Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Porn bad for the brain, bad for women


Jacques Rousseau’s article in the Mail & Guardian (March 22-27 2013) titled “The naked truth about porn on television” cannot go unchallenged. Rousseau is the chairperson of the Free Society Institute and defends the viewing of pornography on television. His intervention in the recent debate about whether we should allow pornography on television is clearly uninformed and stems from a liberal perspective that pornography is a form of speech or expression.
“ … there may be a correlation between porn and sexual violence, just as there may be a correlation between hours spent on church pews and lower backache”
Rousseau argues that “porn becomes a big problem only if it automatically causes harm”. According to him there may be a correlation between harm and pornography, but we cannot show causation. As he puts it “ … there may be a correlation between porn and sexual violence, just as there may be a correlation between hours spent on church pews and lower backache”. He also chastises those who think it is an issue of morality (like the ACDP). Indeed it is not only a moral issue and often feminists who criticise pornography end up in the same category as conservative church leaders, but for very different reasons.
Dr Judith Reisman, an American neuroscientist, gave evidence to the American Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation on the effects of pornography on the brain. According to her, emotionally arousing images imprint and alter the brain, triggering an involuntary but lasting biochemical memory trail. These neurochemical pathways are nearly impossible to delete. Because these images are directly linked to the state of arousal during orgasm, viewers of pornography become addicted to watching pornography in order to trigger the same chemicals. Her research has shown that watching pornography overrides cognitive speech processes (so it’s not only speech).

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