To be completely honest, this wasn't the first time that I've had "The Talk" with Bob. Instead, I have discovered that "The Talk" actually takes several talks spread out over years of conversations. However, I must admit that this is sometimes a bit unsettling. On the one hand, I'm glad that he's willing to have these conversations with me. On the other hand, I'm moderately disturbed by some of what he shared with me.
Tonights discussion began after our Tuesday Night Family Service at church
. It was the kind of conversation that seems to develope on occasion as JT
and myself sit around and get caught up with what's going on in each others lives. And somehow, tonights discussion touched on pornography. I'll spare you the details.
Anyways, as the Boy and I were driving home, he began to ask me questions about why is it so easy for kids his own age (14) to get porn, and why do they want it, and what's so great about it, etc...
So I explained to him that while pornography has been around for a very long time, it has only recently been "normalized" by people who stand to get very rich off of the male propensity to become stimulated by visual imagery. I also told him that while I knew kids who had porn when I was his age (and, yes, I saw it), it wasn't anywhere near as common (or hardcore) then as it has become these days. Then I told him that it wouldn't be surprising to me to find out that many of these kids are merely accessing their parent's stash. Such is the level of "normalization" that porn has achieved.
As for why his classmates want to see it, I told him that, in a sense, this is a normal curiosity. At this age every young man has hormones that are raging out of control. Porn is a way of exploring sex without actually experiencing it. Which is not to say that this sort of exploration is a good thing, but it is somewhat understandable.
That's where the idea of what's so great about it came up. I tried to explain that porn is "fantasy". Guys like to see girls doing the kinds of things that they do in porn. But not every girl is like that. So, by watching porn, his classmates are actually setting themselves up for some great disappointments. Eventually they will find themselves in relationships with girls who aren't pornstars, and when those girls don't do the things that their boyfriends have been seeing in porn, they will become very frustrated with the relationship. That, or they will pressure their girlfriends into doing things that she doesn't like, and then she will become frustrated with the relationship. And that's when he dropped the bomb on me.
He already knows kids who are having sex (not a surprise to me) but he also knows that there are girls who do the kinds of things that the guys see in porn... because the girls are watching it, too.
So this is what we have to look forward to with the next generation. And how much worse will it get before my grandkids are teenagers?
Porn has undergone a slow, and very deliberate transformation over the last decade or two. Mostly because major corporations have dicovered the potential for great profit from it. The infamous Girls Gone Wild videos are a tribute to this truth. But also because certain special interest groups have found the porn industry to be suitable to their agenda. Does anybody else remember a time when Feminists used to condemn porn for it's "degrading portrayal of women as objects"? Now, the Feminists condone porn because they consider it to be "empowering". Likewise, with the growing acceptance of porn, a multitude of other perversions have been able to ride the coat-tails of the industry's success into near-normalcy. The concept of "Gay" Marriage has been thrust into the forefront of the political debate. Also, NAMBLA has an increasing presence in our courtrooms (thank you ACLU).
So, now porn is no longer laughed at because of the shame that was once attached to it, but because it is so prevalent in our culture that so many of our young people (those within the target demographic) relate so easily to it. Porn used to be the industry that bad actors/actresses ended up in after they failed in legitimate theater. Now it's a stepping stone to wealth and fame (thank you Howard Stern, and E! for your tireless efforts to bring pornstars into our homes via cable TV).
I know that there are many people who don't see this as a problem. There are many people who might call me a prude for the way I think, for what I believe. but this is a problem that will only contribute to the further breakdown of our society by continuing to chip away at the foundation of our family unit. Our only hope is that there are enough parents out there who are willing to do better with their kids. The only way that we can change our culture is to do it one person, one heart, at a time. And it has to begin in our homes.
Labels: faith, Family, Reflection