Pornography: Time to Say ENOUGH!

by Rachel Mascord, Dentist, Sydney, Australia

Today I became re-acquainted with music videos. I also got newly acquainted with the ‘pornification’ of our society.

As a teenager I loved my Saturday morning television fix of greatest hits, or ‘Rage’, ABC TV’s Sunday morning music staple. Many years have passed since I have watched a music video. This morning’s viewing at the gym proved to be educational… and deeply disturbing.

All the clips portrayed women being sexual to a degree that was blatantly pornographic. One video stood out in particular, and not for the loveliness of its music or the artistic quality of its content. No… it grabbed my attention with the fact that it was focussed on the bare behinds of its three featured dancers.

And I mean focussed.

The video was dominated by close-up shots of these women’s behinds as they danced. They were almost ‘wearing’ strips of Lycra that turned into G-strings, so everything that could be exposed was exposed. When the camera was not intently focussed on their rear ends, the three were simulating ‘girl-on-girl’ action.

Now, I am not easily shocked, and I am not a prude. I love sexy clothes, make-up, and I love to dance… but this!! It was straight-up porn, attention-grabbing with what the director would probably call ‘shock value’. I can’t imagine that they could even try to call it art. Here it was blaring out at the local gym at quarter to six in the morning.

I felt shocked, bewildered and embarrassed. I was embarrassed by imagery that I did not (and would never) choose to look at. I was embarrassed because I understood that I was being shown something that said “you’re a woman; this is your purpose and function”.

I was embarrassed by something else too. These sexual images abound everywhere, from the advertisement of perfume and underwear, to the covers of so-called women’s magazines in the supermarket. I have learned to ignore them and pretend they are not there. I have learned to keep my eyes open, but place a veil across my vision, blocking out the things I do not want to see.

I was embarrassed because I recognised that I had been ignoring the pervasive and spreading harm of ‘normalised’ pornography, staying silent and hoping it would go away.

It hasn’t gone away.

In fact, it has become more extreme.

What do these images say about our society, about women and about men?

What does it say about us that on one hand we have people complaining about paedophilia (as they should), but on the other a laissez faire attitude to the imagery that abounds our streets, supermarkets, child-friendly TV shows and public spaces?

Why have we allowed ourselves to become so silent, and afraid to say ENOUGH?

The following troubling ideas came up over the day as the shock faded into an urge to understand and express my feelings on this:

1.  Women and men are being perceived and used as objects

Women are used as objects, even in their own videos. The women in music videos are reduced to ‘hot arses’ or ‘great breasts’. They are not humans, not people… just arses, breasts or whatever it is that has become the current focus in terms of sexualised object.

The body parts have strict compliances about size and shape. Breasts must be large, rounded and heaving. Buttocks have gone from boyishly slim, to ‘bootylicious’ large. The belly must be flat, ‘six-pack’ preferred. It used to be that girls were used in this way for male artists’ music videos. That has changed. The song in the ‘hot arse’ clip (don’t even ask me the name of the song, I have no idea, and was listening to my own music) seemed to be sung by a woman.

What does that say? Have women given up to the point that they are saying, “Yes, men, we are just boobs and arses, and pornographic stunt dolls for your pleasure”? Madonna, imagining that she is amazingly ‘liberated’, uses men in the same way. They are her ‘toys’, and a collection of body parts for her, and our, visual stimulation.

Who are the women and men in these clips? What inspires them? What do they long to express? How do they really feel about the way they are being used?

2. Pornography in music videos and in advertising

OK, it’s not X-rated… not yet anyway. Are we willing to wait for it to get to that point before we wake up and act?

Thirty years ago, Robert Palmer created a stir with a video that featured a wall of almost identically beautiful, blank faced, inexpressive women dancing to his song ‘Simply Irresistible’. Presumably, ‘simply interchangeable’ as well. The women were sexy props, adding the only chutzpah to a dull song. They were passive and knew their place.

Duran Duran produced a soft porn music video back in the eighties that was restricted to late night viewing only. Perhaps a few people complained at the time, but the majority just accepted it. Thirty years later, Duran Duran’s ‘shocking’ clip has become tame, and would unnoticeably blend in to the porno-fest that video clip shows have become.

This reliance on pornographic imagery has spread further afield. According to a number of perfume and expensive clothing advertisements, the latest fashion for women includes being raped by a man, perhaps even a group of men. Apparently we don’t enjoy frolicking across a grassy field, smelling lovely anymore. No, it seems we will only purchase these products when we are shown what a sexy victim we will become by owning them.

Pornography has become normal, so normal that we don’t blink when we and our children are exposed to it.

3.  Role models for young women and men

As a young woman, I was influenced by what I saw in music videos and magazines. I was super-smart, with a great mind, and great potential to do well in any career I chose. Yet I was also vulnerable to body image issues, which have taken a great deal of self-loving commitment to heal. These images clearly said what was sexy and what was not. I did not match the narrow image that defined sexy, and that was harmful enough. This is true for very many women.

Young women and men are now contending with a multitude of problems.

The restrictive body image stench remains, although apparently we have ‘progressed’, because large buttocks are now acceptable. Fat people are still portrayed as the butt of jokes. ‘Normal’ people apparently don’t exist. So if you fall in the 95 percentile of body shapes, you won’t appear in an ad or a video clip.

On top of that, we have a massive problem with the fact that young people are learning about their bodies, sex, sexuality and how to express as a woman or a man from the pornographic images in advertisements and music clips.

As a woman, you are to look hot and passively accept your role as an object for men’s gratification. You are allowed to be aggressive, but only sexually, and only if you eventually submit. As for your opinions?… Your feelings?… Unimportant. Your expression in the world is limited to being the ‘sexy object’.

Young men have to be buff, aggressive and unfeeling. They are supposed to sit back and judge each woman according to the sexiness of her anatomical parts. To connect to her an equal human being is anathema.

How are young women and men ever going to learn that there is something called love-making, when all they see is sex? This is not even sex between people, it is an act carried out between faceless body parts.

How are they going to learn about the beauty of their bodies that comes from wholeness and self-connection? How will they learn to recognise and appreciate the beauty in the eyes of someone who is deeply self-connected, self-aware, and lives lovingly?

Apparently we live in a progressive society. Where is the progress? All I can see is that we are living in a ‘soup’ of imagery that is offering young people less and less to connect to, and be inspired by.

The caricatures of women and men that are portrayed in video clips and advertisements are an insult to both genders.

Both are reduced to the lowest expression possible: men become brainless thugs, answerable only to their genitals, and women become live action sex-dolls, faces pulled into the same, ridiculous, open-mouthed blankness and bodies contorted into poses called ‘sexy’.

4.  Parenting in the era of socially acceptable porn

How on earth do parents cope with this?

Do they have to restrict their children’s access to music video shows? Do they watch these shows with their children, and explain the problems with what is being portrayed? Life is challenging enough, child-proofing satellite TV and Internet access, especially when techno-wiz children run technological rings around their bewildered parents.

Or have parents simply given up? Have they fallen into the trap that I fell into, of becoming willfully blind to that which is glaringly and painfully evident?

 5.  Free speech versus controlling prude

I love this argument. Apparently, what I am calling for is censorship, and apparently this is the greatest evil on earth. It allegedly makes me prudish and controlling.

On the other hand, there is the great virtue of free speech. This seems to equate to the fact that anyone can say and do whatever they like, hang the consequences, because people are free to look or not.

Hold on… not so free. I had no choice whether I looked or not on Wednesday morning. I guess I could have gone to the weights room, picked up a 5kg dumbbell and lobbed it through the TV screen. Tempting, but it might have had an adverse effect on my gym membership.

I have worked hard at ignoring the billboards on buses and at the sides of roads, but the fact is the images are there, affecting all of us anyway.

At the supermarket, I have magazine covers with half-dressed women in my face. Body comparisons are emblazoned all over them. Who is sexy? Who is not?

How about who is amazingly self-aware?

Or who is living their true expression, inspiring others to do the same??!!!!

The free speech advocates seem to feel that these images have no effect on anything or anyone. Hold on, if that is so, then why go for the porn and the sex? If that argument holds true, then why don’t they portray something else? Clearly they don’t because ‘sex sells’. In other words it does have an effect, and it does have a grip on people.

Free speech advocates want the argument to cut both ways: no, it has no effect, hence I am not responsible for anything; and yes, it does have an effect because people ‘want’ it, and look at the great effect on the bottom-line. Pun intended.

Freedom to say NO does not apply to those who do not want to be bombarded with pornographic images. Apparently the only opinion we are ‘free’ to express is an opinion that agrees with the permissive, given-up zeitgeist.

6.  Confused agendas

The creation and possession of child pornography is a criminal act. Great, so it should be. Showing pornography to children is a criminal act. Good, agreed. Letting your kids get up on a weekend morning to watch Rage or other music clip shows is not.

People kick up a big stink when a newly released, once-convicted paedophile moves into their street. They don’t complain with equal vigour and commitment when every tween’s favourite, Miley Cyrus, produces a music video that belongs on the shelf of a seedy ‘adult shop’.

Why the contradictory focus?

Why so much energy placed in some areas, but the big, pink elephant that has us squashed against the walls is blatantly ignored?

There are more and more people writing about the issues I have discussed here. Karla Willows in the UK has made the valid point that these pornographic images are pervasive and harming to children. She asks the question “How do we explain them to children?”.

Just ponder that for a moment. What would you say to a four or five year old child to explain a music video, such as the one I described at the beginning of this piece? The innocence of a child highlights the demeaning qualities of these images. These images are now too freely available and too easy for children to access. What harm is being done to them in the process?

But I would also go further, and say that these images are harming to everyone. How then are we explaining, excusing or rationalising them to ourselves?

The only reason that we do not feel the harm is that we choose to block it out and ignore it. We hide our hurts under the armour of sophisticated ‘open-mindedness’, aggressive sexuality, or adopting the unfeeling male and female caricatures championed in pornography.

To those who would say that young people are not being affected, I would say open your eyes, rub the sleep out of them and LOOK. Young women do not know how to dress in a way that is self-honouring or self-respectful. Skirts are short to the point of obscenity. In winter, they wear barely enough to protect themselves from mild days, forget about the truly cold ones.

Many young women and men are dull-eyed. Some of them have given up, barely speak and are perpetually physically hunched over. These are teenagers, at a time when vitality should be high, and life naturally glorious! According to some people, this state of apathy is just a ‘stage’ and ‘normal’. Apparently it is not normal to look radiant, with clear eyes and an open face. It is also not normal to dress with respect for self and the weather.

Some young men hang out in packs, looking girls up and down like objects, in a way that they have learned from their favourite male music artists. This is intimidating and demoralising, whether the looks are appreciative or dismissive.

Another symptom of our hyper-sexualised culture is that young people are ‘sexting’ each other. For those who are unaware, a ‘sext’ is a sexually explicit message or photograph primarily sent between mobile phones. It can include a photograph of oneself, either naked, or with breasts or genitalia exposed.

The willingness to take and share such images shows a deep-seated lack of self-respect, let alone self-care and self-love. These images, once sent, are completely out of the person’s control. They often end up posted online for all to see, become another source for bullying, and have resulted in young people committing suicide. Reputations and lives are ruined, but how do you say “No” to the pressure to comply, when all around tells you that your value is purely determined by certain parts of your body?

I would also say to people ‘wake up’ and pay attention to the fact that children are also using smart phone technology to download and share pornography at school – primary school.

To those of you who feel these points are irrelevant, and reflect a backward view, I would say, if we allow things to continue along this path, the day will come when a ‘progressive’ video maker will produce a truly X-rated clip. They will dress it up as ‘pushing the artistic boundaries’ and intellectuals, sitting in their ivory tower institutions, will engage in empty debates about the societal impact and the artistic merits of such a step.

Meanwhile, there is a lived reality that includes younger and younger children engaging in rough, painful and degrading sex acts.

Given all of this, is it not time to re-establish a way of being that is founded on the qualities of self-honouring, self-respect, dignity, grace and self-love?

What would our world look like if those were the principles upon which life was truly lived?

These reflections were inspired by all that I have learned as a student of Universal Medicine, Serge Benhayon, and predominantly as a student of myself. Universal Medicine shared the tools to help me remove the veils from my eyes. I made the choice to do so, so that I could see clearly again.

I can truly say “I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now my heart can see”.

It is time we all learnt to open our eyes, to see the ugly truth of the pornography-infused life we have created, and say ENOUGH!

Further Reading:
Porn – An Addiction Worth Talking About
Porn Addiction – What Are We Missing Out On?
Pornography, Internet & Sex – An Insight into a Distorted World

576 thoughts on “Pornography: Time to Say ENOUGH!

  1. Yes it is seriously alarming the normalising of pornography and sexual violence in mainstream media, and available at the touch of a button… how destructive is this for young girls growing into women attempting to make sense of it all, and how damaging for young boys to have this as their norm and guidance of what it is to be a man. If we don’t all speak up now, the consequences for our future communities will be devastating. One could say that this is already the case now. Just ask a 13 year old girl.

  2. I share your embarrassment Rachel on each of the levels you describe. And more so at hypocrisy I too have indulged in. I just wrote a comment elsewhere about the normalisation of abuse, including self-abuse. Accepting what we have accepted is simply another form of that.

  3. ‘Pornography has become normal, so normal that we don’t blink when we and our children are exposed to it.’

    Pornography is not only laced in the images of film clips, but the lyrics too. It is saddening to see the innocence of an 8 year old sing lyrics that infer giving guys blow jobs without them even realising.

    1. And those lyrics as you say, Abby come laced with an energy, which in our lack of awareness we can embrace and take on board and then become more blinded to what is happening.

  4. What are we thinking when we allow in our homes these types of video clips and magazines that promote sexual objectifying of women and men. We have a big push on at the moment to eliminate domestic violence from our lives and homes and yet we allow these promotional videos that objectify women and see them as saying all we truly are is sex objects. Double standards and mixed messages for all . Sex is one part of a relationship not the whole, so who or what is promoting this untruth? Why do Parents allow these magazines and shows to be read and watched in their homes. We need to stand up and be accountable for our part in parenting our children and not allow complacency to take over! Who is promoting true Love? ITS UP TO US !

    1. Absolutely and totally agree. What is happening here is very ugly and the increase in babies and very young children being bought and sold as sex objects for sexual gratification is horrific.

  5. Me too, Rachel – I also learnt to ignore a very uncomfortable message being shouted at me as a teenager, as if I was embarrassed about my own reaction of being embarrassed about what I was being presented with, like I should have been able to stay unaffected while allowing that trash to be around, as if my honesty was synonymous with naïveté.

  6. People become outraged when a child is harmed by an adult through physical or sexual abuse, and quite rightly so. But what if they were harmed simply by being in a house where pornography (of any type, including these music videos) was being used by an adult, whether they see it or not? If everything is energy, then the energy behind pornography is present whether they see it with their eyes or not.

  7. Indeed Rachel, enough is enough and we all have to come to this point before this ill way of exploiting men and women in the imagery world we live in.We have to open our eyes and feel what is presented here and forget what we see, as the imageries are luring us into a way of being we actually are far off, actually the opposite, and when we fall for these imageries we need more and become numb for and unaware of the harm that it is causing, not only to us a a individual, but to ur children, families and societies as a whole.

  8. It really is no wonder the level of abuse that is increasing year on year is where it is at if pornography is so readily available. What is being asked of young girls today from the boys has never been so disturbing yet for them this is all they know. We have start looking in our own back yard and make changes before we start to see any changes that are so desperately needed.

  9. It is so easy for all of us to see only what we want to see, rather than the stark reality of the integrity of humanity sliding down into depths of degradation that are now considered totally normal in every day.
    It is quite shocking to see how young teens are copying their pop idols clothing (or rather lack of it) in order to feel they belong and fit into what is acceptable in society. This blog is a strong call for us all to wake up and stand up for what is truly happening here.

  10. I have had discussions on this topic with young people. Many laugh it off and think I’m just old and easily shocked. They don’t connect the dots and see how this leads to behaviours in society where women are treated as objects. We are seeing the consequences of this objectification in the widespread abuse of women in things like verbal abuse, rape and domestic violence.

  11. Sexually explicit imagery is rampant with technology and I agree it shouldn’t be normalised. How do we feel when young children show signs of inappropriate sexual behaviour? Do we ignore this and hope it goes away?

  12. A great point is being raised here about the impact of images on us as even if they technically do not reveal everything however they actually feel as though they do. If we discount the impact this is having on us because ‘it isn’t technically porn’ as some would have us believe, we are discounting what is actually being communicated via these images which is having an affect not only on adults but children too.

  13. There are many things in our society that have been escalating over a period of time, and pornography is only one of them. It is interesting to see how this escalation happens, and I can really appreciate how Rachel has shared this in her blog. These days it has come to a point that what was once considered pornography and somewhat restricted to magazines (in a time when the internet was not so easily available to people), it is now found all around us and deemed ‘normal’ and not really classified as pornography. The shock factor has worn off the initial tame attempts and so today it has to always exceed what is already out there if it is to grab any attention as such. The demand is the key culprit as is the silence of those who do not speak up to put a stop to this.

  14. When I was in year 7 (32 years ago), I was part of the Student United Nations and I submitted a notion to censor pornography – I was embarrassed to see the porn magazines in the newsagents and felt it was time to put a stop to this. It did not get picked as a topic of discussion so no more came up from this. However, it was something I always felt strongly about. Over time, in conversations, be it with women or men, they always said to me I had better get used to seeing porn around, as this is the way it is. My battles to stop or ignore porn seemed to be to no avail, and strangely, I decided to explore it to see what the attraction was. This very short dabble in porn revealed to me that I was scared to let myself truly feel and live being a woman, and from that fear it was easier to choose something that numbed me out (hence I seemed to not feel the fear) rather than allowed me to see and be aware of the coldness and objectification of the porn and the damage it was doing to me and every woman in the world. But more so, the numbness that came for the shock of what I saw, stopped me from feeling how miserable I was in life. This is big and helps me understand that porn is a symptom of how miserable and disconnected we are living in life. Might be another blog in what I have shared here…

  15. What you raise here Rachel needs to be brought up for discussion, and to remind people that we should not have to tolerate this in society today, it is not wise or acceptable.

  16. Couldn’t agree with you more Rachel, there are so much rot that is circulating around the globe and only getting worse. It is abhorrent what is going on out there in the world, yet we choose to turn a blind eye to a lot of it, if it isn’t happening in our back yard, then we don’t want to know. Yet the proliferation of pornography and imagery now available, it is very hard not to see it.

  17. A very powerful blog, with a great wake up message to not be complacent or blind to what is being passed off as acceptable when we know how deeply disturbing it is to allow any form of pornography to pollute the innocence of young children.

  18. I agree it is time to live life by these principles, ‘time to re-establish a way of being that is founded on the qualities of self-honouring, self-respect, dignity, grace and self-love’. Long overdue time to live life from being love who we truly are.

  19. I was shocked the other day when I realised how young children were who were watching pornography on their mobile phones, and how many teenagers think that that is how women should be treated, we have to say enough is enough and start doing something about it.

  20. Teenagers are being brought up in a world where the standard of relating has plummeted to an all time low. Everywhere they turn they not only see the abuse and corruption that exists in the music, porn, and film industries, they are watching the adults who are personally in their life turn a blind eye or consider this to be normal, therefore effectively confirming it all as okay.

  21. The huge demand for pornography reveals we have a very big problem with intimacy as a society, and as a result people are putting up with living in a way that is very substandard to what we naturally deserve.

  22. It is horrible to think that the teenagers of today are being influenced to believe this is what a relationship looks like, and therefore is it any wonder our young men are confused when all they see is pornographic images in movies and music videos, and then think this is how you treat a women.

  23. The thing is, that no matter what is happening on the TV screen it is important not to react or to make it personal. I know this can be difficult sometimes, especially when you care so much about people and it can be frustrating to see the state of the world today with so much insidious darkness and chaos, with children growing in to adults in a place where there is little true love being expressed. But we cannot take any of this personally, because as soon as we do then we are lost as well. The key here is in understanding the hurts that are driving these behaviours forward, to look and see the person behind the image and to love yourself no matter what because from there all people are loved too and then it is not a world with little true love anymore because there will be one more person expressing from their inner-heart, and this is what really makes the change – when true divine love is being expressed.

  24. ‘I have worked hard at ignoring the billboards on buses and at the sides of roads, but the fact is the images are there, affecting all of us anyway.’ Rachel, I can say the same. I have managed to put on a filter to all of this as it is everywhere I have not wanted to look. I have believed there is not much I can do about it, so turned away. Yet, I expect there are many many people who feel the same and just like me haven’t spoken up. It’s great that you have written this blog and called it out.

  25. Your point about censorship is so true. Anyone who speaks up against abuse, pornography or discrimination is apparently trying to ‘censor’ freedom and many people address this with utter disgust, particularly on the Internet. What is the point of free speech, free access to anything and everything and pornography if we have a society where physical, verbal, cyber and emotional abuse is rife and a large percentage of the population are suffering from illnesses, mental health conditions or unhappiness?

  26. Our moral compass appears to have stopped working for what is now normal! There was a time when we as a collective agreed what was acceptable; today is now the Wild West where anything goes. How have we lost who we are, in such a short time?

  27. We normalise porn in society, no doubt, why is it that we do not even raise an eyebrow…well most of us, when women are laying on cars with hardly any clothes in or leaning on double glazing like it’s their biggest crush…who questions it….I have a son and daughter and even at their young ages the stories and pictures are coming home about what makes a woman and man, it is shocking how insidious this stuff is, and I for one will not be ignoring it or normalising it. I have in the past, but I see now the shadow I have been under and I am commited to calling out this rot in our relationships, both men and women suffer through porn soft or not in society. We are made for much grander and meaningful interactions.

  28. It is outrageous and deeply shocking the way we hold and view each other, the way we have let pornography colour how we feel within. But where does it start and truly begin? It seems to me, the more I live and consider it, that pornography doesn’t live in a web site or magazine but is a stimulation we seek when we feel sad and empty inside. So possibly this is the true elephant in the room – why are we so miserable that we seek this abuse and say it is good? Thank you Rachel for what you shared in bringing this much needed Topic to air.

  29. I love what is shared here about Who’s is amazingly aware? How many of our current magazines would then hold the news stand?

  30. Brilliant Rachel and deeply uncomfortable and rightly so. We’ve chosen to close our eyes, I know I have and we cannot have it both ways, saying it doesn’t affect us and yet these images are used because they do affect sales. We’ve become lost in an image obsessed morass, and we’re forgetting that we’re more than our body parts, we’re living, breathing, loving beings, time to come back to that and say enough to the gross abuse we’ve been allowing with porn and the sexualisation of both men and women. We are so much more than this, let’s live it.

  31. The sexualisation of women in music videos is a responsibility for recording artists to consider deeply. The legacy they are leaving the world in an effort to sell music will surely become something they regret.

  32. Something that has been popping up for me lately is the word ‘food porn’ which is watching cooking shows or adds. It’s the same evil in a different bag, feed images to tantalize the spirit.

  33. We get sad and outraged when we see obscene gestures, movements and gyrations. It comes as a shock and suprise to us when we come across this. But is this extreme isolated or does pornography have much deeper roots? The more I sit with what you present Rachel, the more I feel pornography is fuelled by anything we do to stimulate ourselves. Whether it’s shopping, social media or arguing we are constantly using things to escape from ourselves. Our pornography issue feels like a symbol for this.

  34. We all have a responsibility to speak out and expose the lasting harm that is caused to society by ever more explicit pornographic images being peddled as ‘art’.

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