Why Hasn’t Porn Been Canceled?

Recognizing that the woke will never cancel porn (and understanding why they won’t) is vital, if only because it indicates that they are fundamentally unserious in their demands for a “just” society.

Like virtually every American male who has lived in the 21st century, I’ve viewed my share of pornography. My first encounter with it was when my friend and I discovered his older brother’s Playboy collection when we were 7 years old. I’ll always treasure those memories of Vanna White.

As a professor who teaches argumentation, the topic of porn occasionally comes up in my classes, and I am surprised at how eager my undergraduates are to discuss it. When I was in college in the late 1990s, porn was still stigmatized, and very few people who regularly consumed it were willing to admit that in front of a mixed audience of their peers. Many students today—both men and women—seem to view it as a humorous, innocuous fixture in their daily lives.

In class, when we debate the morality of pornography, or whether it should retain its protections as a form of free speech, or what measures we could reasonably take to restrict access to it, I often have to explain that the current attitudes regarding porn are a historical anomaly. I tell them that as a teenager in the early ’90s, pornography was very hard to procure: it was only available in the form of magazines and video cassettes, which were sold only in sex shops that people under 21 were not allowed to enter. I emphasize that when you did manage to obtain some porn, you tried to keep that a secret because many young men still felt guilty about viewing it.

I fell into that category. On the rare occasion that I encountered pornography, I was eager to look at it, but I always felt that I had committed some wrong in the aftermath. I graduated college in 2000, and by then, the genie was halfway out of the cultural bottle: endless varieties of pornography were readily and freely available to anyone who was willing to click “I am 18 or older” on a computer. But the general norms regarding the consumption of pornography hadn’t yet fully shifted: some stigma remained in the viewing of it. 

I remember around that time encountering extreme pornography that almost no one would have seen in the days before the internet. I remember the psychic shock that I felt from seeing it—a visceral reaction that approximates the mental recoil that one experiences upon seeing an act of extreme violence.

Since that time, the genie has fully escaped. Most of the stigma related to viewing porn is considered decidedly antiquated. For older adults, the general attitude seems to be dictated in part by one’s political identity. Many conservatives lament its omnipresence in American life, but they are mostly resigned to it, and it is likely that many enjoy viewing it in private to greater or lesser extents. Whereas the Left used to have a rich conversation on the question of the moral value of pornography, most people on the Left today see porn as morally neutral, and perhaps a good way to heighten the passion of sex when consumed by consenting partners. 

There is much less ambivalence in the positions of most people under 30: they tend to see it simply as a fact of life—most of them have been viewing it regularly since early adolescence (or before), and some even perceive porn as a moral good for its capacities to provide personal gratification, which is viewed as a kind of sacrament in the modern cult of the self.

Offense at Everything—Except for Porn

Although I should not be surprised by younger people’s enthusiasm for porn, I have to say that I am. This isn’t because I would expect them to have deeper moral commitments. Our culture is decidedly secular, and feeling guilt for the fulfillment of bodily urges is considered something like a sin in the unchurched milieu of 2020. Rather, I am surprised that a group of people who feel deeply offended, triggered, harmed, or oppressed by virtually all components of everyday life, nevertheless maintain a mostly sunny outlook on something that often seems designed to offend.

A few years ago, a gay student submitted a Title IX complaint against me merely for suggesting that the LGBT community does not face discrimination in every corner of the professional world. The complaint suggested that my comment unfairly “validate[d] a heterosexual lifestyle in class.” This nicely summarizes the ever-descending threshold for giving offense among today’s students. 

Despite my suspicions that many of the students’ claims of offense and harm are fundamentally dishonest, I try to take them at their word. Acknowledging that they do feel offended isn’t the same as agreeing that they are right to feel offended. But given the absurd minutiae that they frame as attacks on their very existence, I can’t imagine the paroxysms they experience when viewing pornography—pornography that many of them inexplicably admit to viewing on a regular basis.

For starters, modern porn regularly plays into racist stereotypes: there are entire websites dedicated to depicting interracial sex where one race or another is explicitly denigrated on the basis of race. Quite often, such pornography makes use of racial slurs. Yet I’ve never heard of anyone in porn being canceled for running afoul of the strident, uncompromising norms dictated by the “antiracist” commentariat.

Further, consider the fact that so much pornography depicts scenarios that revolve around the absence of consent, or simply men who don’t immediately take “no” for an answer. If we are to take seriously the newly-dictated criteria for what constitutes a “sexual assault” (taking advantage of a power differential, continued attempts to win reluctant acquiescence from a partner, pursuing sex with someone who may be underage or intoxicated, etc.), then a huge proportion of pornographic scenarios can be said to depict sexual assaults.

Do go and read the rest of this article at this SOURCE

========