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

531 thoughts on “Pornography: Time to Say ENOUGH!

  1. This is so important to recognise, I see I have not been honest to myself, and others how awful it is to portray men and women as objects. As that is exactly what is happening and is deeply affecting the young and old, as the way we hold this as the norm today, while it is not normal for us to relate to each other in the way that is portrayed in so many forms of media, it is definitely enough, and I feel it starts with me feeling and acknowledging that this is not normal to me and I know something very different.

  2. This is such an awesome blog, thank you Rachel, I love coming back to read it again – you have covered this subject so well. How indeed can we say we live in a progressive society when we have images abounding that present women as mere objects, pieces of flesh, and men as needing to be “buff, aggressive and unfeeling”. True connection with self and others doesn’t even get a look in and this is something we do need to open our eyes to and question.

  3. “It is the time we all learnt to open our eyes, to see the ugly truth of the pornography-infused life we have created, and say ENOUGH!” I absolutely agree with this sentence. I have up to this point considered it enough to not ever had anything to do with the pornography industry but the fact of the matter is if I stay silent and say nothing about the pornography that is in advertising/music videos etc then I am by my silence allowing it to continue. This is unacceptable.

  4. Rachel thank you for calling it for what it is. I agree with you that the pornification of our society is absolutely not normal, and shows how increasingly wayward we have become with ourselves. The energy of porn is not loving so why do we accept it?

    1. Yes Brendan Mooney pornography is definitely increasing and is often introduced in conversations as the norm with any other TV viewing. What is alarming here is the rate of undisclosed behaviour that we champion in movies, share in joke telling and often giggle off as a behaviour that others do. What is powerful about this blog is speaking up about a topic that still gets down played yet is effecting younger audiences daily and setting an image of normalising behaviours that clearly objectify men and women in various sexual roles.

  5. An awesome blog that says it as it is. Mild porn, soft porn, hard porn – it’s all porn and it’s now way beyond just existing at the margins of our society. It’s ubiquitous – and to the point that it’s no longer shocking, but mainstream. When we live a life based on copying the constant images we’re drip-fed, then we’re subjugating ourselves to a set of highly manufactured ideals and beliefs that are hollow and deeply unsatisfying.
    When a whole society fails to speak out about the truth of this insidious issue and what is decent and true, then we only have ourselves to blame for the collective expectations we hold and permit around beauty, sexiness and femaleness.

    1. Very true miss. Hackett. You summed exactly what it is – the highly manufactured ideals and beliefs we have built and put in a video, that are actually hollow and deeply unsatisfying. This is why we have to stop in how far we go in the ugliness that porn is. It is an avoidance of true intimacy.

  6. Every thing about your blog Rachel is spot on, it is horrific how this kind of porn is now seen as normal. Thank you for exposing our part in this and how by standing up now and saying it as it is we can start to see change. These kind of images are deeply detrimental to socially and unless we say it so it will continue to be the norm.

  7. 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!
    You summed up the truth in one sentence. This is our past, and you give us our answer to our future too. It is a matter indeed to say enough and truly self-respect, honor and nurture ourselves. An end to abuse and a start of a new beginning ..

  8. Here, here Rachel, it is so easy to sit back in our lounge chairs and comment how horrible the sleazy way women are portrayed in many situations is, but to step up and say it openly as you have done here needs to be applauded. This needs to be posted to many in the music industry, modelling industry and magazine industry, as each holds much focus for teenage children. What they portray affects a whole generation, is there not a responsibility in this?

  9. That is indeed what happens. We block to not feel what is sent out to us and our children. Because we don t like it and not knowing what to do with it we just block it to not see. But in truth we all feel it all the time. And if we choose to take the block away and feel it straight away like Rachel did we also have this responsibility to live in a different way. It starts with feeling how terrible that energy is and how harmful and how damaging it is for our children. And then too feel that we are all responsible for it in one way or the other. Some by directly watching porn , they add to it and others by having sex with allowing pictures of porn in their head and others by the way they treat their partners and others as a sexual object in stead of making love.
    This is why I was so deeply impressed when I met Serge Benhayon and Miranda Benhayon walking together.
    It was so beautiful to watch them together. The union and love felt as they approach each other is felt miles away. This is so clearly true love on earth. Thanks to them I understand again what I choose to find in me,and with others again.

  10. It is without any shadow of doubt way overdue that we all said enough is enough when it comes to pornography. There is no shortage of evidence of the harm that it is doing to school children as well as to adults. We can all feel how wrong it is yet we don’t stand up and say no to it. Therefore we are condoning it, it exists because we are not saying no to it.

  11. Powerful, say it like it is article Rachel. Exposes how we have as a society accepted the unacceptable – and when we accept something we become it. So when we turn a blind eye to the abuse going on around us in all areas of life, we are not only allowing it continue but we are actually condoning the abuse.

  12. The amount of pornography now readily viewable within everyday life is astounding. The bar has certainly been lowered over the years. I was quickly visually browsing the magazine rack in an airport recently and couldn’t help but feel assaulted by the impact of the covers of the magazines on display. The impact would have been worse had I picked one up and flicked through the pages. These magazines were in plain sight for anyone of any age, which really backs up what you have written Rachel regarding falling standards over time. This standard will keep dropping if we remain dulled down, saying nothing. We all share this responsibility to highlight what is happening here so thank you Rachel for raising this topic so that readers can consider how they may be colluding with what is going on – consciously or unconsciously.

  13. “It’s not X-rated…not yet anyway”. This is the pertinent point here. As you have precisely described the landscape has changed dramatically since Duran Duran released that video in the eighties. But I feel that the degradation is increasing at an exponential pace over the last few years. I’d like to see a graph that mapped the “number of close-ups of breast or behinds – per minute – on daytime TV, Internet and Social Media” over the last 10 years. I’m quite sure that the speed of increase is rapidly increasing. So. Where will we be in a few years time? Where on earth is this heading? And, as you say, who is actually responsible for this? Is it possible that it is us? The everyman/woman on the street – who has let this all go on without raising even an eyebrow let alone a hand or voice? Yes we can blame the media in all it’s forms. But strip it back to basics and the media is no different from any other industry – that operates on a supply and demand system. We are demanding – they are supplying. It is our responsibility.

  14. It is the small drop that can eventually wear away a rock. As you point out Rachel, we have allowed the drip of pornography and sexualisation of women to wear away at the bedrock of what we see is normal.

  15. ”Pornography has become normal, so normal that we don’t blink when we and our children are exposed to it.”
    This is alarming Rachel, the fact that we have accepted normal as being abusive to each other and living false lives. Pornography is everywhere, like you say, and it will become more and more expressive if we don’t stand up and expose what is really going on. A world void of true intimacy looking for connection in al the wrong places!

  16. It’s not only the women who are being completely demoralised but also the men, they are reducing themselves from their naturally caring, tender and totally sensitive ways to something that uses, abuses and judges women on what they see. We are all so sensitive and are feeling all the time, do we bring in more force, images and idealisation to overcome the incessant rape energy that floods our screens, radios, cinemas and magazines? Are we all in denial of the fact that porn proves how far we have stepped away from our truly loving ways?

  17. What’s really disturbing about the whole entertainment industry is the message and intention behind it. We see – as you say – more and more video clips showing less and less clothing – but this only sends the message that this is accepted, sought after, valued, and that this whole industry is based on creating a picture that is essentially porn. It is as of the industry is laughing in the face of true worth, and we are enjoying watching harmless TV. It is a very easy way to play a game of keeping us thinking we are only as valuable as we look – rather than appreciating who we truly are first.

  18. Porn is a drug and like sugar, alcohol and other poisonous substances we as a society have gradually become more and more numb to their effects. These images you talk about Rachel are deeply harming. Thank you for exposing the absurd craziness of an industry that is causing much devastation to us as a humanity.

  19. What is being discussed here in this article and in the cement is what the entire world ought to be discussing. That porn has become normalised in our society, with what was regarded as porn just a few years ago now being accepted as tame and mainstream being a real tell-tale sign of how deeply disconnected as a society we are. And as you say Rachel, amidst all of this, ‘the restrictive body image stench’ remains. Everything around us telling us we are not enough, a failure for not meeting up to an ideal that has been deliberately set up for us to be in constant striving, perceived failure and thus disconnection.

  20. If showing children pornography is a crime, how do so many get away with their pornographic music videos?
    Who defines what is porn and not? And does calling it soft porn make it okay? As if soft porn is safer, you cannot take the porn out of soft porn so it is still porn after all.

  21. People try to justify pornography by saying it is not real, but the actors are real men and women with real bodies who are participating so in order to watch any of the graphic scenes a real body had to be subjected to this experience so that is really happening.

  22. I was watching a movie recently, and observed how the camera was deliberately angled so the screen was half taken up by a woman’s figure from behind, wearing very tight trousers and it occurred to me that there was no real point to this shot other than to sexualise her body. What’s more, is that this movie is very popular with children. So, what are we promoting with these movies? And is this a subtly accepted form of pornographic imagery? If so, then surely it should be treated just the same as the hard core pornography also available today.

  23. ‘It hasn’t gone away. In fact, it has become more extreme.’ – This is the sad truth sexualisation to sell is becoming more extreme with little regard of responsibility and integrity. In feeling the imposition and how inappropriate this is but turning a blind eye as most do we are indeed contributing to the escalation.

  24. Well said Rachel, enough is enough. Pornography does no true good society and simply fills a void where we can go to to escape whatever is going on for us. It is becoming more extreme as we seek more extreme ways to escape from the reality of our lives rather than choosing to make more loving choices and take responsibility for our lives.

  25. ‘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?’ Very true Rachel, time has come for us as a society to address the harm of pornography in whatever form. We can no longer bury our head in the sand and pretend this will just go away as there are too many adults and well as our innocent children being affected and harmed by these images.

  26. What you have presented is so bluntly how it is in today’s world of 2016. As a parent of older teenage girls I do feel the losing battle to what is normal in today’s world. Pornography normalization is one of many areas in our society’s warped sense of normality.

  27. We grew up watching Top of The Pops which was a music show dedicated to trendy pop music and the latest artist, which at the time seemed a bit outrageous when musicians used to come on with painted faces and long hair, but it is a far cry from the music videos that are put out today which in my view are unnecessarily sexual – is it any wonder our teenagers are confused and lost when it comes to relationships.

  28. Indeed Rachel enough is enough, the slogan ‘sex sells’ comes to mind. In no way should we exploit anybody because of their body. To do this degrades us hugely and makes life all about flesh and blood and completely ignores the being inside the body. It says this is what we are and then tries to glorify it. When the truth is we are so much more than our looks.

  29. Pornography is more damaging in our society than we could ever know or understand, because it isn’t until young and impressionable kids who see this, grow up and into (a lot of the time) dysfunctional relationships often having unrealistic expectations of women and men about how they should act and be when having sex. There is a lot to shift and change on this front.

  30. As a teenager I used to watch MTV as much as I could, I now realise how absolutely devastating these music video are. They are encouraging promiscuity, degrading of women and are instilling a false idea into the public of what it means to be sexy. Like you Rachel I am definitely no prude but do have a problem with this kind of harmful media being so mainstream.

  31. There is a real ugly emptiness to the type of music videos you describe Rachel. The videos are there to hide the vacuousness of the songs with their offensive lyrics. And it is such an easy defence to call someone prudish, but that is a deflector from the harm it causes our societies to have these exposing videos seep into the conscious thoughts and actions of us all. The more we see women objectified and reduced to mere playthings for music stars the more it becomes accepted and acceptable. The cat calling many women suffer just by walking down the street is a testament to the lack of respect and understanding many men have for women, and these videos are part of the wider systemic problem. The problem is only removed by redefining sexy, creating a different way of determining what sexy is, because for now sex sells but how about we challenge that and make it that confident, assured and respected women sell items with their clothes on, that sounds much more sexy, and offering real role models for more young girls to aspire to do the same.

  32. I agree whole heartedly with all you have expressed Rachel. The call for self honoring, self respect, dignity, grace and self love is very much called for

  33. Until we truly foster self-worth as a society, and raise our children in such a way, there will likely be an ongoing and ever increasing intensity of reducing people to mere body parts for superficial satisfaction.

  34. I had this exact experience with my then 2 year old when stopped st traffic lights and the billboard in front of us was a wonder bra advert with a women pressing her breasts together and saying ‘hello boys’ I looked behind and my daughter was looking at the billboard and I thought what sense will she make of that image? Then I was faced with what felt like an explosion of sexual objectification of women that was literally every where – I had been asleep to what had happened to our world, numb, shut down, blind. But all of this was chosen by me to not have to deal with it. And here I was realising the world I had allowed and now its impact. It’s time we wake up.

  35. The impact of porn literally destroy a people’s ability to be intimate and loving – it is an absolute crime it has been normalised.

  36. I can’t imagine what it must be like to be a young person growing up in today’s society surrounded by pictures of naked bodies on the internet, on the TV, on billboards, and on their phones. It must seem so normal and acceptable, and yet it is entirely debasing of who they are, and what a lovingly intimate relationship really is.

  37. Pornography is not natural for us. Yes it is very common and for some everyday, but if we all sat and considered what we want in our relationships it would not be this. It is the intimacy we crave – and I do not mean sex. It is how we are with each other in all we do. I saw a presentation yesterday by a world class model, who was talking about the abuse in the modelling industry. She was in particular talking about women. There is a push for women to be as man like as possible, having hard stern postures and bodies and the treatment of models is nothing less than abusive. There is heavy drug and alcohol abuse in the industry and the more a model is self-abusive the more work they get. Any model who begins to speak out, ends up with less work. Meanwhile we continue to support this by purchasing magazines that contain these images. It makes sense then that the modelling, magazine and fashion industries would easily go down the line of selling product through basically pornographic images. As the saying goes “sex sells” – this may very well be true. But what are we actually buying, more than the image or the product that’s for sure.

  38. “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.” My sense is that you are not alone Rachel in feeling this way, I can certainly relate to it. Thinking, feeling that others will deal with it, but actually we all have to take responsibility, because pornography isn’t going anywhere soon by the looks of it.

  39. Yesterday I read an article by a lady who has come out of the porn industry after many years, What she exposed was horrific she explained how you could get huge amounts of money for allowing an abuse or torture scene, many many porn ‘stars’ are now mentally ill and with many with addictions. When I hear about this I realise how low as a society we have gone to allow this to happen and to basically have turned a blind eye.

  40. “Why have we allowed ourselves to become so silent, and afraid to say ENOUGH?” Perhaps an underlying and disturbing reason for the obsession with the sexual image is in the deliberate misinterpretation of sex equating to love. All are searching for love and those who are choosing to make money from this desire are constantly pushing the boundaries to keep the momentum rolling and taking people further away from the love they seek so that the addiction becomes more ingrained – the consequence is pornography in its many guises. Time to say ENOUGH to pornography and the sexual image and to return to the love that we all already are.

  41. It is important we call this out for what it is. Billboards, magazines, newpapers etc.. with barely clad women or men are not appropriate and sexualise products rather than actually enhancing them. They play on our desires and wants rather than offering us reflections of truth. The only way to stop this denegration of both sexes is to say no to it and call it out for what it is.

  42. There is still a lot of shame around pornography, which unfortunately prevents people from having open and honest conversations about this topic. As a society we ought to reflect on what is driving this intense industry, which has now spilled into mainstream media in a more subtle way. I

  43. In the past, those who wanted to consume porn would have to move towards it. In the present, it comes our way and that incites people to move towards it even further. The normalisation of it coming our way only help to trap more people in a movement that is deeply damaging them, others, and every relationship that we can imagine they have.

  44. Going back quite a few years products were sold and bought on their quality not on gimmicky videos where products become known for their shock value, because all that happens is the line gets pushed further and further and we as a society are accepting it rather than say ‘No, Enough is enough’ because all it does is misrepresent both men and women leaving children with a belief that that is what men and women are ultimately here to both look like and behave.

  45. Rachel you have exposed so many of the area’s in our lives where the creeping mentality of pornography is lurking openly. The subtle and not so subtle impact of this is already playing out in our relationship as we move around in the world living our lives and choosing to turn a blind eye to the truth and factual examples you have shared. It does feel overwhelming as I reflect on how we pull this back and support our children to re-connect to who they truly are and to not identify with the objectification of our bodies that is so prolific today. Thank you for raising the issue for discussion and bringing awareness to the subtle ways being used today. We can say ‘enough’ and not look away but challenge what is really being offered and encouraged by advertising, video’s, patterns of behaviour we observe.

  46. We can ignore what is going on with children, but digging our heads in the sand only buries this issue even further. We are seeing younger and younger children being involved in sexual assaults and in hearing some of the stories that young people have on what their internet and social media life is like, we need to be available for them. This was certainly not my experience in growing up. So the question I have is if things like this are getting worse. What are we doing and what are we allowing for children accessing pornography becoming the norm?

  47. The ‘pornification’ of society is part of a bigger trend: life is increasingly filled up with images; overflowed with images. Increasingly, spaces are set in a way where images take over (gyms are a clear case) so you cannot avoid them. It is like there has to be no image-void spots. No space to just be with yourself. And, this is offered as a service; as a good thing. And, at some level, it is if life is pretty empty. Images, no different from food, can fill you up with them.

    Images can offer you (can make you ‘part’ of) a world that is different from your daily experience. Images grab you. And while we think we reman in control because we choose what images to bring into our lives, the truth is that we are totally owned by the need to bring images into our lives to fill us up. The overstimulation is not a free lunch.

  48. “Apparently we live in a progressive society. Where is the progress?” – great question. As a women who grew up in in the 70s & 80s not only has there been no progress in terms of how women are portrayed, it is now worse. 30 & 40 years ago, it was still objectification of women with things like the Sun’s page 3 and Benny Hill shows as mainstream, but now that looks tame compared with what’s on the internet and on TV. So I don’t see any progress. Progress would look like an evolution. To look at how women were portrayed in the 70s and 80s and be able to say no to that kind of objectification.

  49. The impact that normalised porn culture is having on young people is huge, We only need to look at the increasing levels of anxiety that young people are experiencing or look at a young persons instagram account to see the influence this is having on how they view themselves. Yes, more role models are needed of women and men who hold themselves with love and can reflect this to others.

  50. “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?”
    I absolutely agree Rachel, it is this inconsistency in what is acceptable that makes the messages so messed up – we have caved into advertising, glamour and in the end greed, and at what cost?
    We have a generation of children growing up with ever greater unease within themselves, statistically in the UK “Around three children (aged 5 – 16yrs) in every class suffer from a diagnosable mental health disorder”
    Is this the compounding effect of our laissez faire attitude?

  51. You raise so many great and pertinent points in your blog here Rachel, that there is so much pornography that has made it into mainstream life, that when there is something graphic and totally abusive and exposing, that people are becoming less reactive to what is really being seen. Why are we allowing this to happen? We have very much become this lazy society that just keeps allowing more and more abuse into our homes and lives. When will this stop?

  52. Brilliant blog expressed here Rachel and yes the world is full of sexualised images from the tv, ads, magazines etc. But what is also interesting to consider is what type of energy is being fed to us from these pornographic images? If everything is energy then these highly sexualised pictures, videos and ads are being played and accessible by everyone everyday and that is something worth saying no to because it affects us all.

  53. Today I saw a fashion magazine in my family doctors waiting room that was full of models looking sad, depressed, given up, angry and messy with vacant eyed stares. There were undertones of violence and physical violation and I was stunned and horrified by what I was seeing. It was a thick glossy mag and it had only 5 smiling colourful photos in the entire edition. I share your shock and outrage Rachel and join you in saying enough of this darkness.

  54. “As a woman, you are to look hot and passively accept your role as an object for men’s gratification.” That about sums it up really and I too Rachel share your concerns about what we are presenting to the world. I feel the ramifications of this in times to come will be quite hideous unless we collectively start calling this out.

  55. “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.” – How many of us can say that we have done or still do this? I know I can, but can also say am now waking up to the things that I’ve brushed off or dismissed in the past or just plain blanked out as didn’t think I could have any affect on them, as I can see now that our voice does make a difference, each and every one of us.

  56. Very well said Rachel, I stepped out of the tram after reading your blog and was eye in eye or I should say eye in cleavage of a woman with very big breast on an advert printed all over the tram going the other way. It is everywhere and like you I feel I had closed my eyes to it, seeing it as normal, just the way it is, but it is not and should not be normal. Because it is not the true fullness of who we are as men and women. We deserve to live much more than in a society like this.

  57. Well said Rachel – it is time we say no to objectification of both women and men. All the adverts etc. set us up to do is fail and beat ourselves for not looking a certain way. We are all magnificent pieces of a jigsaw puzzle and so we are all needed in our unique ways. If we were all the same the picture would actually look blurred/1 colour/ 1 dimension whereas if we are all ourselves we get to see the whole.

  58. I agree we do ignore what is right in front of us “…I had been ignoring the pervasive and spreading harm of ‘normalised’ pornography, staying silent and hoping it would go away.” Often when things don’t feel good, we check out or smooth over it, to attempt to avoid the disharmony that is evidently there…it is there for a reason, somethings just don’t feel good, they degrade who we are…porn is big business, on many levels in society, great to be aware of it around us and challenge it.

  59. Thank you Rachel for opening our eyes to the reality of an increasingly sexualised society. It is shocking how easily we become complacent and accept something as normal that clearly is not. If we give up and not look at what needs to be addressed we become complicit in a game where we are puppets, who’s strings are pulled by a force outside of us that dictates what is normal and what is not. It is time we empower ourselves and step out of this ugly play and claim back a truly honouring and love-filled way of life.

  60. Wow what a blog Rachel. This is leaving no justifiable place to turn but to look out and see that society is really in a bad way with regard to how we are with ourselves and these sexualised images that are only getting more and more extreme by the day. It only takes an open heart to listen to the cry of humanity.

  61. Powerful unpacked and exposed – what we, as a society, have tragically allowed. The degree to which we have abandoned basic common sense when it comes to respect and care of self and others is such that children younger and younger these days are quite simply going off the rails. Aggression is king, the gateway to recognition, as is hard, fast sex in a a tech-hype society that congratulates itself on its impressive technological advances while the people within it, continue to retard and lose themselves in acceptable lifestyles that have them as fodder and objects towards one another.
    So much work to be done to awaken humanity out of its deep, dull sleep.

  62. It’s been three years since you wrote this totally powerful and inspiring article, Rachel, and reading it right now I am feeling rather uncomfortable as this still stands very relative and presents much needed insights, and I know the way I am feeling is only exposing the choices I have been making not to be aware.

  63. There is so much uncomfortable truth in your blog Rachel, we are turning a blind eye and not speaking up more about what is going on here, especially for our younger generation and what they are now being exposed to that we are saying without saying anything, that this is okay.

  64. Thank you for verbalising something we all feel Rachel. I have seen a steady decline in music videos being about music and a worrying rise in the sexualisation of music videos to the point it is clearly porn.

  65. Images communicate so much even without words and are constantly giving a role model for kids and adults to align with. It is disturbing just what kind of images and messages we have allowed to become commonplace and agree it’s time to really use our discernment and voices to bring some true love to our media and arts.

  66. Outstanding article that goes there with the questions that society as a whole need ask and never cease to ask whilst we live in a world that allows such lovelessness and degradation of women.

  67. You have called out so many things here Rachel, really amazing blog. Yes we are all responsible and have a responsibility for what is playing out in the world. So we are all responsible for making the change that is needed in the world.

  68. A brilliantly written article Rachel and as you so rightly say it is Time to say ENOUGH! Time we all stopped thinking that things will fix themselves or simply go away if we ignore them.

  69. I have no doubt that many if not most in society have done what you have done with regards to learning to keep their eyes open and see what it all around them but place some kind of veil/filter across their vision to block out the things that they do not want to see… the things in society that are abusive in some form but somewhat normalized to be acceptable. It is time for people to truly stop and recognize that this is not okay and speak up like you have… rather than resign to perpetuating it through the apathy that abounds.

  70. The pornification of society really highlights the lack of social responsibility and personal decency. Everywhere I see sexualised images I feel it shows where people have completely sold out for what they get from it (profit, notoriety etc), instead of what they can truly offer to support people and communities.

  71. I don’t have a television, my husband and I prefer to listen to the radio so when I do see these kind of music videos I can feel them really offensive and harmful I am sure if I was subject to this kind of material more often I too would become desensitised and override the horrific harm they are actually causing. This concerns me as there are many children out there growing up becoming desensitised to what is essentially abusive behaviour.

  72. Reading this brought back the shock and shut that happens in me every time I see a film clip (which has been some time now). I remember we used to call them kiddy porn, which I would call a truth, I would also go as far to say straight out porn. The effects of this constant imagery is evident every where as you have shared Rachel. With many young people acting out their perceived ideas and pictures of what a man or women should be. We have a great responsibility to offer a truth of what men and women are, by living in a way that reflects the amazingness that is in all.

  73. “How are young women and men ever going to learn that there is something called love-making, when all they see is sex?” – and not just ‘plain’ sex but pornography that at times is extreme, and men and women suffer equally as a result of this.

  74. When we are bombarded with imagery that encourages the objectification of women and men in a way that is in gross disregard to the human body, it makes it easier for the people absorbing these images to make the same kinds of disregarding choices with their own bodies. Especially with our children, when they see this over-sexualization and obscene media, it’s as if it is giving them permission to indulge in the same harming behavior.

  75. If developing brains are drip fed over sexualised, photo shopped images of men and women they begins to form impression literally on their brain and neural pathways – Later in life when they want to be in partnerships these images can have an impact on people’s ability to form connections. Imagine being an 18 year old and wanting to be in a relationship with soemone but you can’t get the pornaographic images out of the way to form a connection. Porn is so much more harmful than we realise.

    1. This is a great point Nicole. These images of the ideal, photoshopped partner get in the way of our being able to discern the person who is right for us, rather than the one that ticks the image boxes. This extends beyond what they look like, as we acquire images of how they (and we) should behave in an intimate relationship.

  76. It is so true when we objectify people we lose sight of who they are really and we make them objects for us to use for our pleasure. There is no true relationship in that for we are not relating with them as the equal beings that they are.

  77. The normalisation of pop-porn and the fact that the sexualisation of women is accepted is deeply disturbing of where we are at as a society – for both women and men as we equally have a part to play.

  78. The you are being a “prude” argument is quite a manipulative tactic, it is used by those who wish to control and demean genuine complaints about the overly sexualised nature of society. Mary Whitehouse in the UK in the 70s had quite strong views about society becoming looser in its approach to sex, however possibly her stance and her movement had a negative long term effect as no-one wishes to be seen as that controlling prude. But what we have now is not about prudishness, it is about violent sexual imagery that demean us as men and women. Music videos could be about creativity, instead they are sledgehammers telling us this is how it is, and that must conform to this view of what it is, in particular to be a women. Not OK.

  79. I have to wonder about the quality of the music when musicians need and want to sell their music with sex. A song used to sell itself and music videos were the band playing the music together. I also have to wonder about the state of our society when we not only accept the sexualisation of women and men in mainstream music videos, but also want more of it. What these videos reflect to our young people who are forming ideas about how to relate and be in relationships is incredibly damaging, with no hope of respect, equality or self-worth. I agree its time to say enough.

  80. Thank you, Rachel, what a blog, so much is being said and so much is revealed.. as you said the veil is removed from my eyes, I had chosen to do so. This blog is exactly that and showing us a way to wake up and inspire us to open up, truly open our eyes and see what is going on that is so wrong and should never be accepted. Hence a great moment of stop this blog offers for the reader to take stock at their awareness of what is going on and if we are choosing to say no or yes to this abuse. As we know this current pornographic way might seem overall normal, but we all know it is simply not. We all know that this allowance of pornography in our current society: media, magazines, videoclips, internet, papers, tv etc., all has to do with us not living in our power and divinity. That is absolute love – no pornography.

  81. There really is a lot that we have begun to accept as ‘normal’ in our society when it clearly is just not ok. This is what we accept on our television, our billboards, music videos, magazines and the like. We accept these images, complain about them yes, but usually feel helpless to what is before us. Instead of standing up and saying NO to these images, saying no to emaciated women on catwalks, and abusive imagery in advertising. All of these things and not standing up to say no, normalises them.

  82. The only way we will address porn in society is through the deepening of intimacy in our relationships at home, for then the craving to seek porn becomes no longer appealing.

  83. This is an excellent and very exposing article Rachel. Your point about parenting really stood out for me, because as a young person I know that there is no way to avoid or turn a blind eye to the pornography and sexualisation you’ve spoken about (nor should we, as it’s so important to speak up about it), but if I were to have kids I would want them to know that the images they were going to see of women and men as portrayed by the media were false BEFORE they became overwhelmed by ideals and beliefs from all of these mediums. Thus, it’s so important to have a relationship with our children that is open and trusting, so that a) we can share what’s going on behind the scenes of the media and WHY this is happening, so that they don’t feel pressured to be that way and b) they can see how we live and use that as a role model over what the media presents.

  84. I completely agree with what you are saying here Rachel. Firstly it is really imposing having these sort of videos played in spaces like gyms. Well there is so much to say hear (and you have done a great job in starting the discussion and conversation). It easy to react but what we need to do is to respond to this, the fact images and objectification is getting more extreme is because we (as humanity) have ignored it for so long, we have let it go under the radar and not truly addressed this as have gone about our busy lives. However now it is as such a point that we can no longer ignore it. I work in sexual health with young people and it seems there is currently very little support for them in helping them to deal with what they are coming up against, abusive, loveless relationships with little self worth or self esteem seeing what is going on around them as the ‘norm’. We need to have these conversations … everywhere. And definitely need to start reflecting to our younger generation there is a different way to be and live and to call out the abuse in adverts etc for exactly what it is.

  85. I so agree Rachel, we are just constantly bombarded with imagery that has become increasingly more and more pornographic in nature. Whether it is on the tv, in magazines, what we see when we are out at shopping centres, on billboards, just everywhere. Yet we wonder why kids are the way they are, or crime is the way it is, or divorce is rife. The breakdown in society around relationships, what is deemed normal or not is largely to do with what is projected onto us, and we accept it. SO much has become normalised, that just isn’t normal. Unnatural imagery of women’s bodies, how we should look, how we should live. This isn’t normal and never will be.

  86. The normalisation of pornography is rampant to the extent it is not even called what it is. We call it a music video, when what we should call it is pornography packaged to sell music.

  87. Brilliant blog Rachel. The blindness you talk about here is quite confronting. You have helped me see that I too have blocked out much of what I see with a sense of hopelessness about it all. The world is only where it is at because we have all accepted it. The question “how do we explain these images to our children?” is a very good one. The truth is we have all accepted a huge amount of abuse and it will only end when enough people say enough.

  88. It is a gift to truly see, the beauty, the ugly, everything. When we can see and we express the truth of what we see, we realise there is a lot of work to do in restoring the truth that we ourselves have blindly walked away from.

  89. I get to see these clips at my gym as well – rows and rows of disembodied humans who consist of a collage of officially decreed sexy body parts, humans with a vacant look and no idea of the rot they are contributing to.

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