What Kids Are Learning From Online Porn New York Times

The New York Times appears to be taking a more progressive approach to porn — because we shouldn’t be passing judgment on it.

What Kids Are Learning From Online Porn New York Times

What are kids learning from online porn? That is the question at the heart of this New York Times story that offers a statistical snapshot of their expectations about sex and relationships. While researchers have worried about the effects of easy access to porn for ages, this isn’t the first time one has found that what gets viewed is making an impact.

To be clear, this isn’t easy metrics to find, but BuzzFeed did end up scouring the internet to put together this top 10 list. If you’re looking to more in-depth analysis, OneKingsLane did a thorough examination of porn’s long-term effects on young girls. This is similar but different, and it’s one that absolutely needs to be studied. Obviously, the impact of porn on youth in general is absolutely critical, and finding out how it is affecting our impressionable youth should be a core consideration in any social policy.

If you are looking to a specific study to give you an idea of how teenagers are influenced by all this, BuzzFeed could definitely hook you up. Just go ahead and do some fact checking and re-reading. Go ahead and peruse the list and maybe Google it to make sure it is legit. Nothing says you must believe anything we at the Times publish than the fact that it has been published, regardless of how far removed the piece is from reality. But, I’ll happily make the exception if you agree that a few minutes digging around on Google will uncover this list. This isn’t necessarily intended to be gospel truth, but it is the conventional wisdom of much mainstream media these days.

So, let’s start, shall we? BuzzFeed reports,

The graphic that was popular with teens was “a female face covered in pimples or scabs, and weaves in violent sexual images as her partner sucked on her tongue” according to a 2011 study published in Sex Roles: A Review of Pornographic Arts and Literature. The study’s researchers speculated that erotic photos of cellulite could trigger sexual arousal without explicit sexual activities. “Such pictures remind the viewer of a sexualized partner body part as well as their own, said Ph.D. student Isabel Wilson at Louisiana State University. “With the co-occurrence of sexual images with explicit sexual activities, most pornography contains a hidden link to sexual behaviors for which it purports to be an alternative, safe way to indulge.”

So is this wrong? No. It is tempting to get angry, as when an all-white story shows the world of Hispanic and black sexual assault. But, are we better off with a possible gender-neutral explanation for how a 13-year-old girl feels the way she does about the way she looks? Not really. What is so seriously wrong with these photos? Is that different than non-sexualized depictions of girl bodies? There is an editorializing gloss to the whole argument that makes it tough to figure out what BuzzFeed actually meant.

So, what the last time had such a strong impact? It was non-scientific pop music videos of Carole King and the Doobie Brothers, in case you can’t remember. The impact is that in this sampling of adult music, there is usually a loss of personal attention. Some of this is situational (eg. those friends you like, a celebrity that announces that they are famous), but this current treatment of youthful sexuality seems to be following a trend that has been in place for awhile. Take Paul Walker in The Fast and the Furious movies, that is like a 13-year-old experiencing everything from his perspective (any similarity to the ethos of this article is purely coincidental).

Just because we are adult doesn’t mean that an adolescent mindset is wrong. Just because porn depicts an alternative view of sex doesn’t mean that it is outside of the realm of sexual exploitation. I am far from the expert here, but this pop cultural aside reeks of pre-Internet awareness. If nothing else, the graphic’s concept reminds us that the internet is the Wild West and that we need to do everything we can to work in our own communities to level the playing field and foster a sense of class consciousness among those who may be exposed to this content.

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