Gender and Sexuality Column

Violent pornography poses threat to healthy sexual relationships

/ The Daily Orange

You might’ve deleted your web search history, but you can’t erase the role the internet plays in the growing rape culture in today’s society and the promotion of violence against women.

Syracuse University’s “It’s On Us” campaign invited Amber Morczek, a central New York native studying criminology at Washington State University, to lead a discussion in Stolkin Auditorium Tuesday night on how pornography harms sex lives and the way women are perceived. And given that October is Domestic Violence Awareness month, the lecture came right on time.

At the start of her presentation, “Pornography: Normalizing the Relationship Between Violence & Sex,”  Morczek said it best: “We’re gonna be talking about some pretty graphic ish.” And, she wasn’t talking about her cat obsession or the pictures in her PowerPoint that proved it, but the harsh reality of what “normal” sex has become as a result of the porn industry.

This increase in readily available violent pornography has changed the dialogue surrounding healthy, consensual sex. Though it is completely normal to watch, pornography is normalizing pain and discomfort for heterosexual women. These presentations also blur the lines between what is blatant domestic violence and what is simply a sexual preference. Porn is a way for people to learn to maneuver their own sexual lives, but aggressive scenarios present within them can impact society negatively.

The porn industry sets an unrealistic standard for real-life experiences that can’t possibly compare to this glamorized form of violence. Most women do not look like the actors in these videos, and not all women want to partake in the violent acts displayed in them.

Promoting this sort of violence adds to the idea that rape is not a serious offense because who is to say that rape isn’t just “rough sex”? Morczek spoke on the effects of partaking in this kind of sexual activity even when consent is present and how that contributes to the larger umbrella of the violent rape culture.

Even more dangerously, society accepts sex as something that is enjoyed by men and endured by women. Well, despite what Pornhub or XNXX.com portrays, sex is supposed to be enjoyed by more than just one party.

“Things are evolving because people are becoming desensitized to these things,” said Morczek. Degrading and dehumanizing women is contributing to a culture that diminishes the importance of consent and makes these violent themes normative.

Morczek’s presentation clarified the ways in which pornography is just another catalyst in the normalization of violence against women. Violent porn has grown in popularity and severity according to the numbers Morczek presented to the room: 82 percent contains physical aggression, 94 percent of targets of violence are women and 95 percent of women responded to violence neutrally or expressed pleasure.

While it is naive to expect that people will suddenly stop watching porn, it is important to keep the bigger picture in mind: The porn industry will continue to thrive and so will the threat it poses to women.

Said Morczek: “On an individual level, what you do with your body is up to you, but on a macro-level this can be detrimental.”

Ivana Pino is a sophomore political science major. Her column appears weekly. She can be reached at ivpino@syr.edu.

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