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Should pornography be banned for people under 18? Show more Show less
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Yes, porn is harmful and misleading and should be banned for minors Show more Show less

Pornography is desensitizing and potentially addictive. People under the age of 18 are not capable of making adult decisions regarding the content they consume and should be protected from harmful images.
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Pornography promotes sexist and sexually objectifying behavior

Sexualized representations of women in pornography encourage girls to see themselves solely in sexual terms and equate their self-worth with narrow standards of physical attractiveness. Exposure also affects the way men treat women, causing them to adopt a sexually objectifying attitude.

The Argument

Pornography is sexually explicit by definition. It has the dangerous potential to base the self-worth of girls on perceived sexual attractiveness by others rather than their desires and interests. This consequently leads girls to see themselves in only sexual terms. This argument stems from the fact that pornography offers a decontextualized portrayal of sexual behavior and a relentless focus on female bodies. Exposure to pornography can, therefore, result in greater acceptance of stereotyped and sexist notions about gender and sexual roles, including notions of women as sexual objects.[1] This has serious implications in terms of the persistence of patriarchal societies. Evidence of this argument comes from Peter and Valkenburg, who investigated the relationship between exposure to sexually explicit internet material (SEIM) and adolescents’ beliefs about women. They found that exposure to SEIM caused stronger beliefs that women are sex objects, regardless of adolescents’ gender.[2] The study concludes that children and adolescents should not be exposed to SEIM, which includes pornography, since they would develop sexually objectifying attitudes. Bandura’s social cognitive theory is a theoretical framework that may explain how portrayals of women as sex objects may trigger viewers to develop similar objectified views toward women. According to this theory, individuals’ beliefs and behaviors change in line with the modeled behavior if role models demonstrate rewarded behavior.[3] Overall, there should be an age limit, 18, to view pornography to prevent children from adopting sexist and sexually objectifying beliefs, attitudes, and behavior.

Counter arguments

Even though there is research to support this argument, some researchers argue that porn literacy education can prevent children from developing sexist and sexually objectifying beliefs and behavior. A longitudinal study conducted by Laura Vanderbosch found that the sexist views of children became weaker the more they had learned from porn literacy education.[3] Another study by researchers from the University of Copenhagen and the University of California in Los Angeles suggested that pornography reinforces sexist attitudes among a subgroup of heterosexuals. Researchers asked the participants about their porn consumptions and assessed their personality in terms of agreeableness.[4] The results revealed that pornography only increased sexist attitudes in males with low agreeableness. Among women, increased past pornography consumption was not associated with any of the sexist attitudes investigated.[5] Therefore, it is not true that pornography is linked to greater acceptance of sexist remarks by women or greater sexually objectifying views in men. Individual differences should be taken into consideration.

Proponents

Premises

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/car.1092
  2. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/227579356_Adolescents%27_Exposure_to_Sexually_Explicit_Internet_Material_and_Notions_of_Women_as_Sex_Objects_Assessing_Causality_and_Underlying_Processes
  3. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/319963235_The_Relationship_Between_Online_Pornography_and_the_Sexual_Objectification_of_Women_The_Attenuating_Role_of_Porn_Literacy_Education
  4. https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20170926-is-porn-harmful-the-evidence-the-myths-and-the-unknowns
  5. https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-09/ica-prs090313.php
This page was last edited on Tuesday, 6 Oct 2020 at 03:06 UTC

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