If the trial of Michael Jackson has not established him as a molester, it seems to have established him as a porn addict. And if there is one good thing that may accrue to the public over its obsession with this tawdry and tragic trial, it is the pernicious effects of pornography on the male psyche.
I have consistently said that I never saw Michael do anything that would lead me to believe that he molests children. But now that the trial has uncovered that Michael was apparently absorbing large quantities of porn, I understand something that had previously puzzled me. Michael Jackson has no real relationships with women. And this has hurt him, because it means that he has no nurturing relationships in his life.
When I was around him, his inner circle consisted entirely of men. Indeed, with the exception of Elizabeth Taylor, Michael seemed highly suspicious of women. He would tell me that many women are interested in money and that some of his brothers’ wives, whom he maintained were motivated by greed, had torn the once close-knit bonds of the Jackson family asunder. To be sure, Michael loves and respects his mother, Kathryn, and for good reason. A woman of great religious piety and principle, she is arguably the only positive influence in Michael’s life. But she has no control over her son, and Michael does not follow her advice.
Men who constantly feed their minds with porn quickly lose respect for women. Pornography depicts women not only as sleazy and vulgar, but as greedy and parasitical. The porn watcher never forgets that the women who are stripping for him are doing so for cash. He concludes, therefore, that there is nothing women aren’t prepared to do for money. Unlike men, who at least have some standards, women are motivated entirely by greed.
When I was close to Michael, I wished greatly for him to marry. My belief was that he could not rehabilitate his life outside of a meaningful relationship with a woman. For the sake of his children as well, it was adamant that a maternal presence be introduced into his life. But he told me that while he was not averse to marriage – he had tried it twice and failed – he was very concerned that most women would marry him for his money. No doubt the pornographic images of women he was consuming helped to solidify that impression.
The woman as “greedy gold digger” has become mainstream in America. Indeed, the show that launched the reality TV genre, “Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire,” took as its premise that most women would trade their hearts for a man’s wallet. This was quickly followed by “Joe Millionaire,” “For Love or Money” and other reality TV shows dedicated to the premise that most women are materialistic money-grubbers.
With such ideas becoming so widespread in America, and with so little outrage expressed by women even as they become entrenched, it is not surprising that in 2001 The New York Times reported an increase of 1,500 percent in husbands making their wives sign prenuptial agreements over the previous decade, because men have become so suspicious of female avarice. Indeed, Michael’s very trial revolves around the question of whether or not the mother of his 15-year-old accuser is a gold digger who coached her children to lie about Michael in order to rip him off.
Since by some estimates 70 percent of the Internet is used for pornography, America better wake up to how this consumption is affecting men’s assessment of women. By stripping women of a dignified identity, pornography causes men to look down at women. It invites them not merely to sexualize women, but to view them as nothing more than the means to male sensual ends.
For married men, excessive exposure to a variety of naked, female bodies contributes to the penchant of men to feel permanently dissatisfied with their wives. When husbands are constantly barraged with airbrushed-images of the “perfect” female body, it is impossible for them to remain na?ve and awe-struck by the female form.
When compared to the porn “stars,” their own wives become ordinary. When a man sees his wife’s naked body, the trained eye that he has cultivated will be immediately drawn to her flaws rather then her beauty. Not only does this lead to the degradation of his wife, but it also hinders his ability to find satisfaction.
Indeed, with a single standard of beauty that is cultivated by porn, it is nearly impossible to be satisfied with the variety of body types that exist in the real world. Unable to find true contentment with their wives, many men look elsewhere. Moreover, men who are used to looking at pornography are rarely contented with a single image of perfection. Notice how a Playboy playmate is never repeated in multiple issues. Even “Miss June’s” seemingly flawless form is not good enough to win her the “Miss July” or “Miss August” centerfold. Once she has been seen and digested, she is no longer captivating enough to be seen again.
This is because pornography deadens and desensitizes men. Instead of being automatically drawn to women as he should be, today’s man is too much of a connoisseur to ever lose himself completely. The nature of erotic attraction, which should bring men and women together, has been utterly compromised, and neither is above evaluating the other according to the most stringent of scales. More than simply providing the measure by which all real women are judged, pornography hinders a man’s attachment to a single woman because it impairs his ability to build deep relationships. Sexual intimacy is meant to bring a couple together on emotional and mental levels. Once a man feels removed enough to judge his wife by external comparisons, he loses some of his excitement for her and mistakenly believes that a more perfectly formed woman would provide him with the physical titillation he craves.
As with the thousands of images that were allegedly found on computers in Michael’s possession, after a while pornography becomes an addiction in which the viewer needs more and more stimulation to achieve the same level of titillation that was once experienced. This effect is perfectly illustrated by studies showing the range of pornographic viewing on the Internet. While most men will start looking at adult websites for an average of 15 minutes, within months they are online for hours. At the beginning, it only takes a short “hit” to achieve the desired effect, but with time, these quick glances are no longer enough.
While love can only be shared between two equals, once pornography enters into a relationship women become subordinate because they have been objectified and commoditized. In the world of pornography, women are portrayed in only three ways: as the mindless playmate, the insatiable nymphomaniac, or as one who craves pain. All are deeply destructive images that erode male respect for women.
As an equal partner, a woman’s approval and respect used to imbue a man with a sense of worthiness. Once women lose their equal footing, men find themselves looking for validation in bragging rights by being able to boast to their friends about their conquests of multiple women. It is understood, of course, that the success of this boasting is measured by the desirability of the women involved, and in this we are again faced with this single image of beauty and perfection that pornography devises. After all, Hugh Hefner wouldn’t be nearly as enviable if he were seen flanked by Mrs. Smith, the cleaning lady. No, no! Hugh is envied because he gets to be with the hour-glass-shaped women that men are trained to desire.
King Solomon declared in Proverbs that “He who has found a woman has found goodness.” But in the age of the vulgar women of the pornographic universe, we might modify the aphorism to read, “He who has found only fantasy women has compromised his ability to appreciate goodness.”