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The Tale Told by Pornography - A Celebration of the Dehumanization, Abuse, and Even Rape of Women and Children

Updated on December 20, 2014

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Pornography as Propaganda

Pornography does more harm by orders of magnitude than the immediate harm it does to its immediate victims, the women or children directly abused on film. Pornography, like all motion picture media, serves as a form of propaganda, and therefore has social impacts far beyond the toxic and artificial stimulation it provides to its male consumers.

The first class of people targeted and impacted by pornography are of course the women and children it victimizes - not just those who appear in the films, but those who are later confronted by the films in their day to day lives, and those who interact on a daily basis with male users of pornography, whose psychologies have been warped by their consumption of that pornography. Pornography is so ubiquitous in American society that this of course means, that all women as a class suffer the brutal consequences of being immersed in a viciously patriarchal culture which applauds the objectification and subordination of women, and have the experience of living with men who are programmed to be aroused by the physical abuse, degradation, sexual assault and torture of women.

A Little Research

Really, that is what high speed internet pornography is. Pornography openly celebrates abuse. To appreciate this, one only has to look at the language used by the most mainstream pornographic pay-sites to entice their overwhelmingly male customer base. I have not looked at pornography as a catalyst for arousal in several years, and in an attempt to do some research and provide an example of the language used in porn pay-site advertisements I did the following; I typed into google the keyword "porn," and clicked on the first link to appear. It was a site called ""

When I clicked on the link, I was shocked and sickened when the screen became flooded by videos of horribly brutal sexual acts - also known as sexual assaults - being performed by men against women. There were barely any words anywhere on the site except for the video titles, and I quickly clicked the back button on my browser to protect myself from the inevitable consequences of immersing myself in that kind of hate propaganda for any period of time. Still wanting an example of the language used to advertise pornography to consumers, I clicked the next link down; "," thinking that one had to be a pay site, but I was wrong and it was full of free videos and designed exactly the way the previous site I clicked on was, and its content was full of all the same kinds of sexual violence as the first site.

Unfortunately, I came up empty-handed in my search for actual quotes from a specific porn site which the pornographers use to advertise their wares; so instead I'll simply furnish my readers with the following comic, which should make roughly the same point I was planning on making regarding the language used by pornographers to sell their products.

Following this experience a few things have become abundantly clear to me - both in remembering my own pornography fueled sexual "education" as a teenager and in my much more cautious attempts at research today. All pornography celebrates power disparities in one form or another. Whether it be the direct, literal domination of one performer by another as is the case in hardcore pornography; or the more subtle but just as disparate inequality which exists between a softcore model who is gazed upon but cannot see by whom, and her audience who does the gazing while enjoying total anonymity.

I believe there is much truth to the statement that the language we speak shapes the way we perceive and interact. And if a picture speaks a thousand words, as the popular cliché posits, what kind of language do pornographic images speak, and how is this language shaping our thoughts and interactions?

Pornography Has Consequences

One common theme of the videos on the sites I visited recently centered around the strangulation and choking of women. Women were being choked either by hands or through the use of other male body parts. Other common themes were just as violent, hateful and dangerous - both for the women on video and for the women acquainted with the men who watch these videos in the private and become aroused by them.

I won't go much more into the harm women experience due to a culture immersed in pornography because in the first place, I am not a woman and do not share that experience so it is difficult for me to fathom what the extent of those harms must be (though it doesn't take much imagination to start naming a few), and second because it should be readily apparent to anyone who watches these videos that what they are watching is documented sexual assault; and it should go without saying when recordings of sexual assaults are used as propaganda to initiate men into a rape culture that the existence of these videos and their heavy distribution among the male population has real and extreme consequences for both the women being badly abused in the videos and for all the women who have to live in a culture with a population of heavily indoctrinated, predatory men who have been taught by porn and other media that when she says no she means yes, and if she appears to be in pain or in fear, she actually likes it.

We'll get more into the impacts pornography has on women's lives - in women’s own words - in an upcoming chapter.

One thing I will say now is that these videos are not healthy models for human sexuality, and they clearly encourage sexualized violence against women, and against children. I include children because the young women the producers of these videos strive to feature are almost always as young as possible, in order to simulate sexual exploitation of children; and no secret is made of this in advertising which boasts "barely legal" as so many sites do. And that's just the above ground, legal side of pornography.

All pornography portrays power disparity as a subject of arousal and a central requirement of any sexual experience.
All pornography portrays power disparity as a subject of arousal and a central requirement of any sexual experience.

There is also the almost as readily available underground and illegal pornography which doesn't just simulate, but actually films and documents the very real sexual exploitation and rape of child captives.

So it goes without saying that pornography, as defined by the producers of pornography themselves, is a form of social propaganda which normalizes, encourages, and ultimately produces the domination, exploitation, imprisonment (physical, financial or otherwise), torture and of course rape, of women and children.

The Central Theme Running Through All Pornography

And for those who might say that not all pornography is like the modern day pornography available with high speed internet access; that tamer, more classic versions are not as harmful, I say that when we look around at the brutal, torture and submission obsessed hardcore pornography of today, we can see all the more clearly what it is that pornography has always been. The pornography industry defines what pornography is by producing and selling it, and there is a common theme that runs through all pornography from the beginning of the industry’s arrival in mainstream culture with Playboy magazine. The softcore pornography of yesterday has in common with the brutally hardcore porn of today the underlying message that human sexuality is based on domination and submission, and that women (and sometimes children) take pleasure in being sexually oppressed and violated by males.

Pornography is not just harmless art on the topic of human sexuality, it is propaganda which seeks at all times to tell a very deliberate story: that women are second class citizens who enjoy being violated, and if they don’t enjoy it, they need to be taught to enjoy it. In other words, pornography tells the story that rape is okay - even good - for the victim, for the rapist and for all involved.

How Do You Feel About the Question We First Asked AFTER Reading this Article?

Do you believe that pornography generates sexual assaults which otherwise would not occur?

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