Why the National Post wrote a lazy article about pornography

Josh GilmanAwareness, Children, Community, News

by Josh Gilman:

I don’t know.

Last week the House of Commons unanimously adopted Motion-47 which calls upon the Canadian Public Health Committee to study the harmful effects of Online Sexual Violence (pornography).

Yesterday the National Post published an article titled. “Parliament is about to thrust itself into the unsavoury world of porn with a useless committee.” Now to be clear, I don’t know the author, Ashley Csanady, and I don’t know whether she asked to write this piece, or whether it was assigned. But I can answer their question as to why this study is needed. And it’s because people write and believe articles like this.

I’m not sure exactly what the Public Health Committee will look at and who they will call to present to the committee. But I do know what they will find if they indeed look into this topic in detail. They will find the rebuttal for every single one of Ms. Csanady’s mostly sarcastic statements.

In case one of your relatives tries to bring this up at Christmas or your co-workers start spouting off, I will provide a response here to just a sample of her comments. I will try to respond with less sarcasm. It may prove difficult.

Despite Conservative MP Arnold Viersen’s suggestion otherwise, there is no causal link between sexual violence and pornography. It’s something both far-left feminists and rightious-right Bible thumpers have argued for years, but lots of scientific research shows it simply isn’t true.

Well the link to the “scientific research” that she links to is a National Post article which in and of itself was so hilariously flawed that my Colleague Jonathon Van Maren had to respond with his own sarcasm tinged article. “Watching porn makes you become a fuzzy sensitive women-loving feminist…somehow.”

If Csanday had done a little more digging beyond the National Post’s own back catalogue she might have discovered a little screen-shot-2016-12-16-at-8-31-35-ammore than simply an issue that “Far-left feminists and Bible Thumpers” support. (Side note: If far-left feminists and Bible thumpers agree on something, maybe pay attention). She would have discovered that the consumption of porn, even casually, strongly desensitizes both men and women to violence, abuse and rape. Look at these depressing charts which shows how men and women change their mind about the amount of appropriate punishment for rape. In both cases, those with massive exposure to porn recommended nearly half the jail-time as those who hadn’t been exposed.

Charts via Mary Anne Layden presentation:  The effects of Porn Use.

Charts via Mary Anne Layden presentation: The effects of Porn Use.

Or how during the debate in the House of Commons itself, MP Michelle Rempel told a story I’m far too used to hearing, about how her friends who teach high-school are seeing a dramatic increase in girls ending up physically injured from the violent and dangerous sex acts their boyfriends are asking them to copy from porn.

I didn’t realize Canada was plagued with an epidemic of men who can’t get it up because they spent too many hours on PornHub. Maybe that’s what to blame for our ever-declining birth rate.

If you were to remove the sarcastic tone from this paragraph, it simply is a true statement. Ms Csanday didn’t know that the rate of Erectile Dysfunction in men under the age of 40 has gone from 1% in the 50s, to 30%. 30 times as high. A 3,000% increase. In less than 60 years. That’s an incredible leap.

If she had asked the 200,000 members on nofap.com, a purely secular online community of young men trying to quit pornography in order to get control of their sexuality back she may have realized. Or read the Time Magazine article “Porn: Why young men who grew up with internet porn are becoming advocates for turning it off.” Or gone to any number of YouTube videos where so-called experts claim there is no such thing as Porn Induced Erectile Dysfunction. The comments sections of these pro-porn videos (warning: Tons of language in the comments section) are flooded with young men saying “This guy is an idiot, I have P.I.E.D.” or “Porn addiction ruined my life.” And while internet comments are not generally a treasure trove of scientific fact, it is hard to believe that too many young men would want to lie about HAVING erectile dysfunction”.

Forget fentanyl, the real threat to Canadians’ health and safety is clearly a little BDSM before bed.

Again, this statement simply reads true. Thanks for writing it.

In 2012, an FBI study found that 60% of women in Alaska had experienced “Intimate Partner Violence”. Where in the world are men & women getting the idea that violence is a part of an intimate relationship?

88% of mainstream porn contains violence against women. And if you think that has no effect on human behavior, to quote professor Gail Dines, “The fashion industry influences how we dress, the food industry influences how we eat, how could the sex industry not affect how we have sex?” If watching something on a screen can’t affect our behavior, then trillions of dollars are being wasted by the ad industry every year, and Super Bowl commercials are simply 4 million dollar entries into a sport-themed short film festival.

The fact is, most violent porn viewed online isn’t made in Canada, and there’s precious little legislators can do about even some of the more offensive titles, so long as everyone involved is ostensibly a consenting adult.

While it’s true that much of the most violent porn is not made in Canada, the entire porn industry is essentially being run from Canada. MindGeek is a Montreal based organization that owns upwards of 92% of the industry. That actually means that the Canadian government is well positioned to have an effect on the entire industry world-wide.

And while evidence is admittedly somewhat mixed, there is as yet no clear proof that pornography fuels sexual violence — and actually some studies actually suggest the exact opposite. There’s even competing evidence whether watching porn is good or bad for relationships.

This is where the article simply can’t hold on. To claim that we don’t know whether porn is good or bad for relationships because of competing studies, is as preposterous as telling a Syrian refugee that you’ve heard conflicting reports about the safety of their country. The evidence is in front of you. All around you.

The move to view porn as a public health issue, then, is less about protecting people and more about controlling their private behaviours — something governments should stay as far away from as possible.

I’ll give her this. Yes, this is about controlling their private behaviours. In the same way that we try to encourage people to not murder in private, use drugs in private, and rape people in private. To be less sarcastic, we educate on the harms of smoking, and attempt to hinder the purchasing of cigarettes for minors because it is bad for both the consumer, and the people they are around.

If this committee studying the affect of pornography ends up being useless it would only be because it didn’t actually study it.