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November 20, 2005 12:33pm
Does Porn Dehumanize
Source: Adult Industry News
by: Devyn Devine

Does Porn Dehumanize Females, and are we an Easier Target for Violence?

Hi gang! Devyn Devine here with another provocative column to get you thinking. So I am taking Sociology of Sex and Gender class this quarter, and I am learning a lot. My instructor is a mentor to me, but she doesn't know I do porn.

While sitting in class this week, we were learning about the role the media plays in society and the effect it has on us because of its ubiquitousness. We watched a video containing a lecture series on several of the common advertisements we see today. There were the normal advertisements we see everyday pushing skin cleanser and clothing, but shockingly, it was made more than clear how mainstream advertisers are using sex to sell everything!

There was an ad I saw recently on television, which had a popular tennis player selling a digital camera by pulling it out of her skirt (which was the shortest skirt I ever saw a tennis player in!) and looking seductively at the video camera. And this is what tells me to buy this particular digital camera? Yet, when I use my body to sell myself so that I could achieve my goals, all of a sudden I become less then human.

Now maybe you haven't experienced any negative actions and you are thinking that I am way off base here, but am I? One of the ads shown in the lecture series had a woman naked on all fours while the man used her as a coffee table. Another ad, which was selling shoes, had a picture of, again, a naked woman who appeared to be dead in a trash bag in a garbage can with this very classy shoe covering half of her face.

Men, is that the image needed to sell you a pair of high-end shoes? And why do these women need to be naked? Do we even realize the images that we are being fed everyday and the implicit messages that are behind the ads? Sure, one ad here are there doesn't mean anything, but what we fail to see is that these messages are accumulative and they are everywhere we turn.

Ok, so what does this have to do with porn?

There is a correlation between mass media and violence. Using my last column as a springboard, if mainstream is doing it, then the porn industry takes it to the next level.

Think about it. We see nudity in mainstream movies, but see full-fledged, over exaggerated (Really, honey, do the implants NEED to be that big?) full frontals in porn. We see simulated sex in mainstream, and we see full on, get down and dirty, give it to me baby harder and harder sex in porn. Now we see ads that promote female violence and portray us like we are nothing more then a piece of trash to be walked on. What desensitizes us to things is the recurring image and message over and over again. So when we see these ads in normal life, it may take someone awhile to get the message and act on it.

The way this is all connected is because the advertisers are using sex to sell, and these sexually implicit ads are promoting the message that women are trash. So someone can make the connection in his (or her) mind when watching porn. This is a sexual act, these women are just fantasies and not real, and its ok to hurt them because they are less human than me. If you don't think there aren't crazies running around saying that, then you are seriously mistaken! We work in an industry, which promotes hyper femininity in a world the embraces hyper masculinity, and eventually the two are going to clash.

So are we as women in this industry more prone to violence than other women? Or does our status as porn stars give us immunity from violence because of our popularity? While behavioral scientist can show a link in violent images and aggression, where does porn fit in?

Currently, sociologists have two theories regarding porn. The first is the Safety Value Theory that says viewing porn protects people by providing an outlet for sexual fantasy. The second (and complete opposite) is the Trigger Theory which says the viewing of pornography triggers sexual offenses by stimulating the sexual appetite.

Clearly, it is in my best interests to advocate for the first theory because if I didn't, I would be out of a job. But can we step outside of the pornographic box and perhaps see if the second theory has any merit? Unfortunately, the research has been inconclusive, and we don't know if porn stimulates the aggressive person or if the aggressive person just likes to watch porn. However, there have been reports of what pornography has done in our society. The following are just a few:

* A letter was sent to the United States Attorney General's Commission on Pornography reporting that: "A mother and father in South Oklahoma City forced their four daughters, ages ten to seventeen, to engage in family sex while pornographic pictures were being filmed" (1986, p. 780).

* In one case, a man who said he had participated in over a hundred pornographic movies testified at the Commission hearings in Los Angeles as follows: "I, myself, have been on a couple of sets where the young ladies have been forced to do even anal sex scenes with a guy which [sic] is rather large and I have seen them crying in pain" (1986, p. 773).

* Natalie King, 23, was last heard from during a bondage photo shoot on Feb. 29. She was found dead in a remote Norristown, PA ravine on Tuesday. She had been repeatedly stabbed in the chest and neck. King was found dressed in the fetish gear that she wore in the photos. Photographer Anthony Frederick, 46, has been charged with murder, abuse of a corpse and possession of a knife.

Clearly, porn has a place in our society for the release of sexual pleasure, but does it do more harm then good? My mind isn't made up and I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject! Email me at Devyn@AINews.com

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