Porning Down the Culture

Carol Platt Liebau
|
Posted: Oct 08, 2008 5:26 PM
Newsweek is running a piece, titled "The Pornification of a Generation" discussing a couple of new books, including "The Porning of America" by Kevin Scott and Carmine Sarracino.

The book seems to make many of the points about the hypersexualization of the culture that I raised in "Prude: How the Sex-Obsessed Culture Damages Girls (and America, Too!)"

But in the piece, at least, only the existence of a sex-saturated culture is bemoaned, without much in the way of explanation or context. It strikes me that it's impossible to have a meaningful discussion about how we've gotten here without noting the factors that have made a sex-obsessed culture possible: Things like the celebration of self-expression without any thought of self-restraint; the "privatization" of religion and sexual morality (where those who speak out against hypersexualization in the culture are marginalized as judgmental religious freaks); the rise of moral relativism; the death of shame; and the rise of the "cool mom" -- where a parent tries above all to be his/her child's friend.  All of these are issues I covered in "Prude."

Certainly, criticism of these cultural phenomena isn't popular in sophisticated circles, because it involves rethinking some of the most cherished parts of the liberal credo.  But it's impossible to address (or redress) the problem without understanding how, inadvertantly, our culture has enabled a kind of mindless hypersexualization that's degrading to children -- and, more, to all of us.