Book Review: Big Porn Inc: exposing the harms of the global pornography industry

Available now

I'm taking the plunge and reading 'Big Porn', edited by Melinda Tankard Reist, amongst others. It's a challenging read. With statistics like '1 in 4 women will be sexually assaulted during her time in college (in the US)' and '1 in 6 American women has been raped at some point in her life', it's scary stuff to read how pornography has so profoundly affected western culture.  

The really scary thing is how few people will stand up against it, with civil libertarians saying that it's a matter of free speech, and others arguing that actors are paid and the sex portrayed is entirely consensual. However, the sexualisation of children promoted by porn, as well as the violence and rape commonly portrayed -- and always against women, or children or women who look like children or feminised gay men -- has horrifying effects. As for consensual sex, Linda Lovelace, a 'porn star' said later that whenever anyone watches Deepthroat, they are 'watching me be raped'. 

As well as being harmful to women and children, porn damages men and boys. Studies into the effects of pornography have consistently shown "that the degradation encouraged by pornography encourages negative attitudes and dominant behaviours towards women, including the heightened proclivity towards coercive sex."  

As well, "pornography contributes directly to pro-sexual-offending attidues, intimate relationship difficulties, sexual callousness, disinterest in the suffering of others and desentisation to violence against women, acceptance of male dominance and female servitude, leniency towards rapist in legal proceedings, accepting various rape myths (that rape can be justified), self-assessed proclivity to force sex on women, and the direct instigation of sexual assault." 

This is an important book and should be read by all women and every man, especially if they have children. I'll be posting more from it.

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