Is Porn Really To Blame?

Recently the U.K. decided it needed to protect its citizens by banning certain types of pornographic acts from being depicted. Australia looks like it will be following suit soon. The Tumblr-sphere has done what it does best and jumped on the bandwagon of half truths and false logic.

GenderInequality

Everyone seems to be shouting the dangers of porn and its effects on male/female relationships without stopping for half a second to ask: 

Is porn really to blame here?

You see, the core issue is this: in many instances, women are seen as subservient to men; generally and sexually. Which isn’t a new problem. It’s one that has been around since men and women started interacting. For centuries, women were told that sex was something they had to endure for their husbands. They were told that they were unclean if they enjoyed sex. They’ve been ostracised, had their bodies mutilated, been stoned, and even killed for expressing sexual desire. Throughout history women have been seen as little more than possessions. They have been used as bartering chips to settle disputes. They’ve been sold via arranged marriages to acquire land or livestock. The idea that women are whole, complete, and equal to men is a fairly new social construct. The concept of a woman having sex by choice or for pleasure is even newer. If anything, porn has helped to liberate women’s sexuality by giving them some modicum of control and expression.

Religion plays far more of a factor in the suppression of women’s sexuality than porn ever could. Christianity and Islam both state over and over that a woman’s worth is less than that of a man’s. They both state that a woman must submit to a man. They both call into question a woman’s ability to think, reason, and even function without a man. Where porn is something that must be sought out in order to give the impression of this message, religion is something we happily teach our children and then blindly wonder why Timmy thinks Tiffany is lesser. 

Movies, magazines, books, advertising; all echo this sentiment. The romantic comedy tells women that no matter how successful she is, she’s incomplete without a man. Women’s magazines are chock full of tips and tricks on how to attract and please a man, while men’s magazines teach them how to conquer women. Nearly any product aimed at a male audience will somehow imply that it’s use will cause women to want to sleep with him. These things, unlike porn, bombard young men and women on a consistent basis with the message that a woman’s place is to please man. 

Here’s the thing… Porn is not a driving factor in influencing society's views on sexuality, porn is a commodity driven by our demand for a certain product. It’s a result of our views on women’s sexuality, not the force that shapes them. Yes, underaged men being exposed to violent porn is an issue, but one that only reinforces what they’ve been taught their entire lives about a woman’s place in relation to his. These issues aren’t solved by banning a reflection of society's views, but by changing those views through education and parenting. 

Simply put, porn shouldn’t have the chance to reinforce these ideas in young men, because young men shouldn’t be watching porn. Children have no reasonable right to privacy and parents need to be looking at search histories, checking social media, and correcting harmful behaviours. We need to teach our kids how to interact with and respect others. If we are going to allow schools to teach sexual education, then we need to stop dancing around the subjects and seriously discuss issues such as rape, consent, abuse, and coercion. Basically, we need to take responsibility and stop blaming whatever we decide to link the problem to.

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