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To the editor:
It is clear from the article “Sexing Discourse” (October 29, 2013) by Reed E. McConnell ’15, that the author simply does not understand why groups like the Anscombe Society, Harvard College Faith and Action, the Catholic Student Association, the Knights of Columbus, and the Daughters of Isabella are concerned about the widespread use of pornography. If anything, her critique of White Ribbon Against Pornography Week, which the aforementioned groups jointly sponsored, demonstrates precisely why these groups are wise to draw attention to this issue.
Put aside, for a moment, the issue of whether WRAP Week is right to raise concerns about pornography. In this article, the author rejects these concerns without even knowing what they are. In addressing the substance of WRAP Week, she only mentions problems related to the sex trafficking industry, implying that pornography could only possibly be harmful because of trafficking and exploitation in the industry. These are only the beginning of the problems with pornography, however, and WRAP Week spent most of its time and energy raising concerns that this author seems never to have heard of. For example, she views the title of one of the talks, “Collateral Damage: How Pornography Affects Women,” as “highly offensive.” She does not actually say why, but the reason (alluded to a few paragraphs later) seems to be that it “den[ies]sex workers…any agency.” This event was not about sex workers, though; rather, it was about the potential harms to women from living in a world in which the majority of men view pornography frequently, something this author seems never to have considered.
I have no doubt that this author is far from alone in her misconceptions. For some reason, many people think that viewing pornography could not possibly be harmful to a person and his or her relationships, and that widespread, frequent viewing of pornography could not possibly be problematic for a society. (On both counts, there is ample evidence to suggest otherwise.) The article “Sexing Discourse” criticized WRAP Week and called for a more nuanced discussion of pornography. In fact, WRAP Week delivered nuance, and McConnell’s column ignored large parts of the issue.
James P. McGlone ’15
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