Dealing With These Porn-Saturated Boys

February 15, 2017

Picture: Huffington Post

Online sexual abuse and harassment are becoming a normal part of young women’s everyday interactions with more than 80 per cent saying it was unacceptable for boyfriends to request naked images, according to a recent survey.

The survey, entitled Don’t send me that pic and commissioned by Plan Australia and Our Watch, a non profit organisation working to prevent violence against women and their children, gathered responses from girls and young women aged 15-19 in all Australian states and territories.

SheBrisbane is carrying details of the survey in this article posted on Collective Shout by Melinda Tankard Reist. Collective Shout is a grassroots campaigning movement against the objectivisation of women and sexualisation of girls in media, advertising and popular culture.

In her article reporting details of the survey, Ms Tankard Reist wrote that sexual bullying and harassment are part of daily life for many girls growing up as “a part of this digital generation”.

She said the survey showed young girls are speaking out more and more about how these practices have links with pornography—because it’s directly affecting them.

According to the survey, pornography is molding and conditioning the sexual behaviors and attitudes of boys, and girls are being left without the resources to deal with these porn-saturated boys.

Ms Tankard Reist wrote that if there are still any questions about whether porn has an impact on young people’s sexual attitudes and behaviors, perhaps it’s time to listen to young people themselves.

Girls and young women describe in the survey how boys pressuring them to provide acts inspired by the porn they consume routinely. Girls tell of being expected to put up with things they don’t enjoy.

Some see sex only in terms of performance, where what counts most is the boy enjoying it.

One 15-year-old asked about her first sexual experience replied: “I think my body looked OK. He seemed to enjoy it.” Many girls seemed cut off from their own sense of pleasure or intimacy.

The survey revealed the main marker of a “good” sexual encounter was only if he enjoyed it. Girls and young women are under a lot of pressure to give boys and men what they want, to become a real life embodiment of what the boys have watched in porn, adopting exaggerated roles and behaviors and providing their bodies as mere sex aids.

Growing up in today’s porn culture, girls quickly learn that they are service stations for male gratification and pleasure.

Ms Tankard Reist reported that when an 8th grade girl was asked, “How do you know a guy likes you?,” she replied: “He still wants to talk to you after you [give him oral sex].”

A male high school student said to a girl: “If you [give me oral sex] I’ll give you a kiss.” Girls are expected to provide sex acts for tokens of affection, and are coached through it by porn-taught boys.

A 15-year-old girl said she didn’t enjoy sex at all, but that getting it out of the way quickly was the only way her boyfriend would stop pressuring her and watch a movie.

Seventh grade girls were increasingly seeking help on what to do about requests for naked images. Receiving texts like “send me a picture of your tits” was an almost daily occurrence for many young girls.

The girl asks: “How do I say no without hurting his feelings?”

Ms Tankard Reist wrote that as the Plan Australia/Our Watch report found, girls were tired of being pressured for images they didn’t want to send, but they seemed resigned to send them anyways because of how normal the practice had become.

Boys then typically use the images as a form of currency, to swap and share with their friends. Often times boys will use the revealing pics to humiliate girls publicly if there is a bad break up.

The survey revealed that seventh grade girls are asking questions about bondage and S&M. Many of them have seen 50 Shades of Grey, and wonder if a boy wants to hit me, tie me up and stalk me, does that mean he loves me? Girls are tolerating demeaning and disrespectful behaviors, and thereby internalizing pornography’s messages about their submissive role.

Girls describe being groped in the school yard, and being routinely sexually harassed at school or on the school bus on the way home. They are saying that boys act like they are entitled to girls’ bodies, like girls are only there to pleasure them. It is partially true what defenders of porn often say, porn does provide sex education—but not in the way they think. It teaches middle school boys that women and girls are there for his pleasure and that they are always up for sex. To them, no just means persuade me.

Girls describe being ranked at school on their bodies, and are sometimes compared to the bodies of porn stars. They know they can’t compete, but that doesn’t stop them from thinking that they have to. Requests for genital surgery have tripled in a little over a decade among young women aged 15-24. Girls who don’t undergo porn-inspired waxing are often considered ugly, dirty, or gross by boys, as well as by other girls.

Some girls suffer physical injury from porn-inspired sexual acts, including anal sex. The director of a domestic violence centre on the Gold Coast wrote to Collective Shout about the increase in porn-related injuries to girls aged 14 and up, from acts including torture:

“In the past few years we have had a huge increase in intimate partner rape of women from 14 to 80+. The biggest common denominator is consumption of porn by the offender. With offenders not able to differentiate between fantasy and reality, believing women are ‘up for it’ 24/7, ascribing to the myth that ‘no means yes and yes means anal,’ oblivious to injuries caused and never ever considering consent. We have seen a huge increase in deprivation of liberty, physical injuries, torture, drugging, filming and sharing footage without consent.”

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