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April 27, 2010

Comments

Thomas Babcock DO

I can understand why someone might commen that we all agree that porn is bad but let's move on to more pressing problems. This is perhaps in response to the futility in bucking the trend in a society where porn is so readily available. But our kids do need a continuous reminder of what is proper behavior, and what are the consequences of poor, albeit legal, behavior. Porn is wrong on so may levels (only three cited above) yet on "family hour" TV we can see our situation comedy heroes talking in a nonchalant manner about their use of porn. So right on, share the truth with young boys and girls as they grow up.

Rocky

Well, I haven't read the whole article yet, so forgive me if I say anything obvious or repetitive. I think it is important to be educating the public about the social consequences of porn and to be able to provide quantitative evidence of them. However, I think that the best antidote to pornography for our young people is to provide a supportive family atmosphere that sets their thought and actions on a higher level. In the chapter "Babes in Boyland" from the book Guyland, Michael Kimmel, a sociologist and professor at SUNY, concludes that the best way to keep boys from getting sucked into misogynistic and/or homophobic behavior as they become "guys" is to encourage them in forming strong relationships with women, either sisters, friends or girlfriends. When a guy has a long-term girlfriend or a female friend or a sister that he cares about, it is a lot easier for him to imagine what he sees in pornography or elsewhere happening to the woman he cares for, which then makes him less likely to join in that behavior. It's a great book, you should all look into it.

Rocky

I also highly recommend the film "Human Trafficking" to anyone who is interested in this subject. It's rather graphic, but a great overview of the problem of human trafficking. Although it is not emphatic about drawing a connection between trafficking and pornography, it's pretty hard not to come the that conclusion.

Pink_HIjabi

Good post!

Porn is a topic that is seldom talked about publicly, but it needs to be. I think that porn has become so normal in this society that people seldom question it--is it ok to watch? --what is it you are actually watching?--would I want my children to watch this...or take part in it? --what are the true social effects of me and others watching it?

Seriously, if more people asked themselves questions like these (or maybe were asked these questions) we might have a more moral and thinking society.

NY Mom

Porn is exploitation, pure and simple. I give chastity talks to teens, and one of the things I mention is the interview Ted Bundy granted to Dr James Dobson while he awaited execution. He traced his criminal abuse of women to his pornography use, starting with the day he and a young friend first found a stash of magazines somewhere and got hooked. That women are willing cooperatives in offering themselves for porn use is no indicator of its legitimacy; women also cooperate in abortion, so they are quite capable of grave moral error.

One quote I leave the guys with is this from Pope JPII: "God has assigned to every man the dignity of every woman." Whether she acts deserving is not the issue- true manhood is seeing what she is in the eyes of God - and treating her accordingly. The great lament is that so many 20th century women have lost the art of their femininity and no longer practice it, much less value it in the first place.

NY Mom

Whoops. We are in the 21st century now, aren't we? Well, the trouble DID start then anyway...

Hannah Herman

Porn is a huge problem that we must talk about. It is polluting this generation on catastrophic levels. Should we stop talking about AIDS because everyone already knows its a problem??!

Melissa, I liked your post so much because it reminded me of strong points that Catharine MacKinnon made on the subjects of prostitution, pornography, and rape. There is DEFINITELY A DIRECT RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN RAMPANT PORNOGRAPHY AND INCREASED RAPE.
I would also like to quote something MacKinnon said which I firmly believe, that pornography is:"a practice of sex inequality,and defined as the sexually explicit subordination of women through pictures and words that also includes a list of other very specific activities. In other words, it's defined in terms of what it actually does. It subordinates women as well as being a sexually explicit medium. There are other media that subordinate women but are not sexually explicit, and therefore don't have the same effects."

Robin Goodfellow

Always beyond the surface, we must look.

I've been lost to the dark side myself once or twice, to be honest, so allow me to offer some clarity.

Those who view/enjoy pornography are hurting inside, one way or another. Much in the same way women who "give in" to perpetual casual sex are hurting.

It's almost identical to the socially carcinogenic effects of alcoholism, or any other "drug'ism". Indeed, because of the intensity of the content being observed (starting small, and progressing depending on the user), it's effectively like unnaturally overdosing your brain with chemicals, just like a drug would.

But that's the surface. That's the stuff you already know.

The other side, is what's going on inside of the user. What propelled them, and what they "get" out of it.

I'll say that again, it's like a drug, and you use drugs as an escape, to numb your perception of something. In this case, porn is generally used to escape feeling sexually inadquate/invalid, or loneliness. You forget about that emotional pain because porn offers gratification without judging you in the process (which is ironic, considering the physical prejudice it inflames).

But the pain you were numbing, doesn't go away. It actually gets worse, because every once in a while your sense of grace shows up and reminds you that you do actually care about women. But... it's hard to believe yourself saying something like that when you've looked at porn, now isn't it? And the shame starts.

Furthermore, you wonder what the women you admire affectionately (the ones you don't expect "porn bodies" from, because part of you actually enjoys "reality") would think of you. You start to think they would never see you as anything other than a disgusting pig, even though their affection is likely medicine to what's hurting you. So you might deprave yourself further, numb yourself further, to escape that sense of hopelessness.

At this point, it's a vicious cycle of consumption because you're hurting/lonely, and hurting/being lonely because of your consumption.

However:

If you're lucky, and haven't completely given up on yourself (or finding love, somehow), you can... snap out of it. But it is a grueling, and painful, and ultimately no less lonely experience than the previous one. It's a fight between you and your shadow, and you have to come out on top, while simultaneously ackowledging that your shadow (and libido) is something that's a part of you.

While I don't accept the misogynistic attitude of "well, if women put out more, less guys would look at porn", I do feel the issue resembles the effect of a kind of mistreatment towards men. We lower the standards of our own behaviour when we don't see a(n immediate) reason to do otherwise. We start to think that when women don't show us affection as readily as we desire it (ignoring the idea that it is something that can be earned), we beging to feel that we are inherently undesirable ourselves, that we aren't "worth it"... which starts the cycle.

The "not worth it" attitude seems similar to women who put up with abusive guys/relationships, and continue vicious cycles to falsely validate themselves, in the same way with guys and porn.

Now, to address the article.

It's not objective in the first place. The website itself is hardliner conservative, which to me is as trustworthy of something hardliner liberal. Both extremes are shameless in their agendas.

However:

-Male porn users favour sons over daughters because it would mean they wouldn't have to consider their own daughter being "used" in porn.

-Less stringent penalties for rape... because violent porn is borderline rape itself, and you know what they say... that it's "evil enough when good men do nothing". They'd have to half-sentence themselves for what they've viewed.

-The lack of relationship satisfaction comes from never knowing the feelings that come out of one in in the first place (which they would have VERY much preferred), proceeded by the vicious cycle.


Annnyway, that's all I really want to say. Part of me didn't want to say anything, because I'm not sure how this comment will be received. But I felt it was important, because I'm guessing most of the posters here have only seen the subject from one side of things, as opposed to my two.

I hope it is understood how hard it was to say what I needed to.

Pink_HIjabi

@ Robin Goodfellow

Thanks for sharing the 'other' side :)

Melissa May

Robin,

Thank you sooo much for sharing another side of this issue. I feel a great deal of compassion for men and women who have become trapped in a cycle like the one you described. I deeply appreciate your willingness to speak up and share your experience. You shed much light on the facts given in the article.

The article I mentioned was about the results of porn use, not about the 'whys' of it. Having your comment here helps to put those two things together....the 'why' and the 'result'. And what you share is just another very good reason to warn young people about the dangers of porn use: that it is both personally and socially devastating.

Thank you again for sharing.

Shanna

Robin, thank you for your comment, I'm glad you're doing/feeling better. No one deserves to feel pain like that.

Okay, as someone who knows happy, healthy individuals who do use/watch porn I can't quite agree that everyone who indulges is devastated or harmed by it. I do agree that mainstream porn is almost entirely misogynistic, and that overuse can (and does) worsen mens attitudes toward women. But having known men and women who are visually stimulated, watch porn and still maintain healthy relationships (romantic and friendship) with both genders, it seems like this is blurring the lines between occasional porn use and an actual addiction, which like all addictions IS harmful. The article highlighted reports some VERY distressing details. I personally feel that most of those views were probably held before porn use, but that porn, and the blurring of lines between fantasy and reality exacerbate them. So yes, I believe that pornography needs to be addressed, but I feel that addressing ALL porn users as trapped in a cycle of self-abuse is more damaging to the cause then helpful.

Cady Driver

I recommend this group highly.

http://www.purelifeministries.org/

Robin Goodfellow

Thanks for everyone for understanding.

Shanna,

I didn't touch on the issue of porn not being necessarily damaging, though that doesn't mean you're not right.

Like any potential vice, it doesn't affect everyone the same way. For example, drinking, drugs, or gambling hold no particular appeal to me (though I do drink socially with friends occaisionally). But then, I know myself what they offer, and know there's little to desire from them, personally.

And so, there will indeed be people who aren't going to be as affected by porn, because it's not their sole source of gratification-their relationships give them more emtional nourishment/gratification than any porn can.

For single chaste men who are still looking for a meaningful relationship, though, porn can be particularly dangerous.

It's already a challenge to keep our intentions in the right place, with our hormones telling us to mate 24/7. So adding in the idea of porn, to someone already feeling occaisionally repressed... well, our resolve is strong, but sometimes we falter (especially if we've received a major emotional wound). That's why affectionate responses from admirable women make the difference-they remind us why we're doing all this.

So you're right, not everyone will be devestated by porn (and there are even a few performers who know full well what it means to do porn, do it anyway, and still maintain their self-respect... probably because they stick to the lighter stuff), and simply labelling it as an evil thing to be abhored will probably do more harm than good.

My comment was mainly to shed light on what happens when you're vulnerable to it.

5sisters1journey.blogspot.com

I stumbled on to your site by Google-ing “modest bathing suits for teens” and I found this post interesting. My view is that we should speak up and educate every person we can about the effects of porn.

Let me share why;

I am the mother of a 15 year old boy and a 12 year girl. A few years ago, we found that our son had found some website’s that his friend had told him to view without telling him what was on them. My husband and I were appalled! We had no idea that, our then 12 year old boy would be looking at this.

After taking a deep breath, we sat down with him, talked and educated him. We took precautions; we moved the computer to the family room, place passwords to get in and locked out certain sites.

All of this helped … my son!

Then about five months ago, I found out my husband has been cheating on me with “casual encounters” for over two years.

But let me back up a bit and describe my husband; he will help anyone in need, he is the greatest father, the neighbors love him. We have been married seventeen years and everywhere we go, everyone tells me what a wonderful husband I have, they say, “I wish my husband loved me the way yours loves you.”

For as much as he loved me, that didn’t stop him from cheating … although he didn’t see it as cheating since most were “casual” (no intercourse). But now as things are unraveling, I have found out that my husband has been addicted to pornography since his teen years. He has always hid that fact because he was ashamed. Instead of seeking help, he thought he could control his problem. He never saw it was an addiction because he could go long periods of time without looking at anything.

How did I not know this was going in my own home? No one ever taught me the dangers of pornography. I knew it was bad, but the two times I caught him looking at stuff he said “Oh, I was just curious”. He’s an adult, no big deal I thought!

Now I am living through the most painful thing in my existence. And my son … thinks his dad is a hypocrite.

We must continue to talk about the evils of porn. Pornography takes something precious and turns it vile. I would not EVER want another family to go through what I’m going through and if we do not speak up, it will continue to happen.

Melissa May

Dear 5sisters,

I'm so sorry to hear what your family is going through. Thank you for speaking up and sharing your story. I sincerely hope that your husband is able to find freedom from his addiction and that you and your children are able to find peace as walk through this dark period. I also hope that your son and his father will be able to find a way to build a bridge and restore their relationship.

Once again I have to say that this is the reason we need to speak up. Of course there are those who won't become addicted and can enjoy it simply for the entertainment (really?) value.

But for those who do......it is nothing short of devastating for them and their families. I've seen far too often in my own community and that's why I speak up. The destruction of families and individuals is not something to take lightly.

Many blessings to those who have faced this giant and have come out on the other side, willing to share their experience and offer hope and understanding to others in need. You are greatly appreciated and welcome here.

-Melissa May

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