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“It’s Not as Free as People Think It Is”: YouTuber Chaz Smith on Why He Joined the Porn Kills Love Movement

By July 19, 2019 No Comments
Comments in the following piece have been edited for length and clarity. 5 minute read.

If you want to be a more confident person, stop watching pornography.”

Many people know YouTuber Chaz Smith as the hilarious “Water is not Wet” dude, or the guy who mispronounces things. But what you may not know about Chaz is that he’s also a Fighter with this global movement for love.

After getting connected with this organization through some friends who did a remote photoshoot for us out in Los Angeles, Chaz wanted to dive in deeper. As someone who is open about sharing how he’s seen the proven negative effects of porn in his life, he wants to pass on what he’s learned in his fight and inspire people to consider the facts before consuming porn.

We recently sat down with him and asked all about what it’s like to be a YouTuber who’s decidedly going against the grain of pop culture by speaking out about such a personal yet universal topic through his channel that’s often known for humor. He had a lot to say—check it out.

Fight the New Drug: Why do you want to get more involved and share with the world that you’re with us?

Chaz Smith: I just knew that it was always going to be something that I was going to speak up about, even when I was struggling, to tell other people about and tell others. I don’t think we go through pain or struggles for ourselves, it’s always to bless other people. I’ve always had a passion and desire to talk about the things that are typically swept under the rug or seen as taboo or whatever in a way that people can understand and realize, “Oh I’ve been thinking about this from an inside the box perspective the whole time.” I want to break down the walls of confusing topics and this is definitely very personal to me.

FTND: There’s this “Do it for the Vine” mentality that is seen everywhere, including on YouTube. It’s this thought that you should do or say anything if it means you’ll be validated with subscribers and likes. Do you think this affects the way other YouTubers talk about porn on the platform?

CS: YouTubers will stay away from this topic, or just kind of side with people making sure they make them feel comfortable. They’re afraid to ruffle feathers, I guess, and a lot of people are afraid of potentially losing brand sponsorships or knowing certain brands won’t’ approach them because of the content they put out. I understand that 100%, but I ultimately know that having influence isn’t for myself. It’s for the people I’m influencing, to hopefully influence them in a positive way in a particular direction, not to just receive the influence for my own personal gain. I’m not saying everybody does that, but I think talking about a topic like this that’s so controversial and private yet needs to be public, all of the stigmas around it are risky shakey rough waters to wade into. But I think when people who have influence speak up about it, it makes it that much more powerful. For those reasons, people tend to shy away from it.

Podcast - Listen

FTND: Is it challenging to be in a space of social media influence and take a stand for the facts on porn’s harms?

CS: I think people don’t expect it because my influence has come from me zooming in on my face and pronouncing things incorrectly, so when I’m like, “Hey, by the way, porn is not good,” people are like, “Hey, wait a minute I didn’t sign up for this!” I’m in a place where I’m trying to transition my brand into combining the humor with the more serious stuff. However, the most challenging thing for me is really not caring what people think. I know it’s important already, I know what I should be saying. And that laughter is still a huge part of all of that and brings people joy and takes them out of their everyday problems and concerns and worries. But in terms of talking about something like this, it really is just a matter of not caring what people think and knowing I’m going to be fine anyway. Because this is very real, people will unfollow and stop supporting if you speak up about certain things. But I can’t be worried about that or opinions or comments.

That’s the most challenging thing—I’m not doing it for people’s approval, I’m doing it because I know it to be right.

FTND: You posted a video collab with us just a few months ago. What was the general response you received from that? Did it open up any meaningful conversations among your followers?

CS: I think the overall response, even just looking at the comments, was really positive. I was surprised about that. This isn’t what matters, but it says something that the amount of likes on the video was about ten percent of the views, and the amount of dislikes was one percent on the likes. That’s not what’s important, but it does say something. A lot of people’s eyes were opened and they really appreciated it and thought it to be education, and people were saying things were brought to their attention. I think it was a great way to introduce people into the topic and people were already familiar with it. It just broadened their perspective and helped to shine a light on something that’s often kept in the dark and learned about in private. That’s definitely something that motivates me, knowing that I can put a video out and just be confident that it’s impacting somebody somewhere and it’s going to spread by word of mouth. I know this was brought into kitchen tables and lunch tables and classrooms, and more intimate one-on-one settings where the real change happens. It was very positive, overall.

See our video collab right here:

FTND: Do you think the fantasized and fabricated Instagram and YouTube realities have affected the way people accept and normalize porn?

CS: Absolutely. I think that just some of the base influencers we see on social media are often creating content that’s so oversexualized. I think it’s a cycle. One thing is, that’s what they see and so that’s what’s on their minds. Then you have the average person who is exposed to pornography, and then that’s on their minds, that’s what the influencers create, and that’s what people like because they think it’s cool because influencers are making it, and so that’s what people want to see, and they keep making it. It’s just not helping anybody. One way I think about it desensitizes people to the over-sexualization of the human body. And therefore, by extension, desensitizes people to pornography. If more people were speaking out against it, more people would follow suit. But right now it’s the opposite—the tick mark is moving in the opposite direction right now, not that people are going to watch a video and immediately go watch porn, but it’s a mindset. A lot of people know that posting edgy pictures gets attention and it ends up desensitizing people even more and eventually normalizes pornography.

FTND: How can we break that cycle?

CS: More people need to be encouraged to speak up about it but also have the tools to break free from it as well. I think the people who are going to speak out about this the most are the ones who have had the experience in that area, and know how bad it can be. So I think those are the people who need to be encouraged to step out and encouraged not to worry about what people think and be influencers in their own way, speaking from experience. The more people speak up about it, the more people will follow and say that this is not okay.

People just tend to follow the trends, but we can use that to our advantage. It’s got to start with individuals choosing to speak up.

FTND: Fight the New Drug chooses to leave morality, religion, and personal opinions at the door in favor of science, research, and fact. How do you think this changes the potential for conversation on this usually uncomfortable and awkward topic?

CS: For everybody across the board, this approach keeps it extremely objective. People can’t argue with facts. People have different opinions about all these things,  but when you put tested theories and statistics and math before people, you can’t argue with math. The objective approach is unique for this topic, and it lets people put their guard down. It keeps it from getting personal.

People Are Not Products - White

FTND: What do you wish people truly understood about this issue that they might not really “get” at first look?

CS: What a lot of people don’t know many of the people who are actors in porn do it out of desperation. A lot of people are involved in sex trafficking. A lot of people who are involved in it have been traumatized or abused in some way, and they’re trying to fill a void by doing this. It’s often time an option for people who are struggling. There are very few people who are doing this because they wanted to with joy. This isn’t something people do for fun, often times, it’s out of desperation. It’s not as free as people think it is.

FTND: Wow, that’s powerful. Do you think knowing all of that would affect the way people consume porn?

CS: Ultimately, many people are addicted to pornography because of how it affects your brain. For myself, I knew it was unhealthy the entire time but you have to learn to change your appetites. If you’re a coffee addict for example, whether you realize it or not, if you try to go a day without it, you’ll have pounding headaches. Your body doesn’t need it, but it’s become psychologically used to it. And you’ve got to resist that over time physiologically in order for your body to wean off of it. And after that, mentally, you have to realize that you don’t need it because the desire and the triggers might still be there.

Knowing something isn’t good for you isn’t going to automatically stop someone. Knowing the facts is the beginning of freedom and what does set people free.

FTND: Many kids are turning to porn as an escape from reality and stress-relief. How do you think this is shaping kids’ expectations of entertainment in our fast-paced, digitized world?

CS: Kids and teens forming their opinions around false realities will inevitably bring their own world crashing down, or somebody else’s. It’s not stable, there’s no solid ground to stand on with this, expecting your partner to do something or building your expectations based off of sexual preferences will never help your relationships. Remember, you can be in a loving, lasting relationship with somebody and never be physically intimate with them. But people are thinking that sex is the glue that holds it together, but it’s actually just the icing on the cake. All this over-sexualization is really not necessary. But people are eating icing for three meals a day and expecting to be nourished. Prepare to be disappointed, if that’s the case.

FTND: You’re a gentleman and a scholar, Chaz. Thank you for taking the time to sit down with us, and thank you for being a Fighter.

Harness

Your turn

Chaz is one of more than four million people who are waking up to porn’s harms. You can join him, and us, by signing the Fighter Pledge and joining this fight for love. What do you have to lose?

Click here to follow Chaz on Instagram and YouTube!

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