Does Porn Make People Sexist?

This article first appeared on Jezebel.com. 


New research shows that watching pornographic fap flicks can turn mild-mannered believers in inclusive workplace policies for women into people who think that maybe women don't deserve a professional leg-up (eye-brow wiggling workplace-inappropriate joke about how great women's legs look when they're up). Yep — porn makes both men and women less into affirmative action for women. But why?

The research, published in Psychology of Women Quarterly interviewed a very small number of adults (190) over a period of a few years. Researchers found that, even after controlling for religion and cultural background, consuming porn made participants less likely to support preferential hiring practices for women.

The folks behind the study surmised that the downtick in support for measures designed to further women's professional equality is partially due to the fact that a lot of porn seems to reduce women to objects of derision and humiliation. Subconsciously, they argue, this may translate to an assumption on the part of porn viewers that all women should be similarly objectified; if one woman appears to relish degradation, therefore all women must. I guess that even though the patriarchy is like super dead right now, people's brains still treat women monolithically while men have the luxury of being judged as individuals.

That viewing of certain types of porn causes people to subconsciously look down on women isn't surprising; most modern porn is super, super gross and about as sexy as a car accident. But I'd be curious to see if, when it comes to influencing attitudes toward women, all porn is created equal. What about "feminist porn"? What about vintage porn where the robustly-bushed female stars are shown enjoying themselves rather than newer stuff that is basically a close up of a dick being shoved into a silicon enhanced woman's bleached butthole like a soulless piston? What about gay porn? Is simply watching women have sex enough to make people think they're less deserving of equality? If all porn affects audiences equally, then maybe overarching cultural attitudes about gender in the context of sex are to blame for the results of this study — maybe it's not porn's fault; maybe it's inescapable cultural prudery.

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