"We're dirty ourselves, but that doesn't mean our beaches have to be the same." With these words, Pornhub, one of the world's largest porn portals on the Internet, has presented its version of "the most filthy porn" in a campaign that claims to draw attention to the need to keep the seaside clean. And this is done in a very characteristic manner: the site shows a scene in which a couple has sex on a beach littered with rubbish, while the operators diligently clean it up. Well, in addition, it is announced that for each visit to this video page a certain amount of funds will be transferred to the account of Ocean Polymers NGO, which deals with the issues of maintaining the cleanliness of the sea.
At the same time, a similar high-profile campaign was organized by another major porn producer BangBros, which acquired the portal PornWikileaks, which usually presented exclusive sexy photos and videos of world famous women. Moreover, as its creators argued, this was done not for the sole purpose of playing such videos, but precisely in order to burn all media with these films and so that the accumulated porn material could never be published again.
Such promotions are not something new, as it might seem. So, for example, the same Pornhub a few years ago, organized the Internet portal Pornhub Cares, calling it a corporate social responsibility (RSC) site, which, among other things, carried out campaigns to promote safe sex, advocate for the preservation of pandas or for universal schooling. … The question arises: are these really socially responsible actions? Or are they just marketing campaigns to whitewash your image? Or both?
The unity of pornography, the environment and cyberthreats
There are some specific data that help explain these trends. Pornography is particularly criticized by feminist organizations for showing sex scenes that demean women in passive or even subordinate roles. In other words, porn producers are condemned for showing material made almost exclusively for men and in which the role of women is portrayed in a purely utilitarian sense.
Is it really? If we look at the data from some of these portals, the numbers show just that direction. In this particular case of Pornhub, nearly three-quarters of its viewers are male. In Spain it is 73% of men and 27% of women. Here we can consider behind such social campaigns a certain desire to improve our image and even somehow get closer to a female audience. If we look at one of the central themes of the same Pornhub regarding climate change, we will see that their potential audience is just women. In most parts of the world, women are far more worried about climate change than men in most parts of the world, according to a 2018 report by the Pew Research Center, a global project.
Does pornography encourage sexual harassment?
Indeed, a US study this March found that women (57%) are more likely than men (51%) to believe that climate change is a result of human activities. Moreover, the percentage of men who deny artificial climate change is almost double (9%) than women (5%).
When evaluating promotions such as BangBros buying porn content about famous women in order to burn discrediting tapes, the question has been increasingly raised in recent years: Does pornography promote sexual harassment or aggression?
To begin, consider the 2010 study, Aggression or Sexual Harassment in Top Selling Pornographic Videos: Content Analysis, which examines whether the most viewed pornographic films contain any sexual assault. The 50 best-selling or rented videos were examined in detail. Conclusion: Of the 304 porn scenes analyzed, 88% included sexual assault and 50% verbal. As a result, each video contained an average of 12 scenes of aggression.
Does this mean that this type of consumption implies the presence of some kind of sexual violence? The Spanish Prosecutor General's Office believes yes. Chapter III of her annual commentary states that “the rise in youth violence is worrying, especially in cases of gang-related sexual offenses. We are talking about acts related to the viewing of pornography on the Internet, where the most real reification of women is shown."
In Spain, we have already seen examples that most definitely link acts of sexual aggression and pornography. In 2018, xHamster, one of the largest porno-web in the world, acknowledged an alarming increase in the number of users who specifically searched for a gang rape video called "The Flock" (La Manada). Something similar happened in May of this year, when the same portal was especially looking for a sex video about an employee of the Iveco company who committed suicide.
In this context, women are the main victims of online sexual harassment. The same Pew Research Center conducted a survey among young women in the United States in order to assess the presence of cyber threats. It turned out that they really suffered from this, although they themselves were least engaged in such a practice.
And if we consider specifically sexual cyber threats, then one more important component of the problem should be taken into account: age. According to one EU poll, 20% of women between 18 and 29 years old have been exposed to cyber threats on the Internet, numbers that decrease as they age.
This is an embellishment of reality
In addition to these social campaigns, both BangBros and Pornhub produce and post videos that are far removed from these endeavors, especially when it comes to combating sexual violence. Indeed, in Pornhub it is very easy to get a video request with the words "violence", "blackmail" or "harassment". This is an indicator of what the users of this portal are most often looking for.
In the adult entertainment industry, there are occasional voices of criticism of porn portals such as BangBros. “As for PornWikileaks, it was just a terrible site that put many of the famous actresses associated with it in danger. Acquiring it and destroying all the accumulated data was a great gesture and a sign of solidarity with this out-of-trust porn industry, heavily criticized by society and the media,”says Swedish journalist Erika Lust.
However, “it's important to keep in mind that BangBros is part of a huge network that also owns sites like XVideos.com and Xnxx.com. Companies like corporations like Mindgeek (the owner of Pornhub, by the way) have taken a monopoly position, and this harms everyone involved in this entertainment industry,”she emphasizes.
Famous Spanish artist Anneke Necro is even more critical of BangBros and Pornhub: “It's all just an embellishment of reality. The porn industry is going through a difficult moment, each time more and more people inside and outside of it are asking questions about the content that should become a model for this type of commerce. I doubt that these companies are really interested in environmental protection, rather, I see in their actions just one type of marketing using a topic that is finally starting to worry people."
“The fact is that these very companies contribute significantly to the impoverishment of our spiritual life. In this porn industry, neither performers nor technical workers (cameraman, sound engineers, stylists) can live on it, so I honestly don't care what they do afterwards to clean up this dirt. I think that if they want to do something really useful for people, then they should try to just disappear."