It’s Hurting Our Sons, Too

From the September 2012 Trumpet Print Edition

The pervasive push for girls to become sexy is demonstrably hurting our daughters in several ways. One of them comes from the damage done to our sons.

Society’s fraudulent measure of beauty has found lodgment in the minds of males everywhere. Even in grade schools, boys are increasingly judging girls by standards they see in movies, magazines, television and—more and more—pornography.

Thanks to the Internet and mobile devices, sexually explicit material is now readily accessible to our youth. And as distorted as the image of glamour and fashion is, it’s far more horrific in pornography.

In July, the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston revealed one chilling effect of pornography going mainstream. A survey of 1,000 public high school students across seven Texan schools found that nearly six in ten of the students had been asked to send a nude picture of themselves through e-mail or text. Nearly 30 percent of students had sent one. Other studies suggest the practice is not as prevalent in teens as that survey suggests—yet—but is more common among young adults.

Several studies show that consumption of pornography alters sexual behavior. Researcher Dr. Linda Papadopoulos says that multiplying depictions of sexualized girls and “infantilized women” is fueling a market for child pornography and could even make child abuse and sexual exploitation more common. A recent European Union report on pornography issued a similar warning for the future: “For some men, the teen [pornography websites] were just a stepping stone to the real thing, as they moved seamlessly from adult women to children.”