We’ve all been here.
I know I have, and I know you have.
You’re pushing a shopping cart down a grocery store aisle, music playing faintly somewhere overhead above the bright fluorescent lights that reflect off of the tile floor below. Maybe you know exactly what you need to purchase and where to find it, or maybe you’re hopelessly lost and desperately searching for a grocery store attendant to direct you to your favorite breakfast cereal. Either way, you’re pushing a shopping cart, and that one wheel – you know exactly which kind of wheel I’m talking about – is making a terrible noise as it spins in manic circles and pulls your shopping cart obnoxiously in the wrong direction. It makes it incredibly frustrating to shop.
No matter how hard you fight to maintain control of the cart, unless you stop and take time to fix the wheel, it’s always going to rebel. If you continue to ignore it, it will continue to get worse until it locks up altogether, and the shopping cart won’t move or even rest properly.
There’s a broken wheel in this shopping cart of ours that we call the world, and that is the broken wheel of the Porn Industry. It looks like other wheels, it almost turns like other wheels, but it is disrupting everything and pulling us in the wrong direction – and it has been pulling at us for far too long.
The world that we live in today has become almost entirely saturated with technology. In an article examining the growth of the internet over the last 25 years, The Pew Research Center reports that “87% of American adults now use the internet, with near-saturation usage among…young adults ages 18-29 (97%).” That’s you and me.
“The adoption of related technologies has also been extraordinary,” they say. “Over the course of Pew Research Center polling, adult ownership of cell phones has risen from 53% in our first survey in 2000 to 90% now. Ownership of smartphones has grown from 35% when we first asked in 2011 to 58% now” (The Web at 25 in the US).
Cell phones have become a part of everything we do. We take selfies, we ask for directions, we communicate, we write, we read, we send and receive money. We also consume massive amounts of entertainment. And the Porn Industry exploits that mercilessly.
In 2013, an emarketer.com article reported that on average, adults spend 5 hours and 9 minutes on the internet and other associated devices (mainly cell phones), in addition to their 4 hours and 31 minutes of watching television. That’s a lot of time spent putting things into our heads – almost 10 hours a day on average. Even if we spent twice that amount of time a day just on the internet, we still wouldn’t be able to watch everything out there. YouTube reports that 100 hours of video are uploaded to its site alone every minute.
While many of us spend those hours watching cats chase laser pointers or Trick Shot Titus sinking threes (what a stud!), there is a growing number of young adults who spend far longer on the internet than the average person only watching porn. “A huge number of us may spend up to 35 hours a week watching online sex videos. That’s almost as many hours as most 9-5 workers put in,” reports News.com.au. That’s a huge problem, especially given the research about media consumption.
A study conducted by RAND, published in the September 2004 issue of Pediatrics reported that 1792 adolescents ages 12-17 showed that watching sex on TV influences teens to have sex. Kids with higher exposure to sex on TV were twice as likely to have sex than kids with lower exposure. And that’s just from their 4 hours of TV a day.
There have been a ton of studies on violence, too.
“Over 1000 studies – including a Surgeon General’s special report in 1972 and a National Institute of Mental Health report 10 years later – attest to a causal connection between media violence and aggressive behavior in some children. Studies show that the more ‘real-life’ the violence portrayed, the greater the likelihood that it will be ‘learned.'”
– American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement, Volume 95, Number 6 – June 1995
What we look at, what we read, what we watch, what we listen to – it all affects us, for good, or for ill.
Now, I’m not going to get on a soapbox and tell you what is morally right or wrong. What I am here to tell you is that porn is both sexually explicit and in many cases cruel and violent. Violence causes pain, suffering, hatred, anger, disability, and death. Unhealthy sexual relationships are linked to depression, STD’s, erectile disfunction, unplanned pregnancy, abortion, orphaned children, and divorce. Sexual assaults are also linked to depression, PTSD, nightmares, self abuse, suicide, etc. If you’re a fan of those things, by all means, it’s your choice to support them. And there’s no better way to support them than by watching pornography.
“We are now bringing up a generation of boys on cruel, violent porn,” says Gail Dines in an article with The Guardian, “and given what we know about how images affect people, this is going to have a profound influence on their sexuality, behaviour and attitudes towards women.”
Pornography is a billion dollar industry. The porn industry grossed 13.3 billion dollars in 2006. That’s right. Billion. With a B. Compare that to Disney’s 45 billion dollar income in 2013. That’s sad, considering most porn is available for free.
I say porn is free, but that’s not entirely true. It may appear free for you, but it’s not to advertisers who pay for space on the sites you visit. Just by clicking, you are donating dollars and cents to an industry that demeans women, promotes violence, funds sex trafficking, abuses children, and causes widespread depression and isolation. Oh, did I mention it’s highly addictive? Yeah. Check out fightthenewdrug.org to open that can of worms. Fight The New Drug is a non legislative, non religious organization that gatherings and publicizes recent findings about Pornography Addiction. Porn messes with your body chemistry and can even alter the size of your brain.
Why are we tolerating this? It’s time for us to speak up, to stand out, and to fight back. There’s an old saying that says “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” I’m tired of the porn industry getting as much grease as it wants simply because it puts itself out there and speaks louder than we do. Keep in mind that it really doesn’t say anything intelligent. Mostly it just moans and grunts – poorly and unrealistically I might add. It has found its way into our media, into our music, into our art. It has made its way into our minds and into our hearts. It has made its way into our homes, and now it sleeps in our beds and covers them with its oily, greasy filth.
We need to stop consuming and perpetuating pornography. We need to save our society, and we have to do that one person at a time. One choice at a time.
It’s time to fix this wheel and get the shopping cart moving properly. If we don’t, it’s going to get incredibly difficult to shop. For all of us.
“Where is the Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?”
– T.S. Eliot