The pornification of our culture is destroying everything and everyone in its path. Men are harmed by porn, as are women, children, marriages, and society as a whole. No one escapes the devastating effects of the toxic porn culture. The trouble is, for so many years, those pointing out these obvious truths were not exactly warmly welcomed.
For decades I and others have warned about our staggering pornopolis, but we were shouted down, laughed at, derided, and labelled as idiots and wowsers. But the porn problem has reached such epidemic proportions that all sorts of people are now speaking out against it, and they cannot be accused of being rightwing religious types.
For example, in the past few days several women have strongly spoken out, and they are well worth listening to. Columnist Miranda Devine wrote a piece about new research conducted in Australia, showing how teenage girls are especially getting involved in sexual activity, no thanks to our porn culture.
She comments, “Sexualised by our sex-saturated culture since early primary school, girls are more vulnerable than ever to the depression, anorexia, suicide and mental illness that are its inevitable by-products. Such slatternly celebrity role models as Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan are the canaries in the coal mine of the raunch culture, their emotional disintegration testimony to its toll.”
Devine concludes, “Turning young women into creatures whose libido is unmoored from their feelings, and with an appetite for multiple meaningless sexual couplings, doesn’t seem much like feminist progress. As one Jezebel [website] critic put it, it’s not feminism. It’s masochism.”
But an even more important critique comes from an American sociologist and feminist, Gail Dines. She has written a new book entitled Pornland and she was interviewed on the ABC the other night. Snippets of the interview are worth reproducing here.
It is big business of course: “it’s about a $96 billion a year industry worldwide. There’s over 13,000 porn movies released to the market in the United States of America. They reckon about one in three web pages contains some pornographic content. So what you see as pornography is all over the Internet and in fact pornography drove the Internet. The technology that the pornography industry devised is now mainstream in the industry.”
And it is all escalating, getting worse and worse: “And the reason for that is a lot of soft core pornography today has migrated into pop culture. So the more you have soft core in pop culture, the more the pornography industry is forced to go hardcore as a way to distinguish its products.”
And it has to get worse and more extreme, as porn users get desensitised, and want even more nasty stuff: “In fact Adult Video News, which is the trade journal of the industry, had a story a few years ago about the directors and how they don’t know what to do next to keep these men interested. Because really in pornography you’ve done virtually everything you can to the woman’s body short of killing her so they’re fast running out of ideas.
“Now study after study shows the more men view pornography the more they become desensitised. They get bored, it becomes banal. They need something higher, more sizzling in order to get them aroused and what that is about is how much more you can debase the woman’s body.
“So what you have now is a landscape of pornography that is based on hardcore, debasing images which men are becoming more desensitised to. And the question is where the pornography industry going to go now. And I think they’re in trouble because they can’t think of anything else to do.”
And it does not help when mainstream media personalities such as Oprah Winfrey effectively glamourise and promote it: “But what Jenna Jameson did was basically act as a recruitment tool for the pornography industry. Because previously, I would say, the vast majority of women who went into pornography had histories of sexual abuse.
“But today what you’re seeing is I think more and more working class women who are looking at minimum wage jobs for the rest of their life, turn on E entertainment, turn on Oprah Winfrey and they get to see this Jenna Jameson’s house, her beautiful clothes, her art collection and this acts as a way to bring in young women who don’t understand what’s going to happen to them in pornography – who might consent but they don’t know what they’re consenting to.”
Money and addiction drive this whole thing: “And it’s like any other industry. Pornography is an industry. The tobacco industry, the alcohol industry – they want addicts because they pay. They’re the major consumers of the product. Now also what you’re seeing increasingly as younger and younger boys are getting into this, it’s getting encoded into their sexual DNA and they’re looking for more and more pornography. So this is the serious problem about what’s going on.
“You know, I never really used to believe in addiction. I used to think it was men’s way to not take responsibility but if you listen to psychologists, if you read what adult video news is saying – I can’t tell you how many emails I get each day from men who tell me just how addicted to pornography they really are.”
And our children are being dragged into all this: “By virtue of the fact we have advertising we know that these images affect the way you think about the world, affect your consumer choices, affect who you are in the world. Now, if advertising can do that why can’t pornography? And these images are very powerful. Remember they send messages to men’s brains via the penis which is an incredibly powerful delivery system and it’s very hard to walk away from those images.
“So what concerns me – as somebody who has studied media images for over 20 years – is, what does it mean for a young 11-year-old boy who’s got really no history of sex to compare those images to, what does it mean that this is his first introduction to pornography? And what does it mean that it’s accessible 24 hours a day?
“So what I’m saying is this is a social experiment. We have never before brought up a generation of boys on hardcore pornography and I can tell you that the studies are showing – and the anecdotal evidence from psychologists is showing – that this is not good news.
“It’s not good news for the boys because their sexuality is being hijacked and it’s certainly not good news for the women and the girls that they’re going to date because they’re insisting these girls and women perform porn sex. And my interviews with young women tell me they feel completely backed into a corner by these men and boys.”
And she is working to turn things around: “we’ve already started a group in America called stoppornculture.org, if anyone wants to go on our website. We have an incredible amount of people supporting us. We have members all over the country, all over the world. We have slide shows that people are now giving in universities, giving in churches, giving in community services.
“I have to tell you that people are fed up with the pornography industry, that they are sick and tired of pornography defining what our sexuality should be and it’s about time that people started to fight back. This is why we started Stop Porn Culture and I encourage people in Australia also to start an organisation because nobody said that pornographers have the right to come in and do a stealth attack on our culture the way they have done.”
We were saying similar things years ago but few listened. Hopefully some of these new voices will be heeded. If not, our culture will certainly not last long. No culture absolutely devoted to perversion, depravity and lust can long last. Either we get involved and seek to fight this monster, or we will be consumed by it. The choice is ours.