Physical or Verbal Aggression featured in 89.8 percent of porn, Says website antipornography.org.

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from www.idsnews.com – It is often the case that we can only see the most disturbing problems out of the corner of our collective eye. Starving children and abused animals star in dramatic commercials because we can accept those problems. They’re real to us.

But other problems only manifest themselves in mass culture in distorted forms. Porn is one of these problems. At first, this might seem an inane suggestion. After all, we seem to talk a lot about porn.

Men’s porn habits are the subject of countless jokes, and we toss out light-hearted accusations when friends quickly close their laptops when a door opens. Porn is an inside joke between men, an open secret acknowledged with winks and nudges.

It’s no wonder that porn is the subject of so much discussion, even in the form of jokes. There are 72 million unique visitors to porn websites every month, and 40 million U.S. adults regularly visit porn sites.

A staggering 25 percent of search engine requests are for porn, and 12 percent of all websites are pornographic. Unsurprisingly, this avalanche of porn generates huge profits: The combined U.S. porn industry makes $13.3 billion a year. But the ribald jokes only serve to hide the real harm done by porn.

Feminist legal scholar Catharine MacKinnon [pictured] puts it bluntly, stating, “The harm of pornography begins with the women in it.” Physical or verbal aggression is featured in 89.8 percent of porn, according to the website antipornography.org.

More specifically, 82.2 percent contains physical aggression, while 48 percent contains name-calling and insults, also according to the website. Some will excuse this violence by claiming that the women in porn consented to these acts.

Not only does this argument disregard the chance that many of these women have been assaulted, it also assumes a frighteningly broad definition of consent.

I again turn to MacKinnon, who demands to know how we can assume consent despite “the compulsion of poverty, drugs, homelessness, foreclosed alternatives and fear of retribution for noncooperation.”

Further, porn is the process of making women’s oppression sexy. When men are bombarded with images of victimized women, they learn to see that victimization not only as normal but as sexy.

Studies show that after exposure to porn, men have less empathy for rape victims, are more likely to blame women for their rapes and report anger at women who flirt without engaging in sex.

Thus, women are harmed in the making of porn and by men after the viewing of porn. This denouncement of porn wouldn’t be complete without a personal confession. I was once a viewer of porn. This isn’t shocking, given the seeming ubiquity of porn use by men.

But after educating myself about the reality behind pornography, I stopped viewing it. I didn’t make the weak-willed decision to search out milder, less risqué porn. I couldn’t give my support to any part of that vile industry.

I urge the men reading this to do the same. If you care at all about stopping the harm done to women, then stop yourselves from viewing porn.

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