Treading boldly through a Pornographic World
A Field Guide For Parents
by Daniel Weiss & Joshua Glaser
This is a a very helpful guide. As I read this book, I kept thinking about two young people, male and female, in their teens who were in the news some time ago. They were drunk. They willingly went inside an unoccupied room. She claimed that he raped her. He said that he thought she had consented. He was found guilty and was sent to jail. Whether guilty in actual fact, it became very apparent during the trial that he had an attitude towards females. He objectified them. We could say the same thing about Epstein and Weinstein. The Me Too Movement should have called us to value human persons as God's children. It did not. That's why it won't succeed.
Pornography objectifies human persons. It is essentially an act of hate. It has little to do with sexual intimacy. The British writer and academic David Holbrook said as much so many years ago and he was widely mocked. Mary Whitehouse was treated even worse. They were right. They were writing at a time when we had to go after pornography. Their critics told them that if they did not like pornography, they should not see it.
What this book reminds us so brilliantly is that we no longer have to go in search of pornography. It is after us, thanks largely to the internet. The authors discuss what is known as the Triple A Effect: pornography is anonymous, affordable and accessible. It is also, of course, addictive.
In the world of porn, "racism and mysogyny are rampant." Where is the Me Too Movement in all this? Black Lives Matter?
Another A word is aggression. The perpetrators of aggression in the porn world are overwhelmingly male. The victims female. The authors describe porn movies where the cameramen were so disgusted that they walked out after seeing women being hurt physically during the filming. As British columnist Jenny McCartney put it: "the adult film industry is steadily moving on from the representation of lust to that of loathing, with sex as war by other means."
The authors tell us that research in this area suggests that porn use leads to lack of trust between partners, a belief that promiscuity is normal, a belief that marriage is constraining, a belief that sex without affection is normal and an unwillingness to raise children. "The truth is pornography dehumanises both users and actors." It has everything to do with power and humiliation.
All this could make for a rather depressing book. Fortunately, the authors remind us that the Christian call to chastity is beautiful. Chastity is not the same thing as virginity or celibacy: "The married have no less need to order their sexuality rightly than do singles."
Dostoevsky said that beauty will save the world. For the authors,"true beauty offers a way forward that is more compelling than fear" when teaching our young people to keep away from pornography. The authors also remind us that the word "sex" comes from the Latin word "sexus" which means the state of being either male or female. We are integral bodily beings, male and female. It is not in accordance with nature to be a bodily male with a female mind. It was pleasing to see the authors quoting from Pope John Paul's theology of the body. The authors also note that from the Book of Genesis to Revelation, God's love for us is seen as that of a "loving Bridegroom to his Bride."
If, as the authors say, the biblical vision of sex is that it is "unspeakably valuable and holy", then resisting sexual temptation is not working against the body but working for the body.
This is a valuable resource which helps us shepherd our young people into a life of love.