Thursday, November 02, 2006

Study suggests replacing Net Nanny subscription with one to Suicidegirls.

Ah, the sweet sound of reality hitting the fan. It turns out that a new study proves that Internet porn reduces the incidence of rape, and most dramatically among the population of males aged 15 to 19.

Here's the abstract:

Pornography, Rape, and the Internet
Todd D. Kendall*
Clemson University
The John E. Walker Department of Economics
September, 2006

The arrival of the internet caused a large decline in both the
pecuniary and non-pecuniary costs of accessing pornography.
Using state-level panel data from 1998-2003, I find that the
arrival of the internet was associated with a reduction in rape
incidence. However, growth in internet usage had no apparent
effect on other crimes. Moreover, when I disaggregate the rape
data by offender age, I find that the effect of the internet on rape
is concentrated among those for whom the internet-induced fall
in the non-pecuniary price of pornography was the largest –
men ages 15-19, who typically live with their parents. These
results, which suggest that pornography and rape are substitutes,
are in contrast with most previous literature. However, earlier
population-level studies do not control adequately for many
omitted variables, including the age distribution of the
population, and most laboratory studies simply do not allow for
potential substitutability between pornography and rape.

Read it for yourself: (pdf)

The general thrust, if you consider the implications, is that a family subscription to Suicidegirls.com is a better investment in the moral welfare of your children than Net-Nanny.

I'd like to add a couple of comments and observations that the Professor Kendall may not have noticed; I'd suggest that the explosion in individually created pornography has also improved male attitudes toward the opposite sex.

There has always been pornography, of course, but classically it has been limited by regulation and that regulation has had the effect of reinforcing dominant cultural stereotypes This would be the "redeeming social value" part, where some sort of trenchant moral consequence is displayed as a price of sexual liberty. One of the worst and most offensives forms of this were the sub-pornographic writings found in the once thriving genre of "True Confessions" magazines.

These were marketed to women as true stories of life and romance, and the stories, mostly written by men, illustrated the price of not being "ladylike." I recall one in which a high school girl buys a padded bra to improve her sweater profile, and as a natural consequence, is brutally raped by the school janitor. The lesson was clear, even with all the throbbing and pulsating.

The same was true for pornographic materials written for men; the more hardcore it was, the more the women depicted were shown to be degraded, inhuman sluts who deserved their fate, although Playboy gently bucked this trend to some degree, there's no question that a Playgirl was and is a sex object first and an interesting person a distant forty-seventh.

But much of which is individually produced by people on the Internet is completely devoid of that message, and carries another: "an it harm none, do as ye will." Some, like suicidegirls, market the person as the fuel for the passion. It facinates that Suicidegirls.com seems to have as many vocal female as male fans. The second most interesting part is that while it's largely shot by women, often with a starkly lesbian aesthetic, it's still very popular with men.

Well, women have always dressed for other women; it's no stretch to undress for them as well. And those of us with y chromomosnes get to enjoy the competition for our attention.

Including me. I have the suicidegirls on my Myspace friends list. And I'm proud to report that it works very well; I haven't raped anyone lately. (Ever, actually. It never seemed like a good thing to do.)

Independent Internet porn does not say that it's anyone's fault for being hurt as a consequence of being sexual, or wearing any particular sort of clothing, even when stories or pictures use that sort of behavior as a plot point. The aggressor is almost always shown to be in the wrong, and often the tables are entertainingly turned.

But the more important point is that the pornography of today is non-compartmentalized. It is increasingly produced by people without masks, using their real names and not particularly concerned about "being embarrassed" about their "youthful indiscretions." Those making it, such as Ana Voog and Ducky Doolittle are very often making it within a life-context and even as an intentional public, political statement.

Young women have learned that it's possible to be safe and be sexual, while young men have learned that a stiff penis is no excuse for bad behavior. And we have all learned that the sky has not fallen as a result.

Personal experience has a way of turning fear into prudence and taboos into cautionary notes. Nothing essential about human nature has been changed, no great ethical sea-change has occurred here, other than one; that ethics are ethics are ethics and they do not fly out the window when your clothes are removed and the neighbors can't see what you are up to.

That is the exact opposite of what conventional, right-wing morality would have you believe - but as you may have learned, the connection between that form of morality and any consistent form of ethical behavior is questionable at best.

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