WHAT IS IT? Sounds like a made up word, hey? It is! Because this whole ‘pornification’ thing is a new phenomenon, a new word had to be created. The word gives a name to the highly sexualised images and themes that no longer just exist in porn, but that now make up our mainstream culture. Pornification describes the Playboy Bunny sheets that are sold at home wares stores; it’s when guys want a new t-shirt and all they have to choose from is row after row of images of headless, surgically enhanced women; it is when music clips (not porn videos) are of men throwing money at women wearing g-strings, dancing and twerking on poles; it’s T-shirts for toddlers that say “Future Porn Star”.
WHAT’S WRONG WITH THAT? Well, simply put, it normalises a hyper-sexualised world in which men are seen as nothing more than sex robots and women are seen as nothing more than sex objects. It takes porn out of a private world and puts it firmly in a public world where it is seen by everyone – even little kids. And because we can see it everywhere it becomes ‘normal’.
Teenagers have always been, and will always be interested in sex. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that – it’s a natural curiosity related to growing up. Unfortunately, ‘pornification’ only promotes a particular brand of sex.This is harmful to both men and women because everyone becomes use to living in a world where it is acceptable that the value of a man rests on how many women he can shag and how long he can last and that women and girls can be bought and sold like porn stars. And as we all know, both men and women are so much more than that.
HOW DOES THIS LINK TO ‘RAPE CULTURE’? When women are seen as things that can be bought and sold then it follows that they are seen as possessions and not very valuable ones at that. This links back to the idea that men have all the power (they can ‘dispose’ of their possessions) and women have none (they can be bought and then thrown away at the mercy of their ‘owners’). There have been heaps of studies done that show how the first step in being violent towards someone else is to see them as a thing, an object. When we’re taught that women are things, then it becomes easier to treat them as things, and to treat them with disrespect and violence. Pretty crap huh, and not at all how real life respectful relationships are.