Hello everybody! I know I haven’t posted in awhile, but I will be posting several blogs in the next few days to make up for it! I graduated a few weeks ago with my B.A. in Psych and now I am starting my online M.S. for my Business/Industrial Psych degree.
I wanted to blog about how the pornified culture in the United States is affecting children. Sex sells, and it’s been that way for a very long time. According to Cindy Pierce, “We used to say sex sells, but now it’s sexual violence that sells…Once we become used to one thing or desensitized to it, it ratchets up.” The type of pornography that we’re being exposed to is changing as a whole, and children are some of the first people being exposed to this. “…The 100 top-grossing films of 2008, 39.8 percent of 13- to 20-year-old female characters wore sexually revealing attire compared to just 6.7 percent of 13- to 20-year-old male characters,” and children who listen to sexually explicit music are more likely to have sex earlier than their peers who don’t listen to such music. We can see it in the attire that is marketed to children now:
The first one is a lower-back tattoo that kids can buy out of vending machines at a local store. The second image is of thongs that are sold in the children’s department at Abercrombie & Fitch (notice how the thong is labeled “wink wink” and “eye candy”…). The third image is of a push up bra from Abercrombie & Fitch that is marketed for children. And the final image is of a little girl that is wearing yoga pants, an article of clothing that used to be marketed towards adult women. Isn’t it just disgusting? And it doesn’t help that there are websites dedicated towards taking pictures of unsuspecting women and children in these items and posting them online. How would you feel if you saw a picture of your wife/daughter/sister on one of these websites where men are sharing/jacking off to these pictures?
It also doesn’t help that our culture idolizes women that are provocative rather than the ones who are modest. In the cover image you see Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Miley Cyrus and Kim Kardashian, to name a few. Note that all of these women have been seen naked due to things like Celebrity Jihad (a porn site that releases real pictures and photoshopped pictures of naked celebs), their own accord, and hackings. In fact, Kim Kardashian released a $700 selfie book where she’s naked in many of the pictures! What kind of message does this send to young women? It doesn’t help that YouTube music videos and ads are filled with half naked/fully naked women. It sends the message that that is what women’s bodies are for, rather than for them to be respected.
In the same article that I shared above, “…Girls between ages 11 and 15 who show signs that they’d internalized sexualized media messages (like preferring skimpier clothing and entertainment media that focused on becoming attractive or getting a boyfriend) performed worse on Texas standardized tests than girls who did not prefer sexualized messaging.” The article also points out the fact that 5-7 year old girls are interested in yoga pants and crop tops, and that although they don’t understand sexual intercourse they know that these articles of clothing are meant to attract boys. Pierce says that body confidence talks should start at age 3 and sex talks should start in first grade. This is crazy to me because my parents didn’t really discuss sex and body image issues with me until I was around 10-11. Parents aren’t prepared to have to discuss these issues with children, but they have to in order to prevent porn from taking full control over children.
This pornified culture has an astounding affect on men. St George Utah discusses raising children in a pornified world. According to Dr. Jill Manning, these are the main messages that are being absorbed by children:
• Sex is the most important part of a relationship
• Bodies that have been surgically or digitally altered are more attractive than natural, healthy bodies
• Rape and violence toward women is not a serious crime
• “No” really means “yes”
• Sex is a physical, recreational activity and nothing more
• It’s okay to act on physical impulses whenever you have them and in whatever way you want
I think these are all alarming messages, especially since all the negative energy seems to be directed/focused on women. I think it’s scary, as a woman, that children are learning that “no” means “yes” due to conflicting messages in porn, and that it is okay to act on physical impulses whenever/however you want. Many young men are being given the message that if they have an erection that they either must masturbate or have sex, and this causes some men to rape women. People need to know that they don’t always have to orgasm when they get an erection, and that there are healthy ways to masturbate and unhealthy ways to masturbate. Porn does not promote healthy masturbation because it causes men to depend on porn to masturbate. Many men say that porn “allows me to finish quicker,” but that is because they’re using porn. If they didn’t use porn and used their imagination they would train their bodies and it wouldn’t take as long to masturbate!
It is dangerous because it teaches men and women alike inaccurate ideas about sex, fantasy vs. reality, and how relationships should be. Men start to depend on porn and then when told to stop they struggle to do so. Women become depressed because they can’t compete with their boyfriend/husband’s porn collection.
It’s not just the pornified culture that is dangerous, but the violent culture too! Violence also sells, but that doesn’t mean that it is good for young kids to be exposed to it. An article from Psychology Today examines the link between violence and young men. A study they performed showed there were visible differences in an MRI scan after only one week of playing a violent video game. “There was a significant decrease in the activation of prefrontal portions of the brain and a greater activation of the amygdala,” and for those of you without a psychology background, let me explain. The prefrontal cortex is the thinking part of the brain associated with concentration and self control, whereas the amygdala is associated with the emotional center of the brain (i.e., depression, anger, aggression and impulse control). So when you see a violent image it means you are losing the ability to concentrate and exhibit self control, and you are actually causing yourself to become depressed or angry, and have poor impulse control.
This makes me sad because just like with porn, children are exposed to violence. The United States has a different attitude on media than other parts of the world: the U.S. is pro-violence and rough sex, but doesn’t really show much nudity in movies if it is plot related. European nations are anti-violence and pro-sex, but even they recognize the dangers of porn. Shawn and one of his best friends were exposed to porn and violent imagery from the age of 10. They have seen lots of naked women and horrific sex acts, as well as violent images of mutilated bodies. I won’t forget the time they showed me a website that they browsed since they were kids and it showed an ISIS beheading. I won’t ever forget that. But it alarms me because most people haven’t seen violence that bad, but kids can easily see it online now, as well as sexual imagery.
It makes me sad because I recognize that porn and sex won’t go away entirely because they sell, but I want to educate people so they can steer away. Even if websites won’t go away we can cause them to lose money by not browsing them. I will be posting another blog about Shawn and I’s progress on my personal blog.