To said “Porn Aficionado”

By Ellen Goleas

I recently read your letter to the editor in The Daily Illini, and I have a response for you from a more feministic viewpoint. From your letter, I get the feeling that you consider women to be silly – silly in believing that porn is something to be concerned about. In my letter, however, I shall prove to you that I, and women like myself, are not silly in believing that there are negative effects to porn. My letter will offer up real research and support rather than the emotional, obviously opinion-driven argument that yours did.

Recent research about media effects proves that over time, pornographic content that was once arousing to a person becomes less so, and the individual consuming that content must search for a more violent form of porn in order to achieve arousal. A person who has watched porn for years, as I am sure that you have, must watch increasingly violent pornography as time goes by. Porn desensitizes men, and violence that originally disgusted them becomes the only thing which can, in your words, “turn them on.” Many women dislike violent sex, and would deny their partners such, and so, once their partners have reached their maximum ability to achieve orgasm through porn, what other outlet have they but to rape a woman?

In “Media Effects: Advances in Theory and Research,” Dolf Zillman and Jennings Bryant state that “sexual violence may be particularly arousing … to “normal” men if the victim is portrayed as being aroused by the assault” (311). Men who watch violent porn may begin to believe that women enjoy this kind of stimulus, and thus, may not believe that rape is such a bad thing. If the women like it, they think, then what makes it so wrong? Women, though, do not like rape, and so the image that porn has projected to men is false. Rapes performed by men who watch porn are not always a “result of a previous psychotic condition,” but rather a product of the porn that man has watched.

From the “days of pornography” that you boast are on your computer, I assume that you are single, and thus, for your sake, I regret that you have put your name on your letter to the editor, as you have probably enraged much of the female population of the University and spoiled your chances of finding a girl – very few of us agree with your stance. I also pity you, for addiction is a sad condition to have, and it is clear to me that you are hopelessly addicted to pornography – so addicted, in fact, that you think it prudent to broadcast your misogynistic views in a campus newspaper.

Yours,