Plague or Plaything? Forum Examines Pornography’s Impacts

Does pornography contribute to hostile attitudes against women and sexual violence?

One of the nation’s leading researchers on the effects of sexual aggression and obscenity in the media will address that question and others at the event “Pornography: Plague or Plaything?” – presented on Wednesday, Oct. 28, by the Forum on Media Ethics and Social Responsibility at Loyola Marymount University.

The keynote speaker is Neil Malamuth, Ph.D., a UCLA communication studies and psychology professor who has explored links between media content and the development of hostile masculinity, aggression against women, the lessening of empathy and the proclivity for rape. His discussion will address pornography’s impacts on men, women, heterosexual and homosexual relationships, and children growing up in an age when graphic media content can be found with a few swipes of a smartphone.

“The ethics of pornography, and the question of representation of men and women and their relationships, and the way in which sex plays a role … is a bit of a taboo,” said Lawrence Wenner, Ph.D., the Von der Ahe Professor of Communication and Ethics at LMU who directs the Forum on Media Ethics and Social Responsibility. “We don’t talk about it very much, and this forum gives a unique opportunity to consider what is really known about the uses and effects of pornography.”

The event, which is free and open to the public, is at 4:30 p.m. in Ahmanson Auditorium, University Hall 1000.

The program is sponsored by LMU’s departments of Communication Studies, Psychology, Political Science and Women’s Studies; the Division of Student Affairs; and Student Media.