May 1, 2013

Internet Pornography: Society’s Mr. Hyde

Photo Credit: Toptenz.net

By Aaron Gaglia (@GagliaAC)

The question of government regulation is one that sparks much debate between people of all political persuasions. Internet pornography is an excellent example of this. The question of whether pornography is inherently harmful to viewers and whether the porn industry is inherently exploitive and degrading to women is very controversial. Though most would agree that certain types of pornography such as child pornography and violent pornography are harmful and unacceptable, they are readily available on the internet. The internet is where otherwise upstanding citizens fuel their criminal desires. That needs to change. Violent and child pornography are already illegal, but they need to be better regulated. Though I do not claim to have a solution to this problem, I want to look at the problem from a different angle in order to expose the harm that unregulated obscenity has on a society. I propose to you that internet pornography is our society’s secret life—it’s a secret life that slowly consumes its users and then leaks into one’s everyday life.

All throughout human history people have had secret lives. People have always had secret sins, obsessions, and perversions. Yet the keeping of a secret life used to require movement and human contact. If one wanted to have extra-marital sexual relations, they had to actually commit adultery with another person; if one had taboo desires, one either had the choice to act on them or deny them–there was no intermediate choice.

Now with the advent of technology, namely the internet, an intermediate choice now exists. In order to satisfy one’s taboo and evil desires, one does not need to victimize another. All they need to do is turn on the computer. In the isolation of one’s room, a person can victimize, degrade, and exploit another vicariously through internet pornography. One’s perversion stays at a psychic level; no blood is on his hands. He just goes on with his normal life, without the consequences or effects of actual criminal activity, right?

No! The information that we dwell on and entertain in our thoughts forms how we think, perceive, and act. One cannot continually find pleasure from watching a woman be raped (whether simulated or real) and maintain a respectful view of women as equal people. That is a blatant contradiction. Deriving pleasure from watching acts of violence, hate, and degradation toward women is inherently hateful and degrading and will affect one’s everyday life.  It seeps into one’s life and society in subtle ways, whether through evil thoughts against women or rape jokes. And this eventually forms a society in which taboo sexuality and objectification becomes increasingly mainstream. I’m not saying that individuals who watch it will inevitably become rapists or murders; rather I’m saying that it leads to a desensitization towards violence against women and sets the stage for a society where aberrant sexual behavior becomes more and more normalized. It creates psychologically damaged people who go down roads they never planned to go down. Tragically though, it does lead some, like Ted Bundy, to rape and murder.

The prevalence of internet pornography coupled with the prevalence of sexual violence and sex trafficking is not just a strange coincidence. Pornography creates a society where these things can sadly thrive. We must see internet pornography for the evil it is and do something about it.

In practice, our government must demonstrate that violent and child pornography is not only illegal, but also harmful and will not be tolerated. The government needs to find a way of cutting off access to it, criminalizing those who produce it, and rehabilitating those victimized in it. We must stop believing the lie that our secret life is separate from our regular life.  We must put to death society’s collective Mr. Hyde once and for all. Regulating all pornography that includes children or that employs violence, whether real or simulated, is a good first step in slaying the monster of pornography. May we, as a society, choose to expose this lie and change at both an individual and societal level in order to protect women and restore human dignity.

For more information, here is a link to some statistics about pornography.


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6 Responses to Internet Pornography: Society’s Mr. Hyde

  1. Marco Bell says:

    Mr. Gaglia has a sincere point, but I think his scope is too narrow.

    One could aptly apply everything he stated in the article, to video game violence and such on-line, behind closed doors, secretive obsessions. Not JUST pornography!

    Many of the presently advertised video games (ie: Grand theft auto, etc.) can, and has, had a destructive affect on society. Making these “games” available to tender minds is exactly what Mr. Gaglia is railing against, and something probably does need to be done.

    Pornography by itself is degrading, but violence against persons of different cultures for the glorification of one’s shooting ability goes much deeper in damaging the human psyche. I suppose it could be worse, if these ‘secret- snipers’ in their dark lairs were “killing” infidels while simultaneously masturbating. Maybe that is something one doesn’t want to reveal, as it might just be the person we sit next to in church or school?

    My personal opinion of pornography, is that, it is for a depraved person who has no outlet for their sexual amusement. Sick, maybe. Pathetic, for sure!

    • Jon Andrew says:

      But perhaps one might say in response that ultimately both fantasizing over violence and sex comes to the same thing: treating people as objects; they are no longer each a _person_ toward whom one is acquainted but those which one uses—whether for one’s own sexual pleasure or appetite to kill. At least in that respect, it’s the same. Perhaps for the ethical fallout, then your point holds; but it seems like on the level of what vice it encourages, it gets to the same thing.

  2. apcroft33 says:

    Back during Monicagate, a local radio station here put up an interesting billboard: On one side was there morning DJ, named “MJ,” with his photo, then next to him a picture of Monica Lewinsky, with the letters “BJ” underneath. It didn’t bother me that I “got it,” but that probably 3rd-graders “got it” too, so sexualized has the culture become. Porn or other sexualized material is like some noxious gas in the atmosphere – it stinks (or should), but we’ve gotten used to it, and because we no longer smell it, we give it little thought and don’t think much about the harm it does, allowing our minds to commodify people, turning them into objects that exist for our entertainment or gratification. Anyone who says porn is harmless is either a fool or a liar. What a pity that liberals have this meddlesome compulsion to go after sugar, trans fats, or whatever people voluntarily take into their own bodies, yet they don’t raise a squeak about porn. (Think of the ex-Mrs. Al Gore and her campaign against rap music – a campaign which ended rather abruptly when Mr. Gore learned that Democratic candidates need to cozy up to the merchants of trash music.) I know the familiar liberal mantra – if you don’t like porn, don’t look at it. But no one can avoid billboards, magazine covers, and even channel surfing now is R-rated, and shows like Dancing with the Stars get a little more raw each season. Yeah, I’m sounding like an old man, but that’s OK. I’m old enough to remember when porn wasn’t in the atmosphere, and as we’ve cleaned up contamaninants in the air, we’ve allowed all manner of trash in the moral air.

    Your article is good, but I think you focus too much on porn that involves children or violence. Porn is just bad, period. We’re made in the image of God, and porn puts us on the level of barnyard animals. Animals have no shame about mating in front of an audience. Human beings who love each other don’t mate in public, they seek privacy, but of course, love is now completely separate from sex, which is just for pleasure. thank you, “progressives,” but are you sure this really qualifies as “progress”?

  3. Oh…I wanted to mention that the Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde metaphor is a psychological reality for the sex/porn addict. Part of the “erotic haze” they go into involves dissociation where he loses touch with his true personality, his values, his morals and his goals. The two sides of the personality have very different ideals, needs, wants, values, thoughts and emotions. There is a “split” in the personality.

    I’m convinced that continual porn viewing can cause grave mental/emotional illness for this reason. It is only the integrated personality who has hope of emotional stability which leads to “the good life”.

    Dorothy Hayden, LCSW

  4. Marco Bell says:

    Good point Jon Andrew!
    “Tranference” may be in play as well.

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