Porn is not a sexist trigger for most

James Cook University researchers have found that pornography use is not associated with sexism among heterosexual men.

James Cook University researchers have found that pornography use is not associated with sexism among heterosexual men.

JCU psychology lecturer Dr Dan Miller led a study that surveyed more than 300 heterosexual men on their pornography use and attitudes towards women.

“The idea that pornography promotes sexism is frequently proposed by the media and in academic discourse. Research indicates that women in pornography are frequently depicted in degrading or objectifying ways. So, it’s reasonable to assume that porn users may internalise the underlying sexism of this behaviour and then apply it in real life,” said Dr Miller.

He said the study found that higher overall pornography consumption was not associated with holding more sexist attitudes toward women.

“Not only was there no link between overall pornography use and sexism, use of violent and humiliating pornography specifically was also not associated with greater sexism,” said Dr Miller.

But he said the men who thought that pornography is realistic in its depiction of sex and relationships were more likely to hold sexist views.

“We have to keep in mind that this is just a correlational finding. It could be that thinking porn is realistic promotes sexism, but it could also be that those who hold sexist attitudes are more likely to think porn is realistic, as it conforms to their worldviews,” said Dr Miller.

Dr Miller said the findings were complex but mirrored other studies into the link between sexism and pornography use.

“These findings are part of a growing body of research tentatively suggesting that pornography does not promote general sexism, at least for most men.

“The next step is to investigate if pornography promotes sexism among certain subgroups of men, for example, those already predisposed toward holding misogynistic beliefs,” said Dr Miller.

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