UPDATE: PORNOGRAPHY MAY NOT BE SO HARMFUL AFTER ALL!


About a week ago, I posted this piece about a news article that pretty much concluded that 
watching porn was destroying America.  I was a bit suspicious and turns out I was right to be.


LETTER TO THE EDITOR:

Regarding Gail Dines’s  April 10 Outlook essay, “Is pornography immoral? That doesn’t matter: It’s now a public health crisis ”:
It would have been preferable for The Post to have published a piece on pornography by someone other than a longtime anti-porn activist who lacks objectivity on the issue. Dines’s book, “Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality,” which I and others have critically reviewed, is based on fallacies that were recapitulated in her essay. She claimed that “viewing pornography is associated with damaging outcomes” and went so far as to assert that porn has hijacked “the physical and emotional well-being of our culture” — whatever that means. 
Her work has been criticized for cherry-picking information that appears to support her animus toward porn, for ignoring counter-evidence and for making gross generalizations about the supposed effects of porn on viewers, the “harms” of working in the industry and the very content of pornography, which is so varied today that no one can make sweeping, monolithic claims about it. Many of the studies Dines mentioned were conducted in university laboratories, with tiny samples of college students — results that are hardly generalizable outside the lab context to wider society (given how unrepresentative college students are). Moreover, findings from lab experiments cannot be assumed, as Dines did, to have any real impact on
individuals’ attitudes or behaviors in the real world. And even more important, her essay failed to mention studies that have documented positive outcomes from exposure to pornography, based on surveys and interviews with consumers in the real world. But it is not surprising that Dines would write such a distorted and inflammatory article given her lengthy campaign to outlaw porn in the United States and other countries.  
Ronald Weitzer, Arlington
The writer is a professor of sociology at
George Washington University.
NOTE: Well, okay then.  See I was right.  There was something funny about the article.  Glad to know that my hunch was correct and that I can continue to watch “Todd Takes It Up The Ass Six Times and Comes Back For More” without feeling guilty.  Or that I’m damaging society.  Or whatever it was that she said.    





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