Exeter, Devon UK • May 22, 2024 • VOL XII

Exeter, Devon UK • [date-today] • VOL XII
Home Comment Before you next watch porn – think again

Before you next watch porn – think again

With a rise in discussions about women's safety over the last month, Henry Hood investigates whether porn impacts the way women are treated in society.
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Before you next watch porn – think again

Photo by olia danilevich from Pexels

With a rise in discussions about women’s safety over the last month, Henry Hood investigates whether porn impacts the way women are treated in society.

TW – Mention of sexual assault.

‘I F*** MY STEP DAUGHTER HANNAH HAYS – I CANT RESIST HER – PART 2’. This video title is what met my eyes when I entered PornHub in the name of journalism. The video is over an hour long, had garnered over a million views and a 90% positive rating. 900,000 people enjoyed watching this incest-fetish porn, meaning there are enough horny individuals from this video alone to fill 10 whole Wembley stadiums. I personally wouldn’t want to buy a ticket to Wembley for whatever event they choose to watch.

This article isn’t aiming to kink-shame people or condemn people who watch porn. Porn is something most teenagers have seen, since it’s virtually impossible to avoid with illicit adverts and posts on social media. But if you feel uncomfortable knowing you may be part of those 900,000 people, or you have realised that maybe porn isn’t as sexy as it seems, then I’d urge you to read on.

With the recent rise of open letters filled with testimonials describing cases of sexual harassment, there’s been a completely justified scrutiny on gender relations. Porn is something that has cropped up a fair bit, which is why I’m writing this very article. When talking to a boy who went to my secondary school, he said he learned more about sex from watching porn than he did from any sex education lessons. This hardly comes as a surprise considering how awkwardly vague sex-ed lessons can be at school, and given how many guys and girls have watched porn.

An image of female passivity and distinct lack of female agency is shown, which is hardly a good thing if this is where many teenagers get their sex-ed from.

The problem about porn is how it portrays women. If you still watch porn, or remember watching porn, have a think about who is often in control during the scenes. Most times in heterosexual porn, it’ll be the female actor physically shifted about into different positions by the guy. It is usually the guy who f*cks, and the girl who is f*cked. An image of female passivity and distinct lack of female agency is shown, which is hardly a good thing if this is where many teenagers get their sex-ed from.

Recently, there have been a few examples of TV shows that depict symbiotic sexual relationships, like Bridgerton or Normal People. I would personally bet good money that you would struggle to find a porn video that displays a similar level of harmony, or genuine love in a scene, instead of plain lust. Women aren’t depicted as partners, or rarely even people, and instead as objects that can be dominated and used for self-gratification and sexual release.

Porn is hardly the sole reason that sexual harassment exists, but it certainly is a contributing factor into why men think in such objective and diminishing ways about women and the female body. If the porn they’ve been watching, or addicted to watching, offers scenes of male dominance plus women being objectified and reduced to curves and sex-appeal, that behaviour is insidiously normalised for them to repeat in the real world.

In an article I was reading as research, one of the solutions to having a porn-warped mindset about women was to literally talk to a girl “without the caveat of expecting rewards of affection in return”. It’s utterly valid, but the simplicity of the request is worryingly laughable. It suggests that a lot of men don’t do this.

Porn is hardly the sole reason that sexual harassment exists, but it certainly is a contributing factor into why men think in such objective and diminishing ways about women and the female body

So, what am I getting at? It’s a big topic to squeeze into a small article, but I’ll try to cough up a conclusion. Porn and objectification in the media is literally everywhere, and it is clear that the narrative of women as sexually-gratifying objects is aggressively pursued by advertisers and porn companies alike. If you watch porn, it’s not the end of the world. Try to watch porn that isn’t as ridiculous as the title I included at the top of this article. Even better, stop watching porn altogether. If you would like advice about how to quit porn, consider taking a look at this great article, discussing how to break a porn addiction.

The main thing I want to highlight is how filthy porn and advertisements objectifying women really are. If you see a woman in an advert with some of her body exposed, and you instantly think of sex-appeal, question why you made that link, and make a mental note to try and unlearn that connection and stop viewing women in that way. Looking around you with a ‘critical eye’ questioning why women are constantly reduced to ‘sexy objects’ is something that everyone has to do if they aren’t already.

Don’t be someone who blindly watches porn. Be someone who is aware of how gross porn is, and how reductive it is in portraying women.

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