Pornography is a scourge on society

On Sept. 20, Democratic Presidential hopeful Andrew Yang tweeted the following: “As a parent of young kids I believe rampant access to pornography is a real problem. We need to empower families to be able to moderate what our kids see and when.” This tweet sparked a debate about the role that pornography plays in our society, with a host of op-eds published on various websites about the controversial, mostly unspoken issue.

Yang is right. We do need to empower families to be able to control what their young, impressionable children are seeing, but his tweet does not go far enough. It is time to ban porn.

Pornography is a scourge on society. Many men and women, young and old, watch pornography claiming that it doesn’t hurt anyone. This is wrong. Porn has real, measurable effects of harm on society. And the worst part is, more porn is being viewed now, than ever before in human history, according to the anti-pornography nonprofit Fight the New Drug (FND). 

Porn is widely available for free on every electronic device that can surf the web and play videos. It creates unhealthy mindsets when thinking about sex and has been shown to have the same addictive qualities as drugs. According to FND, “Researchers have found that internet porn and addictive substances like tobacco have very similar effects on the brain.” 

One might say that porn addiction is no different than alcoholism, tobacco addiction, gambling addiction or another addiction to some form of legal product, and that we should simply help those who are addicted and not ban the product as a whole. 

The difference between the porn industry and other industries is that women are denigrated and taken advantage of under the guise of becoming rich and famous. According to The Washington Post, former porn star Mia Khalifa revealed that she only made $12,000 for her involvement in the porn industry. Not only are some women coerced and lied to about joining this industry, but this industry also fuels sex trafficking.

According to FND, there are an estimated 21-32 million slaves around the world. 22% of those slaves are sex slaves. That is roughly seven million sex slaves around the world. Porn has been proven to increase the demand of sex trafficking and many of the women in pornographic videos are sex slaves. 

According to the non-profit Rescue:Freedom, “[49 percent of former sex trafficking victims] told us that pornography was made of them while they were in prostitution.” Women are abused everyday in the porn industry, but many women are also abused because of their husband’s or boyfriend’s porn consumption.

According to a study on pornography and violence done by Mary Anne Layden, Ph.D at University of Pennsylvania’s department of psychiatry, 81% of victims of abuse said that either their partner viewed pornography or they were not sure whether or not their partner viewed pornography. Of the women who said their partner viewed pornography, 40% said that the pornography was an incorporated part of the abuse. This isn’t to say that everyone who watches porn will become an abuser, that is obviously not true, but porn does play a role in the abuse of women.

Consumers of porn also have worse relationships and sex lives according to multiple studies. Some of the key takeaways from FND’s summary are that porn makes its consumers more critical of their significant others and reduces the value of monogamy and marriage. It also causes less intimacy with their significant others, and individuals who watch porn become “less satisfied with their romantic and sex lives, and more likely to cheat on their partner.” 

Overall porn has myriad negative effects on society. Porn increases sex trafficking. Porn hurts relationships. Porn gets people addicted. It fuels abuse. Porn denigrates women, turning them into nothing more than sacks of meat for the pleasure of men, and not as dignified human beings. Pornography is a scourge on society and should be made illegal.