I’m a firm believer that fictional material or media, be it violent, sexual, hateful, or is otherwise offensive or deviates from the presumably “normal” or “acceptable” standards set out by a community or majority culture has no negative effect on those norms.
During the early to mid-twentieth century, pornography was a hot-button issue. America was undergoing a “sexual revolution” with new advancements in technology and communication. It was as easy as ever for movies and publications to be produced en masse and distributed to their audiences nationwide, which included sexually explicit pornography.
A lot of people, especially in rural areas, felt this didn’t comport with the status quo as they knew it, seeing it was “corrosive and destructive” to the moral fabric of their communities or country. The idealistic nuclear family was put at risk by this.
It wasn’t just pornography, though. Easy access to birth control, interracial marriage, abortion, rock music, and a plethora of other things all became part of a culture war that would rage on and evolve throughout the years.
In the 80’s, we watched the “satanic panic”, where rock music and fantasy RPGs were accused of being “un-Christian” for their themes and imagery, with many believing them to incite human or animal ritual sacrifice, hard drug use, and other deviate behaviors in minors and adults alike.
In the 90’s, we had violent video games, with many people believing they had a negative impact on society, wherein they would allow people to simulate, re-enact, plan, or otherwise engage in unhealthy, violent criminal acts that would disinhibit them from committing actual crimes.
President Nixon would characterize the perceived cultural harms of pornography by arguing that if movies, books, etc could inspire great change, then they could also inspire negative action. This mindset would become cemented as the bedrock behind the “normalization” arguments.
Of course, we all know now that none of these alleged fears came to be true.
People are still getting together and having families, raising children, and living traditional lifestyles, with both parents working, be they husband and wife, wife and wife, or husband and husband.
Rock music has flourished and the video games industry is now worth billions.
Violent crime has observed to be unaffected by violent media. A murder in real life is still revered for its effect on human life and as a danger, despite being seen in just about every video game, movie, or entrainment medium imaginable.
And sex… Sex crimes have actually gone down over the years, and decline in statistics seem to correlate heavily with the availability of pornography, be it adult or fictional child pornography.
With the advent of the internet, we’ve seen an explosion of sexually explicit material. A diverse world of different tastes, ideals at the palm of your hands.
So tell me, why can’t we look at sex the same way we look at violence? Surely we can all agree that humans can tell the difference between reality and fiction, right? Surely we can depend on our own senses of right and wrong to understand where and when certain ideals are to be entertained?
And surely these things can serve as an outlet?
There is no evidence that the availability of child sex dolls or virtual/fictional child pornography will have any negative impact on society, or its ability to care for its children.
It is my firm belief that we are witnessing a moral panic, rather than an objective assessment of the state of affairs.
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