Normalizing explicit content damages culture

Every second, approximately 28,000 users are watching pornography on the Internet, according to research done by the Nielsen Company.

In 2016, the Barna Group published research that showed 57 percent of millennials, ages 18 to 24, sought out these sites once or twice a month. Even 53 percent of 11- to 16-year-olds have viewed explicit content online.

Unfortunately, for men and women everywhere, the pornography industry is everywhere, especially in the ever-growing and prevalent age of technology. The same Nielsen Company research also revealed 35 percent of all Internet downloads are related to the industry.

Graphic content seems inescapable in this generation, especially in college.

A popular adult entertainment website conducted its own research based on their users and discovered that an estimated 87 percent of college-age men viewed their site at least weekly, if not every day.

As more and more individuals continue to speak up and call attention to the sexual harassment and abuse that has been pushed under the rug for years, I can’t help but wonder if these people committing these acts aren’t all serial abusers, such as Harvey Weinstein or Larry Nassar, but rather normal men who have grown up seeing images that corrupted their view of “normal.”

It is no secret the industry does not portray sex or relationships in a natural way but rather exaggerates and dramatizes certain aspects to achieve more views and for entertainment.

This is especially true when portraying violent acts. The industry focuses on the act itself and not the human connection or feeling behind it.

In a content analysis of the 50 best-selling adult videos conducted by Enough is Enough, a non-profit that works to make the Internet safer for families or children, the study showed 88 percent of scenes showed physical aggression.

On top of that, it showed 94 percent of “aggressive acts” were committed against women.

When this industry is exposed to children and teenagers at such a young, moldable age, it creates a culture and a way of thinking that will follow them into their adult years and into their future romantic decisions.

According to Fight The New Drug, an organization that attempts to raise awareness about the harm the industry can have, after examining 22 studies, they concluded that “individuals who consume pornography more frequently are more likely to hold attitudes conducive to sexual aggression and engage in actual acts of sexual aggression.”

It’s time to stop casually waving off this harmful habit or thinking thiss only relates to people who become addicted.

This industry is forming a destructive culture within young men and women because of the very nature of it.

If we truly want the culture behind sexual assault and the overwhelming numbers behind #MeToo to come to an end, we have to stop normalizing what one sees on those websites.

Normalizing and casually accepting the numb and unfeeling nature of the pornography industry only adds to the culture we are attempting to stop with #MeToo and #TimesUp and we have to start treating it that way.

Even casual and infrequent views affects the way one thinks and can translate into actions. When preventing sexual assault, we should look to what is influencing the way we think.

About Alexandra Applegate


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