Who Thought “Porn Literacy” Was a Good Idea?

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Thursday, March 8, 2018


For almost half a century now,  many have treated pornography as the ultimate expression of sexual liberation in society. After the death of Hugh Hefner late last year, many celebrities heaped praise on the porn tycoon- and pornography in general. Larry King said that Hefner was “a giant…[for] civil rights.” Kim Kardashian West, Mark Hamill, Rob Lowe, and many more lined up to praise him for his vision, with the Washington Post claiming that he was “a visionary editor.” Last week, the New York Times released an article titled, “What Teenagers are Learning from Porn,” which goes on later to posit its thesis:

“But for around two hours each week, for five weeks, the students — sophomores, juniors and seniors — take part in Porn Literacy, which aims to make them savvier, more critical consumers of porn by examining how gender, sexuality, aggression, consent, race, queer sex, relationships and body images are portrayed (or, in the case of consent, not portrayed) in porn” (emphasis added).

Here’s why teaching Porn Literacy is a bad idea:

 

1) Consent isn’t always given in porn

In 2013, the San Francisco Weekly published an article about the abuses of the porn industry, and porn star Eden Alexander estimated that she was caned and whipped for 35 minutes for porn, stating, “I’ve never received a beating like that before in my life.” Alexander added, “I have permanent scars up and down the backs of my thighs. It was all things that I had consented to, but I didn’t know quite the brutality of what was about to happen to me until I was in it.”

Even though consent might be given, consent should never be the deciding factor of whether an action is moral or permissible. Porn star, Aaliyah Avatari, goes tells her readers that, “[I] had to have vaginal reconstructive surgery. There was no compensation for that. Honestly, I was lucky I had insurance at the time.”

Even if consent is given, abuse often follows that consent. Many apologists continue to employ the appallingly shallow logic that consent is the only deciding factor.  

 

2) Physical violence against women is common-place.

Collective Shout, a grassroots organization committed to ending the exploitation of women, quotes porn star, Jessi Summers, saying, “I also did a scene where I was put with male talent that was on my no list. I wanted to please them so I did it. He put his foot on my head and stepped on it while he was doing me from behind. I freaked out and started balling; they stopped filming and sent me home with reduced pay since they got some shot but not the whole scene.”

As if the two previous examples weren’t enough to prove the violence shown to women in that industry, this should. In no world is making a child a critical consumer of this acceptable.

 

3) The industry has rampant drug use

Women in the porn industry frequently cite rampant drug use, typically as a way to escape the horror they’re often put through. Furthermore, this frequent drug use also leads to suicide attempts, depression, and other psychological issues.

 

4) Porn ultimately commodifies women and increases sex trafficking

In the New York Times article, there are several times where the teens interviewed said that they learned about sex from porn. As you can see from the previous three points listed, what these young men are learning is simple: women “like” abuse. That’s the type of culture that we’re drilling into the minds of our young impressionable youth, and promoting “savvier, more critical” consumption hurts women.

If we truly want to see an end to sexual assault and abuse, it might be time to target the source of what young men and women are learning, rather than treat symptoms with hashtags and temporary empowerment. In my opinion, the best way to empower women is to properly respect their autonomy and not commodify them as a means to an end.

That’s what pornography does.  It transforms women into an abused commodity for the temporary fleeting pleasure of impressionable young men. We shouldn’t teach teens to consume pornography, period.

 

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.


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About Ian Parish

Liberty University

Ian Parish is a conservative-libertarian who loves analyzing the philosophy behind policy. Ian values reasoned debate and intellectual honesty in politics and is a seasoned campaign volunteer. As a sophomore at Liberty University, Ian studies Political Science and enjoys student government, heavy metal, and long runs.



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