Video credit: Scripted, Directed, Filmed and Edited by Jessica Samakow and Oliver Noble

In a world where sexual objectification and violence sell, it can be difficult to see what media and toxic stereotypes do to our perception of those around us. Here, you can watch 70 years of “be a real man” in under two minutes.

The video 48 Things Men Hear (That Are Bad For Everyone) released by Huffington Post got people talking. This video highlights seemingly harmless phrases that our society reinforces to boys at a young age, giving a sexist and warped perception of what it can mean to be a unique man with unique characteristics, that continues long into adulthood.

Porn promotes these reductive stereotypes

Granted, not every one of these applies to or stems from porn culture. That being said, this video could easily include statements like: “What’s your favorite type of porn?” “Hey dude, check this out, you’ve got to see this video.” “You don’t watch porn?! What’s wrong with you?”

The video is actually a follow up to a similar video titled, 48 Things Women Hear In A Lifetime, which shows the subtly sexist statements that girls begin hearing at a very young age and for the rest of their lives. For example, little girls are told not to be bossy, teenager girls are told that they are “sluts” or “whores,” and moms face frustrating expectations that just aren’t put on dads. Many commenters responded, “men are told things, too!” So another video was created, this time to show society’s narrow view of what it means to be a man, which limits men to fully be themselves, whatever that may look like.

Men commonly hear: “be a man!”, “boys don’t cry!”, “don’t be such a p—y!” This attitude informs a culture where young men are taught to feel more powerful than women, and that they somehow have ownership over women’s bodies and decisions. These kinds of stereotypes are constantly reinforced by society, and are no more prevalent than in pornography.

In porn, men are portrayed as dominant, powerful, and unemotional, while women are seen as submissive sex objects willing to obey every command from their male counterpart.

Related: Why So Many Young Men Are Ditching Porn For Good

For example, because of the normalization of sexual exploitation in hardcore pornography, which is largely women being abused at the hands of aggressive men, it can be so easy to fall into the trap of thinking that all men enjoy hurting others. And not only that, but it can be easy to think that for them, it’s sexually exciting for them to intentionally hurt their sexual partner(s). The choking, slapping, hitting, forced sex, and verbal abuse that’s on the front page of most main porn sites can make it seem like every guy fantasizes about committing such atrocities. But do they, really?

Spoiler alert: they don’t.

Growing up on porn

From the time they’re 11 or 12, young boys (and girls) are often exposed to the most hardcore, demeaning, humiliation-focused pornography available. They don’t know that it’s fake, or that it’s for “entertainment.”

RelatedWhat’s The Average Age Of Someone’s First Exposure To Porn?

They’re shown the idea that men are dominators, and women need to be submissive. They’re shown videos that disregard consent, where “no” means “try harder,” or eventually turns into “yes.” They’re shown the stereotypical porn story lines where men sexually take advantage of women any chance they get, without regard for the consequences. These young boys are trained to believe that slapping, choking, gagging, punching, and forced sex are all a “fantasy” that should be enjoyable for them, even if women are hurt.

But this is not the world we want to live in, and this is not the world we want the next generation to grow up believing in.

The fact is, despite what porn shows, not all man fall in the broad, stereotypical, and offensive categories that these hardcore videos place them in. Many guys in our world, including the male Fighters in this movement, strive to fight for healthy relationships for themselves and others. They respect women, hold themselves to a higher standard, and have the integrity to never take advantage of anyone against their will. They are peacemakers, not abusers, and they are lovers, not assailants.

And while this is all true, this is not what pornography shows the world.

The reasons stated above, and countless more, are why we believe porn isn’t helping men be the healthiest they can be, and be seen as they truly are. It’s time we speak out that sexual exploitation is not healthy for anyone, including how men are perceived.

Related: What If We Told You Not All Men Enjoy Abusing And Humiliating Others?

Now, we know that porn is not just a male problem, but it does tend to be one of society’s normalized ideas of manhood.  The truth is, not all men watch porn, and it is offensive and reductive to say that they do. So, by unfairly placing men into these pre-determined gender roles, we are perpetuating a culture that has been developed and fostered by porn.

And that’s just not cool.

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