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Dr. Bernell Christensen is a marriage and family therapist with over 30 years of experience. Dr. Christensen and his colleagues are leaders in the development of personal e-learning systems. Through the latest technology, they provide internet-based addiction recovery training and personal growth programs. Dr. Christensen is Co-Founder of Candeocan.com.
Aug 07, 2009
It’s obvious that pornography degrades and destroys women’s rights by portraying them as a simple collection of body parts whose sole purpose is to “service men. Porn triggers a narrow focus on women that ignores her inner beauty, gifts, talents, worth, remarkable contributions—the “whole person; everything she is that has nothing to do with the shape of her body. But porn doesn’t have an exclusive on ignoring a woman’s true value and trashing women’s rights.
For many years I’ve observed the mainstream media’s portrayal of women. And while some very positive strides have been made, the old stereotype of the “female sex object refuses to grow up. You can see it plastered on magazine covers at the grocery store checkout, and paraded across the screens of network TV. Nothing illustrates this more powerfully than my recollection of a popular daytime talk show. While taking a break from my work on a manuscript, I happened to flip on the television. Here’s what happened:
The program began with a picture of a little girl, about nine or ten years of age. The host delivered a heart-wrenching account of how this girl had grown up in abject poverty under pitiful conditions—no shoes, going without food for days at a time, living in an orphanage, etc. Then the host declared, “This is a rags-to-riches story!
My first thought was, “This is great. They’re going to bring out this woman, now an adult, and spotlight her as a successful businesswoman or doctor or mother. Well, there I sat, expectant. The suspense builds and finally she emerges from backstage. The men in the crowd are on their feet, cheering and whistling. Most of the women are just sitting there, dumbstruck. The woman’s provocative outfit covers very little, leaving nothing to the imagination.
The host announces that they’re going to bring out the bully, also now an adult, who used to tease her as a child. At this point I turn off the TV set because, number one, I’m thoroughly disappointed and disgusted, and number two, the rest of the program is totally predictable. The guy comes out on stage so that the “little girl he once teased can get her revenge by saying, “Look at what you could’ve had if you’d been nice to me," as he sits there chagrined, drooling over her exposed body. The explicit message sent to the audience and to all the viewing public is “This woman is a success. This is a real rags-to-riches story. This is what all you girls and women out there should strive for. And the equally odious message to men is, If you treat us right, we’ll reward you with our bodies. If you don’t, you won’t ‘get any.’
All I could think of after witnessing that daytime circus was, “What a wasted opportunity! Another blow to the perception and rights of women! The producers of the show could have used the success of a “little orphan girl to lift and inspire. They could have invited any one of literally hundreds of thousands of women across America who have lifted themselves out of similar backgrounds of poverty and hardship, women who rose above dire circumstances and overcame tremendous odds to become first-rate teachers, professionals, business-owners, corporate leaders and mothers.
Such a story would have given the show’s female viewers a sense of hope and pride, both individually and collectively. And it would have instilled in the male viewers an appreciation for the true dignity and value of women. Instead the producers followed the script that much of Hollywood—and all pornographers—have been promoting for years. Once again, a woman is put on stage as a “sex object, and one more twisted sexual image is added to the already crowded memory banks of each and every male viewer. Almost as tragic, each woman in the audience is once again shown what she must look like and act like if she is to draw the attention and affections of men.
The bottom line is that we are better than this! It takes a highly intelligent, very mature and highly evolved individual to say “No! to this archaic, juvenile, self-centered stereotype. It’s old and worn out. It’s at the height of narrow-mindedness and bigotry. If we are to break free from the shackles of pornography and sexual addiction, we must start by moving beyond the narrow walls of sexualized media. Let’s start seeing, appreciating, valuing and admiring women for who they truly are—for everything they are, and all that they contribute to this world of ours. Let’s move beyond body parts and get to what really matters in life!
For More Information:
If you want to learn more about the Brain Science of Porn Addiction, and how to protect your marriage and family from this addiction, get Mark Kastleman’s acclaimed book, “The Drug of the New Millennium. You can purchase it online at Amazon.com.
If you or someone you love is trapped in pornography use, please visit www.candeocan.com to learn how to break free.