The Truth about Porn: Violence and Aggression against Women

by Anastasia Russell

Our society has adapted to the “norms” of mainstream pornography and the only ones who are suffering in silence are women. As a female, I know firsthand of the insecurities and issues that women have to deal with when it comes to porn. In one of the articles that I have read, “The Influence of Misogynous Rap Music on Sexual Aggression,” by Christy Barongan of Kent State University, she talks about how porn is not only demeaning to women, but also how it encourages the abusive and degrading treatment of women as a whole. She explains that “pornography often portrays violence against women as being justified, positive, and sexually liberating”, which brings to surface a lot of more severe issues such as rape. Because men watch porn so much, the violent erotic scenes have made the idea of rape to be viewed as being “enjoyable” to the victim and is often blindsided especially by the youth in our societies due to the images and ideas that most pornographic movies have given its viewers. Most men get this notion that being aggressive and using women as a means of sexual pleasure is ok – its “sexy”. The fact that watching those scenes actually turns men on is disgusting. Barongan also states that such exposure portrays “positive effects of sexual aggression” thus enabling men to show an “increased acceptance of interpersonal violence” against women such as verbal and physical sexual aggression and wife bettering.

From my own personal experience, my ex boyfriend used to watch very demeaning and ‘slave-like’ porn. He would always hide it, but when I found out about it, it all clicked. You see his actions towards me had much similarity to the scenes themselves and the violence was all a part of it too. Although i confronted him, his answer was that it was normal – that all men watch porn and it is something that they are all programmed to do. As he said, “If they don’t watch porn, then clearly something is wrong with them.” This leads me to another issue that is significantly important to our future generations: our society is bringing up a generation of boys on “cruel, violent porn” and given the fact that we all know how much media has power to influence us, it is going to have especially profound influences on their own sexuality, behaviour, and attitude towards women as they grow up (“The Truth about the Porn Industry”, Gina Dines).

There is no one left to blame but the adult entertainment industries, yet there is no stopping them either. So what do we do when we are going up against an entire gender? There is nothing in our power that we can do individually, except come together and make our points heard. As Gina Dines writes in her article, “The Truth about the Porn Industry”, “the more porn images that filter into mainstream culture, the more girls and women are stripped of full human status and reduced to sex objects.” Being known as “sex objects” has spread not only to just pornography but also the entire media! The commercials, billboards, movies, music – everything! This leaves woman helpless and exposed. Adding to this, Gail Dines writes in her article, “How Porn has Hijacked our Sexuality”, that in “mainstream porn, aggression against women is the rule rather than the exception.” She explains that porn tells men that they have no boundaries – sexually, and morally. They have no compassion left for women which then further strips women of their entire being on this earth.

Hopefully this blog has helped not only women, but everyone in our society to see the scarce truth behind something has is known to be ‘pleasurable’, and that this is something that should not be avoided nor taken as a joke. We all need to help stop violence and aggression towards women. We are all human and we all have feelings, no matter what gender.

Anastasia Russell is participating in Violence, Media Representations and Families a media literacy program joint initiative between Kwantlen Polytechnic University Sociology Department, First Voices and Battered Women’s Support Services.

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