Opinion

The Politics of Porn

The Politics of Porn

SexTrafficking-1

Life in Egypt has changed for women. How they are perceived, treated and addressed have skewed dramatically. This much we already know. What we should be concerned with more heavily, however, is “why’’.

What foreign influences have sparked the insidious influences of sexual harassment and whatever indicates the perception of women as objects rather than humans? Is it the simple ‘spontaneous’ collapse of morality or the purposeful result of exposure to negative influences?  Is it the triumph of leading psychologists who claim that our bestiality is more intrinsic than our humanity? What does it prove; are behaviors of sexual harassment and abuse exclusive to the Egyptian society or are they a result that is simply spawned if the influences are present irrespective of other societal dynamics?

In a research paper entitled The Social Costs of Pornography, issued by Dr. Mary Anne Layden, director of the center for sexual trauma and pathology, Pennsylvania University, contemporary pornography is claimed to be the leading media influence that shapes sexually abusive behaviors. From the solid perspective of a researcher, a recovering addict who has dealt first-hand with many addicted individuals whose lives have been wrecked by this vicious addiction, I could not agree more. I believe that pornography in its contemporary form is the most prominent teacher of harmful beliefs that serve as the basis for all sexually abusive and violent behaviors. Of course, there are individuals who practice acts of sexual abuse inspired by societal and cultural dynamics other than that of pornography. The issue is not plainly simple. However, pornography is an influence that leads to only one consistent set of harmful and degrading beliefs.

Think about the matter thoughtfully, why wouldn’t a heavy pornography consumer feel less sensitized towards the horror of rape if violent pornography is depicted pleasantly in the context of two supposedly consenting adults having the kind of sex they fancy—which happens to be a woman getting forcefully violated and feeling happy about it? Why wouldn’t that spark a behavior that is considered criminal? The industry of porn, like numerous profitable industries, survives by maintaining a ”positive” image in front of the public. A claim as serious as that accusing pornography of molding criminal violent behaviors and relating it directly to rape and sexual violence can be debunked by saying that such a claim is absolutely rubbish, that the viewer knows that the actors are ”acting,” and that the sex is ”choreographed.”

In a sense, an industry like that of porn has its way of tampering with the most logical natural notions and conditioning you to pre-dictated perceptions. That’s a nicer way of saying that it brainwashes you.

If a nation is witnessing a spike in crimes of sexual violence and rape and a sociologist clarifies a tie between the behavioral deviance and the core pornographic influence, a pro-porn psychologist who probably benefits from the survival of the porn industry might give a ”There is no evidence to pornography triggering criminal behaviors. Contrarily, pornography is a harmless outlet that succeeds in alleviating tendencies for acting out violent sexual proclivities.”

If a nation is witnessing a spike in the number of individuals suffering from sexually compulsive behaviors and a neuroscientist clarifies the tie between internet pornography and neuronal changes that happen in the brain’s structure, indicating damage and problematic behaviors, a pro-porn so-called sexologist might say ”this relation is based upon theoretical claims and there is no evidence authenticating its validity.”

It is not the objective of this article to prove that porn is addictive or not – I believe it is though. The objective, however, is to briefly highlight the politics of porn, how every multi-billion industry has its way of debunking each claim with skill even if it is true.

One of the effective strategies that the porn industry utilizes is pushing innocent-looking porn stars into fancy talk shows and let them chant the mantra of ”Porn empowers my sexuality. I have never felt so in control. Porn is liberating.”

This strategy is effective because, simply, people no longer have firm beliefs that guide them. We build our beliefs based upon the words that we hear with no ability to foresee the true intentions. This strategy is also effective because many of us do not think twice about what we hear and decide to research the authenticity of this claim. False claims rely upon the utter ignorance of the receiver. Educated and analytical individuals find it hard to unwittingly repeat like a parrot each word they hear.

What has always guided me to discover the falsehood of many claims is the holy question that precedes a thoughtless ”Amen to that!” The question of, ”what if it’s not true?”

The porn industry goes to great lengths to maintain the positive image. They hold AVN awards similar to the notion of Oscars and Golden Globes. They depict actresses, who are motivated by money, to fake pleasure in reaction to perverted and hurtful sexual practices. They demonize opposition, and, as I mentioned, use their marionette actresses to betray women by portraying porn as fun, awesome, liberating and heavenly. A foundation like that of the “Pink Cross” assists women to find financial support and shelter in case they want to get out of the porn industry. When you do hear about what motivates many women to seek working in pornography, you will be truly shocked. A growing number of documentaries reveal the reality about working in the pornography industry, with several former porn actresses dedicating their efforts to raising awareness with regard to the truth about this insidious industry. Shelley Lubben is one such example.

pornkillslove

Contemporary pornography conditions viewers to act upon what they are viewing. No healthy woman in her right mind would enjoy forceful penetration, gagging, choking, a facial or any of the ill practices that only serve the interests of a male-dominated industry. Yes, there are women as well as men who have their “own” sexual preferences that are desired in a relational context. Yet, stereotyping such preferences as what “all women” crave on a general basis and conveying this to male viewers is purely catastrophic. Women need love, they need appreciation, respect and care. Women fancy intimacy and partners who exhibit the ability to give love in return of receiving it. Porn-influenced males walk around carrying the most harmful notions about women and sex. For them, it is more of a competitive sport where you have to score and ass kick the competition. It’s a self-centered practice that starts with an erection and ends with a climax. And in the process, a women’s sleek body is nothing more than a fine mean to a pleasing end. How sad, degrading and inhumane that is.

WWE, reality shows, pornography, Hollywood and other entertainment industries treat us as lab rats. They push the envelope, pull our instinctive strings, and purposefully hide the truth. They know that humans are malleable, and that sex sells. They have studied human nature and know very well that when a nation gives away its value, honor and morality, it becomes very easy to manipulate. In their eyes, they see in us an opportunity for an ever-steady stream of demand. Just like oppressive regimes who take their people for granted. They distort, lie, steal, and betray with no fear of a reaction. At a certain level of utter rage and frustration from brutal injustice and greed do people revolt, however, setting a standard and standing united against injustice; at a certain level people come to terms with a hidden truth when they decide to question an authority claiming holiness. It’s an unchanging premise; every deceptive authority, industry, institution or party needs flawless PR to maintain the psychological warfare that ensures its survival.

The internet provides a plethora of resources in the form of research papers, articles, interviews, TED talks, and educational programs that explain the truth about the porn industry from the perspective of ex-producers and porn stars, ex-addicts, authors, scientists, and catalysts for change.

If accidental exposure to pornography can start with typing porn into a given search engine, accidental exposure to the truth can start with typing other queries to track down informative resources. One of the most resourceful websites on this matter is www.pornharms.com; a website released by MIM (Morality In Media), an American non-profit that is mainly concerned with raising awareness with regard to the harms of pornography on individuals. This website is the aggregator of a huge number of informative research papers that will help you better understand the catastrophic effects of contemporary pornography consumption.

So, start today and educate yourself for the sake of your wellbeing and the wellbeing of your loved ones.

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  • Hashim Khan

    nice article many informition store in knowledge last monht i read an article about such type of info in http://www.wrestlingvid.com.nad get idiea but now its more than effective knowledge thanks alotz

  • Kefrin

    Don’t forget the “pace” of change. Not too long ago, relatively speaking, Egyptians had two channels to choose from. In villages, a TV in a box on a post in the center of the village was a big deal. Then came video. The impact wasn’t great because at first it was expensive. All of a sudden….500 satellite channels, downloading, streaming…everything you can ask for. Couple this with a society used to a completely different pace of change and there are sure to be some downside effects. Its called Future Shock…Alvin Toffler predicted it marvelously in 1970!

  • Asmando Shanka

    In defense of Kelly’s opinion that porn is empowering. All countries that are producing and consuming porn are doing statistically ok on most indexes. All countries that are only consumers of porn, or outright banning porn, are usually doing bad on most statistical indexes. So yes, reality is telling us that porn is empowering. It seems that teaching people they can do anything they want with their bodies is empowering. Apologies if reality disagrees and/or offends any personal morals

    • Muhammad Hazem Sherif

      Hello Asmando. Thank you for your comment. Your view point is not credible as countries that are producing and consuming porn are not doing ” statistically ok. ” I can ” easily ” prove that. I have ” tons ” of research papers that prove the domestic damage and the problematic sexual behaviors that consumers suffer from ” especially ” in western societies. Your claim does not include citations, references, or a scientific justification. So, this is an ” opinion ” not even a hypothesis. If you want proof, please inform me.

      • Asmando Shanka

        Hi Muhammad,
        “I have ” tons ” of research papers that prove the domestic damage ”
        And you will find in those papers that all countries that ban the production of porn happen to also be doing the worst on almost all indexes of life. Same with all countries that ban alcohol are also doing bad on almost all other indexes of life

        “and the problematic sexual behaviors that consumers suffer from ” especially ” in western societies.”
        Sexual behavior in middle-eastern society is bordering on perversion

      • Asmando Shanka

        “If you want proof, please inform me.”
        Links from American right-wing religious organization carry no weight

  • Asmando Shanka

    All other societies that have not been touched by wahabism and salafism are doing ok with all the porn they also received. The problems are only prevalent in societies that chose to segregate men and women, particularly by dressing their women in often colorful garbage bags. Perhaps you should have spent the last 3 years studying the harmful effects of importing immoral beduin doctrines into your country

    • Nada

      Asmando,

      Your usage of “colourful garbage bags” is outright disrespectful to customs prevalent in other areas too, where you are easily criticizing here behind your computer. I don’t have to agree with what they wear or what they think, but I should be respectful of their customs. This is the misunderstanding that you are attributing to a religion/custom that might not encourage the objectification of women, but it seems so for the soul-saving White Westerners. If those “beduin” doctrines are seen now, it is not from the religion, but the customs. Some want to adhere to certain customs more than others and that’s dependant on their worldviews and culture.

      Segregation is not the problem; it is the perception of women. Education before condemnation.

      • Asmando Shanka

        “usage of “colourful garbage bags” is outright disrespectful to customs prevalent in other areas too”
        Yes, them too. Any directive to cover women in order to protect the sensibilities of men is to be destroyed.

        ” it is not from the religion, but the customs”
        Thirty years ago there was no hijabs in Egyptian streets. Today we rarely see someone without a hijab. Hijab was introduced into Egypt, through religion.

        “Segregation is not the problem;”
        Segregation is a disaster. It leads to a lot of problems

  • Kelly L. Krause

    I would argue the opposite in this case. Porn can be an extremely healthy (and empowering!) outlet, when coupled with a quality sex education, which Egypt is seriously lacking.
    Further censorship in a country where so many things are already banned, suppressed, abridged or restricted is not the answer to Egypt’s sexual harassment and assault epidemic, and if anything, this sort of oppression only encourages further cases of ‘acting out’ that often manifest in very violent ways.
    Quality local programmes that openly discuss sex and the human body, that promote a healthy body image and the acceptance of our bodies just as they are, and that offer guidance and support in building healthy, meaningful and respectful relationships between men and women are a far better solution.
    Porn is just icing on the cake. ; )

    • Nada

      How can porn be extremely healthy when there is absence of good sex ed? Even in North America, where you would think there is a higher awareness, they are lacking this. Children as young as 11 are exposed to porn for the first time. Where does education fit there? So most young ones learn from this distorted reality and it becomes quite difficult to unlearn it; the damage is done. I am a teacher and i have heard some sexist remarks from those young boys.

      The availabilty of it is what is more frightening ( if adults want to, that is their choice) but why make it easy for everyone? Where is the censorship?

      However, i do agree that educational programs can have an effect but it’s not as effective when the alternative (porn) is easier and less public in access.

      This reminds me of the whole “Stop smoking” ads and initiatives that were quite unpopular 40 years ago. Tobacco companies had it going until doctors realized smokers.were getting cancer and dying. Do we have to test out something and wait on it and be filled with regret? Despite the obvious harm from smoking, people choose to kill themselves slowly. So whether it is porn, smoking or even drunk driving, if the source of the problem is not solved, we will continue to have those issues…If people knew the harm, they still wouldn’t budge. It’s only when disasters, diseases or fines hit, that people get scared!

      • Minymina

        Are you seriously suggesting that porn kills? If that is the case, then we really need to educate people on the topic.

        As for kids being exposed to porn, it is up to the parents to monitor their children’s activity online.

        • Nada

          Does gambling kill? It can. Can it be addictive? Yes. Can it be harmful? Yes. The issue is not the killing, it is the usage. Why would i go near something that may cause potential harm physically or psychologically? Pornography is fantasy not reality. The constant exposure to it numbs us and distorts our reality. Like video games: you would not allow a child playing video games because of the potential risk of them becoming addicted or violent. Do video games kill on their own? No, but they can be a factor in destruction.

          If porn is indeed healthy as you say it, why don’t they integrate it in sex ed at schools? We have become a hypersexualized society. Everything around is becoming soft porn. Ads are using up woman AND men for that purpose to play on the intuitive nature of many. Sex sells. But the integration of violence in porn has become quite disturbing and yet passes because it is considered as entertainment.

          • Minymina

            Funny you say that because I grew up watching violent movies, playing violent video games and survived my teen years on porn. I dont have the urge to kill anyone and I certainly dont feel the need to harm or abuse a woman. If more people let out their violence on video games and sexuale frustraion on porn then the world would be a better place.

          • Kelly L. Krause

            Nada,

            With this sort of argument, you may as well say that you would not allow your child to cross the street because he/she could be hit by a bus.

            Any activity or substance has the potential to be addicting, but human beings are unique and each person’s brain will react differently to any given substance, activity or situation. There are people who will never face addiction of any kind, no matter what they are exposed to or how often, and there are people who are extremely sensitive and can be hooked from the start.

            The bottom line is that people, and children especially, need to be free to explore, to discover and to think for themselves.

            If you feel that someone close to you is exhibiting “addictive” behaviour, then you as a parent, friend, sister or what have you should openly discuss your concerns and decide as a unit if their behaviour warrants further attention and/or treatment.

            I agree with you 110 percent that sex ed needs to vastly improve (in both developed and developing countries), and I agree that porn is a fantasy, rather than a reality. But that is where it can help people explore their sexuality and decide what they as individuals truly enjoy sexually, all of which is natural and healthy. There are a million different types of porn available that address every fantasy and fetish imaginable, many that are non-violent and that portray women as human beings who are respected and loved and even as powerful and domineering figures.

            The point should be to educate our youth (and ourselves!) on the differences between the fantasy and the reality: just because you enjoy a specific sexual position or activity, doesn’t mean that your partner will, nor should you expect him/her to.

            Sex is a journey between partners that allows each person to explore different levels of intimacy and discover new things about the other, both inside and outside the bedroom. At the end of the day, porn is only a tool that partners can use in the evolution of their relationship; it us up to them as a couple to decide the reality.

          • Nada

            Kelly,

            I agree that anything can be misused, however some substances or medium are more addicting than others.

            If we talk in stats, most people will get addicted for instance to cocaine, while a minority can have no effect or can actually die from the intake. Tolerance to something is not based on exception but on the majority, hence the ban on those illegal drugs.

            Now for the topic of porn, there are some studies that show its addictive nature.

            “So far, the brains of compulsive porn users resemble the brains of alcoholics watching ads for a drink, reports Voon in a 2013 British documentary called “Porn on the Brain.”

            Source: http://www.apa.org/monitor/2014/04/pornography.aspx

            It may be that those who exhibit it already have compulsive behaviour, but why are they having access to it? Shouldn’t they get treated first before putting themselves at risk?

            I guess another factor here is know yourself and your limits!

            The exploration can come from educational resources to discover new positions, discover each other’s bodies and so on. But the images in the pornographic industry are much more stronger on the senses than reading about them.

            “The results showed that the brain processes pictures of nude bodies more efficiently than pictures of clothed bodies. Males’ brain responses were stronger for nude females than nude males, but females’ responses to nudity weren’t affected by the gender of the bodies.”
            Source: http://consumer.healthday.com/mental-health-information-25/behavior-health-news-56/study-looks-at-nude-images-effect-on-the-brain-659070.html

            To understand the effects of desensitization (called hyperfrontality) even on those who use porn regularly, check this article 🙂

            http://www.covenanteyes.com/2014/02/28/hypofrontality/

    • Angela Nashaat

      I dont agree regarding porn being healthy. I feel it is dangerous and makes light of the sacredness of life. but here’s some statistics anyway..http://tribune.com.pk/story/823696/pakistan-tops-list-of-most-porn-searching-countries-google/

      • Kelly L. Krause

        I respect your opinion, Angela, and thank you for sharing the article. The information has been very interesting and useful.

    • Biff Jay

      You are an idiot. Sorry. But how is porn ’empowering.’ Get real. Watching some moaning woman portrayed as a ‘meatbag’ getting slapped across the face with dick is not ’empowering.’ And sorry to say but that’s 99.9% of the porn out there, and pretty much what porn is. There’s nothing ’empowering’ about that. People can watch porn all they want. But let’s not attempt to beautify it. Please

      • Kelly L. Krause

        Biff,

        You are entitled to an opinion, but please treat me and other commentators with respect; calling me an ‘idiot’ only reflects poorly on yourself and shows a lack of consideration for the other opinions being shared here.

        I am sorry that you, as a male, do not find porn empowering. But I, as a female, do find many varieties of porn to be so. Your statement that ‘99.9%’ of porn is female “‘meatbags’ getting slapped across the face with a dick” – I frankly do not understand why you did not just say ‘all porn’ with a number like that – grossly generalizes the industry and ignores the wider variety of other genres that are produced.

        The specific genre that you discuss only appeals to a specific type of person, just as other genres in the industry appeal to the unique interests, experiences and sexuality of other individuals.

        Best,
        Kelly

    • I.F.

      I was thinking the exact same thing. I am not a fan of the porn industry yet if educated correctly about the topic and how things really are, people (men) would understand that it is just an act, just a movie. Just because someone watches horror movies doesn’t mean he’ll go slaughter people in his city for example. BUT unfortunately men here usually only have porn for “education” and therefore think that this is the real deal and this is how women are built and function.

  • Name

    Excellent article. PLEASE write this in Arabic.

  • What a fantastic article. You are so correct on the devastation that porn is causing to women and how they are using women to promote the porn cause.

    Empowering my sexuality … this is a bunch of junk. We have seen so many women that have wished from the bottom of their hearts they would have never gone into this industry.

    Porn destroys lives and porn ruins families. I commend you for your article and hope a lot of people read it.

    Your resources … Fight The New Drug and Porn Harms are some excellent resources. They provide information without using porn to advertise the hope, like so many people do.

    • Minymina

      Em, there are male porn stars as well. To say they’re using women and women only is absurd. Many of them choose to become porn stars and its soly their choice. They see nothing wrong with sex and view it as being perfectly natural. Sure, there are those who regret it but thats because they got into the industrie for all the wrong reasons.

      You may not agree with porn but others view it as a form of free speech. Sex is a perfectly natural and porn should not be censored. To blame violence against women on porn is ridiculous and is the equivalent of blaming gun violence on movies and video games.

      • Between the Lines

        Excellent response @Minymina:disqus.

        Also, Egypt’s women are generally sexually naive due to cultural hang-ups about sex. Female Genital Circumcision, common in Egypt, is another sexual hurdle. They go into marriages without an inkling about sex and sexuality. Many young husbands in turn become frustrated and seek outside dalliances.
        Not all porn is about violence and male empowerment.
        Porn can be used as an instruction manual toward a better sex life. If more women were exposed to it, many marriages would be happier. The choice of porn is as vast as Google itself……make the right choices and all will be well in the bedroom.

        As for Egyptian men………..they just need to grow up.

        • Minymina

          If you ask me, we can use more porn in Egypt. It could help deal with the harassment epidemic.

      • Nada

        Let’s talk about guns here given you mentioned them; in the U.S. where gun laws are quite lax, gun incidents are quite more common than any other countries. Can we put the direct blame on guns only or policies? Gun control is a factor in decreasing shootings.

        Now let us go to Egypt where there is a 50% rate illiteracy. Would banning it be a solution? Maybe, until the education starts seeping in. Then comes censorship for children and the type of porno being available. Now it is an open ground. Where is the limit?

        • Minymina

          Guns kill, porn doesn’t.

          I agree that gun laws in the US are the source of all the shootings that take place. Hence why I said video games and movies aren’t to blame, it’s the gun laws. Porn doesn’t lead to violence and is perfectly healthy. In fact, achieving an Orgasm while watching porn……x)……… is good for your immune system. Porn as a whole doesn’t have any psychological issues. If anything, it educates people on sex.

          • Nada

            I never said having an orgasm is bad; it is the way to achieve it that is questionable…

            Media, video games, violent movies numb the person (I did not say it makes them violent necessarily). You are right we cannot have a direct correlation and all of that depends on the nature and nurture criteria.

            If media alone does not have an effect on people (and I am talking here to any John Doe on the street not a conscious and educated person), why is there such a thing as bad media and misleading medium that cause confusion and hate, as shown in the past few days with Chapel Hill shootings? The “T” word was not uttered once as response to that hate crime? Why? Then you come and tell me porn, video games, media doesn’t kill? Hmmm, I would doubt it.

            You can argue that media does not kill, but you cannot deny that it does alter your way of thinking and behavior. If you need data on the effects of media (and porno specifically), I’d be glad to share some! 🙂

      • Minymina, you are correct. Sex is natural, normal and healthy between a committed relationship; however, viewing the sexual acts of others, alters our brain. http://youtu.be/fhEENBfKatU

        It is funny the two comparisons that you made, gun violence to movies and video games, because there is a lot of truth about this, but that is a whole topic in itself. Immersive technology does and is altering the brains of those who engage in it. http://pornstinks.com

Opinion

Muhammad Hazem Sherif works as a digital marketer and is interested in writing about the workings of addictive behavior and recovery in a manner relevant to how we behave daily.

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