Porn Harms Society

Many consider pornography to be a private matter which doesn’t affect other people. However, users of pornography comprise one end of a large and complex market which has a far-reaching social impact and causes great harm to society. Not only are private users harmed themselves, they also share responsibility for the consequences brought about by pornography production and porn culture.

So what’s so bad about the porn market?

It’s driven solely by profit.

The beneficiaries are the producers, distributors, advertisers, technology producers and service providers. Although a large amount of pornography is free online, it isn’t given out of charity.

How much profit is made?
It’s difficult to ascertain the annual worldwide income from pornography, since there is little transparency from producers and distributors. However, estimations lie between $12 billion and $96 billion per annum [1].

Pornography production is generally not regulated.

Describing pornography as an ‘industry’ is deceptive, as even in the most heavily regulated region, California, workers are deprived of:

  • health insurance
  • sick-leave
  • annual-leave
  • job redeployment services
  • job security
  • minimum wages
  • contraceptive protection.

Gross copyright breaches by mainstream providers are also common practice [1]. It is not a conventional industry abiding by common standards; and performers are not employed on equal terms with standard workers of countries like Australia and the USA. 

Performers are generally exploited and disadvantaged.

Pornography performers display higher rates of:

  • Depression and anxiety
  • child sexual abuse,
  • living in poverty,
  • STIs, and
  • substance abuse [2] [3] [4].

Performers regularly report doing things against their will.

They are often coerced, manipulated, deceived and threatened [5]. Only the most esteemed performers in safer regions like California are awarded the protection of negotiations and terms prior to shooting, but the majority are not paid well [1].

Pornography and prostitution go hand in hand.

Porn production and performers have well-documented links with prostitution [3, 6]. This is unsurprising as by definition, prostitution is the engagement of sexual activity for money. Porn is therefore connected with various abuses and vulnerabilities associated with prostitution generally, including:

  • financial exploitation [2]
  • human trafficking [7] [8]
  • child-sexual abuse [2]

Many women and children who are trafficked and prostituted are used for the production of pornography against their will and without consent [9].

Pornography leaves a permanent record.

Porn performers are placed on perpetual display. Even when a performer chooses to leave the ‘industry’, they have no control over the ongoing distribution of their activities – they are permanently controlled and defined by the stigma of the past [1]. This is slavery, and considering most performers were vulnerable when they participated, it is highly exploitative slavery.

Popular culture is in constant step with pornography.

Research demonstrates a steady increase of sexual material in consumer content over time [10]. All forms of mainstream media have adopted sexualised materials previously found only in pornography:

  • Current popular television series feature the use of frequent, intense sex scenes
  • R-rated movies on Foxtel now contain full penetration scenes and frontal ejaculation.
  • Contemporary music videos when compared to those of the 1980s show the huge development of overt sexual themes and images.
  • Commercials like the Ultra Tune Auto Service Centres series, despite being the most complained about Australian commercials in 2017 due to their highly sexualised content, were not restricted by Australia’s Ads Standards Board [11].

Porn culture changes social behaviour.

Research demonstrates that exposure to sexualised mass media (movies, advertising, television and magazines) accelerates sexual activity and early first-time intercourse in young people [12].
   

Porn culture sexualises young girls.

As pornography infiltrates and influences mainstream media, there is clear evidence of the increasing sexualisation of young girls in society [13]:

  • The marketing strategy of ‘age compression’ (where products are marketed to younger ages) reduces girls’ ‘space for action’, redefining their femininity and beauty through overt sexualised media exposure [14].
  • Further evidence points to the growing pressure on females to look and behave more sexually [13].

Pornography increases objectification culture.

  • Over time, porn users adopt objectifying attitudes towards women [16, 17], including aggression towards women [18]. This predominately, but not exclusively, applies to males who are the main consumers of pornography.
  • Pornography causes a power imbalance skewed against women, and the reduction of women to objects of gratification should be sobering and alarming to Christians in light of the high percentage of users in the church.  

Pornography contributes to riskier, more aggressive behaviour, and more frequent casual sex.

Users of porn, especially younger users, are increasingly comfortable with pornography in society and casual sex [20]. A meta-analysis of 22 studies also found that consuming porn was associated with ‘an increased likelihood of committing actual acts of sexual aggression’[18].

The porn market is harmful because…

  • Young people are increasingly pressured to conform and adapt to its influence.
  • A population with high rates of porn use sees higher rates of anxiety, depression, insecurity and sexual uncertainty amongst women.
  • It perpetuates widespread risky behaviour, acting out, and relationship breakdown, with lower rates of intimacy and honesty.

The porn market produces few winners, but many losers, including:

  • underpaid performers who struggle with personal stories of abuse, neglect and desperation and who often face injuries, diseases, drug addiction and ruthless exploitation.
  • the vulnerable of society, including child abuse, prostitution, trafficking and slavery.

It is impossible for the private user to be unconnected to, and not share responsibility for these outcomes.

Credits

 

1. Tarrant, S. and Ebscohost, The pornography industry: what everyone needs to know. First ed. 2016, New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

2. Grudzen, C.R., et al., Comparison of the Mental Health of Female Adult Film Performers and Other Young Women in California. Psychiatric Services, 2011. 62(6): p. 639-45.

3. Coyne, K.M., et al., Sexual health of adults working in pornographic films. International Journal of STD & AIDS, 2009. 20(7): p. 508-509.

4. Griffith, J.D., et al., Pornography Actresses: An Assessment of the Damaged Goods Hypothesis. Journal of Sex Research, 2013. 50(7): p. 621-632.

5. number23, Horrifying Truths Of The Adult Film Industry. 2015.

6. Evans-DeCicco, J.A. and G. Cowan, Attitudes Toward Pornography and the Characteristics Attributed to Pornography Actors. Sex Roles, 2001. 44(5): p. 351-361.

7. Crawford, M., International Sex Trafficking. Women & Therapy, 2017. 40(1-2): p. 101-122.

8. Louis, K., Pornography and Gender Inequality-Using Copyright Law as a Step Forward. 2017.

9. https://www.barna.org/blog/culture-media/barna-group/porn-press-conference#.VrS9OrSJndl., J.M.M., The Porn Phenomenon: A Comprehensive New Survey on Americans, the Church, and Pornography. 2016, Barna Group: Ventura, California.

10. Reichert, T., Sex in advertising research: A review of content, effects, and functions of sexual information in consumer advertising. Annual Review of Sex Research, 2002. 13: p. 241-273.

11. https://adstandards.com.au/blog/10-most-complained-about-ads-1-january-30-june-2017

12. Brown, J.D., et al., Sexy Media Matter: Exposure to Sexual Content in Music, Movies, Television, and Magazines Predicts Black and White Adolescents' Sexual Behavior. Pediatrics, 2006. 117(4): p. 1018-1027.

13. Wilken, L.C., Porn identity: The sexualisation and objectification of young girls. 2015, University of Sydney U6 - ctx_ver=Z39.88-2004&ctx_enc=info%3Aofi%2Fenc%3AUTF-8&rfr_id=info%3Asid%2Fsummon.serialssolutions.com&rft_val_fmt=info%3Aofi%2Ffmt%3Akev%3Amtx%3Abook&rft.genre=dissertation&rft.title=Porn+identity%3A+The+sexualisation+and+objectification+of+young+girls&rft.DBID=LKP&rft.au=Wilken%2C+Linda+Cheryl&rft.date=2015-08-21&rft.pub=University+of+Sydney&rft.externalDBID=n%2Fa&rft.externalDocID=oai_ses_library_usyd_edu_au_2123_14545&paramdict=en-US U7 - Dissertation.

14. Coy, M., Milkshakes, lady lumps and growing up to want boobies: how the sexualisation of popular culture limits girls' horizons. Child Abuse Review, 2009. 18(6): p. 372-383.

15. http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/target-faces-backlash-over-inappropriate-girls/4199032

16. Peter, J. and P.M. Valkenburg, Adolescents’ Exposure to a Sexualized Media Environment and Their Notions of Women as Sex Objects. Sex Roles, 2007. 56(5): p. 381-395.

17. Wright, P.J. and R.S. Tokunaga, Activating the Centerfold Syndrome: Recency of Exposure, Sexual Explicitness, Past Exposure to Objectifying Media. Communication Research, 2013. 42(6): p. 864-897.

18. Wright, P.J., R.S. Tokunaga, and A. Kraus, A Meta-Analysis of Pornography Consumption and Actual Acts of Sexual Aggression in General Population Studies. Journal of Communication, 2016. 66(1): p. 183-205.

19. Bonino, S., et al., Use of pornography and self-reported engagement in sexual violence among adolescents. European Journal of Developmental Psychology, 2006. 3(3): p. 265-288.

20. Peter, J. and P.M. Valkenburg, Adolescents' exposure to sexually explicit internet material, sexual uncertainty, and attitudes toward uncommitted sexual exploration: Is there a link? Communication Research, 2008. 35(5): p. 579-601.

Resisting Porn: Safe Ministry
Close Menu