Women In Pornography: Empowering or Degrading?

Women In Pornography: Empowering or Degrading?

It's a bigger problem than you'd think.
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A response to an academic analysis on pornography in United States sexual culture called "Pornland" by Gail Dines.


Along with the increasing availability and consumption of pornography in society has come increased complexity within modern day perceptions of sex acts. The complexities that have evolved around the role (or rather, lack thereof) of the woman in sex reaffirm the notion that women are meant to serve men in their sexual practices.

Specifically, in regards to the changing norms of how a woman should maintain and present herself, certain aspects of gender expectations reaffirm the sexual inequalities that women face in opposition to men. Just as pornography has affected our sex lives, there is correlation to the rise of digital media usage and its impact on our relationships.

In our highly influenced culture, it is a combination between an inability to create truly organic, uninfluenced relationships and a preference to participate in hookup culture that the porn industry has infiltrated our modern day conceptions of heterosexuality and sexual reality.

The modern conception of sex and romance, and more importantly, what makes good sex is built on our society’s insane consumption of porn. It’s no secret that the dating lives of the millennial generation are on the decline, and that is in part due to the perpetuation of an intense hookup culture and a devaluing of intimacy. In particular, it is interesting how the mass consumption of pornography has aided in the proliferation of an intense hookup culture.

Some argue that the reason that millennial tend to opt for non-committal relationships is because they are facing many high-pressure situations in regards to their futures- the national economy has plummeted, they’re drowning in student loans, social oppressions are recognized now more than ever, etc.

However, with data suggesting that nearly 70% of teens 15 to 17 years old will come across porn in their youth, it’s evident now more than ever that the casualization of the porn industry is infiltrating the ways that millennial generation will come to make sense of sex and romance.

Dines suggests the most dramatic shift in younger persons behavior in regards to intimate relations with another person is the complete rejection of intimacy, connection, and relationships- as she describes, “sex is what you expect, and sex is what you get.” She ties this casual approach to sex back to the porn industry, asserting that the sex that we see in the porn-film industry is the sex we see in hookups- that is, verification of masculinity and completely devoid of emotional connection.

The recent success of online dating sites has allowed for the millennial generation to further engage in dating scenarios that further their hookup culture. When online dating first emerged, it gained a clear, negative stigma; online dating wasn’t to be taken seriously and oftentimes the relationships that were created on the web were delegitimized. However, I saw the usage of online dating, especially among millennials, to be a social occurrence that was bound to happen.

We live in an incredibly digitized and technologically based society, in which our main social connections are maintained online, in chat rooms, on friend’s Facebook walls, and in their feeds. It was only a matter of time before our ability to maintain friendships transpired into our ability to create new ones on the web. Online dating could even be seen as easier for millennials.

It allows for the ‘messy’ stuff in the relationship to be skipped over; you can find out what a person wants from you and what they are and are not comfortable with without even meeting them. We can find out everything we want to know about someone at the push of a button- it’s convenient.

When you pick a Tinder picture, you pick the ones that are meant to elicit a physical attraction from the person swiping. I’ve gotten the opportunity to scroll through some of my male friend’s Tinder matches and check out just what it is I’m “competing” with, after all my face is just one of several thousand. I see boobs, butts, and half-naked, perfectly maintained bodies.

I see pictures that mimic if not actively try to imitate pictures out of a ‘Playboy’. While women are conforming to these pornographic expectations of how they should look, men are being reminded of the pornographic content they have already viewed since they were in their pre-teens. They are reminded of the scenarios and the naked bodies and the oily skin, and they want their chance to stand in the spotlight.

And while many forms of millennial, online dating mimic pornographic expectations and assist in the purveyance of hookup culture, pornography has affected our conceptions of human sexuality. According to a report commissioned by Congress, over 70 million individuals access and view porn each week, and about 11 million of those individuals are younger than 18. It’s safe to assume that with the average age a person loses their virginity in U.S. at 17 years of age (under the assumption that virginity qualifies the absence of penetrative sex practices), most individuals are exposed to pornographic material before they actually experience sexual intercourse. The exposure to pornographic content greatly misleads viewers, a largely male-based audience.

In heterosexual relationships, young boys grow into men that believe that women genuinely enjoy and receive great pleasure from participating in borderline abusive, hard-core, and subservient sexual roles (i.e. "gonzo" porn). Their increased exposure to pornographic content sexually destructs them, leads them to have distorted conceptions of heterosexuality, and to go into their sexually active lives de-prioritizing female satisfaction and upholding the values of male ejaculation that their pornographic education taught them.

‘Sex and the City’ is an excellent example of forced female subservience as a result of the casualization of porn-reflected sex. The character, Samantha Jones, is disguised as being an excellent role model for female sexuality and experimentation; she never shies away from her sex life and is very open about her promiscuity.

While most viewers see her as an idol for sexual liberation, I see her as one of the most well masked examples of female subjugation to male-preferred porn sex on primetime television. Samantha likes sex, that’s her thing, that’s what she does, and she loves it and all the show’s viewers love her for having sex. However, what most people fail to notice is that even this female sex machine was subject to the atrocities of porn-culture in the bedroom.

Her sex life was characterized by the approval of men, the scenes that showcase her involvement in hookup sex and porn scenarios rarely showcase her experience and enjoyment but always find a way to hone in on the facial reactions, body movements, and sounds of the men she is with. Her sex life was always characterized by the men she was sleeping with and her character comments on how she is “competing” with the younger women who are willing to throw their legs up and try anything to keep the attention of a man.

And that’s the primary indicator of how dependent Samantha’s character was on men, she kept her mind open to sex and she evolved as sex evolved, all to keep the interest of the men, not always for herself. Her pleasure and orgasm would come as a result of the man’s satisfaction. The character of Samantha Jones exemplifies how even when women are given symbols of female sexual liberation and empowerment, they are still exposed to them within the guidelines of pornography.


It is evident that the rise of the porn industry has impacted our society’s conceptions of sex and has permanently altered our perceptions of what is normative and accepted within sexual relations. And while porn may act as a one-stop shop for individuals to make sense of their sexuality from a younger age than ever before, it is also proving to be incredibly destructive in our ability to connect with each other individually.

Most of all, I think that we shouldn’t be asking ourselves why it is that pornography has gained such a large viewership over the years, but rather, we should be trying to figure out what has happened to our society that we have become so susceptible to the dehumanization and desensitization of sexuality.

Unfortunately, the answer to that is not just a click away.


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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?

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Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

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