The Trickle Down Affect of Porn

ChildrenI was moving through a crowded hallway at the local middle school when an itty-bitty girl stopped me. I had to lean in to hear her as she came to just above my waist. A petite sixth-grader who could have passed for a fourth-grader.

She had been in one of the classes I spoke to earlier. I was there talking about the writer’s life. Career Day, you see. Come tell our students what you do.

So I did. Took in copies of all my books, read from a couple of them, talked about the tools a writer needs: listen, pay attention, read, read, read.

He who controls what you read controls what you think.

Or if you think at all, for those who refuse to read. Some people, I have learned, do not want to think. They only want to go through life oblivious. They like not thinking. They would rather be entertained, thank you very much.

She didn’t have any questions for me in the classroom. Perhaps too shy to ask them?

But she tugged on me in that hallway, “Have you heard of the book Fifty Shades of Grey?”

Yes, I said. But no, I haven’t read it, nor will I.

My sister downloaded it to her Kindle, she said. She is trying to get me to read it.

I shook my head in a disbelieving way and was escorted away by my student helper for the day.

Someone chided me the other day. Told me that Fifty Shades of Grey is harmless. To each their own, they protested.

But it is soft-core porn and not even all that soft-core, I offered.

Yes, they agreed. But what’s  the harm in that?

Children are the harm in that.

Developing brains are the harm in that.

Tender spirits are the harm in that.

Putty in the wrong hands can be explosive and that’s what the developing brains of young children is, putty.

It is not harmless to expose a young girl, or young boy to porn. It is especially not harmless when that porn involves manipulation and bondage. Raising kids up in a culture that has no rules, believes that whatever goes on behind closed doors is none of our business is dangerous.

A lot of bad shit goes on behind closed doors.

One teacher told me that they had a student – a girl – who was taken to see the movie by an adult relative.

I have said it before and will say it again, there are some stupid adults out there raising up children badly.

You should be offended by that.

In case you haven’t figured it out for yourself yet, the things we read, the things we see, the things we ingest, all of it influences the culture in which we live.

What message do you think a sixth-grade girl takes away from Fifty Shades of Grey?

A message that says she is worthy? That she matters? That she has a soul that is sacred?

Or a message that says, girlfriend, if you want to be rich, powerful, and in control, you have to start by pleasing men and endure their abusive sexual appetites.

Pretend all you want, all you can, that this isn’t seeping into our culture.

That it isn’t putting kids at risk.

That this kind of thinking doesn’t lead to the kinds of sexual abuses displayed in the rape trial at Vanderbilt.

Harmless, heh?

Hardly.

 

Karen Spears Zacharias

Author/Journalist/Educator. Gold Star Daughter.

15 Comments

April Terry

about 5 years ago

And then, let us analyze what message it sends to our young men. That they are allowed to dominate women, denigrate them, and use them for their own sexual pleasures? This is the very reason that I watch a lot of TV and movies with my 17-year-old son, so that we can have the conversation about it, so that he can know that it is not okay, and so that he will respect women. I agree with all the outrage that you have expressed here, Karen. Thanks for saying what people like me were already thinking.

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Karen Spears Zacharias

about 5 years ago

April, of course. The impact on men, especially young boys, can be so much worse. I keep thinking about those Vanderbilt men, who blamed their drinking on the degrading rape of a young woman. The inhumanity of how they treated her, as if rape itself isn't horrific enough, the video-taping, the urinating on her, all of it. I've known men who drink who would never think to do such debasing things. So why did these young men resort to this? We all ought to be examining this case and asking ourselves what is happening to us all?

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Janie Dempsey Watts

about 5 years ago

I totally agree with your blog today. This is exactly what I think of "Shades of Grey." It is extremely harmful for young girls and women to think this type of treatment is "normal." Thanks for writing this!

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Karen Spears Zacharias

about 5 years ago

Thank you for reading it and sharing your own thoughts. We must consider that our actions have a ripple effect and when we choose to make porn normalized then we end up with an abnormal culture.

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Tom Graffagnino

about 5 years ago

What’s this fog we’re sailing into? Where’s the Lighthouse we once saw? Are there rocks beneath the Feel Good? Should we keep God’s Holy Law? Are there Principles worth keeping In this Liberated Age? Should we hang onto the Bible? Or, perhaps, just turn the page? What’s this emptiness we’re feeling? What’s this drift we can’t explain? What’s this sense of dark foreboding? What’s this existential pain? Do we need an Anchor…REALLY? Do we need one still around? Do we need God’s Word to help us Now that Dr. Phil’s town? Do we need the Light of Scripture When we’ve got bright Hollywood? Do we need Someone to tell us What we ought and what we should? Can’t we bank on Good Intentions? Can’t we smile and sail away? Can’t we trust our “Fog of Feelings” And their Fifty Shades of Grey? “Grey is the Devil’s favorite color.”—Peter Kreeft

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Karen Spears Zacharias

about 5 years ago

Thank you, Tom.

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Amber Wheatland

about 5 years ago

Thank you so much for so eloquently stating the effects of books and movies. Our culture is not static. It shifts based on what is prevalent. I think that the movie theater should have barred the child from the movie. I forgot about kids wanting to read something an older sibling is reading (or asking them to read). That is why the nurturers in our society have reinforce that they need to be independent and then show examples of what that looks like. And conversation...it has to be open and inviting.

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Karen Spears Zacharias

about 5 years ago

Yes, we are ever evolving or devolving as the case may be. We must take ownership of that.

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AFRoger

about 5 years ago

First of all, adults who take children to see 50 Shades, or who allow/encourage the viewing of pornography at home or at friends' houses, are effectively engaging in a form of grooming. That's weird in itself. But much more than female worthiness is at stake. Movies depicting extravagant lifestyles have incredible appeal for all kinds of reasons. More subtly, though, is what they project about adult behavior, if we can even consider the characters adults. It seems to be a projection of selfishness and self-centeredness at all costs. Everything in the world is for my own pleasure, and there are no consequences to me personally for anything done to anyone or anything else. I can always move one. Life is commitment-free. Life is responsibility-free. There will always be more people and things to be used and used up. That's their problem. Money is obviously God because it buys and controls everything, human beings included. If that weren't true, why would so many people sacrifice the priceless things of life for money and the status it buys?

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Karen Spears Zacharias

about 5 years ago

I believe this is what we used to call a hedonistic lifestyle. We've made hedonism something to aspire to.

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AFRoger

about 5 years ago

Hedonism, AKA idolatry?

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ann bennett

about 5 years ago

Excellent post and to the point. People underestimate the effect of pornography on children. It is a shame that money dictates a poorly written and researched book gets so much promotion. The premise of the book is the man is wealthy as if that is a virtue or guaranteed to be a permanent thing. I do not believe in book banning. I would not read the book. I could not read the synopsis of the first book in that it was so boring and like reading a telephone book. It is frustrating the sensationalism of the book's topic sells .

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mary grace carroll

about 5 years ago

Karen you and I have a mutual friend, Paul Pierce, I am so excited that you are collaborating on this next great adventure! Regarding 50 shades, I teach at a fine arts high school on the Texas border, many of the students were talking about that movie the day of its premiere, I said my peace (had to be careful as to the extent of what I say, being a public school in a conservative community). I think they were simply drawn to the scintillating possibilities of the content, but I pointed out that all the reviews had been unfavorable, and that it is not real, at all, not accurate in how people should treat each other, can all be traced to $$$, etc... of course they were not concerned about "bad" acting...interestingly enough, no one's talking about it now..I am so sorry for that young lady and those like her that have been the unwilling victims of this type of "abuse."

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Tom

about 5 years ago

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/27/movies/review-the-hunting-ground-documentary-a-searing-look-at-campus-rape.html?smprod=nytcore-iphone&smid=nytcore-iphone-share Take all your sons to see this...

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Kathleen M. Rodgers

about 5 years ago

Hi Karen, Thank you for participating in career day at your local middle school. This young girl that approached you in the hallway....she will remember you. You've touched a life. Probably many that day...even the ones that didn't make eye contact. They contacted with you in their hearts. I haven't read the Fifty Shakes books and I don't intend to. I shouldn't judge, but I am sickened that these kinds of books make it on bestseller lists over literature with a soul. Thanks for giving voice to so many important topics. I admire you. Kathleen

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