psychiatrist, feminist, and woman, she was well aware of the personal and societal consequences of battery, rape, and child sexual abuse. The results of the studies delivered at that fateful conference were an indictment to the connection of pornographic materials, both directly and indirectly, with these violent sex crimes. For Smith, pornography became an issue of public health and human rights that needed to be addressed.

    As every critical thinker should, Smith went straight to the source to see for herself what was going on. She turned to Playboy, the nation’s first pornography magazine to earn mainstream acceptance and support. By 1984 Playboy had 4.2 million subscribers, and was selling 1.9 million magazines at newsstands (Miller, 1984).

    The results of her extensive investigation of the magazine (from the 1960s on) are presented in three brochures. “It’s Not Child’s Play” is a disturbing brochure that outlines the specific ways in which Playboy sexualizes small children and presents them as sexual targets for adult males in their magazine. The collection of cartoons and pictorials is damning, and made even more so when juxtaposed against pathetic statements made by Playboy representatives denying they ever used children in their publication. Smith very well could have called the brochure “Playboy Exposed”.

    Right alongside their claims that “Playboy never has, never will” publish such offensive imagery (Playboy, December, 1985), Smith placed pictures the magazine did indeed publish- of children in sexual encounters with adults and references to girl children as ‘Playmate’ material. In December of 1978, for example, Playboy published a picture of a five year old girl with the caption “my first topless picture,” and in March of that same year published a cartoon in which Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz is pointing out the Lion, Scarecrow, and Tin Man to a police officer as having just raped her on the yellow brick road.

    Smith did not limit her investigation to the use of children in Playboy. She found jokes about sexual harassment, abuse, manipulation, dehumanization and avoidance of intimacy by men toward their partners and callousness toward women in general, and the promotion of sexual conquest over women instead of sexual intimacy with a woman.

    In another powerful and well documented brochure, “As Sex Education, Men’s Magazines are Foul PLAY, BOYS!,” Smith once again had Playboy do the talking for her. The brochure featured Playboy cartoons that dehumanized women like the one in which a man was shown holding a pornography magazine over his girlfriend’s face and body as they are having sex (Playboy, August, 1974), and another featuring a taxidermist calling a man to come and pick up his wife, who had been stuffed (Playboy, April, 1995). Was she hunted down and killed, too?

    Smith’s brochures include extensive documentation and commentary by recognized scholars and researchers addressing the impact of pornography on our society. There are chilling statistics, like the finding that 100% of all high school aged males in one survey reported having read or looked at pornography, with the average age of viewing the first issue being 11 years old (Bryant, testimony to the Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography Hearings, 1985).

    In another study she lists, three per cent of the women in a random sample and 8.5 per cent in a survey of college undergraduate women reported being physically coerced into sex by someone inspired by pornography. Ten per cent of the nonstudent and 24 per cent of the student respondents answered yes to the question of whether they had ever been upset by someone trying to get them to do something out of a pornographic book, movie, or magazine (cited by Anderson in Lederer and Delgado, eds., 1995).

    Also included is a study conducted by Mary Koss on 6,000 college students in which she found that men reporting behavior meeting legal definitions of rape were significantly more likely to be frequent readers of pornography magazines than those men who did not report engaging in such behavior (Koss and Dinero, 1989).

    Smith is one of few people to expand her analysis of pornographic magazines to include the presence of drugs and alcohol, especially important today considering the almost epidemic level of drug and alcohol use by adults and teenagers in this country, Smith agrees that drugs and alcohol are contributing factors to high risk and coercive sex, and that the relationship between them within pornographic materials is an overlooked, and greatly needed, area of research.

    As Smith explains ” . . . No [other] reputable publication brought positive drug information within easy reach of juvenile (or adult) consumers. Since 1970, Playboy has been glamorizing intoxication as a mind-expanding, sexually-enhancing experience. It is difficult to conclude these magazines have not played a major role in popularizing ‘recreational’ drug consumption and the myth of its being fun, risk-free, and even sexy. What greater reinforcement for drug taking behavior than to eroticize it?”

    In “Drug Coverage in Playboy Magazine,” a brochure she developed for the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association), Smith compiled a plethora of cartoons that favorably paired sex with drugs and alcohol. Cartoons, articles and columns advise readers on how to use drugs for sexual enhancement. References to negative effects were usually humorously presented and so, easily dismissed.

    Playboy’s depiction of underage users of drugs and alcohol even included their own version of the Official Boy Scout Handbook in (Playboy, August, 1984). Their suggestions for Scout Merit Badges included “Water Safety” for the scout who ordered his Johnnie Walker whiskey straight up, and “Free-Basing” for the scout who smoked cocaine. A similar feature in 1979 stated that “Today, ‘boyhood fun’ means cruising and scoring; overnight adventures’ involve Ripple and car stripping; and ‘survival skills include cocaine testing, bust evasion and cutting into gas lines” (Playboy, December, 1979).

    Once Smith contacted the NCAA about her serious concerns, media attention and public scrutiny increased. Playboy denied any wrongdoing, claiming they were only reflecting a “major cultural phenomena”, but they did scale back the more obvious pro-drug and alcohol features in the magazine. damage control campaign resulted in a politically correct editorial statement on the magazine’s position on drug abuse in the May 1987 issue as well as a few anti-drug articles. To counter Smith’s NCAA attempts, the magazine also courted collegiate sports information offices with a mass mailing of a hastily compiled slick, glossy booklet “The Dangers of Drugs”, explaining their “real” position against substance abuse. However the magazine still includes covert messages glamorizing substance abuse and pairing sexualized alcohol consumption with easier prey. According to Smith, “we succeeded in exposing yet another dimension of the destructive nature of pornography, and, at the very least, cost Playboy some time and money.”

    It may also cost Playboy the niche they are trying to carve out for themselves in organized sports. Playboy’s strategy for commercial success has been to include respected and well- known public figures in their magazine, an old tactic for aspiring to legitimacy. That way the magazine may be looked at as more of a credible news journal than just a porno rag. Readers too, can feel better about their consumption of pornographic pictures of women when they are “wrapped” in articles about current social issues. It made business sense to Playboy to seek out an alliance with athletes who, in some countries, are accorded hero status.

    So they came up with an annual pre-season award for college level athletes and coaches, the Playboy All-America Award. The nominated players and coaches receive an all-expenses paid trip to a luxury resort for a weekend party, photo session and public relations blitz.

    The team selection process is unorthodox at best. It is not a panel of sports officials but rather Photography Director Gary Cole, doubling as sports editor when needed, (Playboy, March, 1996, p.117) who chooses players and coaches for the award. The prerequisite is not athletic ability but rather who agrees to be photographed for the magazine. Again, a common tactic for legitimacy. Playboy rejects players unwilling to have their pictures associated with the magazine- -its content and underlying messages–and keeps making “awards” until the sufficient number of players and coaches agree to the photo sessions. The event hit some legal snafus as well. Complaints were officially lodged with the NCAA which included the presence of professional agents at the photo sessions. This charge, like the others, was also denied by the magazine in a letter to the NCAA.

    Go to Part II

  28. Cindi
    Cindi09-06-2011

    Pornography is extremely sexist and woman-hating and it teaches and normalizes sick distortions of women,men and sexuality,and it sexualizes male supremacy,sexist gender inequality,male dominance,women’s subordination and submission to men,,male supremacy objectification and dehumanization of women as only sex objects to be used,ejac*lated all over,and disgarded, for men,often calls women woman-hating names like s***s,b******,and w***** and even male violence!

    And because it sexualizes and normalizes all of these sick things and sexist injustices, and has been wrongly mainstreamed and made acceptable in a sexist sick woman-hating male dominated society,that created and normalized it in the first place,more women are sadly disturbingly being influenced to think this is what normal hetrosexuality is,and it teaches men that this is what women want and like, and that they want to be treated by them this way! Attitudes like yours really make any hope for change seem hopless!

    Many men who used to use pornography when they were younger who are now anti-pornography anti-sexist anti-male violence educators include, former all star high school football player Jackson Katz who wrote the great important book,The Macho Paradox How Some Men Hurt Women and How All Men Can Help and he writes about how pornography sexualizes men’s power,woman hatred,sexual objectification and dehumanization and subordination of women,and this is all connected to male violence,and gender inequality,and how the pornography industry has sold this woman-hatred and men’s power as normal and liberating to the public.

    Therapist Russ Funk who is a anti-racist,anti-sexist,anti-male violence educator has written books and articles on this as well and he had a chapter ,What Pornography Says About Me(n) in the book,Not For Sale:Feminists Resisting Prostitution & Pornography in which he said that when he used pornography he saw all women as just f***able even women he saw in classes,business coleagues and women on the street .He said being commited to justice and using pornography is inherently contradictory,because one can not look at others as fully equal,empowered,dynamic human beings if one is also looking at them through the pornographic gaze.

    He also did a presentation in 2006 at The Center For Women Children and Families,Pornography What’s The Harm? On his site it describes 3 workshops he presents to people on the harms of pornography.He also wrote a book in 1993,Stopping Rape:A Challenge For Men and he includes pornography as one of the causes of rape culture.

    The important organization,Men Can Stop Rape also discusses and educates on how men’s sexuality is socialized by pornography.

    And Robert Jensen has written great articles and his great book,Getting Off Pornography And The End Of Masculinity.And Dr.Michael Flood’s recent report is great too.John Stoltenberg’s excellent 1989 book,Refusing To Be A Man Essays On Sex and Justice that consists of brilliant important speaches he made from the late 70’s -the late 80’s also discusses how pornography eroticizes and sexualizes male supremacy, sexism,woman hatred,violence,male dominance and female submission and subordination of women,and makes it feel and seem like sex to people and even makes sexism necessary for some people to have sexual feelings and arousal,keeps it this way, makes it the reality that people believe is true, and keeps people from knowing any other possibility.He co-founded Men Against Pornography In New York.

    Paul Kivel who is the founder of The Oakland Men’s Project in California who has been a long time anti-sexist,anti-racist,anti-male violence educator,also wrote about how harmful and sexist pornography is in his great important 1999 book,Boys Will Be Men Raising Our Sons For COURAGE,CARING,and COMMUNITY.

    He writes that it is not surprising that an industry worth billions of dollars a year,which may be bigger than the record and movie industries combined,has developed many ways to justify it’s existence and insinuate itself into mainstream male culture.

    Paul then says that there are several books that describe in detail the harm pornography does to men as well as to women.He says these books listed in the bibliography,also contain descriptions of the pornography industry’s efforts to suppress and disrupt people organizing against it.The books he lists are,Men Confront Pornography edited by Michael S.Kimmel,Making Violence Sexy:Feminist Views On Pornography by Dianna E.H.Russell,and Pornography:The Production and Consumption Of Inequality by Gail Dines et.al.

    Paul also says in this book that talking to another adult can also help you decide if this is a situation in which you want to forbid the presence of porn in your house or if you just want to make it clear to your son how you fell about pornography but will let him decide what to do with the magazines or videos he has.He says in either case,it’s important to find out your son’s thoughts about pornography .He then says he may no little about the industry,it’s exploitation in the production of pornography,or the effects on women,men,and their relationships when men use it.He says it might be useful,if you have the stomach for it,to look through some of the material with him and talk about what you see.

    Brooklyn College psychology professor Dr.Robert Brannon was a co-chair with Phylis B.Frank for 20 years from 1990 of The New York NOW’s Task Force on the harms of pornography,trafficking, and prostitution and he is co-founder of NOMAS National Organization For Men Against Sexism and he;s the organization’s group leader of their Task Force on prostitution and pornography.THere islso a n excellent recent report by pro-feminist Australian gender studies and sociology professor Dr.Michael Flood,The Harms Of Pornography Exposure Among Children And Young People and he also includes a lot of great research studies about the effects on adult users.He explains that Adults also show an increase in behavioral agression following exposure to pornography including non-violent or violent depictions of sexual activity (but not nudity) with stronger effects for violent pornography.He has a lot of researchers as references.

    Dr.Flood also then explains that in studies of pornography use in everyday life,men who are high frequency users of pornography and men who use ‘hardcore’,violent, or rape pornography are more likely than others to report that they would rape or sexually harass a woman if they knew they could get away with it.And they are more likely to actually perpetrate sexual coercion and agression.His reference for this is studies by psychologist Neil Malamuth et al 2000.Dr.Flood also says that perhaps the most troubling impact of pornography on children and young people is it’s influence on sexual violence. And he then says that a wide range of studies of the effects of pornography have been conducted among young people age 18-25,as well as older polualtions.

    He says across these,there is consistent and reliable evidence that exposure to pornography is related to male sexual aggression against women.This association is strongest for violent pornography and still reliable for non-violent pornography particularly for frequent users. His source is psychologist Neil Malamuth et al 2000.He also says that in experiemental studies adults show significant strengthening of attitudes supportive of sexual aggression following exposure to pornography.He then says the association between pornography and rape supportive attitudes is evident as a result of exposure to both non-violent (showing consenting sexual activity) and violent pornography while the latter results in significantly greater increase in violence-supportive attitudes.He also says exposure to sexually violent material increases male viewers acceptance of rape myths and erodes their empathy for victims of violence.

    His source for this is Allen et al 1995.He explains adults also show an increase in behavioral aggression following exposure to pornography including non-violent or violent depictions of sexual activity(but not nudity) with stronger effects for violent pornography.Allen et al 1995.

    He also explains there are many studies that show that teen boys who are frequent users of pornography more often sexually harass girls and believe it’s perfectly OK to hold a girl down and force her to have sex.

  29. Cindi
    Cindi09-06-2011

    The Daily Illini

    Column: Pornography: a vicious cycle
    Dan Mollison

    Updated: October 26th, 2005 – 12:00 AM

    Tagged with: Dan Mollison, Person Email Address, Technology, Opinions

    What part of the entertainment industry is bigger than the NFL, the NBA and the MLB combined?

    You guessed it – it’s pornography. The porn industry has grown into a $10 billion a year business, with some of our nation’s best-known corporations – including General Motors, AOL Time Warner, Marriott, Hilton and Westin – silently raking in big profits from pornography without mentioning it in their company records. Pornography has become so pervasive that in 2003, Americans spent more money on porn than they did on going to see Hollywood movies.

    Even though pornography stretches into the homes of millions of Americans, we don’t openly talk about it much. We’re even less likely to discuss how those who use pornography – who are primarily men – might be affected by seeing these images. I recently had the opportunity to be part of such a discussion, and I came away from it with a new perspective on how the men in my life, including myself, have been impacted by our exposure to pornography. When men choose to use porn, their lives and relationships pay the price.

    I was at Indiana University for a men’s conference on sexual assault prevention last weekend, and we talked about pornography’s influence on men. We focused on the type of pornography that is consumed the majority of the time, the graphic material that depicts a man – or men – sexually dominating a woman. These films usually include a standard series of sex acts including oral, vaginal and anal penetration, which are often performed while the men call the women by a multitude of derogatory names. While they’re being penetrated, women are expected to say over and over again how much they like the sex. And when the man reaches orgasm, he will typically ejaculate on the woman’s body, sometimes on her face.

    These sex scenes convey to viewers the idea that women are not human but rather are objects to be used by men to satisfy male sexual desires. In order for a man to get pleasure from watching a woman being verbally, sexually and sometimes physically abused, he has to deny the woman’s humanity. If he’s thinking about the fact that this woman has the same feelings, relationships with loved ones, dreams and aspirations as his mother, his sisters and his female friends, there is no way he would be aroused by a scene in which a man treats a woman like garbage as he’s penetrating her; he’d find it sickening. Pornography dehumanizes women, and when a man is exposed to it for a long period of time, it becomes easier for him to ignore the humanity of the women in his life.

    One of the men at the conference shared how his past experiences with pornography have had a deep impact on his life. Like many of his peers, he was first exposed to pornography in middle school, years before he would have his first serious sexual experience with a woman. Pornography offered him a rare glimpse into the world of sex that nobody was talking about, and because he wasn’t given accurate information about what sex was like, he started to believe that the acts he had been witnessing in pornography – of men sexually dominating women – is what sex is supposed to be. He then carried these beliefs into his romantic relationships, and caused his partners, and himself, a lot of undue grief.

    This experience has become a downright common one for men, and it’s truthfully a hard bind to be in. Pornography offers men a taste of something they can never have, a feeling of being completely in control. But when men return from these fantasies to a world that doesn’t always go their way, they crave the feeling of being powerful even more; and they may even seek it out in their relationships.

    To me, being a man means accepting that I won’t always get my way in life. It’s difficult to escape from the trap that pornography sets on men, but it will always be more satisfying – and more manly – to respect women, rather than use them.

    Dan Mollison is a junior in LAS. His column appears every Wednesday. He can be reached at opinions@dailyillini.com.

  30. Cindi
    Cindi09-06-2011

    The Harms of
    Pornography
    Exposure Among
    Children and
    Young People

    Exposure to pornography is routine among children and young people,
    with a range of notable and often troubling effects. Particularly among
    younger children, exposure to pornography may be disturbing or
    upsetting. Exposure to pornography helps to sustain young people’s
    adherence to sexist and unhealthy notions of sex and relationships.
    And, especially among boys and young men who are frequent
    consumers of pornography, including of more violent materials,
    consumption intensifi es attitudes supportive of sexual coercion and
    increases their likelihood of perpetrating assault. While children and
    young people are sexual beings and deserve age-appropriate materials
    on sex and sexuality, pornography is a poor, and indeed dangerous,
    sex educator. Copyright ! 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    KEY WORDS: pornography; sexuality; violence; boys
    Children and young people are routinely exposed to pornography.
    They encounter sexually explicit images while on the
    Internet, some watch X-rated videos and, like adults, they live in
    a culture increasingly saturated in sexualised representations.
    What is the impact among children and young people of exposure
    to pornography? This article explores the likely effects of children’s
    and young people’s exposure to sexually explicit media. It
    argues that while there are disagreements over how to judge pornography’s
    effects, pornography exposure can lead to emotional
    disturbance, sexual knowledge and liberalised attitudes, shifts in
    sexual behaviour, and sexist and objectifying understandings.
    Particularly for boys and young men, the use of pornography may
    exacerbate violence-supportive social norms and encourage their
    participation in sexual abuse.

    This review focuses on children’s and young people’s
    exposure to pornography, rather than children in pornography,
    Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Accepted 11 August 2009
    * Correspondence to: Dr Michael Flood, Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University, PO Box 4026, Ainslie ACT 2602, Australia. E-mail:
    mfl ood@vichealth.vic.gov.au
    Michael Flood*

    Australian Research Centre in Sex,
    Health and Society, La Trobe
    University, Australia
    Child Abuse Review Vol. 18: 384–400 (2009)
    Published online 2 November 2009 in Wiley InterScience
    (www.interscience.wiley.com) DOI: 10.1002/car.1092

    ‘Exposure to
    pornography helps
    to sustain young
    people’s adherence
    to sexist and
    unhealthy notions
    of sex and
    relationships’

    ‘Pornography is a
    poor, and indeed
    dangerous, sex
    educator’

    ‘May exacerbate
    violence-supportive
    social norms and
    encourage their
    participation in
    sexual abuse’

    The Harms of Pornography Exposure 385
    Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Child Abuse Review Vol. 18: 384–400 (2009)
    DOI: 10.1002/car

    notwithstanding the fact that child pornography is a deeply troubling
    aspect of sexually explicit media. It focuses on children’s
    and young people’s own accidental and deliberate encounters
    with pornography, and it does not regard such exposure necessarily
    as a form of child abuse or child sexual abuse per se. At the
    same time, one component of child abuse is adults’ deliberate or
    neglectful exposure of children to pornography, including adults’
    use of pornography to ‘groom’ children for sexual abuse (Russell
    and Purcell, 2005). This review explores the harms among children
    and young people associated with pornography exposure,
    including the intensifi cation of their risks of both violence perpetration
    and victimisation.

    Pornography is defined here as ‘sexually explicit media that are
    primarily intended to sexually arouse the audience’ (Malamuth,
    2001, p. 11817). ‘Sexually explicit’ materials show ‘genitals and
    sexual activities in unconcealed ways’ (Peter and Valkenburg,
    2007, p. 383). While this definition is broad enough to include
    literary as well as visual forms, my area of primary concern is
    image-centred media.

    Encounters with Pornography

    How are children and young people exposed to pornography? On
    the one hand, children and young people may deliberately seek
    sexually explicit materials, whether online or offline, often with
    motivations similar to those among adults. On the other hand, they
    are exposed to pornography accidentally or involuntarily. In this
    discussion, the term ‘exposure’ refers to both deliberate and accidental,
    voluntary and involuntary, viewing of pornography. While
    ‘exposure’ is a useful catch-all for all forms of viewing, it also
    obscures the complexity and diversity of viewers’ relationships
    to pornography, discussed below.

    The context for children’s and young people’s exposure to
    pornography includes a highly sexualised cultural environment
    (APA, 2007; Levine, 2002). The frequency and explicitness
    of sexual content in mainstream media has increased steadily
    (Strasburger and Wilson, 2002). More widely, there has been a
    ‘pornographication’ of popular culture (Attwood, 2002; Levy,
    2005). In tandem with these trends, shifting information and communication
    technologies have allowed new forms of pornography
    production and exchange (Hearn, 2006).

    A growing body of international scholarship documents that
    significant proportions of children and young people are exposed
    to pornography. While different studies define and assess
    ‘pornography’ and exposure in varying ways, large numbers of
    young people, particularly boys, are growing up in the presence

    ‘ “Exposure” refers to
    both deliberate and
    accidental, voluntary
    and involuntary,
    viewing of
    pornography’
    ‘Large numbers of
    young people,
    particularly boys, are
    growing up in the
    presence of sexually
    explicit media’
    ‘Children’s and
    young people’s
    own accidental and
    deliberate encounters
    with pornography’

    of sexually explicit media, according to studies in Australia
    (Flood, 2007), Cambodia (Fordham, 2006), Canada (Check,
    1995), Denmark and Norway (Sørensen and Kjørholt, 2006),
    Iceland (Kolbeins, 2006), Italy (Bonino et al., 2006), Sweden
    (Forsberg, 2001; Johansson and Hammarén, 2007; Wallmyr and
    Welin, 2006) and Taiwan (Lin and Lin, 1996; Lo et al., 1999; Lo
    and Wei, 2005).

    Significant proportions of children and young people have been
    exposed to pornography online, especially accidentally and also
    deliberately, as I have summarised elsewhere (Duimel and de
    Haan, 2006; Flood, 2007; Sabina et al., 2008; Soeters and van
    Schaik, 2006). There is evidence too that rates of unwanted exposure
    to pornography are increasing (Mitchell et al., 2007b). Rates
    of deliberate consumption of Internet pornography among minors
    in international studies appear to vary from around one tenth to
    one third (Flood, 2007; Livingstone and Bober, 2004; Mitchell et
    al., 2003).

    The deliberate consumption of pornography is highly gendered
    among young people, as it is among adults. Males are more likely
    than females to use pornography, to do so repeatedly, to use it for
    sexual excitement and masturbation, to initiate its use (rather than
    be introduced to it by an intimate partner), to view it alone and
    in same-sex groups, and to view more types of images (Cameron
    et al., 2005; Flood, 2007; Flood and Hamilton, 2003a; Nosko
    et al., 2007). Males are more likely than females to be sexually
    aroused by pornography and to have supportive attitudes towards
    it (Johansson and Hammarén, 2007; Sabina et al., 2008; Wallmyr
    and Welin, 2006).

    The Effects of Exposure to Pornography

    What are the likely effects of such exposure among children and
    young people? Three bodies of scholarship help to answer this
    question: a wide range of studies (1) on the impact on children of
    non-pornographic sexual content in the mass media (APA, 2007;
    Escobar-Chaves et al., 2005; Strasburger and Wilson, 2002) and
    (2) on pornography’s impact among young adults and adults in
    general, and (3) a small body of work on pornography exposure
    among minors. While this review explores effects for both pornography
    and other sexually oriented media, it focuses on effects
    which are distinctive to or heightened for pornography. Pornography
    may have stronger effects among children and young people
    than other forms of sexual media, and it may have effects on
    domains of sexuality which are relatively unaffected by other
    forms of sexual media, for two reasons. First, pornography shows
    a much higher degree of sexual explicitness (by definition) than
    other sexual media. Second, pornography’s content arguably is

    ‘Pornography may
    have stronger effects
    among children and
    young people than
    other forms of sexual
    media’
    ‘The deliberate
    consumption of
    pornography is
    highly gendered
    among young people,
    as it is among adults’

    The Harms of Pornography Exposure 387
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    DOI: 10.1002/car

    more sexist and hostile towards women than other sexual media content.
    There are debates regarding the methodological rigour of
    studies of sexual and sexually explicit media’s effects. Some
    studies are experimental, often in laboratory conditions, and
    involve testing the impact of exposure on participants’ attitudes
    or behaviour. Other studies are correlational, investigating possible
    relationships between ‘naturalistic’ use of sexual or sexually
    explicit media (in everyday life) and attitudes or behaviour (Flood
    and Hamilton, 2003a). Laboratory-based studies on pornography
    have been criticised as excessively artificial (Boyle, 2000).
    However, given that they usually exclude masturbation to
    orgasm—a powerful physical and psychic experience central to
    pornographic experience—they may in fact underestimate
    pornography’s effects (Jensen, 1998). They are criticised too
    for using low durations of exposure and short time scales
    (Thornburgh and Lin, 2002). Correlational studies do not allow
    determinations of causality: associations between exposure to
    sexual media and particular attitudes or practices may go either
    way, be reciprocal, or shaped by other factors such as sexual
    interest (Hald, 2006; Janghorbani et al., 2003). Very few studies
    are longitudinal, tracing the use of sexual media and the formation
    of sexual and gender identities over time. More broadly, study
    participants’ self-reports of attitudes and behaviours are shaped
    by gendered social locations and other factors (Mitchell et al.,
    2007a). In any case, pornography by itself is unlikely to influence
    an individual’s entire sexual expression, and consumption may be
    part of a broader sexual repertoire, ‘a larger sexual space and
    sexual experimentation’ (Johansson and Hammarén, 2007, p. 66).
    At least three types of factor mediate the impact of exposure
    of pornography: the characteristics of the viewer, their own
    engagement with the material, and the character and context of
    exposure. First, research on children’s consumption of sexual
    content in mainstream media documents that its effects are moderated
    by such variables as age, gender, sexual experience, physical
    maturation and parental involvement. Age influences children’s
    levels of understanding of, comfort with and interest in content
    such as sexual humour and innuendo. Correlations between adolescent
    viewing of sexual media and sexual behaviour are moderated
    by parental involvement, including such factors as discussions
    of television content, communication patterns and home environments
    (Huston et al., 1998; Malamuth and Impett, 2001). Further
    variables moderating the impact of pornography include the individual’s
    cultural background (emphasis on gender equality or
    inequality), their home background (sexually permissive or
    restricted), their personality characteristics and their current emotional
    state (Malamuth et al., 2000).

    ‘Consumption may
    be part of a broader
    sexual repertoire,
    “a larger sexual
    space and sexual
    experimentation” ’

    Second, the effect of viewing pornography is influenced by
    the viewers’ sexual, emotional and cognitive responses to the
    material (Fisher and Barak, 2001; Jensen, 1998). Not a great deal
    is known about adolescent or adult observers of pornography,
    their preferences for different types of sexual content or the
    forms of consumption they practise (Boyle, 2000), but the effects
    of exposure are likely to be mediated by viewers’ interpretations
    and evaluations of the material (Malamuth and Impett, 2001).
    Children and young people are active and agentic consumers
    of media, using critical skills and perspectives in interpreting
    sexual content (Buckingham and Bragg, 2003). For example,
    there is evidence among Swedish youth of a convergence in
    critical responses to pornography over the life course, as boys
    become more critical and girls less so (Löfgren-Mårtenson and
    Månsson, 2006).

    Third, the character and circumstances of exposure are important:
    the type of material involved, the duration and intensity of
    viewing, and the context (whether voluntary or involuntary, and
    whether solitary or collective) (Thornburgh and Lin, 2002). Little
    is known about how particular forms of pornography shape the
    significance of their use, other than in terms of homogenising
    categorisations of ‘violent’ and ‘non-violent’ content. In relation
    to the contexts for use, there is some suggestion that masturbating
    alone while watching pornography may lend greater intensity to
    the sexual images viewed (Jensen, 1998), while watching pornography
    in groups may enhance collective acceptance of its value
    systems. Thus, there are complex interactions between the viewer
    or reader, pornographic texts and the context of consumption
    (Attwood, 2002; Brown, 2000). More widely, the shifting cultural
    and collective dynamics of children’s and young people’s social,
    sexual and gender relations are likely to have a profound infl uence
    on the use, meaning and impact of pornography.
    With these caveats in mind, what then are the likely effects of
    exposure to pornography?

    Emotional and Psychological Harms Associated with
    Premature or Inadvertent Exposure

    Children and adolescents may be shocked or disturbed by premature
    or inadvertent encounters with sexually explicit material per
    se. They may be at an age or developmental level where they are
    unaware of, inexperienced in, or uninterested in sexual activities.
    In a US survey, ten per cent of young people aged ten to 17
    described themselves as very or extremely upset by unwanted
    exposure to pornography (Mitchell et al., 2007b). In an Australian
    survey, 53 per cent of young people aged 11 to 17 had experienced
    something on the Internet they thought was offensive or

    ‘Not a great deal is
    known about
    adolescent or adult
    observers of
    pornography’
    ‘The character and
    circumstances of
    exposure are
    important’

    ‘53 per cent of young
    people aged 11 to 17
    had experienced
    something on the
    Internet they thought
    was offensive or
    disgusting’

    The Harms of Pornography Exposure 389
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    DOI: 10.1002/car

    disgusting (Aisbett, 2001). Pornography dominated the list of
    content reported. The young people said that they felt ‘sick’,
    ‘shocked’, ‘embarrassed’, ‘repulsed’ and ‘upset’ (Aisbett, 2001,
    p. 41).

    While children and adolescents are not necessarily disturbed
    by unwanted exposure to sexually explicit depictions, a consistent
    minority do experience distress, as two American studies demonstrate.
    In a survey of 1500 youths, six per cent of ten to 17-year
    olds reported that accidentally viewing a sexually explicit image
    had been distressing to them (Thornburgh and Lin, 2002). In
    another survey, 45 per cent of the 15 to 17-year olds who had
    stumbled across pornography were ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ upset by
    it (Kaiser Family Foundation, 2001). Some children inadvertently
    exposed to Internet pornography are upset not by its content
    but by the potential reactions of their parents (Aisbett, 2001;
    Thornburgh and Lin, 2002).

    Children’s Reactions to Sexually Explicit Content are
    mediated both by Age and Sex

    Younger children may not find such images remarkable or
    memorable; older children may be more upset or disturbed;
    while teenagers may only be annoyed (Thornburgh and Lin,
    2002). Girls are more likely than boys to be troubled by sexually
    explicit images. In one study, 35 per cent of girls but only six
    per cent of boys reported that they were very upset by the
    experience (Kaiser Family Foundation, 2001). In another, retrospective
    study, males who had seen online pornography were
    much more likely than girls to report feeling sexual excitement,
    while females were much more likely to report embarrassment
    and disgust (Sabina et al., 2008). In a study among 14–17-year
    olds, boys were more positive about sexually explicit websites,
    while most girls saw them as ‘dumb’, ‘gross’ or demeaning to
    females (Cameron et al., 2005).

    Children also may be troubled or disgusted by images or
    accounts of non-mainstream sexual behaviours and relations in
    particular, just as adults may be, given the wide range of sexual
    activity found on the Internet for example (Thornburgh and Lin,
    2002). Videos and Internet pornography often depict sexual practices
    which are outside common cultural norms or even criminal,
    including anal intercourse, multiple partners, bondage and sadomasochism,
    transsexual sex, urination or defecation, bestiality
    and rape. Minors do encounter such material (Sabina et al., 2008).
    Children may also be alienated, as many adult women are
    (Chancer, 1998), by the subordinating representations of women
    common in pornography.

    ‘Children may also
    be alienated, as
    many adult women
    are, by the
    subordinating
    representations of
    women common in
    pornography’

    ‘A consistent
    minority do
    experience distress’
    ‘Older children may
    be more upset or
    disturbed’

    The Inappropriate Acceptance and Adoption of
    Non-mainstream Sexual Practices

    A second effect of exposure to pornography concerns children’s
    acceptance and adoption of particular sexual practices, relations,
    or identities. It is possible that portrayals of the non-mainstream
    sexual practices identified above may incite, eroticise and give
    legitimacy to them. There is one version of this argument that I
    reject, the notion of the ‘recruitment’ of children into homosexuality.
    There is no evidence that being exposed to sexually explicit
    materials, or indeed any kind of representation, can change a
    person’s overall sexual orientation, their attraction to one sex or
    the other (Allgeier and Allgeier, 1995), although some argue for
    example that exposure to child pornography can inspire a sexual
    interest in children (Russell and Purcell, 2005).

    However, it is clear that pornography can influence users’
    attitudes towards and adoption of particular sexual behaviours
    (Thornburgh and Lin, 2002; Zillmann, 1989). Among young
    people, there is evidence at least of associations between pornography
    consumption and participation in sexual practices such as
    anal intercourse. Male-female anal intercourse became an almost
    mandatory inclusion in X-rated heterosexual videos in the 1990s
    (Jensen and Dines, 1998). Five studies among Swedish young
    people find that young men who are regular consumers of pornography
    are more likely to have had anal intercourse with a girl,
    and to have tried to perform acts they have seen in pornography,
    and that girls who have seen pornography also are more likely to
    have anal intercourse (Haggstrom-Nordin et al., 2005; Johansson
    and Hammarén, 2007; Rogala and Tyden, 2003; Tyden et al.,
    2001; Tyden and Rogala, 2004). Pornography consumption may
    have shaped these young men’s (and women’s) sexual interests
    and behaviours, or perhaps both their pornography consumption
    and participation in anal sex represent a sexually adventurist or
    experimental orientation.

    Sexual Knowledge, Liberalised Sexual Attitudes and
    Earlier Sexual Involvement

    Regular and frequent exposure to sexual content in mainstream
    media produces greater sexual knowledge and more liberal sexual
    attitudes among children and young people, as a series of reviews
    document (APA, 2007; Huston et al., 1998; Strasburger and
    Wilson, 2002; Thornburgh and Lin, 2002; Ward, 2003). Experimental
    studies document that children and young people exposed
    to sexual media content have greater sexual knowledge (about
    such topics as pregnancy, menstruation, homosexuality and prostitution)
    than control groups, and they are more accepting of

    ‘Pornography can
    influence users’
    attitudes towards and
    adoption of particular
    sexual behaviours’
    ‘Experimental
    studies document
    that children and
    young people
    exposed to sexual
    media content have
    greater sexual
    knowledge’

    The Harms of Pornography Exposure 391
    Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Child Abuse Review Vol. 18: 384–400 (2009)
    DOI: 10.1002/car

    pre-, extra- or non-marital sexual relations (Huston et al., 1998).
    Correlational studies find associations between greater exposure
    to sexual content on television and the belief that one’s peers are
    sexually active and a more favourable attitude towards recreational
    sex (Strasburger and Wilson, 2002). Similar if not greater
    effects are likely for pornography, given its explicit and decontextualised
    depictions of diverse sexual relations. For example,
    15–18-year olds in a Swedish study who had ever watched
    a pornographic film were more likely than others to be less
    ashamed about masturbation and to see prostitution, pornography
    and sex without love as ‘okay’ (Johansson and Hammarén,
    2007). In experimental studies, young men (and to some extent
    women) exposed to large amounts of explicit sexual content often
    become more supportive of and less offended by such material
    (Thornburgh and Lin, 2002).

    There is also evidence of associations between young people’s
    actual sexual behaviour, including early sexual involvement, and
    the consumption of sexual media content, including pornography
    (Huston et al., 1998; Strasburger and Wilson, 2002; Ward, 2003;
    Wingwood et al., 2001). Johansson and Hammarén (2007) report
    that young pornography users are more likely than non-users also
    to have had sexual intercourse, masturbated, had same-sex sex
    and a one-night stand. A survey of 522 African-American females
    aged 14 to 18 found correlations between viewing X-rated movies
    and having multiple sex partners, having sex more frequently and
    testing positive for chlamydia (Wingwood et al., 2001).

    Sexist, Sexually Objectifying and Inappropriately
    Sexualised Attitudes and Behaviours

    It is well documented that sexual media, particularly sexualised
    representations of girls and women, can encourage girls and
    young women to see themselves primarily in sexual terms, to
    equate their worth and appeal with narrow standards of physical
    attractiveness, and to see themselves as sexual objects—to focus
    on others’ sexual interest in and judgment of them rather than
    their own desires and interests (APA, 2007). Both correlational
    and experimental studies find that adolescents’ and young adults’
    exposure to media which sexualises girls and women is associated
    with greater acceptance of stereotyped and sexist notions about
    gender and sexual roles, including notions of women as sexual
    objects (Frable et al., 1997; Ward, 2002; Ward et al., 2005; Ward
    and Friedman, 2006). Exposure also influences how men treat and
    respond to real women in subsequent interactions (APA, 2007).
    Pornography is sexually explicit by definition, and much contemporary
    pornography offers a decontextualised portrayal of
    sexual behaviour, a relentless focus on female bodies, and sexist

    ]

    ‘Exposure to media
    which sexualises
    girls and women is
    associated with
    greater acceptance
    of stereotyped and
    sexist notions
    about gender and
    sexual roles’

    ‘Young men exposed
    to large amounts of
    explicit sexual
    content often become
    more supportive of
    and less offended by
    such material’

    and callous depictions of women (Flood and Hamilton, 2003a).
    Given this, pornography is likely to contribute to sexually objectifying
    understandings of and behaviours towards girls and
    women. Experimental studies among adults confirm such effects
    (APA, 2007).

    Attitudes and Behaviours related to Sexual Violence
    Perpetration and Victimisation

    Perhaps the most troubling impact of pornography on children
    and young people is its influence on sexual violence. A wide range
    of studies on the effects of pornography have been conducted
    among young people aged 18 to 25, as well as older populations.
    Across these, there is consistent and reliable evidence that
    exposure to pornography is related to male sexual aggression
    against women (Flood and Hamilton, 2003a). This association
    is strongest for violent pornography and still reliable for nonviolent
    pornography, particularly by frequent users (Malamuth
    et al., 2000).

    In experimental studies, adults show significant strengthening
    of attitudes supportive of sexual aggression following exposure
    to pornography. The association between pornography and
    rape-supportive attitudes is evident as a result of exposure to
    both non-violent pornography (showing consenting sexual
    activity) and violent pornography, while the latter results in significantly greater increases in violence-supportive attitudes.

    Exposure to sexually violent material increases male viewers’
    acceptance of rape myths and erodes their empathy for victims of
    violence (Allen et al., 1995a). Adults also show an increase in
    behavioural aggression following exposure to pornography,
    including non-violent or violent depictions of sexual activity (but
    not nudity), with stronger effects for violent pornography (Allen
    et al., 1995b).

    In studies of pornography use in everyday life, men who
    are high-frequency users of pornography and men who use
    ‘hardcore’, violent or rape pornography are more likely than
    others to report that they would rape or sexually harass a woman
    if they knew they could get away with it. And they are more likely
    to actually perpetrate sexual coercion and aggression (Malamuth
    et al., 2000). There is a circular relationship among some men
    between sexual violence and pornography: ‘Men who are relatively
    high in risk for sexual aggression are more likely to be
    attracted to and aroused by sexually violent media . . . and may
    be more likely to be influenced by them’ (Malamuth et al., 2000,
    p. 55).

    While such findings cannot simply be extrapolated to children
    and young people, there is some evidence that high-frequency

    ‘Perhaps the most
    troubling impact of
    pornography on
    children and young
    people is its
    influence on sexual
    violence’

    ‘There is a circular
    relationship among
    some men between
    sexual violence and
    pornography’

    pornography use or consumption of violent pornography is associated
    with sexually aggressive attitudes and behaviours among
    adolescent and older boys. In a study of Canadian teenagers with
    an average age of 14, there was a correlation between boys’ frequent
    consumption of pornography and their agreement with the
    idea that it is acceptable to hold a girl down and force her to have
    sex (Check, 1995). Among US boys and girls aged 11 to 16,
    greater exposure to R- and X-rated films was related to stronger
    acceptance of sexual harassment (Strouse et al., 1994). Among
    Italian adolescents aged 14 to 19, there were associations between
    pornography use and sexually harassing a peer or forcing someone
    into sex (Bonino et al., 2006).

    Turning to mainstream media, experimental studies among
    young adults find that males and females exposed to sexualised
    or objectifying content are more accepting of rape myths, violence-
    supportive and adversarial beliefs (Kalof, 1999; Lanis and
    Covell, 1995; Milburn et al., 2000; Ward, 2002), while correlational
    studies among adolescents also show such associations
    (Cowan and Campbell, 1995; Kaestle et al., 2007).

    Perhaps even more troubling is the finding that growing
    numbers of adolescents are being convicted of possession of child
    pornography (Moultrie, 2006), with a New Zealand study among
    offenders finding that the largest group of Internet traders of child
    pornography are aged 15 to 19 (Carr, 2004).

    Exposure to pornography may increase children’s and young
    people’s own vulnerability to sexual abuse and exploitation. Some
    adult perpetrators use pornography as a deliberate strategy to
    undermine children’s abilities to avoid, resist, or escape sexual
    abuse (Russell and Purcell, 2005). More generally, given that
    pornography encourages sexist and sexually objectifying attitudes
    among girls and women, it may increase their vulnerability to
    violence. For example, an Italian study found associations among
    adolescent girls between viewing pornographic films and being a
    victim of sexual violence (Bonino et al., 2006), although the
    causal mechanisms are unclear.

    Further Negative Impacts on Young People’s Relationships

    Young people’s use of pornography may have further negative
    impacts on their sexual and intimate relationships, given that
    research among adults highlights such impacts as decreased
    sexual intimacy, perceived (and actual) infidelity and sexual
    ‘addiction’. For example, US studies find that a consistent minority
    of female partners of male regular pornography users find it
    damaging both for their relationships and themselves. They see
    their male partners’ pornography use as a kind of infidelity, feel
    betrayal and loss, feel less desirable, and describe other negative

    ‘Growing numbers
    of adolescents are
    being convicted of
    possession of child
    pornography’

    ‘Young people’s use
    of pornography may
    have further negative
    impacts on their
    sexual and intimate
    relationships’

    effects on their relationships, sex lives and themselves (Bridges
    et al., 2003). Other studies find that partners of adult pornography
    users report decreased sexual intimacy, lowered esteem and
    demands that they participate in activities they find objectionable
    (Manning, 2006). While there has been very little research on
    pornography use in young people’s sexual relationships, studies
    among Swedish young women (with a mean age of 23) find, for
    example, that there is an association between having viewed pornography
    (typically with a partner) and anal sex, with most women
    finding anal sex a negative experience (Tyden et al., 2001).

    Finally, there is an emerging scholarship on sexual, internet and
    cybersex ‘addiction’ which suggests that some pornography consumers
    come to use pornography in ways which are obsessive,
    compulsive, and have damaging consequences for themselves or
    others (Cooper et al., 2004; Young, 2008). Similar patterns may
    emerge among younger users (Sussman, 2007).

    The discussion so far has focused on the negative effects of
    sexual and sexually explicit media, but it also has been argued
    that such media can have positive effects, including among children
    and young people. First, sexual material, including pornography,
    has been seen as educational in teaching sexual knowledge
    (Helsper, 2005; McKee, 2007). Second, pornography has been
    seen to offer a valuable and ‘sex-positive’ challenge to sexual
    repression and restrictive sexual norms (Duggan et al., 1988;
    McNair, 1996). Third, gay and lesbian pornography is seen to
    challenge heterosexism. For example, among same-sex-attracted
    young people, online gay and lesbian pornography has functioned
    as a counter to the invisibility of same-sex sexualities in offline
    life (Hillier et al., 2001). However, pornography’s contribution to
    sexual liberation is highly contested, with others arguing that it
    ‘sexualises and normalises inequalities’ (Russo, 1998) and that
    gay male pornography is complicit in pornography’s perpetuation
    of inequalities (Kendall, 2004).

    Conclusion

    The notion that sexual materials are ‘harmful to minors’ has been
    frequently invoked as a justification for the regulation and censorship
    of such materials when available to children or to both
    children and adults (Heins, 2001; Levine, 2002). However,
    children and youth are sexual beings and should be provided with
    age-appropriate and compelling materials on sex and sexuality.
    Protecting children from sexual harm does not mean protecting
    children from sexuality. In fact, maintaining children’s sexual
    ignorance fosters sexual abuse and poor sexual and emotional
    health. However, pornography is a poor sex educator. Most

    ‘An emerging
    scholarship on
    sexual, internet and
    cybersex “addiction” ’
    ‘Sexual material,
    including
    pornography, has
    been seen as
    educational in
    teaching sexual
    knowledge’
    ‘Children and youth
    are sexual beings
    and should be
    provided with age appropriate
    and
    compelling materials
    on sex and sexuality’

    The Harms of Pornography Exposure 395
    Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Child Abuse Review Vol. 18: 384–400 (2009)

    DOI: 10.1002/car

    pornography is too explicit for younger children; most shows sex
    in unrealistic ways and neglects intimacy and romance; most
    pornography is sexist; and some is based on and eroticises
    violence.

    The body of research with which to document the impact of
    pornography consumption among children and young people is
    small, reflecting the obvious legal, ethical and practical restrictions
    on such research (Thornburgh and Lin, 2002). More intensive and
    sophisticated investigations of pornography’s use, meaning and
    significance among young people are required. Future research
    should complement quantitative assessments of the extent of exposure
    among children and young people with close-focus, qualitative
    investigations of their experiences and negotiations of sexual
    media and the ‘social practices of pornography’ (Thomson, 1999).
    It should include examinations of emerging economies of sexual
    and pornographic exchange among children and young people,
    including the voluntary or coerced production and/or exchange of
    mobile phone images. It should include action research implementing
    and assessing strategies to mobilise young people’s resistance
    to sexist and violence-supportive narratives in sexual media
    such as critical media literacy.

    This review has noted a range of identifiable harms associated
    with exposure to pornography among children and young people.
    We must minimise exposure to sexist and violent sexual media
    and improve the kinds of sexual materials available to young
    people, without sacrificing sexual speech in general (Flood and
    Hamilton, 2003b).

    References

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    Allen M, D’Alessio D, Brezgel K. 1995a. A meta-analysis summarizing the
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    Allen M, Emmers T, Gebhardt L, Glery M. 1995b. Exposure to pornography
    and acceptance of rape myths. Journal of Communication 45: 5–26. DOI:
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    Allgeier A, Allgeier E. 1995. Sexual Interactions, 4th edition. D.C. Health and
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    self-reported engagement in sexual violence among adolescents. European
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    17405620600562359

    ‘We must minimise
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    media and improve
    the kinds of sexual
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    to young people’
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    is sexist; and some
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    eroticises violence’

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    Boyle K. 2000. The pornography debates: beyond cause and effect. Women’s
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    Bridges A, Bergner R, Hesson-McInnis M. 2003. Romantic partners’ use of
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    Buckingham D, Bragg S. 2003. Young People, Media and Personal Relationships.
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    Carr A. 2004. Internet Traders of Child Pornography and other Censorship
    Offenders in New Zealand: Updated Statistics (November 2004). Department
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    Chancer L. 1998. Reconcilable Differences: Confronting Beauty, Pornography,
    and the Future of Feminism. University of California Press: Berkeley, CA.

    Check J. 1995. Teenage training: the effects of pornography on adolescent
    males. In The Price We Pay: The Case Against Racist Speech, Hate
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    of Sex Research 32: 145–153.

    Duggan L, Hunter N, Vance C. 1988. False promises: feminist antipornography
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    Jensen R. 1998. Using pornography. In Pornography: The Production and
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    Jensen, R, Dines G. 1998. The content of mass-marketed pornography. In
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    Jensen R, Russo A (eds). Routledge: New York; 65–100.

    Johansson T, Hammarén N. 2007. Hegemonic masculinity and

  31. Cindi
    Cindi09-06-2011

    NewsPrint Article | Email Friend | Reprint Permissions STUDY PROVES “PORNOGRAPHY IS HARMFUL”
    by LifeSiteNews.com

    Tue Mar 12, 2002 12:15 EST
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    Tweet
    “Findings are Alarming”; 12,000 Participants in Study

    CALGARY, March 12, 2002 (LSN.ca) – A new study has found that viewing pornography is harmful to the viewer and society. In a meta-analysis (a statistical integration of all existing scientific data), researchers have found that using pornographic materials leads to several behavioral, psychological and social problems.

    One of the most common psychological problems is a deviant attitude towards intimate relationships such as perceptions of sexual dominance, submissiveness, sex role stereotyping or viewing persons as sexual objects. Behavioral problems include fetishes and excessive or ritualistic masturbation. Sexual aggressiveness, sexually hostile and violent behaviours are social problems as well as individual problems that are linked to pornography.

    “Our findings are very alarming”, said Dr. Claudio Violato one of the co-authors of the study. Dr. Violato, Director of Research at the National Foundation for Family Research and Education (NFFRE) and a professor at the University of Calgary, said “This is a very serious social problem since pornography is so widespread nowadays and easily accessible on the internet, television, videos and print materials”.

    Studies have shown that almost all men and most women have been exposed to pornography. An increasing number of children are also being exposed to explicitly sexual materials through mass media. The rise in sexual crimes, sexual dysfunction and family breakdown may be linked to the increased availability and use of pornography. The rape myth (belief that women cause and enjoy rape, and that rapists are normal) is very widespread in habitual male users of pornography according to the study.

    “There has been some debate among researchers about the degree of negative consequences of habitual use of pornography, but we feel confident in our findings that pornography is harmful”, Violato noted. “Our study involved more than 12,000 participants and very rigorous analyses. I can think of no beneficial effects of pornography whatsoever. As a society we need to move towards eradicating it”.

    The authors of the study concluded that exposure to pornography puts viewers at increased risk for developing sexually deviant tendencies, committing sexual offences, experiencing difficulties in intimate relationships, and accepting of the rape myth. Dr. Elizabeth Oddone-Paolucci and Dr. Mark Genuis, researchers at the National Foundation for Family Research and Education, are co-authors of the study that was published in the scientific journal Mind, Medicine and Adolescence.

    For more information see NFFRE at: http://www.nffre.com

    All content copyright 1997-2010 LifeSiteNews.com, all rights reserved. Legal Information | Privacy Policy

  32. cindi
    cindi09-07-2011

    — 1 —
    Just Harmless Fun?
    Understanding the Impact of Pornography
    All healthy men, ancient and modern, Eastern and Western, know there is a
    certain fury in sex that we cannot afford to inflame, and that a certain mystery
    and awe must ever surround it if we are to remain sane.
    G.K. Chesterton
    More and more we are asked to believe that pornography is merely harmless “adult
    entertainment.” Polls show that most people don’t buy that line, but where do you find
    the evidence (rather than just rhetoric) to demonstrate its impact? To answer that
    question, Enough Is Enough has prepared this Special Report to provide an up-to-date
    overview of the evidence of harm. We survey recent empirical research, media
    studies, experience of clinical psychologists and other compelling information, and we
    respond to many of the porn advocates sound-bites.
    Read the evidence and decide for yourself: is pornography “just harmless fun”?
    Should we be concerned about the increasing intrusion of pornography into our society?
    Interestingly, most people say “yes,” according to surveys giving as much as 75%1 or even 94%2
    approval to pornography restrictions on the Internet.3 This report will review the evidence that
    these concerns are eminently justified.
    The advocates of pornography usually attribute such concerns to mere prudishness. Sex,
    however, is hardly just another appetite, like hunger for food. Our sexual appetites are a bit more
    complex than eating too much pizza, and the consequences of poor sexual decisions usually can’t
    be fixed with two Alka-Seltzers.
    Most adults can intuitively relate to G.K. Chesterton’s wise caution above. Such shared
    experience isn’t a bad place to start, remembering the observation of eminent jurist Mr. Justice
    Cardoza that “all laws in western civilization are guided by a robust common sense.” In 1973,
    Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger, after quoting Cardoza, went on to write:
    “The sum of experience including that of the past two decades affords an ample basis
    for legislators to conclude that a sensitive, key relationship of human existence (central to
    — 2 —
    family life, community welfare and the development of human personality) can be
    debased and distorted by crass commercialization of sex. Nothing in the Constitution
    prohibits a State from reaching such a conclusion and acting on it legislatively simply
    because there is no conclusive evidence or empirical data.” 4
    Law, however, is not the focus of this report. Rather, the focus is the considerable amount of
    work carried out since Justice Burger’s day to better understand the impact of pornography.
    Surveying the Evidence
    A favorite tactic of pornography’s advocates is to argue that it is “harmless fun,” mere “adult
    entertainment.” They would have us believe that any difference between Venus De Milo and
    Debbie Does Dallas is simply personal taste, not discernment. They like to challenge the public
    to prove that pornography causes harm.
    Well, there is proof of harm. The best-kept secret about pornography is that it causes real
    harm to real people.
    Every Boy Scout knows that you can define any point on a map with two compass bearings
    from different perspectives: just draw the two cross-bearing lines on the map, and look where
    they intersect. In the case of pornography there are cross-bearings from many perspectives – all
    intersecting at the point of harm. Each perspective is persuasive in its own right. Taken
    together, the evidence of harm is difficult to ignore.
    The different perspectives are:
    1. Advertising
    2. Impact of sexually-oriented businesses
    3. Empirical research studies
    4. Correlational studies
    5. Media studies
    6. Experience of clinical psychologists
    7. Anecdotal evidence
    This report will review each of these areas, then finally discuss factors particularly affecting
    children.
    ______________________________________________________________________________
    1. Advertising
    It has been said that the most disingenuous argument in the pornography debate is that porn
    doesn’t influence people. If images don’t influence attitudes and behavior, how do we explain
    the existence of the advertising industry?
    — 3 —
    Of course, none of us likes to admit we are influenced by advertising. Few proud car owners
    would say: “I bought my Volvo because their advertisements create an image of a thinking
    person’s car, and that appeals to my ego.” We value our self-image as rational beings and, as a
    result, most of us are in denial about the influence of advertising.
    Those in the advertising business, however, know that images have impact. In 1997,
    America’s top ten advertisers alone spent a total of $5.2 billion helping consumers part with their
    hard-earned cash.5 It might be nice to think that investments like Nike’s Michael Jordan
    campaign are made out of blind hope, but market research predicts and confirms the impact of
    advertising. “The enormous advertising and marketing industries are built on the premise that
    the media do influence a wide range of behaviors.” 6
    To believe pornography does not impact attitudes and behavior is to believe we are not
    affected by what we see. Our collective state of denial of the impact of advertising illustrates
    that people can believe they are not affected. But the evidence illustrates how improbable that
    would be!
    To argue that advertising has no impact (as opposed to merely being blind to it) requires
    impressive faith that we invariably intercept and rationally defuse the power of suggestion in
    advertising images. Oftentimes we do. But communications experts note that advertising works
    precisely because it appeals to human emotion rather than to rational considerations:
    “TV commercials do not use propositions to persuade; they use visual images…and
    only rarely…verifiable assertions. Therefore, commercials are not susceptible to logical
    analysis [and] are not refutable…It is not facts that are offered to the consumers but idols,
    to which both adults and children can attach themselves with equal devotion and without
    the burden of logic or verification.”7
    If the effectiveness of advertising is based upon its appeal to emotion, do we really believe
    that pornography appeals to reason? Pornography, ultimately, is a form of advertising. (Can you
    spell “sex sells”?) Pornography advertises a particular view of human sexuality, as surely as the
    Marlboro Man conveys a particular image of a cigarette brand. The only question is: what brand
    of sexuality is pornography promoting?
    The messages of pornography
    The Hugh Hefners of the world sometimes describe their product as simply “the joys of
    consensual sexuality.” The reality is much less elevated and considerably more one-sided.
    Studies indicate that individuals use pornography to inform and teach themselves about sexual
    behavior.8 So what does pornography teach?
    About sexuality:
    Scholars note that human sexuality in pornography is never more than physical, since
    “depictions of other basic aspects of human sexuality—such as communication between
    — 4 —
    sexual partners, expressions of affection or emotion (except fear and lust)…and concerns
    about …the consequences of sexual activities—are minimized.”9
    Pornography advertises sex without relationships, without commitment, and especially,
    without consequences. How many porn videos include the resulting teenage pregnancy with the
    child-mother dropping out of school? Or catching human papilloma virus (HPV), leading to
    infertility or cervical cancer, or even catching AIDS?
    About women:
    In the words of one academic study: “The characteristic portrayal of women in
    pornography [is] as socially nondiscriminating, as hysterically euphoric in response to just
    about any sexual or pseudosexual stimulation, and as eager to accommodate seemingly any
    and every sexual request.”10 Another study notes that women are depicted as “malleable,
    obsessed with sex, and willing to engage in any sexual act with any sexual partner.”11
    Pornography presents women in stereotype, as insatiable sex machines to accommodate
    every possible sexual request. Women, it tells us, are here to please men, and if they say “no” it
    is just token resistance. In pornography, the typical woman is always ready, available, and eager
    to please, unlike a real woman who might have inconvenient expectations of her own.
    About men:
    In pornography, men are apparently here to have sex with as many women as possible.
    Marriage is either a hindrance to their purpose, or irrelevant because fidelity is abnormal and
    possibly unnatural. In pornography, men certainly don’t value women for their minds, since they
    don’t appear to have discovered that women have such a thing.
    False advertising?
    In our society, “the learning of sexual techniques and attitudes is too often left to chance,
    which may include such sources as X-rated video shops. As a result, a great number of people
    acquire faulty information and expectations that can impair their sexual enjoyment and
    adequacy.”12 The message of pornography is that sex is the only human activity where there is
    no such thing as a poor choice, and where there are no consequences to actions.
    Pornography’s portrayal of human sexual behavior is so erroneous as to be fraudulent. Most
    obvious are the unrealistic body types, unrealistic sexual situations, and routinely multi-orgasmic
    sexual performances. More subtly, the most desirable sexual behaviors are depicted as excluding
    monogamy, fidelity, responsibility, commitment, or even an established relationship of any sort
    between partners.
    This stands in direct contrast to the most rewarding and satisfying sexual relationships in real
    life. In the most definitive scientific survey ever done on human sexual behavior, the vast
    majority of both males and females were found to have few sex partners over a lifetime. Once
    — 5 —
    married, the vast majority have no other sex partner than their spouse. Americans generally
    show considerably more sexual restraint than the entertainment media (including pornography)
    would suggest, but it is the couples who are married or cohabiting who have more frequent and
    more satisfying sex.13
    There is a vivid contrast between pornography’s portrayal of desirable sexual behaviors, and
    the behaviors found most satisfying by most individuals. Because people often judge themselves
    by how they perceive that others behave, individuals using pornography set themselves up for
    unrealistic expectations leading to damaged relationships.
    _____________________________________________________________________________________________
    2. Impact of Sexually Oriented Businesses
    The curiously toxic nature of pornography is also illustrated by the consistently negative
    impact that sex businesses have upon the areas in which they are located. This impact of
    sexually oriented businesses (SOBs) has been clearly demonstrated through land use studies.
    U.S. courts allow restrictive zoning of SOBs because such businesses have significant
    negative impacts on their surrounding communities. These impacts are called “secondary
    harmful effects” (as distinct from the primary harmful effects on the mind of the porn-user,
    which are not a constitutional basis for zoning ordinances).
    Such secondary harmful effects in neighborhoods with SOBs include a significant increase in
    property crimes and sexual crimes (including voyeurism, exhibitionism, and assault), and an
    overall decrease in property values. In the words of columnist George Will: “One doesn’t need a
    moral micrometer to gauge the fact that the sex industry turned Times Square into a slum.”14
    Other examples of the negative impact of the sex industry include15:
    ♦ Austin, TX — 1986 – in four study areas with SOBs, sexually related crimes were 177%
    to 482% higher than the city’s average.
    ♦ Indianapolis, IN — 1984-1986 – Between 1978-1982, crime in study areas was 46%
    higher than for the city as a whole. Sex related crimes were four times greater when
    SOBs were located near residential areas vs. commercial areas.
    ♦ Garden Grove, CA — 1981-1990 – On Garden Grove Blvd., seven adult businesses
    accounted for 36% of all crime in the area. In one case, a bar opened within 500 feet of
    an SOB and serious crime within 1000 feet of that business rose 300% during the next
    year.
    ♦ Phoenix, AZ — 1978 – Sex offenses, including indecent exposure, were 506% greater in
    neighborhoods with SOBs. Even excluding indecent exposure, the sex offenses were still
    132% greater in those neighborhoods.
    — 6 —
    ♦ Whittier, CA — In comparison studies of two residential areas conducted between 1970-
    1973 before SOBs, and 1974-1977 after SOBs, malicious mischief increased 700%,
    assault increased 387%, prostitution increased 300%, and all theft increased 120%.
    Virtually all SOBs, regardless of the city in which they are located, have similar negative
    effects upon their surrounding neighborhoods. The Indianapolis study concluded that: “Even a
    relatively passive use such as an adult book store [has] a serious negative effect on [its]
    immediate environs.” It is difficult to miss the implication that these harmful secondary effects
    simply reflect something harmful in the nature of the material.
    3. Empirical Research Studies16
    In her book Defending Pornography, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) President
    Nadine Strossen quotes with approval a writer’s observation that: “Pornography tells me…that
    none of my thoughts are bad, that anything goes [emphasis in original].”17
    The message that anything goes is certainly inherent in pornography. Unfortunately,
    pornography makes short work of any distinction between sexual liberation (in the sense of a
    mature awareness and understanding of one’s sexuality) and sexual exploitation.
    The characteristic message of pornography is that women are sluts (or, in the more measured
    terminology of scholarly analysis of content, “promiscuous sexual creatures who [are]
    subordinate and subservient to men”18). Empirical research sets out to test the obvious question:
    do users absorb the message that pornography is selling?
    A useful way to overview the empirical research is to divide it into two chronological
    periods: the work reviewed by two government commissions, and the research that has taken
    place subsequently.
    The Government Commissions
    The then-available evidence as to the influence of pornography was assessed by two major
    Commissions established in 1970 and 1986, respectively. In 1970, the Presidential Commission
    on Obscenity and Pornography concluded that there was insufficient evidence that exposure to
    explicit sexual materials played a significant role in the causation of delinquent or criminal
    behavior. In 1986, the Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography reached the opposite
    conclusion, advising that available pornography was in varying degrees harmful. In effect,
    however, the two Commissions were answering different questions.
    Between 1970 and 1986 the nature of the available material changed substantially. In 1970,
    full frontal nudity was rarely found in newstand magazines, since it could be successfully
    prosecuted as obscenity. One scholar noted that “in 1970, many of the experimental studies
    utilized sexually explicit materials from sex research institutes . . . because of the difficulty of
    obtaining materials from the local market.”19 Needless to say, by 1986 this was no longer a
    research constraint! By 1986, gynecological close-ups were available in newsstand magazines
    — 7 —
    and hard-core material (“penetration clearly visible”) was not difficult to find in adult video
    stores.
    This complete change in the pornography “scene” contributed to the change in findings
    between 1970 and 1986. Also, in 1970 only a limited amount of research had been carried out,
    much of it originated by the Commission itself, in comparison to the extensive studies completed
    since then. The 1970 Commission was criticized for failing to adequately address the impact of
    violent pornography and, as a result, much of the research over the next sixteen years went into
    this area.
    By 1986, there was “some convergent validation”20 of the effects of violent pornography,
    including findings that sexually violent depictions led to:
    ♦ Aggression against women under laboratory test conditions.
    ♦ Significant increases by college males in the acceptance of rape myths and of
    sexual violence towards women.
    ♦ Seeing the rape victim as more responsible for the assault, with perpetrators
    absolved and viewed less negatively.
    ♦ More aggressive sexual fantasies.
    Even certain scholars who attributed such results primarily to the violence component noted
    that “a nonrapist population will evidence increased sexual arousal to media-presented images
    of rape … when the female victim shows signs of pleasure and arousal, the theme most
    commonly presented in aggressive pornography.”21
    The Surgeon General’s Workshop on Pornography and Public Health met from June 22-24,
    1986, and, like the 1986 Attorney General’s Commission, concluded that “pornography does
    stimulate attitudes and behavior that lead to gravely negative consequences for individuals and
    for society.”22
    Subsequent Research
    Subsequent work has indicated that detrimental effects are not limited to violent
    pornography. Since social science studies are rarely unanimous in their findings (there are
    exceptions to every trend), the most compelling academic evidence comes from reviewing a
    multitude of research studies and looking for patterns. Such work can take the form of “review
    studies” (which review and compare the results of a number of original research studies) and
    “meta-analyses” (which aggregate the results of original research studies meeting stringent
    criteria of comparability). Some recent examples are:
    ♦ A review study in 1994, based on 81 original peer-reviewed research studies (35 using
    aggressive stimuli and 46 using non-aggressive stimuli), concluded that “the empirical
    research on the effects of aggressive pornography shows, with fairly impressive
    consistency, that exposure to these materials has a negative effect on attitudes toward
    women and the perceived likelihood to rape.” The study also noted that 70 percent of
    the 46 non-aggressive studies reported clear evidence of negative effects of exposure.23
    — 8 —
    ♦ A meta-analysis in 1995, using the results of 24 original experimental studies, found that
    “violence within the pornography is not necessary to increase the acceptance of rape
    myths” (i.e. the myth that women secretly desire to be raped). The study noted that the
    link between acceptance of rape myths and exposure to pornography stems from a simple
    premise – “that most pornography commodifies sex, that women become objects used
    for male pleasure, and that as objects of desire, they are to be acted on.” The study also
    noted that such attitudinal changes are of concern because “several recent meta-analyses
    demonstrate a high correlation (about r = .80) between attitude and behavior.” 24
    ♦ A separate meta-analysis in 1995, using a set of 33 studies, found that “violent content,
    although possibly magnifying the impact of the pornography, is unnecessary to
    producing aggressive behavior.”25
    Another line of research into non-violent pornography makes the distinction between “nonviolent
    erotica” and “non-violent dehumanizing pornography,” where dehumanizing
    pornography is characterized by depictions which degrade and debase women. Dehumanizing
    pornography is also referred to as “standard-fare” or “common” hard-core pornography by some
    academic researchers – “the characteristic portrayal of women in pornography as socially nondiscriminating,
    as hysterically euphoric in response to just about any sexual or pseudosexual
    stimulation, and as eager to accommodate any and every sexual request.”26
    Examples from this line of research include:
    ♦ A study in 1989 for the Canadian Department of Justice found that “high-frequency
    pornography consumers who were exposed to the nonviolent, dehumanizing pornography
    (relative to those in the no-exposure condition) were particularly likely to report that they
    might rape, were more sexually callous, and reported engaging in more acts of sexual
    aggression. These effects were not apparent for men who reported a very low frequency
    of habitual pornography consumption.”27 The authors noted that “the effects of exposure
    were strongest and most pervasive in the case of exposure to nonviolent dehumanizing
    pornography, the type of material that may in fact be most prevalent in mainstream
    commercial entertainment videos.”
    The study found that more than twice as many men indicated at least some likelihood of
    raping after exposure to this material – 20.4 percent versus 9.6 percent. Detailed analysis
    revealed that these effects occurred primarily for high P (psychotism) subjects – those
    who are inclined to be rather solitary and hostile, lack empathy, disregard danger and
    prefer impersonal, non-caring sex (although not meeting clinical criteria as psychotics).
    ♦ A 1989 review of a series of studies of “common” pornography found that its
    consumption led to insensitivity towards victims of sexual violence, trivialization of rape
    as a criminal offense, trivialization of sexual child abuse as a criminal offense, increased
    belief that lack of sexual activity leads to health risks and increased acceptance of preand
    extra-marital sexuality The study noted that “habitual male consumers of common
    pornography appear to be at greater risk of becoming sexually callous” towards female
    sexuality and concerns.28
    — 9 —
    ♦ A review of the literature and research in 1994 discusses the “sexual callousness” effect
    associated with standard-fare pornography, noting that: “Enhanced perceptual and
    behavioral callousness toward women is most apparent following consumption of
    materials that unambiguously portray women as sexually promiscuous and
    indiscriminating – a depiction that dominates modern pornography.”29
    Straw Men
    It is customary for pornography advocates to counter such findings by overstating them. For
    example: “It is ridiculous to suggest that one look at Playboy turns a man into a rapist.” Of
    course that would be ridiculous: it’s also not what the research is suggesting. Or: “Pornography
    can’t compel anyone to act in a particular way.” True, and neither did liquor or tobacco
    advertisements (now banned or restricted) compel anyone to buy their products. Or:
    “Pornography doesn’t affect everyone the same way.” True, and neither did tobacco or liquor
    ads – but their influence was undeniable.
    What the research does show is that pornography is a strong, negative influence affecting
    attitudes and behavior. It promotes the same attitudes towards women that breed sexual
    harassment and destroy relationships. It promotes the same attitudes towards sexuality that breed
    promiscuity and the spread of STDs. It teaches that the main function of “a sensitive, key
    relationship of human existence” is simply self-gratification at the expense of others. And it is
    sold without even a “Surgeon-General’s Warning.”
    4. Correlational Studies
    The research in the previous section was conducted largely in controlled circumstances, to
    measure cause and effect without extraneous variables. Another type of research looks at the
    “laboratory of life” to measure actual experience, although with less ability to neutralize
    extraneous variables. This type of research can prove correlation (i.e. that certain things happen
    together) without necessarily proving causation (i.e. that one thing caused the other).
    Correlational research may be conducted when, for any number of reasons, causal research is
    impractical, impossible, or unethical. For example, if you want to learn the impact of brain
    damage on speech patterns, you obviously can’t go around bopping people on the head. Rather,
    you identify a number of subjects who already have brain damage. Your findings would indicate
    correlation, not causation, but would still be relevant.
    There is a great deal of correlational evidence about the effects of pornography. Examples
    include:
    — 10 —
    ♦ Oklahoma City: During the years 1984 to 1989, Oklahoma City closed 150 out of 163
    sexually oriented businesses. During the same period, reported rapes declined 27% in
    Oklahoma City while rising 19% in the remainder of the state. Law officers were aware of
    no other likely cause of the difference.30
    ♦ Porn magazines and rape rates: A number of studies have found “strong evidence of a
    very robust, direct relationship between the circulation rates of sex magazines [in a state] and
    rape rates,”31 even after controlling for other variables.
    ♦ Police records: A study by Darrell Pope, a former Michigan State police officer, found that
    of 38,000 cases of sexual assault on file in Michigan over a 20 year period, 41% involved the
    use of pornography just prior to or during the act.32
    The advocates of pornography usually reject correlational evidence of pornography’s harm,
    saying it provides no evidence of causality. Of course, they also challenge experimental studies
    as “true in the laboratory, perhaps, but unproven in the real world” – thus precluding almost any
    conceivable input from social science research! Setting the hurdle impossibly high is the same
    device the tobacco companies used for decades to evade the link between smoking and cancer.
    Porn advocates often challenge correlational findings with questions like: “Does pornography
    lead to rape, or are rapists simply the sort of people who use pornography?” Curiously, no one
    asks: “Does drunk driving cause accidents, or are reckless drivers simply the sort of people who
    drink a skinful?” In some fields, correlational research is all there is. The evidence against
    drunk driving is based largely on correlation, it being difficult to obtain research funding to ply
    test subjects with liquor then set them loose on the nearest Interstate.
    Correlational results must be used with caution, since they do not always speak to the causal
    direction of a link (for example, between rape rates and porn usage). In the case of pornography,
    however, correlational studies are a complement to the experimental lab research discussed
    earlier. Taken together like scissors, with one blade for causality and the other for real-world
    application, the results are certainly indicative that porn is a “potent catalyst for sexually abusive
    behaviors, such as rape.”33
    Experience In Other Countries
    One area where porn advocates are happy to talk about correlational studies is in relation to
    Denmark, where the government lifted pornography restrictions in 1969. Studies in the early
    1970s by Berl Kutchinsky of the University of Copenhagen suggested that the easy availability
    of pornography had caused sex crimes to decrease by acting as a “safety-valve” for potential
    offenders.
    Although this study is still quoted today, subsequent reviewers identified serious flaws in the
    conclusions. In particular, two factors distorted the results: (1) at the same time that
    pornography was legalized, a number of other sex crimes were decriminalized, including
    — 11 —
    voyeurism (peeping), “indecency towards women,” and certain categories of incest; and (2)
    Kutchinsky grouped rape along with other lesser categories of sex crime. The study thus
    obscured the fact that the more serious types of sex crimes such as rape actually increased in
    number and rate following the legalization of pornography in Denmark.34
    Porn advocates are usually quieter about the results of studies of Sweden, Great Britain, New
    Zealand and Australia, where “as the constraints on the availability of pornography were lifted
    … the rates of rape in those countries increased.”35 For example, “in two Australian states
    between 1964 and 1977, when South Australia liberalized it’s laws on pornography and
    Queensland maintained its conservative policy … over the thirteen-year period, the number of
    rapes in Queensland remained at the same low level while South Australia’s’ showed a sixfold
    increase.”36
    ______________________________________________________________________________
    5. Media Studies
    The tragic shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado in the summer of 1999
    brought renewed public focus on the impact of media violence. Tensions run high in the wake
    of trauma, and some media representatives were quick to deny that movies and TV have any
    influence at all, suggesting that the impact of media violence on actual behavior is an undecided
    question.
    In fact, the question was decided long ago. Film critic Michael Medved notes that: “More
    than 3,000 research projects and scientific studies between 1960 and 1992 have confirmed the
    connection between a steady diet of violent entertainment and aggressive and anti-social
    behavior”37 The American Academy of Pediatrics concluded: “The vast majority of studies
    conclude that there is a cause-and-effect relationship between media violence and real-life
    violence. The link is undeniable and uncontestable.”38
    Even Time magazine has noted: “As for media violence, the debate there is fast approaching
    the same point that discussions about the health impact of of tobacco reached some time ago –
    it’s over. Few researchers bother any longer to dispute that bloodshed on TV and in the movies
    has an effect on the kids who witness it.”39
    If there is an undecided question, it comes from overstating the claims of the research. Thus,
    nay-sayers like to point out there is no proof that media violence is the “principal” cause of
    actual violence. True – but what the research says is that media violence is clearly a contributing
    factor, escalating the problem. Heart disease is caused by heredity, blood pressure, cholestorol
    and smoking – should concern be limited to only the “principal” cause?
    Nay-sayers also point out that the number of clear “copycat” incidents, mirroring actual
    scenes in movies or on TV, is relatively small (though certainly not non-existent). True – but the
    greater concern is the broader desensitization that breeds wider acceptance of violent solutions.
    — 12 —
    Military psychologist Lt. Col. David Grossman points out that media violence fosters the same
    desensitization the military strives for in combat training.40
    In a rare admission that media violence does affect behavior, a 1994 survey found that “87%
    [of the Hollywood elite] say that violence in the media is a factor in contributing to violence in
    society.”41 Although such public admissions are rare, there is no doubt Hollywood recognizes
    the value of its media impact. “Product placements” in movies, where companies pay a fee to
    have their product featured on-screen (think of the BMW roadster in the James Bond movie
    Goldeneye, or Bond’s Ericsson cell-phone), bring in multi-millions of dollars for major movies –
    and enhanced sales for the products advertised.42
    Hollywood also takes pride in scripts written to subtly promote behavior the producers view
    as responsible, such as seat belt use, avoiding cigarette smoking, condom use and environmental
    responsibility.43 Their expectation that positive images can improve behavior is an intriguing
    counterpoint to their public posture that negative images have no impact.
    Since studies indicate that violence in the media affects violence in society, and since
    Hollywood believes positive media images can influence individuals to behave in a more
    “responsible” manner, one might reasonably expect sexual images to influence people also. True
    enough, considerable research demonstrates that “the assumptions, beliefs and values of heavy
    viewers differ systematically from those of comparable groups of light viewers.”44
    One of the most common findings from media studies is that “increased media viewing is
    associated with more stereotypical views, especially about gender,” and that “being exposed to
    consistent and repeated stereotypical gender images shapes cognitive structures.”45 Simply
    stated, what we see affects how we think.
    In some quarters – as with the analogous research on pornography – there is a reluctance to
    review the evidence objectively in case the cure is worse than the disease. Thus Hollywood
    producers and others are often quick to leap-frog past the research and claim their First
    Amendment right to produce whatever they choose. But they miss the point, which is about
    choices, not rights. Nothing in the First Amendment forces anyone to choose to contribute to
    violence in society.
    6. Experience of clinical psychologists
    The May 15, 1999 cover story of the highly-regarded business magazine Fortune was a feature
    article, “Addicted to Sex – Corporate America’s Dirty Secret,” discussing the destructive effects
    of pornography, promiscuity and prostitution in the business world. It is ironic that, while the
    pornographers make intellectual arguments that their product is harmless, businesses in the real
    world are dealing with its consequences.
    — 13 —
    The sub-head for the Fortune article was: “Companies used to wink at these troubled executives,
    now they send them to desert clinics for ‘The Cure.’” One such clinic is run by Dr. Patrick J. Carnes,
    a leading expert on sexual addictions, who commented in the article that: “Most of my patients are
    CEOs or doctors or attorneys or priests. We have corporate America’s leadership marching through
    here.”
    Fortune, of course, has no advocacy position on either side of the pornography debate and its
    interest was simply to report a growing problem for business. For years, however, some clinical
    psychologists have expressed concern about pornography because of the evidence of their patients’
    experiences. In a previous study by Dr. Carnes, for example, 90% of the men and 77% of the women
    (out of 932 sex addicts) indicated that pornography played a significant role in their addiction.46
    Other clinical psychologists who have published their work include:
    ♦ Dr. Gary Brooks, who describes five principal symptoms of a “pervasive disorder” linked to
    consumption of even soft-core pornography like Playboy:47
    • Voyeurism – An obsession with visual stimulation trivializing all other mature
    features of a healthy psychological relationship.
    • Objectification – An attitude where women are rated by size, shape and harmony
    of body parts.
    • Validation – Where men who never come close to sex with their dream woman
    feel cheated or unmanly.
    • Trophyism – Where women become the property of the man as a symbol of
    accomplishment and worthiness.
    • Fear of true intimacy – A preoccupation with sexuality, handicaping the capacity
    for emotional or non-sexual intimacy.
    ♦ Dr. Victor Cline of the University of Utah, who identifies four stages of viewing pornography
    following the initial exposure:48
    • Addiction – The desire and need to keep coming back for pornographic images.
    • Escalation – The need for more explicit, rougher, and more deviant images for
    the same sexual effect.
    • Desensitization – Material once viewed as shocking or taboo is seen as
    acceptable or commonplace.
    • Acting out – The tendency to perform the behaviors viewed, including
    exhibitionism, sadistic/masochistic sex, rape, or sex with minor children.
    Although not all men are equally vulnerable to habitual porn use, Dr. Cline concluded that
    for some men pornography “is the gateway drug to sexual addiction.”
    Dr. William Marshall and Dr. Gene Abel have published important research with child molesters,
    rapists and other sexual offenders.49 Abel’s research indicated that more than 50% of sex offenders
    used pornography, and that offenders who used it were less able to control their behavior than those
    who did not. Abel’s findings contradicted the “safety-valve” or “catharsis” theory (which has
    basically died from lack of supporting evidence in the last twenty years). Marshall found that, in a
    study of outpatient sex offenders treated over a six-year period, one-third reported they had used
    pornography immediately before at least one of their crimes.
    — 14 —
    The body’s biological responses are one reason pornography’s effects are so powerful.
    Research reveals biochemical and neurological responses in individuals who are emotionally
    aroused, regardless of the stimuli. The adrenal hormone epinephrine is released, locking
    memories into the brain, and explaining why men can remember pornographic images seen years
    before50. Chemicals called opioids, released by nerve endings in response to pleasure, then
    reinforce the body’s desire to repeat the process.
    In other words, chemical responses to sexual arousal and gratification cause the body to
    desire to repeat a rewarding behavior—which may be the use of pornography. Thus the
    biological drive to return to rewarding behavior can lead to an actual dependence or addiction.
    In addition, the release of epinephrine and opioids in the body are associated with both the
    triggering sexual image and the message it conveys. Thus the biological response to
    pornography rewards and hence reinforces the messages presented – which, as discussed earlier,
    often include anti-social attitudes about women, relationships, and behavior. Simply stated, in
    terms of pure body chemistry, sex sells!
    _____________________________________________________________________________
    7. Anecdotal Evidence
    In addition to the experience of psychologists and therapists, the harms of pornography are
    attested to by those who have experienced them directly – users and spouses of users. In the
    words of Enough Is Enough President Emeritus Dee Jepsen: “Some say pornography doesn’t
    have any victims. I know better. I look into the tear-filled eyes of victims nearly every time I
    speak about the Enough Is Enough campaign.”51
    This sort of qualitative evidence does not generate the neat, clinical percentages of
    experiments under controlled circumstances. But the wife whose marriage has been destroyed
    by her spouse’s pornography addiction has little interest in whether the latest research studies
    confirm that pornography might have harmful effects. To the men and women whose lives have
    been damaged by pornography, this is not an academic issue.
    In the 1986 Final Report of the Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography,52
    testimony after testimony demonstrated pornography’s damage to individuals and families.
    Women spoke of husbands who insisted they imitate scenes from pornography, whether they
    wished to or not. Doctors spoke of sexual dysfunction and unrealistic expectations due to
    pornography. Law enforcement officials spoke of pornography’s connection to sexual crimes.
    And men spoke of the damage they had witnessed, or caused, because of pornography use.
    Other anecdotal evidence includes the worst-case scenarios of mass-murderers like Ted Bundy,
    John Wayne Gacy, Gary Bishop and others where pornography played a role in their crimes.
    Obviously, millions of men use pornography without ever going to these extremes. But while “no
    one supposes that every addict of such material will act out his fantasies, it is willfully blind to think
    that none will.”53
    — 15 —
    Some of the victims’ testimony is disturbing, but all of it demonstrates the human cost of
    pornography. The person taking a first glass of wine doesn’t expect to become an alcoholic – but
    some do. The evidence of victims is received daily in the offices of agencies addressing the
    pornography issue. None of this information comes from “hard empirical studies,” but to ignore
    it is to ignore pornography’s human toll.
    ______________________________________________________________________________
    Factors Particularly Affecting Children54
    Although no evidence will ever sway some porn advocates to concede its potential for harm
    in the lives of adults, one might expect less dispute in the case of children. After all, children
    usually have less maturity and discernment. How can children deal wisely with hard-core
    sexuality that is (usually and hopefully) beyond their experience of life? If a neighbor exposed
    your child to hard-core pornography, wouldn’t you regard that as sexual abuse?
    Unfortunately, even the protection of children from pornography is now challenged in some
    circles because, the argument runs, the harm to children has never been “proved.” This is a
    recurring topic, for example, in the Internet discussion groups of the self-styled “intellectual
    freedom” arm of the American Library Association (ALA). Similarly, in 1999, two North
    American court decisions were based in part on the idea that pornography’s harm to children has
    not been “proved.”55
    By the same logic, one might argue that the harm of crack cocaine to children is also
    unproven, since in neither case is experimental research conducted on children. In both cases the
    omission is a simple matter of ethics – what kind of researcher exposes a child to putatively
    harmful matter, to see if harm does, in fact, result?
    The Ethical Principles of the American Psychological Association (APA) state that “the
    fundamental requirements are the participants have made a fully informed and competent
    decision to participate and that they emerge from their research experiment unharmed—or, at
    least, that the risks are minimal, understood by the participants, and accepted as reasonable”
    [emphasis added].56 Clearly, no child can give such informed consent, which is why no ethical
    researcher would conduct experimental studies on pornography and children. In short, studies
    including children do not exist because they would violate professional and ethical
    guidelines.
    This does not mean there is no evidence of harm to children. Firstly, all the considerations
    already discussed with respect to adults apply at least equally to children. Secondly, there are
    other considerations that particularly impact children:
    Cognitive development
    Although children mature at different rates, there are four or five stages of cognitive
    development which are fairly standard in their occurrence.57 The child starts as the center of his
    or her universe and advances through concrete thought and abstract thought to eventually be
    — 16 —
    capable of relationships. Every teacher knows that algebra is not taught in elementary school,
    for example, because the child hasn’t yet developed sufficient faculty for abstract thought.
    It is a maxim of parenting that you don’t give children more information than they are ready
    to handle. For example, when a child asks “where do I come from?” the wise parent knows that
    sometimes the right answer may simply be “Pittsburgh.” Premature exposure to hard-core
    sexuality is a bit more complex than premature exposure to algebra – particularly if the images
    themselves are misleading (see “False Advertising?” above). One therapist writes:
    “When a child experiences reality beyond their readiness, they have no means of
    processing the material intellectually or emotionally. At that time, they will bury the
    experience in their unconscious, where it will lurk in the shadows haunting them,
    possibly for the rest of their lives.”58
    Such interruption is of particular concern because during this same period, children are
    developing morally. “Most research supports the view that cognitive development is a necessary
    but not sufficient condition for advances in moral understanding”.59 If a child experiences
    something beyond his understanding, particularly something traumatic, it can hinder both his
    mental and moral development.
    Social Learning Theory
    Pornography’s effect on individuals and society can be explained in terms of Albert
    Bandura’s Social Learning Theory, which maintains that people learn about the world by
    responding to the stimuli around them. Social learning explains that “the consumer accept the
    behavior portrayed as rewarding (to be imitated) or punishing (to be extinguished)” 60
    Adolescents are particularly vulnerable to accepting media portrayals of sexuality, in part
    because they are just beginning to seek out such information. For example, “after viewing less
    than an hour of MTV… adolescents were more likely to approve of premarital sex than
    adolescents not having viewed MTV.”61 Numerous studies have demonstrated that when such
    distortions of reality are present, “heavy consumers of those media tend to distort their own
    perceptions of the world around them.” 62
    Adolescents who are not presented with honest portrayals of possible consequences of
    sexual activity will likely downplay the possibility of such consequences in their own lives.
    “These biased perceptions and attitudes could lead teens and young adults to be sexually active
    and to mimic the nonrealistic sexual activity portrayed in these media.”63
    ______________________________________________________________________________
    Conclusion
    Can the harms of pornography be proved with the certainty of a proposition in geometry?
    No, because that is not the standard applied to research in the social sciences. The correct
    standard is to assess the preponderance of the evidence.
    — 17 —
    In the case of pornography, the preponderance of the evidence clearly demonstrates that the
    material is not “just harmless fun.” Although almost all men are attracted by it, there are clearly
    perils associated with its use – which no doubt explains why so many men are willing to resist
    their own hormones and try to keep away from pornography.
    Pornography is not about real human sexuality: it’s about a dehumanized, synthetic version
    of sex that eliminates love, honor, dignity, true intimacy and commitment. The image of
    sexuality offered by pornography comes without relationships, responsibility or consequences—
    a largely fraudulent picture. Porn movies never show a girlfriend getting pregnant at 16, or a
    young man getting AIDS – or a married man resisting the temptation of another woman.
    Unfortunately, the research demonstrates that pornography’s fraudulent messages are
    ingested, affecting attitudes and behavior. Countless studies show that the basic messages of
    pornography – that a woman’s function is to satisfy a man sexually, that women have no value,
    no meaning, and their desires and needs are irrelevant – breed sexual callousness and acceptance
    of the rape myth (i.e. that women secretly desire to be raped).
    These are the attitudes that lead to sexual harassment, failed relationships, early promiscuity
    and the spread of STDs. And, unless one believes that attitudes and behaviors are unrelated, it is
    difficult then to be surprised by the evidence of correlation between pornography usage and
    sexually abusive behaviors.
    We protect ourselves and our communities, in part, through the values we affirm as
    important. Treating every human being with respect, equality, and dignity, are values we should
    all be able to embrace, as a society and as individuals. The harms of pornography result from
    replacing respect, equality and dignity with a candy-coated message of hate.
    Just Harmless Fun?
    By Bruce Watson and Shyla Rae Welch
    Copyright © Enough Is Enough, 2000
    1 State of the First Amendment 1999, Freedom Forum First Amendment Center, Nashville, TN, 1999
    — 18 —
    2 USA Today, June 27, 1997
    3 In addition, a Wirthlin poll commissioned by Morality in Media in 1997 found that 80% of adult Americans
    supported “vigorous enforcement” of federal obscenity laws. http://www.moralityinmedia.org (visited February 16,
    2000).
    4 Paris Adult Theatre I v. Slaton, (1973) 413 U.S. 49, 63
    5 Parade Magazine quoting Advertising Age, August 16, 1998, p.14.
    6 Surrett, R. (1992). Media, Crime and Criminal Justice: Images and Realities, Brooks/Cole Publishing, p.104.
    7 Postman, N. (1994). The Disappearance of Childhood, New York: Vintage Books, p.107-108.
    8 Duncan, D. (1990). “Pornography as a source of sex information for university students,” Psychological Reports,
    66, p.442.
    Duncan, D., & Donnelly, J. (1991). “Pornography as a source of sex information for students at Northeastern
    University,” Psychological Reports, 78, p.782.
    Duncan, D., & Nicholson, T. (1991). “Pornography as a source of sex information at Southeastern University.
    Psychological Reports,” 68, p.802.
    9 Brosius, H.B., Weaver, J.B., & Staab, J.F. (1993). “Exploring the social and sexual ‘reality’ of contemporary
    pornography,” The Journal of Sex Research, 30, p.162.
    10 Zillman, D. & Bryant, J. (1984). “Effects of massive exposure to pornography,” in Malamuth, NM &
    Donnerstein, E, (Ed), Pornography and sexual aggression ,. Orlando, FL: Academic Press, p.134 (Quoted by
    Check and Guloien – note 27 below)
    11 Diamond, S. (1985). “Pornography: Image and Reality,” in Burstyn, V (Ed.), Women Against Censorship,
    Vancouver, BC: Douglas & McIntyre, p.42. (Quoted by Brosius, Weaver & Staab – note 9 above.)
    12 Abnormal Psychology and Modern Life (1992). Eds. Carson, R.C., & Butcher, J.N. “ Sexual disorders and
    variants,” HarperCollins: New York, p.347.
    13 Michael, R.T., Gagnon, J.H., Laumann, E.O., & Kolata, G. (1994). Sex in America. Boston: Little, Brown and
    Company.
    14 Will, G.F. (November 11, 1996). “Big Stick Conservatism.” Newsweek, 96.
    15 National Law Center for Children and Families (1997). NLC summary of “SOB land use” studies.
    16 Parts of this section draw on material written by one of the present authors in the case of Amatel v. Reno (1998),
    for a 1998 amicus brief to the U.S. Court of Appeal, District of Columbia Circuit on behalf of the National Coalition
    for the Protection of Children & Families (NCPCF). A more technical review of the empirical research can be
    found in the paper “Pornography – A Review of the Scientific Literature” by Stan Weed, Ph.D., available from
    NCPCF (www.nationalcoalition.org).
    17 Strossen, N. (1995). Defending Pornography: Free Speech, Sex and the Fight for Women’s Rights, New York:
    Anchor Books, p.161.
    18 Brosius, Weaver and Staab – see Note 9 above.
    19 Einsiedel, E.F. (1995).” Social Science and Public Policy: Constraints on the Linkage,” Prevention in Human
    Services, 12, p.93.
    20 Ibid.
    21 Donnerstein, E. & Linz, D. (1986) “Mass Media Sexual Violence and Male Viewers,” American Behavioral
    Scientist, 29 (5), p.603
    22 Koop, C.E., (October, 1987). “Report of the Surgeon General’s Workshop on Pornography and Public Health.”
    American Psychologist, 42 (10), p.944
    23 Lyons, J.S., Anderson, R.L. and Larsen, D., “A Systematic Review of the Effects of Aggressive and
    Nonaggressive Pornography,” in Zillman, Bryant & Huston (Ed.), Media, Children & the Family: Social Scientific,
    Psychodynamic, and Clinical Perpectives, Hillsdale, N.J., J. Erlbaum Associates, p.305
    24 Allen, M., Emmers, T., Gebhardt, L., & Giery M. A. (1995). “Exposure to Pornography and Acceptance of Rape
    Myths.” Journal of Communication, Winter, p.19 and pp.7-8.
    25 Allen, M., D’Alessio, D., & Brezgel, K. (1995). A Meta-analysis Summarizing the Effects of Pornography II.
    Human Communication Research, 22, p.271.
    26 Zillman & Bryant – see note 10 above.
    27 Check, J. V. P., & Guloien, T. H. (1989). “Reported Proclivity for Coercive Sex Following Repeated Exposure to
    Sexually Violent Pornography, Nonviolent Dehumanizing Pornography, and Erotica,” Pornography: Research
    Advances and Policy Considerations, p.160.
    28 Zillmann, D. (1989). “Effects of Prolonged Consumption of Pornography,” In Zillman & Bryant (Ed.),
    Pornography: Research Advances and Policy Considerations, p.155.
    — 19 —
    29 Weaver, J. B. (1994). “Pornography and Sexual Callousness: The Perceptual and Behavioral Consequences of
    Exposure to Pornography,” in Zillman, Bryant & Huston (Eds), Media, Children and the Family: Social Scientific,
    Psychodynamic, and Clinical Perspectives, p.224.
    30 See letter of Feb.22, 1991 from Hon. Robert Macy, District Attorney, Oklahoma County, to Mr. George Harper;
    and letter of March 2, 1990, from Mr. Ray Pasutti, UCR Supervisor, Oklahoma Bureau of Investigation, to Mr.
    Harper.
    31 Weaver (see note 29), describing study by Baron and Strauss (1987). Weaver also discusses similar findings by
    Scott and Schwalm (1988), Jaffee and Strauss (198)7, and Court (1984).
    32 Cline, V.B. (1994). Pornography’s Effects on Adults and Children, New York, Morality In Media p.9.
    33 Weaver – see note 29.
    34 Court, J.H., (1977). “Pornography & Sex Crimes,” International Journal of Criminology & Penology, 5, p 129.
    Quoted in Cline – note 32, at page 9.
    35 Work of John H. Court, described in Marshall, W.L. and Barrett, S. (1990) Criminal Neglect: Why Sex Offenders
    Go Free, Toronto: Doubleday, p.141.
    36 Ibid.
    37 Medved, Michael, Hollywood vs. America (1992), New York: HarperCollins, p.243
    38 “Media Violence,” (1995) Pediatrics 95, American Academy of Pediatrics, p. 949
    39 Time, (April 6), 1998, p.39
    40 Grossman, D., Trained to Kill, Christianity Today, August 10, 1998, pp. 31-39.
    41 Boliek, B. “Hollywood Owns Up to Role in Violence, Study Finds.” The Hollywood Reporter, May 2, 1994, at
    http://www.dove.org/research/stats/htm (visited February 23, 2000)
    42 Medved, Michael, Hollywood vs. America (1992), New York: HarperCollins, p.251
    43 Ibid., p.338
    44 Gerbner, G., Gross, L., Morgan., M., & Signorelli, N. (1986). “Living with Television: The Dynamics of the
    Cultivation Process,” in J. Bryant and D. Zillman (Eds.), Perceptions on Media Effects. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum,
    p.29.
    45 Allan, K., & Coltrane, S. (1996). “Gender Displaying Television Commercials: A Comparative Study of
    Television Commercials in the 1950s and 1980s,” Sex Roles, 35 (3/4), pp. 187-8.
    46 Carnes, P. (1991). Don’t call it love: Recovery from sexual addictions. New York: Bantam.
    47 Brooks, G. R. ( 1995). The Centerfold Syndrome: How Men Can Overcome Objectification and Achieve
    Intimacy With Women. Jossey-Bass Publishers
    48 Cline – see note 32, pp. 3-4.
    49 Marshall and Barrett – see note 35, at page 129
    50 McGaugh, J.L. (February, 1983). “Preserving the Presence of the Past,” American Psychologist, p. 161
    51 Empty Embrace video (1994), Enough Is Enough and National Coalition for the Protection of Children and
    Families.
    52 Final Report of the Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography (1986), Rutledge Hill Press Inc., Nashville,
    p.197-223
    53 Bork, Robert H, (1996). Slouching Towards Gomorrah, New York: Regan Books, p. 145
    54 Parts of this section draw on material written by one of the present authors in connection with her Master’s
    Degree thesis (unpublished).
    55 U.S. v. Playboy, concerning “signal bleed” on pornographic cable TV channels; and, in Canada, R. v. Sharpe,
    concerning possession of child pornography. Both decisions were subject to appeal at the time of writing.
    56 American Psychological Association. (1982). Ethical Principles in the Conduct of Research with Human
    Participants (p. 18).
    57 Atkinson, R., Atkinson, R., Smith, E., & Hilgard, E. (Eds). Introduction to Psychology , (1987) San Diego:
    Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, p. 71.
    58 Williams, L. Letter to Enough Is Enough newsletter, Vol.6, December 1998.
    59 Fogel, A., & Melson, G.F. (Eds.), Child Development: Individual, Family, and Society (1988). St. Paul: West
    Publishing, p. 418.
    60 Allen, Emmers, Gebhardt and Giery – see note 24 above.
    61 Greeson, L.E., & Williams, R.A. (1986). “Social Implications of Music Videos for Youth: An Analysis of the
    Content and Effects of MTV.” Youth and Society, 18(2), pp. 177-189. Quoted in Buerkel-Rothfuss et all – note 62
    below.
    — 20 —
    62 Buerkel-Rothfuss, N.L., Strouse, J.S., Pettey, G., & Shatzer, M. (1993). “Adolescents’ and Young Adults’
    Exposure to Sexually Oriented and Sexually Explicit Media,” in Greenburg, B., Brown,J.D., and Buerkel-Rothfuss,
    N.L. (Eds.) Media, Sex and the Adolescent. Cresskill, N.J., Hampton Press, pp. 99-100.
    63 Ibid, p.99.

  33. cindi
    cindi09-07-2011

    Rape: What We Can Do

    EuroPROFEM – The European Men Profeminist Network http://www.europrofem.org

    Rape: What We Can Do

    Jack C. Straton
    C/o University Studies
    Portland State University
    Portland, OR, 97207-0751

    · Work towards creating a coordinated community response to sexual violence ·

    Demand that the criminal justice system arrest, prosecute and convict men who rape including acquaintance, date, and marital rapists ·

    Support school-based education efforts about sexual violence. · Increase sensitivity and accountability to victim/survivors and their advocates ·

    Support survivor services with money and/or volunteering. ·

    Believe survivors stories. Rape is falsely reported 2% of the time, the same as for other violent crimes ·

    Don’t engage in victim blaming or tolerate it from others. ·

    Don’t insist that survivors report, or not report the rape; educate ourselves about options for survivors and share that information with them. ·

    Care about, listen to and support survivors. · Work on eradicating all forms of oppression (sexism, racism, homophobia, etc.). No one is free when others are oppressed.

    Rape and Rape Related Behaviors :

    · Sexual Harassment: The main purpose of sexual harassment is to exert men’s power over women; that power is backed up by the threat of rape. Sexual harassment is experienced by approximately 85% of women in the work-force.

    · Date Rape: Almost half of rape is date rape; date rapists are seldom arrested. It is rare for men to be prosecuted for date rape- more rare to be convicted. Repeatedly we are learning that the more a woman knows the rapist, the less likely she is to report the incident(s) to anyone-let alone the police.

    · Marital Rape: Marital rape happens in one of every seven marriages. 59% of battered women are raped by their abusers. Oregon was the first state to pass a law against marrital rape, but it has been tragically underused .

    · Incest/Child Sexual Abuse: One in three girls and one in six or seven boys are sexually abused before their eighteenth birthday. The vast majority of perpetrators are men; few suffer any negative consequences for their actions.

    · Prostitution: One cannot buy sexual consent. Prostitution is bought and sold rape, not a “victimless crime.” Women trapped in systems of prostitution are raped (by the legal definition) more often than any other group of women. They report even less frequently than women who are not prostituted. The rapist of prostituted women is even less likely to suffer any negative consequences.

    · Pornography: Pornography is pictures of prostitution; it eroticizes inequality and often portrays women enjoying rape. Always, it is degrading and dehumanizing. Many young men have their first sexual experience with pornography. Pornography plays a huge part in the construction of male sexual identity; it socializes men to sexually objectify, sexually harass and rape.

    · The Military: Sexual harassment and Tailhook, rape and Okinawa, higher rates of battering and marital rape than the general population, prostitution/ pornography, rape as a weapon of war, and male bonding run rampant in the military which epitomizes the manhood training and gender relations of male supremacy. .

    Why Most Women Don’t Report:

    There are many reasons why rape is one of the most unreported crimes; they include

    · the fear of retaliation

    · the fear of police and the legal system (sometimes described as being “raped again.”)

    · she’s been socialized to feel partly to blame for the rape

    · She may feel she can not endure the grueling legal process

    · She may feel she will be blamed by others for what happened to her

    · She may think that the legal system will not choose to prosecute because she knew him, she was drinking, she was being prostituted, etc.

    For Survivors of Rape

    · Whatever you did to survive was exactly right.

    · Individual counseling and support groups are available.

    · You don’t have to report if you do not want to.

    · Victims of Crime assistance money may be available.

    · Build a support network.

    · Learn about rape trauma syndrome and how it impacts you; learn what your triggers are.

    · It’s not your fault; no matter what the circumstances, you didn’t deserve what happened to you.

    · You can file a civil suit.

    · You may file a third-party report.

    · Common emotional responses to rape include sleeplessness, lack of concentration, eating disorders, nightmares, fear, loss of self-confidence, stress related illness, feelings of grief and despair and others.

    for more information contact:

    Some ways men can take responsibility in their personal lives to help stop rape are:

    · ensuring through direct communication that all the sexual activity they participate in is truly consensual

    · ensuring that survivor service organizations have the funding to stay open… give money! volunteer!

    · actively and caringly supporting rape survivors

    · not engaging in prostitution

    · not using pornography or tolerating its display in the workplace

    · never sexually harassing women or tolerating sexual harassment by other men.

    · interrupting sexist jokes and comments, not bonding with other men by putting women down.

    · teaching and role-modeling for young men respectful treatment of women as their equals

    · exposing the connections between sexism, racism, homophobia and other expressions of oppression in the ways they all support rape culture.

    for more information contact:

    RAPE PROTEST

    We are here today to draw attention to the pervasive problem of rape in our society and the failure of our communities and our criminal justice system to adequately address that problem.

    1 in 4 women will be raped during her lifetime.

    73% of women limit the places they will go because of fear of rape.

    84% of rapes are committed by someone known by the victim/survivor.

    2000 rapes are reported in the U.S. each day.

    Only 1 of every 10 rapes is reported.

    Approximately 2% of rapists are convicted of rape.

    PROTEST RAPE

    Created by
    Jack C. Straton
    C/o University Studies
    Portland State University
    Portland, OR, 97207-0751
    503-725-4227
    Feel free to replace my contact info with your own.

    Jack Straton

    With a background in jazz, quantum theory, and diversity training, Jack Straton infuses his classes with creativity, interdisciplinary experience, and interpersonal connection.

    Jack Straton earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in photography from the University of Oregon in 1977, worked as a professional jazz drummer for three years, and then returned to the U of O in the 1980s to earn a doctorate in quantum theory. Both as a volunteer and professional diversity trainer over the past 18 years, he has presented several hundred workshops on ending sexual assault and racism. Jack founded Men Against Rape groups in Eugene, Oregon, Washington, D.C., and Manhattan, Kansas. He has published extensively in professional journals from his research in Quantum Scattering Theory, Gender Equity, and Diversity Training Methods. He has served as co-chair of the National Organization for Men Against Sexism (NOMAS) and, as coordinator of the NOMAS Task Group on Child Custody Issues, is recognized as one of the leading writers and speakers in the country with expertise on ethical and public policy issues related to the overlap between child custody, child abuse, and woman abuse.

    Jack has been teaching Inquiry courses at PSU since 1995, currently Popular Culture and Pathways to Sustainability and Justice, always seeking to infuse them with creativity, interdisciplinary experience, and interpersonal connection.

    Publications

    Analytically Continued Hypergeometric Expression of the Incomplete Beta Function

    The Incomplete Gamma Function Expressed as a Sum of Macdonald Functions

    Jack C. Straton, Associate Professor, Physics & University Studies (Photo © Brent Hirack)

    E-Mail: <straton [at} pdx.edu

    http://web.pdx.edu/~straton/

    The Myth of the "Battered Husband Syndrome – Filed under Ending Men's Violence, Paper. By Jack C. Straton, Ph.D.

    http://www.nomas.org/node/107

    [ Précédente ] [ Accueil ] [ Remonter ] [ Suivante ]

  34. Daniel
    Daniel05-17-2012

    I think we need to draw a distinction between pornography and erotica, even though both are damaging in their own right and lead society down a slippery slope.

  35. Lizzy
    Lizzy05-17-2012

    This was a well written article, and I enjoyed that you backed up your statements with research. However, many of your claims were made with the assumption that porn and porn consumption is inherently harmful to a relationship. As a young woman who used to view porn, and still does so on a rare occasion, I still find myself in an incredibly satisfying monogamous long-term relationship. My partner and I make safe sexual choices and while I don’t know about his porn viewing habits, I feel that is up to him and his own personal matter. I still watch porn sometimes and it has had no affect on my self-esteem or relationships. I take time to read your website because I enjoy your message, and I read many other feminist materials. I have a good sense of self worth and self confidence and I don’t see sexual materials as an influence on my own impression of myself. Occasionally, I’ll see something in a video that I find myself wanting to try in my own sexual experiences. If I bring it up to my partner and he agrees, then that is the only way in which pornography has ever affected my relationship.
    There was one other thing that bothered me. This statistic: “One in three American girls will be sexually molested by the age of 18 and 87 percent of convicted molesters of girls admit to viewing pornography (Media Education Fdtn, 2008).” While I don’t doubt that that’s true, I also wonder how many people that view pornography do NOT molest people.

  36. Jade
    Jade06-21-2012

    I watch a little pornography the last time I was single and again now that I am. I dont feel it at all effected the relationship I was just in, to which I may have watched pornography once a month or two. Is this just a case of extremes? or would you say I have a pornography problem?
    Only contructive criticism and comments please

    • Letsy
      Letsy02-23-2013

      The definition of addiction would be that you can’t control yourself. Also the problem with viewing pornography, or masturbation is because of the emotions released during these activities. You are actually bonding to the images the screen, so it decreases the chance of you being able to bond with other people, some people bond to the extent that they loose connection with their spouse, and prefer looking at porn and masturbation over being with their spouse. They choose the images over the real woman, because the rush they get, the high they get is greater then they are able to get with their spouse. It is a progressive thing, so what starts out as just looking a little progresses into looking more often and more graphically, then acting out. The hardest part for me is the pain it can cause the wife/girlfriend. The feeling of not being enough, the questions of “why are you looking at them when you have me? Why am I not enough? And the inability to ever measure up to the images on the screen.” So many woman don’t understand that it goes past even being about them, the addiction has become so strong that it wouldn’t matter how she changed her appearance he would still look at other women.

  37. Jade
    Jade06-21-2012

    However I agree that normalised pornography is, the type seen on tv for children, music clips and magazines

  38. Kristen Jenson
    Kristen Jenson07-05-2012

    Thank you for this extremely well-written and researched article. We are so inundated and desensitized to porn that it’s crucial to acknowledge the harm it is doing, not only to women but to children and to men.
    I am working to help parents “inoculate” their younger children (ages 7-11) against the dangers of pornography and pornography addiction. I recently cited your article on my blog. Keep up the good work!!! http://pornoculation.com/2012/06/29/271/

  39. Diana
    Diana08-28-2012

    I really appreciate the mission of this site. I think it’s important to give girls a healthy body image. I will even agree that pornography is responsible for both oversexualizing our country, objectifying women and giving women unrealistic expectations of how they should look.

    However there are many things in this blog that I take serious issue with. For example “One in three American girls will be sexually molested by the age of 18 and 87 percent of convicted molesters of girls admit to viewing pornography (Media Education Fdtn, 2008). ” It is very sad that girls will be molested and I in no way think that is ok. But I would also wager that 90% of convicted molesters admit to viewing cable television, I bet 99% of them were exposed to tap water and 83% have eaten carrots. Correlation does not equal causation and it’s irresponsible to use misleading statistics to prove a point.

    Also, you keep alluding to porn ruining relationships and families but aside from the anecdotal evidence and the divorce rate statistic, I do not see much proof. According to your article the issue with porn in relationships seems to stem from one party insisting on viewing it and the other flatly against it. What if both parties were interested in viewing porn? Would it still ruin the relationship? I have trouble seeing that as a situation where pornography will ruin the relationship.

    In redfining pornography, it seems to me that all images that portray women scantily clad are objectional and pornographic. This is a very slippery slope. The more we blame women for showing cleavage, or leg or midriff the more we cover them up and eventually their wrists or forearms or ankles will became sexualized. In the Middle East there is talk of outlawing women with “seductive eyes.” A woman exposing a little shin in some of those countries would be akin to a woman wearing a bikini top by our standards. Where does it stop? Is the problem with how women are dressed or how men respond to them? Should we educate the men instead?

    In Europe and parts of Latin America, nudity isn’t nearly the issue that it is here. In fact you will often see naked women on billboards or in commercials and to Europeans it simply isn’t a big deal. I wonder if they have higher rates of rape and molestation. If so, there is some validity to your theory. If not, them perhaps some of these problems are cultural and unrelated to nudity. These are interesting questions that should lead to better answers as we try to solve the issue of pornography and unhealthy body images that unfortunately went unmentioned in your article.

  40. Ted T.
    Ted T.10-04-2012

    You talk about the “pornification of culture” as though it is some sort of recent phenomenon — nothing could be further from the truth. Take the Calvin Klein Jeans/Brooke Shields commercials of 1980 (“Nothing comes between me and my Calvins”) plus designer jean commercials from a bunch of other brands that were being beamed non-stop into every home on prime time TV 32 years ago.

    “The Story of O” was published in 1954 (written by a woman born in 1907) for the enjoyment of our parents and grandparents (and if you haven’t read it, it makes most of today’s hard core pornography look like a Disney movie).

    The very word, pornography, comes from the ancient Greek, meaning “writing about prostitutes”. Western culture was “pornified” long before the invention of Christianity to tell us what a sin it all is.

    Yes culture changes, becomes more or less permissive, but in this regard there is absolutely nothing new under the sun.

    • 057
      05710-06-2012

      It has changed enormously in the last 20 years! Access. It is readily easily accessible. It has become completely normalized because of this. The average age for a kid to first see it is now 10-12 years old. Our culture is now hypersexualized, pornified. If you dont think thats influencing our younger and current generations, what would. The consequences of accessibility make it all mainstream. Before, you could find sex when you wanted it. Now, I do a Google search for the hairstlye ‘pigtails’ & my result is 70% boobs. Thats new.

  41. Stocklone
    Stocklone12-10-2012

    Sexuality is an extremely complex issue and I am tired of people trying to smash it into some tiny square box of how they think sex should be. Sex is messy. Sex is fun. Sex is weird. Sex is crazy. Sex is a journey that’s lasts a lifetime. Sex isn’t just with the lights out with your partner every other Wednesday. For someone that says I told my partner to stop consuming porn or else and they didn’t and now the relationship is ruined. If you and your partner couldn’t talk about sex on such a basic level and try to understand each other and each other’s needs, you didn’t have a healthy sexual relationship to begin with. Porn is not the problem. Communication and lack of sexual knowledge are your problem. Our society has such an incredibly negative and narrow minded view of sex. Please start researching the sex positivity movement. So many strong and amazing women are involved in that. Discovering it has been life changing for me. Demanding that your partner simply stop viewing pornography is absolutely ridiculous and basically says that their sexual needs mean absolutely nothing to you. Just because you are with somebody doesn’t mean you get to control their entire sexual experience. Please get this absolutely crazy idea out of your head. It’s incredibly destructive to you and your partner. Their sexuality exists outside of you. There is a reason masturbation exists. It’s normal. It’s healthy. And there is nothing wrong with doing it regularly. And thinking about something besides your partner is ok. And it doesn’t stop simply because you are in a relationship. For example, my wife started having sexual thoughts about one of her male friends who was a hardcore fitness guru. When she told me about it, I didn’t freak out. I didn’t demand she stop hanging out with him. We are in a monogamous relationship and I trust her. I told her that’s perfectly normal and she has absolutely no reason to feel guilty about it. It’s her sexuality. I’m not the end all be all of it. We are two individual people in a relationship. We share our sexuality. We don’t claim ownership.

    • Jorge
      Jorge05-29-2013

      Booyah. Love what you said about communication… dialogue and understanding are paramount. Constantly sweeping the real issues under rug will not solve anything.

  42. Kev
    Kev12-26-2012

    Great article.

    I constantly advise my sisters and young nieces to NOT watch music videos with women like Katie Perry, Rihanna, Beyonce,lil kim and Niki Minaj in. They are so sexual and pornographic. It makes me mad how these videos are aloud to play across all media platforms as if they are normal everyday cartoons for kids!

  43. Letsy
    Letsy02-23-2013

    I shared with you a resource I have found and love – the website is http://rowboatandmarbles.org/ and anyone struggling with addiction, or a wife or family member should look into the 12 step programs available, I attend the wives group and have found great help and healing with its help. Find a friend, find someone to talk to. Secrecy and isolation is the worst thing for addiction. And for YOU as a spouse/family member to heal too. It might not be your problem, but It does still affect you! (Speaking to anyone effected by pornography)

  44. Jeanette
    Jeanette04-04-2013

    I do not have a TV and never let glossy anything (mags, ads, etc) into my home. I grew up without a tv and was shocked at the sexualized images when I would see one. My saying is “put a tv in front of me and I guarantee it will not be long before I see a sexualized image”

    I am glad to see this article stating what I am trying to preach to anyone that will listen.

    Thank you

  45. Jorge
    Jorge05-29-2013

    I feel like this thread has beaten the topic at hand to a pulp and that finding something to say that hasn’t already been said might be a bit challenging, but I’ll give a stab at it.

    I find the language (i.e. rhetoric) used by the author in this movement to be very interesting and… well, hostile–“Dangerous, fight, struggle” etc. If I didn’t know any better, I might equate pornography (or the industry) itself as a lion that is preying on me or a hard drug that I could possibly overdose on. Truth be told, though, it poses no more of a physical threat to me than a nude painting at the Louvre.

    I mean, don’t get me wrong. I understand the moral vehemence in standing up against things that degrade women and other minorities, I’m just not sure that engaging in a ferocious “battle” against the porn industry is the best way to use our energy.

    Pornography is not a new phenomenon, and what’s considered to be obscene varies from culture to culture (Don’t believe me? Compare Las Vegas with Salt Lake City… now think Utah vs. Uganda). Why is it okay for when to walk around topless in many tribal villages in Africa and South America? Why aren’t men there raping every women whose breasts they see? Obviously, it’s because they’re culture has given different meaning to the female body than our culture has.

    I imagine that I just reiterated the author’s point in that our culture’s perception of the female body is the issue. Okay, touche. Where I take issue with it is that pornography (an inherently neutral medium when you break it down… i.e. paper, ink, pixels, etc.) is purportedly the antagonist and we are all just helpless victims of its grasp.

    We are not helpless victims. We are powerful (again, I feel like I’m reiterating the author’s point). But power is not synonymous with brute force. I feel like the power in this movement comes from neither “fighting” nor “embracing” pornography, but rather UNDERSTANDING and TRANSCENDING what it is. Pornography has as much power as we let it have over us (whether you want to believe it or not).

    Here, try this exercise:

    I’m going to write a word below, and your objective is to NOT think about that thing. Got it?

    Pink elephants.

    How’d you do? Wait… you failed? Okay, let’s try this again:

    Yellow monkeys.

    How about now? Really? You thought about yellow monkeys? The objective was to NOT think about yellow monkeys.

    Alright, enough insulting of your intelligence. My point is that you can’t not think about those words. You can’t NOT think about anything. Okay, but what does this have to do with pornography? Good question. Pornography is here. It is also there. I daresay that indeed it is everywhere. I’m not saying that it is right or that is is wrong. It just IS. This being the case, why can’t we all just acknowledge it for what it is–i.e. pink elephants? Impossible right? If I so much as look as pornography, I run the risk of ruining my relationship, shrinking my brain, becoming addicted, and you name whatever other bad thing that could happen to me.

    OR

    You could use it as a compass to explore yourself–which, by the way, I would argue is where the real issue resides. That’s right, I said it. You’ve got issues. Why do my civil liberties (i.e. First Amendment rights) have to be infringed upon because you can’t control yourself, you fear, your level of understanding?

    I know that sounds really abrasive, and it is far from my intent to disregard anybody’s pain or experience with this sensitive issue, but truth be told. We’re grown ups. The world is full of all sorts of things… neutral things… that we give value to. This being the case, we can change the value of these things in our minds. Yes, we have that power. But it starts with us. Porn isn’t your enemy; the way you perceive porn is your enemy.

    Try this on for size… the next time you’re in the grocery store and are “bombarded” with porn at the checkout stand, try this little exercise:

    Look at just the corner (I’m talking like that top right square inch) of the magazine. Think about that. What is it? Colors? Shapes? Now move on to each of the other corners. How about these ones? What’s different? Now, if you dare (I promise the magazine will not bite you or make you buy it), move your eyes in a little bit. What do you see now? And so on.

    The point is that YOU are in control of what you’re looking at, but even more importantly, YOU ARE IN CONTROL OF THE MEANING/VALUE YOU GIVE TO WHAT YOU SEE. It’s either an image of a slutty corporate pawn with the sole motive of persuading you to buy something… or it’s just Rhianna (just an example… I’m not saying Rhianna is a slut… case in point, though).

    Want to change our culture? Want to render the porn industry useless? Then change your perception of it as some inherently evil boogie man who’s out to get you and your children at any cost. Seek to understand it (and yourself) for what it is. I promise you, just as toxicologists study drugs without becoming addicts, you can gain a better understanding without becoming addicted.

  46. Star
    Star06-16-2013

    And then there are sites where people can upload videos, and while porn is banned some of the stuff that people post shows people and animals doing things that are considered pornographic.

  47. Dean
    Dean07-12-2013

    The scary part of our culture’s blindness toward the effects of pornography, is that it is now considered acceptable to introduce pornography into schools in New Zealand. The New Zealand Post sponsored children’s book awards winner this year comes with a content disclaimer because of very explicit sex scenes – http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10893783

  48. Heena Ahmed
    Heena Ahmed04-30-2016

    Very effective analysis. Porn is misrepresenting sex and sexuality in our society. We need o fight back. We should not let porn culture perpetuate around us.

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