Thursday, February 19, 2009

Perhaps An Issue We All Need To Agree On

Logo for Britain's Campaign to Put The Bunny In The Bin

Sometimes an issue will surface around me and I'm never sure at first what it means. The issue lately has been pornography. I've found this interesting because it's not an issue that's been high on my radar screen. I'm beginning to see it hasn't been very high on my radar screen because it's so pervasive. It's almost like pornography has become so much an accepted part of the American scene that it's mostly overlooked and there for it's consequences are overlooked. It might be time we stopped overlooking it. Of the things I've learned this one blows me away:

"The pornography industry is larger than the revenues of the top technology companies combined: Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo!, Apple, Netflix and EarthLink."

Porn revenues bury the mainstream film industry. In 2006 porn revenue in the US exceeded the combined revenues of ABC, NBC, and CBS. Porn then, is by far, our largest entertainment industry and medium. What in the world is this doing to our collective consciousness?

But it isn't just the United States. The US is actually 4th in porn revenue at 13.33 billion dollars which is almost 45 dollars per person. The leader is China at 27.4 billion followed by South Korea at 25.73 billion and Japan at 19.98 billion. South Korea's per person expense is 527 dollars. That's a lot of food.

If you look at some of the other statistics at the linked web page another stat jumps out at you.
There is a column based on key words which are entered into search engines. When the key words porn and free porn were used, 96% and 93% of the time it was a male. When the key word sex was used it was a 50-50 split. It does appear that the Vatican has it right. Lust is the top problem for men.

Given all we know about the consequences of frequent use of porn and it's detrimental effects on ones attitudes towards sex and sexual partners, maybe it's time this wasn't such an under the radar issue. Porn may be an unstated reason so many marriages are breaking up and the younger generations are avoiding long term relationships. In any event it's a lot of exploitative sexual energy polluting the body politic. It's not encouraging a mature sexual attitude in our men and it implicitly exploits men every bit as much as it explicitly exploits women and children.

About ten years ago I worked a part time job with a guy whose main job was distributing porn for a friend of his. We had quite the chat about porn. He conceded the point about the exploitation of children and didn't agree with that. Besides he said, it wasn't a big enough audience to interest him and his partner. They were interested in adults, specifically the untapped female population. The problem with women was you actually had to have a story which developed a relationship and that made things prohibitively more expensive. They wanted to try it but they didn't know if it would be profitable. In the meantime there was the good ole reliable lusty guy and a growing population of couples. He and his wife enjoyed porn together. In fact most of the time it was the only way they could get sexually aroused. For them it was a great marriage tool......and it was also one they hadn't needed until they started using it.

For a much longer analysis of the morality of the porn problem try this link. I disagreed with some of Mr. Reilly's analysis he makes some great points. There is also a heart wrenching comment at the end of the article explaining the effects of secret porn use on one marriage.
This link will take you to Anti Porn Feminists who just posted an interesting research study conducted at Princeton on the effects of porn dampening the part of the male brain which constrains violence towards other humans. (Which conjurs up a nightmare scenario for South Korea.)


  1. Colleen, this is definitely an issue we all need to agree on. There are artist that rather than just promote their music, as a sideline will add pictures of themselves or others in band aids or scantily clad outfits that one would be arrested for wearing in public and in pornographic poses. It is difficult to take them seriously as an artist or their music for that matter when they do this.

    Unfortunately, sex sells is the belief, and apparently this is true from the statistics you note here in your blog. Lust and avarice seem to go hand in hand here. I personally will not buy into this notion that an artist in order to promote their music must dress like a whore or a prostitute. It is so unnecessary and truly I believe it is self-demeaning and they are essentially inviting the wrong people into their lives which includes sex addicts and perverts.

    The study about sex and violence at Princeton University makes a lot of sense. It really is scary.

    There is a male artist from eastern Europe who is very musically talented and he used to have a nice picture of himself on his page. Now he has a picture of some girl on his page for his logo. I am totally turned off now and don't even listen to his music anymore.

    There is a label on my page with a girl on it exposing her breasts. It is a man who has put that picture there. I have thought about telling him to change the picture or get it off my page. I do find it offensive. Of course the label will get rid of me and I really don't give a damn. I have been avoiding a confrontation perhaps for too long.

    People have accepted pornography as being natural and rationalizing that they are just exposing their beauty. It exposes the making of themselves into sexual objects instead of as persons instead.

  2. Yes in agreement. . .i wonder if one of the reasons the image of sex is used for marketing is that the prostitute is one of the four archetypes which all people have in common. (says Carolyn Myss). Along with the child, saboteur,and parent)

    And perhaps because of it being such a shadow aspect it is speculated by the marketing experts to hook us unconsciously. I was in a private practice partnership with a woman whose husband owned one the most prosperous advertising agency in the U.S. The more i was around them, the more i realized those guy were often beyond the psychologist when it came to the indepth understanding of what makes us human and perhaps inhuman. A question i often ask is how am i prostituting myself? I don't think most people do that and there is an ongoing dance between the Johns, the Prostitutes, and the Pimps at many levels in many realms.

    Even though pornography it is often portrayed as sex, it falls in the category of the triad of prostitution, i think.

    I dont have a problem with sex or the sensual, but when it turns to exploitation i have a such a NO.

    Here is another article that is a bit on these lines with advertising and promoting the use of condoms with an image the Catholics found degrading and protested.

    The issue with sexual exploitation that bothers me the most is sexual slavery.

    There are 80,000 to 100,000 girls from developing countries sold into the U.S. each year through trafficking for sexual exploitation (slavery). Many of these young girls where seduced, manipulated, and betrayed into believing they would be the next one to walk down Hollywood's “RED” carpets as movie stars or models . . .
    Instead they lay abused and violated in the tattered soiled Red streets and sheets of prostitution. The number jumps to one million EACH YEAR world wide. . .These are children not adults.

    Sorry this is one that grabs me. When i finish the work i am currently doing i have tentative plans to move to India and work with women and children that have been returned from sexual exploitation, to help integrate them back into community.

  3. River, I saw a documentary a few years ago about the sex slavery business from Albania into Italy and Turkey where they used the same type of ploy of work in a foreign country and the young women were beaten and raped and threatened into submission into the sex slave business. The police in Turkey apparently are turning a blind eye to the entire business. Not only that, the police were partaking in the raping of these young women as initiation into the business as well.

    I don't have a problem with sex or the sensual either River. Some things should stay in the bedroom within the relationship and remain private and it doesn't belong in public. And I agree, river, that pornography is not sex, it is prostitution.

    Sex slavery is a huge problem internationally from what I have heard. The exploitation of children grabs me too River. It is such a despicable act of evil against innocence.

  4. An excellent and timely post Colleen. Also very astute responses as well.

    The issue I have is the same one that I have with abortion, illegal drugs and other issues that threaten to destroy us as a global culture: far too much rhetoric is directed at making the behavior illegal, attempting to condemn and legislate it to death, rather than addressing the root cause of the behavior. Far too much rhetoric is expended in condemnation of the activity. Far too much time and money is spent on legalistic approaches that do not work. The questions we need to be asking are:

    What is the root cause of these behaviors?

    How do we effectively address the root causes that cause people to use pornography (drugs, abortion,etc)?

    What are we missing by focusing on the end result (condemnation, legalism) instead of the process that created that end result?

    Condemnation and legislation (the vatican way) never has and never will provide the solution. A pastoral approach that addresses the source cause is the only way any progress will ever be made in this area.

    The rhetoric on the feminist website will accomplish nothing for the same reason that all of the antiabortionist antics and rhetoric over the last 50 years accomplished nothing. The disease is not being addressed, only the visible symptom.

    When we put the energy into addressing the REAL causes, then we can create REAL lasting solutions. Until then, ...

  5. I believe that one of the causes of sex slavery is that there is no work for these women in their countries. They fall for the sweet talk of illusions of grandeur, then they are beaten up and made into slaves. As for the pimps, they look for a commodity that can be harvested just like any capitalist, only the commodity here is children and women or boys.

    These sex slave mills need to be shut down and the law needs to be used to shut them down.

    The economies of these countries where these people are coming from needs to be addressed. People need to be educated and they need jobs.

    As the economy worsens here in this country we are probably going to see all kinds of crime on the increase. If the reason is due to despair, a lack of work or education, then the only way to correct it is to create jobs and education. That should be done while they are in the "corrections" system so that they do not return to the streets without a future.

    Money from the inflated military budget can be used for this purpose.

  6. Of all the comments here, first I want to reply to Carl.

    How do you address the root causes when it comes to pornography? This seems most definitely to be a gender issue. Is it rooted in male physiology or male dominant cultures or both?

    Part of it has to be rooted in the physiology of sex. Males are far more visual in arousal than women are--something my conversation with the porn distributor pointed out. Women's arousal is entwined with relationship.

    I'm also pretty positive that male dominated cultures which objectify women also play a huge part, as can be seen in the amount of porn use in the orient. China is headed for a real male problem, all that porn, and now the purposeful gender imbalance due to sex selective abortion.

    Which directly goes to river's point. The sex slave trade will only explode because of the sex selective abortion issue in China and India.

    In the meantime sex sells, especially to men, and advertising agencies and the porn industry know just how to manipulate it.
    I guess that's what I find so ironic, in the end this is rich powerful men manipulating other men via sexual arousal and passing the exploitation off to women and children. It's business as usual.

  7. Carl. . . Truly you have asked good questions. . .If you have the time, would love to hear your answers. . .I think these are questions that need to be answered, and would love to hear a male voice. . .

    Butterfly. . .i so agree with you concerning the need for education and jobs in developing countries for these women. Poverty is the root cause for so many of them. . .
    In India one of the tragedies is the young girls family will sell the child into prostitution. .
    and if she is lucky enough to survive and an agency is able to negotiate and buy her back, then the family that sold her scorns her and condemns her because she has violated sexual purity customs.
    Then the society is very slow to reach out because the religious beliefs, especially the lower casts, concerning karma. (If something bad happens to you it is because you deserve it based on a previous life.) Talk about a lose/lose/lose.

    Butterfly the program that you watched in Albania is exactly what is happening in the border towns of Mexico. The women are taken from the Asian and Eastern European countries, then they are abused extensively for several months, they are forced to have non-stop sexual partners, every twenty minutes for 18 hours seven days a week. The johns often only pay a quarter. The Mexican police are very intertwined in the trafficking. The extensive training in Mexico ensures the spirit is broken, so they will not attempt to runaway. Once the spirit is broken they are given to a human smuggler and delivered into the major cities across the U.S.

    No matter which angle i look at this is not about sex.

    Surely you have heard about the case that was aired on T.V. concerning the woman in the Aruba in one of the sex slave camps? She was forced to have sex, and just as the man was aroused, a metal stake was driven in the back of the woman's skull, by another man, so she would go into convulsion, and give a super-duper orgasm.

    Sex?. . .There is something so much darker going on here, that uses sex as a cover. Porn is a gateway cover of Misogyny all too often.

    Carl help us understand this from a conscious male perspective. I appreciate you and thanks for hanging in here with us as we peel some of these layers. Peace

  8. Where do we start? River, I have spent several hours in meditative contemplation of this and other issues that are facing the global community. At one point I was almost overwhelmed to hopelessness by the sheer magnitude of what we have to accomplish. All I have are questions and more questions. Perhaps when we ask enough of the RIGHT questions, perhaps then we can find the appropriate answers and start making a difference.

    Where do we start?

    What causes men to gravitate to pornography?

    Where and how could we effectively intervene in their lives to interrupt that process?

    What causes women (not sex slaves) to prostitute themselves?

    Where and how could we effectively intervene in that process?

    What causes men and women to devalue other humans and subject them to these atrocities?

    What do we do with those who place more value on their bank balance than they do on human life?

    How do we identify and intervene before the problem escalates?

    What causes our leadership to turn a blind eye to the problem?

    How do we make these activities unprofitable?

    How do we deal with people in other countries who have different values than ours?

    What have we done so far that is working?

    What have we done that isnt working?

    As I was writing this one common thread kept popping up - the vast majority of these criminal activities keep happening because there are a number of attorneys who make a lot of money making sure that those who commit these criminal acts do not get convicted.

    One solution - make it VERY unprofitable for attorneys who defend these cases.

  9. River, I did not know about the sex slave camp in Aruba. It is really an awful story, to say the least, what you are reporting here. When I saw the documentary about the women in Albania, at NCRCAFE we were in a heated discussion about abortion. While I abhor abortion, I thought, how awful that sex slavery is going on and it seems there is not a single peep from the higher ups in the Vatican or in the Church here. It boggles my mind that this kind of thing is going on and nothing is being done to stop it.

    I am just thoroughly disgusted that this is going on to the extent that it is going on as well. If there is a war against anything there should be a war declared against the sex slavery mills. I think that the UN should be involved in educating women about these industries so that they can begin to protect themselves from slipping into their clutches. We live in an era of communication, yet the real things that need communicating seem to fall through the cracks. A concerted effort needs the world's focus to end this underworld barbarism.

  10. River, the following article on MSN clearly demonstrates the problems that attorneys are causing in our society.

    There is no question about the negative impact that violence on tv and video games has on our children. Yet in spite of that, attorneys in this case and others like it work to keep these destructive influences in front of our children.

    I firmly believe that the biggest source of all of our problems as a society are the inappropriate, immoral and often times illegal actions of attorneys.

    Regarding the catholic church, when we remember that most if not all of the vatican and magisterial authorities are attorneys as well (doctorates in canon law), is it a coincidence that there is a high degree of legalism rhetoric, and dismally low levels of pastoral care?

    Is the state of our nation and the fact that so many politicians at all government levels are attorneys a coincidence?

  11. Carl, I can agree to some extent with your analysis of attorneys, but I keep going back to the scene in A Man For All Seasons when Thoma More is arguing with his son in law about the importance of law.

    Roper was all about going after heretics and other cultural subversives. Thomas had a different perspective. He said something to the effect if you cut down all the laws to go after the devil some day you will turn around and find yourself defenseless.

    The moral of the story is, Thomas More was a brilliant lawyer, but he was a better parent.

  12. Just a note here: the other day one of the artist came to my music page and they changed their logo to something really obscene. I messaged them that I would never go to hear their music again until they take the picture down. They took it down and then accused me of insulting them.

    Go figure!!

  13. And tonight another label decided they want me on theirs has a woman clad half naked as their logo. I wrote to him and asked him to please change the logo to a sunset or a sunrise as the one he had did not go with my music at all and it did not go with my character either. I asked the logo to do the same too. These labels are featuring my music and not all of them are, so it is very disappointing to say the least.