Why pornography might be your child's introduction to sex

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Why pornography might be your child's introduction to sex

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A huge change in recent years, of course, has been the advent of the internet and one of the things that the internet has done is, it's made pornography not only accessible, it's really made it inescapable. So porn is everywhere, it's readily available on smartphones and tablets and everywhere one goes. It used to be that one had to go to an adult bookstore in a seedy part of town or ask for a magazine wrapped in plastic from behind the counter, but of course, that isn't the case at all anymore. So our children are often stumbling upon porn. Sometimes, they're looking for it, but often, they're not and they're stumbling upon it and I think that it would be safe to say that many American children are learning about sex from pornography online and the messages that they're getting are really harmful because most of the porn that's out there is brutal, it's violent, it's misogynistic. And so our kids learn very damaging messages really. Porn certainly doesn't ever have to do with relationships or with intimacy, and so they're not learning about that and this affects all of them. And I think it affects boys and girls. Girls are encouraged to present themselves as porn stars or strippers, to remove all their pubic hair, to wear thong panties which are basically g-strings and to often to sort of service boys without any expectation of mutuality and all of this is part of what they're learning from porn. So the language, the images of porn have become mainstream. They show up in our popular culture when a pop star does a pole dance at a music awards ceremony, they show up in advertising, they show up everywhere. It's really inescapable these days.

Watch Video: Why pornography might be your child's introduction to sex by Jean Kilbourne, EdD, ...

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Jean Kilbourne, EdD

Author & Social Theorist

Jean Kilbourne is internationally recognized for her groundbreaking work on the image of women in advertising and her critical studies of alcohol and tobacco advertising. Her films, lectures, and television appearances have been seen by millions of people throughout the world. She was named by The New York Times Magazine as one of the three most popular speakers on college campuses.

She is the author of the award-winning book Can’t Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel and So Sexy So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood and What Parents Can Do to Protect Their Kids. The prize-winning films based on her lectures include Killing Us Softly, Spin the Bottle, and Slim Hopes. She is a frequent guest on radio and television programs, including “The Today Show” and “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” She has served as an advisor to the Surgeon General and has testified for the U.S. Congress. She holds an honorary position as Senior Scholar at the Wellesley Centers for Women.

According to Susan Faludi, “Jean Kilbourne’s work is pioneering and crucial to the dialogue of one of the most underexplored, yet most powerful, realms of American culture —advertising. We owe her a great debt.” A member of the Italian Parliament said, “Hearing Jean Kilbourne is a profound experience. Audiences leave her feeling that they have heard much more than another lecture, for she teaches them to see themselves and their world differently.”

She has received many awards, including the Lecturer of the Year award from the National Association for Campus Activities. A more unusual tribute was paid when an all-female rock group in Canada named itself Kilbourne in her honor.

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