Archive for the ‘women’ Category
Thanks to a commenter on my earlier post who suggested some useful links on the subject of women and pornography.
He’s compiled some better statistics.
In August 2003, an estimated 34 million people visited adult entertainment sites—about 25% of Internet users in the U.S. In September 2003, more than 32 million unique individuals visited a porn site. Nearly 22.8 million of them were male (71%), while 9.4 million adult site visitors were female.
In August 2006, a survey reported 50% of all Christian men and 20% of all Christian women are addicted to pornography. 60% of the women who answered the survey admitted to having significant struggles with lust; 40% admitted to being involved in sexual sin in the past year.
In 2003, Today’s Christian Woman reported:
• 34% of female readers of Today’s Christian Woman’s online newsletter admitted to intentionally accessing Internet porn.
• According to a Zogby International survey, 17% of the female population are regular users of pornography
More here on women and internet porn.
Dirty Girls is a website about this taboo subject which has a page of heartbreaking confessions from women about their relationship with porn. The owner of the website is writing a book to help churches address this issue. She’s also spoken about the subject here.
I can’t see much on the website where I found these statistics to indicate how the research was done or what the figures actually represent, so do take them with a hefty helping of salt. I think these are for the US in 2003. But still food for thought:
Women and Pornography
Women keeping their cyber activities secret 70%
Women struggling with pornography addiction 17%
Ratio of women to men favoring chat rooms 2X
Percentage of visitors to adult websites who are women 1 in 3 visitors
Women accessing adult websites each month 9.4 million
Women admitting to accessing pornography at work 13%
Women, far more than men, are likely to act out their behaviors in real life, such as having multiple partners, casual sex, or affairs.
The Kinsey report is cautious about giving numbers but still suggests that this is not an insignificant issue.
Here’s one Christian response to the problem. I think that the response to the problem may not be all that I’d want, but the examples of how Christian women could be drawn into pornography bear some consideration.
I feel that the church’s attitude to women and pornography may turn out to be a little like Queen Victoria’s attitude to lesbianism. But pretending it couldn’t possibly exist isn’t going to help the situation at all.
On several occasions, I’ve heard Christian women being warned of the dangers of too much chick lit in their reading habits and too many romantic comedies in their viewing habits. More than once I’ve heard the analogy that these things are to women what pornography is to men. This article from a woman at Capitol Hill Baptist Church expresses the arguments clearly and persuasively. There are some important things for women to read here about appropriate expectations for men and marriage. But as it has before, this kind of argument makes me uncomfortable for two very different reasons.
First, and I want to say this first because I really don’t think anyone else is saying it at all, chicklit and chick flicks are not pornography for women, pornography is pornography for women. There is a myth which the church seems to have bought into completely that women are not interested in pornography. That this sin is exclusively a male sin. Women are instructed not to listen when a preacher addresses the men in the church about this issue. For a long time, I believed this lie too. And then I discovered the internet.
One of my pastimes on the internet is writing and reading fanfiction. You don’t have to hang out in that world for long before you realise two things: By far the majority of those involved in writing fanfiction are women; a very large proportion of what is written is pornographic.* There is a smaller but related world of fanart in which the same two facts are true. Women are writing, drawing, reading and looking at pornographic images ALL THE TIME. And if these women are there on the internet, they are somewhere in real life. Maybe one of them is in your church. And you are complicit in her sin if you are continually sending her the message that her sin cannot exist because of her gender.
The second point that I want to make is that romance is a Christian concept. The gospel is a romance. The narrative of the Bible is a romance. The happy ever after ending is real. There is a marriage to look forward to, when the bridegroom of our dreams will consummate our relationship, will draw us into perfect intimacy with him, and will satisfy us forever. Of course it’s not a good thing when the shadow and the type is mistaken for the reality. Husbands are not Jesus. They cannot restore us and redeem us. But here’s the thing. When we read other kinds of books and watch other kinds of films and see Christian themes in them, we praise those stories. We think it’s a good thing to use narratives that revolve around ideas of sacrifice or substitution, of faith and hope, of transformation and redemption. It seems to me that it’s just as much of a good thing to hear the stories of the bridegroom winning his bride.
So, you know what, I am going to keep reading the romances. They may not have quite the same emotional intensity as the Song of Songs, but in their own way, they do keep me hopeful as I look forward to the most romantic, most wonderful, most glorious happy ending ever.
* I don’t think this means that fanfiction automatically equals porn. There are lots of sites that won’t host anything with a high rating, and many others that don’t allow open access to stories with a high rating. There are safe places to be involved in the fanworld, but there are a lot of places where it is not safe at all.
On Jesus and the uncleanness of menstruation. Men, read this at your own risk!
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