Great Things Don’t Need Porn to Be Great

Posted June 25, 2015 by Carlisa in Discussion, Let's Talk / 9 Comments

porn discussionSo in April, I talked about the #bookporn, #foodporn, #weddingporn hashtag that takes over Twitter and Instagram. I talked about how it’s not okay. How it associates porn with things of beauty and creativity and inspiration. You can read that post right here.

Here I am going to take this discussion one step further and kind of step away from the bookish community exclusively. I need to talk about how Buzzfeed (and the internet in general) is normalizing porn. Compared to Buzzfeed, these hashtags seem so insignificant (*cough they’re not cough*) because of the large amount of things that Buzzfeed posts and the large amount of viewers they have, resulting in the large impact each article and quiz has. I saw an article by Fight the New Drug (an organization devoted to anti-porn awareness and helping those addicted to it…AKA it’s awesome) that addresses this a few weeks ago. Guys, go read this article. It’s incredibly enlightening and also incredibly horrifying. I wasn’t going to say anything about it on here until last week I saw a new Buzzfeed quiz. I didn’t even open it but it’s called “What Would Your Harry Potter Porn Name Be?” What! No. Not to sound like a devoted Potterhead, but Harry Potter is too important to so many people for Buzzfeed to take it and associate it with pornography. And I’m not being naive. I’m sure there are porn videos out there with Harry Potter things in them. But Buzzfeed is a site that’s read by thousands, maybe millions of people every day. And for people who seek out pornography, that’s their choice. But to have this quiz showing up on the home page or in my email (in the Buzzfeed Books Newsletter)…that’s just not okay.

I love what J.K. Rowling said in an interview once:

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Some things don’t need to be connected with sex or pornography to be great. Great things don’t need porn to be great. And Harry Potter is one of those things. Buzzfeed, on the other hand, is a place devoted to two things: clicks and shares. That’s it. So they take these things that people love and associate them with sex and pornography to get those clicks and those shares, taking no consideration into the consequences and the effects those articles and quizzes have. And Harry Potter is not alone here. Buzzfeed has articles and quizzes about pornography associated with Game of Thrones, Friends, True Blood, even Disney. COME ON BUZZFEED. Disney, too?

And by doing this, they normalize something that shouldn’t be normalized. Heck, Buzzfeed glorifies porn. This is a screenshot from the Fight the New Article referred to above, but it’s a screenshot of one of Buzzfeed’s Youtube videos. And the title is shocking to me.

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If I could put emojis in a blog post, I’d put the shocked face one right here. Like, WHAT? Quite literally they’re advocating for everyone to watch pornography. Pornography is not a good thing, and if you don’t agree with me, there are many, many studies I could show you of the negative effect of pornography. Like here, and here, and here, and here.  And in no way do I believe that you’re a bad person if you watch pornography…but I’m just saying that pornography is never a positive thing. And I’m tired of the way it’s portrayed in the media–in TV shows, in articles, in quizzes, in movies, in everything. It’s portrayed as something fun and good. But it’s just not.

I’m sorry if I’m ranting and if you’re turned off from my blog by this post, but it’s something I believe very strongly towards and am bothered by when I go onto websites like Buzzfeed. And it’s definitely not just Buzzfeed. It’s all of the media. But I use Buzzfeed as an example because it’s a website with millions of readers and 6.5 millions subscribers on YouTube, so their reach is huge. And I know these types of articles and quizzes and videos are probably only 2% of their content, if that. But their articles and quizzes and videos impact how we think about things. Everything that we see, hear, read affects how we think about things. So though their readers may not be watching pornography, their opinions are being shaped by these articles, whether consciously or not.

So, the internet, please stop taking things I love and associating them with things that are damaging and harmful. Stop worrying about the clicks and the likes and the shares…and worry about the messages you’re portraying. Worry about the minds you’re shaping. And worry about the consequences those seemingly inconsequential articles/videos/quizzes have. And, internet, know that you can produce great content–wonderful, fresh, insightful content that people will click on, like, share–without adding sex and pornography. Great things don’t need porn to be great. Their ability to touch hearts and minds and to inspire ideas and creativity is what makes them great. Not anything else.

What’s your opinion on this? I want to hear.

 


  • Nancy Kay Cramer

    Great post!! Totally agree 100%!!

  • Thank you for this post! Porn and overly descriptive scenes (if you know what I mean) are the reasons that I am terrified to read more new adult and adult books. I have been told that they are like YA but with a little more “spice” which we all know what that means. Why does the transition from YA to adult only include sex? I am not saying to ban it from all books ever, but it should be a whole lot easier to find books without those scenes.
    These scenes have also been sneaking into YA more are more often lately. I am getting tired of skipping through multiple pages just to get back to the actual story.
    If a story is really great, it would not need sex to “spice” it up, the plot would have enough flavor on its own to keep readers entertained.
    Tessa @ Crazy for YA

    • YES. The New Adult genre is basically just Young Adult with sex. I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels this way and avoids books like this. Thank you for your comment!

  • VanessaIsen!

    100% Agree.

  • Hi! I’ve nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award. =) http://bookscoffeeandcake.blogspot.com/2015/06/versatile-blogger-award.html

    I’ve always thought of these type of buzzfeed quizes and articles as nothing more than a joke. But it is disturbing, when people act as if it’s the only thing they can think about. I remember one time when I was at a party, and there were some interesting people, so I was really anticipating making new friends. But all the conversations, games and jokes were centered around sex. It was annoying and then it just got boring. I knew, that these people had more interesting thoughts to share, but they didn’t even bother. I’ve read that it may be a sign of depression, so I think I’ll look more into this topic, as I’ve never actually read any studies on the bad influence of porn.

    • Thank you for nominating me! 🙂

      Yeah, things like that happen a lot. I go to a University right now where we have a pretty strict Honor Code so things like that don’t happen often and I’m super grateful. I don’t know why the topic of sex is so enticing for people to talk about, though. But I just wish it was not as prevalent on the internet and even in books. Like the New Adult genre is basically YA with sex. And as someone who would consider herself the “New Adult” age, let me tell you, my life isn’t like that, haha.

      Thanks for the comment 🙂

  • I’ve never actually heard the word ‘frape’ before, but I agree. I don’t think that is okay to be called either. It’s insensitive to the people who struggle everyday from actually being assaulted.

    I just really believe in the power of words and so I know that word choice (though it may seem inconsequential) is such a powerful tool. Each word shapes how we think about something, how we perceive something. And porn to me is just not a good thing, so when I see it associated with books like #bookporn, it just makes me sad. Even though I think a lot of people would say it’s too small a thing to even be important. But that’s totally just my opinion.

    Thanks for the comment, Hannah! 🙂