Kelly Ladd Bishop

Exploring issues of faith, culture, and spirituality with a focus on women in the church and world

Not Your Parents’ Pornography

Playboy has announced plans to stop publishing nude photos of women.

This isn’t a move towards greater respect of women, but rather the raising of the white flag in a culture so saturated with pornography, that Playboy has become irrelevant.

We now live in a world where sexuality, nudity, and pornography are so widely available on the internet, that Playboy feels there is no point in competing.

“For a generation of American men, reading Playboy was a cultural rite, an illicit thrill consumed by flashlight. Now every teenage boy has an Internet-connected phone instead. Pornographic magazines, even those as storied as Playboy, have lost their shock value, their commercial value and their cultural relevance.”

In a world where sexting is commonplace, pictures in a magazine don’t hold much excitement.

We have managed to become desensitized to Playboy.

When I was a kid there were certain shows I wasn’t allowed to watch because of their sexually suggestive content. Today, those shows look like children’s programming compared to the sexual content on many sitcoms. I don’t even have to log onto the internet, I only have to turn on my television.

What used to shock us no longer does.

What used to be a rare rebellious experience for a teenager, is now a regular part of his or her media diet. We flock to movie theaters to see explicit scenes, and sexual violence in movies like 50 Shades of Grey, which made over $500 million dollars in box office sales.

And Playboy is passé.

The gateway drug isn’t doing it for us anymore. The sexual nudity of magazines has become cute, quaint, uninteresting.

We have slowly tolerated more and more, and now it has lost its impact.

What does this mean for our minds?
What does this mean for our relationships?
What does this mean for our views of sexuality and gender?
What does this mean for children and teenagers who are growing up in this world?

We live in a culture where one in five college students will experience sexual assault.

One in four women will experience domestic violence of some sort in her lifetime.

Studies show that the earlier teens are exposed to sexual content through media, the more likely they are to engage in high risk sexual activities at a younger age.

They are also at a higher risk for becoming victims of sexual violence.

In the first half of 2015 the National Human Trafficking Resource Center responded to over 2,000 cases of sex trafficking.

There is a lot of talk about the need to protect children and teens from pornography on the internet, and if you didn’t think it was necessary before, I hope you do now. If Playboy can’t compete in the pornography market, then it is time to be concerned. This is not your parents’ pornography.

Pornography on the internet will likely never go away. But if we want to change the culture of sexual violence on college campuses, if we want to stop fueling the sex trade around the world, if we want to help teenagers and young adults to be sexually responsible, to be healthy, to be advocates for change rather than contributors to the problem, then it is time to be concerned.

Because, we now live in a world where Playboy can’t compete.

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