Clarion, Pa.- Students and faculty of Clarion University were given the chance to attend a presentation titled 21st Century Gender Inequalities: Representations of Women in the Media, on
Tuesday Nov. 18 in Hart Chapel. The presentation featured two keynote speakers from nearby colleges.
The event was sponsored by the Women and Gender Studies program and the Presidential Comission of the Status of Women, and director Dr. Kathleen M. McIntyre introduced the speakers and began the night’s discussion.
Dr. Cindy LaCom, Professor of English at Slippery Rock University, presented “Hooking Up in a Pornified Culture: Sex, Intimacy and Agency.”
The term hooking up was explained, by LaCom, as the lax sexual interactions between two people, said to happen on college campuses. LaCom said hooking up can happen between two people who do not even know each other. The interactions can range from kissing to masturbation to any type of sexual intercourse.
LaCom explained “hooking up” experiences lack intimacy and do not, statistically speaking, involve much sexual pleasure for either party and contribute to the transference of sexually transmitted infections.
LaCom outlined two major points that showed how a “pornified culture” makes the hooking up experience and relationships much less intimate and irresponsible.
First, pornographed culture fosters typical hook ups, and second, porn culture damages intimacy and diminishes agency, LaCom said.
She stated how prevalent mainstream pornography is in culture and how 93 percent of boys and 62 percent of girls have been exposed to it by age 17.
LaCom said this is unfortunate because mainstream porn “increases the acceptance of women as sex objects, rape and violence,” said LaCom.
Both males and females also use online porn as a means for sex education. Important topics such as condom use and the prevalence of STI’s are not touched upon.
“Does this mean we are helpless before the porn machine?” said LaCom, whom asked the audience this question near the close of her speech. LaCom answered, “We can shut it down by refusing to buy it.”
To round off the night’s presentations, Professor of English Dr. Gayatri Devi of Lock Haven University presented “Individual Rights and Equal Rights: Women’s Rights in the Era of Privilege and Entitlement,” a speech all about the struggles that women still face today in being respected and treated equally.
LaCom said, “I care about my students, and [porn’s] affecting whether you watch it or not.” The objectification and disrespect towards women and sometimes men, was evident, both presentations tying together to form one message about the unfortunate inequalities still suffered by females, partially attributed to a pornified hook up culture.
McIntyre was happy with the turn out of her program and said, “This is an important venue for students, staff and faculty to talk about pornography and women’s issues in the modern day.”