“””what Teenagers Are Learning From Online Porn,”” New York Times Magazine (feb. 7, 2018)”

Shameless self-promotion aside, this does explain quite a bit about how technology affects our behavior. It shows that girls are expressing frustration with their relationship to this technology through sexual content.

“It doesn’t make you emasculated. It just makes you emasculated.” That’s how Debbie, an adult who has witnessed the abusive behavior in more than one friend’s internet interactions, described the pernicious effect of online pornography.

Which was more shocking? The phrase “but it doesn’t make you emasculated.” Or that Paula Keaton — with her glasses, geeky dress, and non-binary conflation of idealized femininity and misogyny — was even a beacon for young girls, despite giving karmic vindication to predators everywhere?

Because we all know what isn’t emasculated by this pornography, and what always condemns it, is truth.

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“What teens are learning from online porn” — New York Times Magazine (feb. 7, 2018)

By Will Moore

The digital world is different now than it was decades ago: there are more venues for self-expression and access to more varieties of experiences than ever before. And in those places, boys and girls are frequently exposed to different materials—including (but not limited to) pornography. Studies have shown that porn can affect boys’ attitudes about women. But are girls similarly affected? And what do those consequences mean for teenage girls who develop online worlds — after years of purely offline experiences — that are both private and public?

In the article, Moore dives into the possibilities and limits of pornography as they pertain to what girls and women can and cannot see of themselves. He includes the background information for the article, “What teens are learning from online porn,” a New York Times Magazine piece that reached tremendous viral prominence in October (following Amber Waves of Wonder’s “Take my bros name from this list” and Kirsten Sandberg’s “Girls Gone Wrong.”)

But more than just analyzing and reporting on the effects of pornography on young people’s lives, Moore points out the beauty in porn’s now-revered accessibility and openness. (Indeed, it’s a good read for people who are interested in how young people are both learning and experiencing in the online world, but perhaps not in the image of the flasher who interrupts his daughter’s entry into the nursery with a stick up her. Which is a good picture because the gentlemen must have worn protective goggles that absorb the washing. Nevertheless, it’s damn impressive that he’s so often only blowing off steam. Even for the porn-obsessed.)

The piece is written with a fresh, and more appreciative eye than most mainstream media renderings of teen sexuality, and includes plenty of pleasant breezes blowing through. For example, Moore relays at one point that his mother’s favorite porn icon is Sandra Dee, so that when Moore’s wife chatted with him about feminism and porn, she would lead with an anecdote about how her mom became enamored with Rod Steiger in Baby Doll. He uses these sort of wonderful bits of personal data to let the reader feel that he is at the front of a conversation with a real parent, instead of seeing it as a tedious rubric the journalist and author is introducing in order to get a “reporter quote.”

This sort of formality is what allows the article to feel less like a list of bottom lines in a provocative essay and more like a thrilling story-telling device.

We do wonder about how such careful pieces might be written when the subject isn’t a peer but a parent. Would it be worth hiring an adult to write a piece about, say, an emasculated 15-year-old girl? What could be gained by having a grown man write and promote an article that finds five ways in which porn represents a fake — but nurturing — world for kids, but that one or two of those pieces really could help one kid somewhere?

Perhaps this article, which marks a major foray into the realm of kid porn in serious journalism, is as significant as it seems. Media stories about children and sexuality already abound, and very few have tackled pornography the way this article does.

Either way, the essay is eye-opening, racy, and so pretty. We’re looking forward to hearing from you.

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What do you think of What teens are learning from online porn? (Rob, 26, from Durango.) Let us know in the comments.

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