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Anti-porn rally aims at keeping sexualized ads out of community

Published: Friday, July 18 2014 9:10 p.m. MDT

Friday morning at 11 a.m., a group of concerned citizens, with the support of numerous anti-pornography organizations, will rally at The Square at 2600 South and 525 West in Bountiful to encourage scandalous-free, skin-free advertising.

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BOUNTIFUL — The day the advertisement hit Bountiful mailboxes, Sen. Todd Weiler's phone started ringing.

"You've got to do something," numerous concerned mothers told the senator, expressing their frustration that a postcard of a naked woman barely covering herself could be circulating in their community.

"This didn't come from out of state," said Weiler, a Republican who represents Davis and Salt Lake counties. "This was not from Las Vegas, this was from a Davis County business. That's very disappointing."

Friday morning at 11 a.m., a group of concerned citizens, with the support of numerous anti-pornography organizations, will rally at The Square at 2600 South and 525 West in Bountiful to express their concern, not just to Wade Laser Clinic, located nearby, but also to the community in general. They encourage anyone concerned about this issue to join them.

"The rally is to push back and say, this is not acceptable for businesses to use skin to hawk their products," said Weiler, who has worked on anti-pornography legislation and who will be speaking at the rally. "It violates our community standard in south Davis County, and we're going to push back and let people know we will not tolerate that and not silently allow this advertising to creep into our homes."

Wade Laser Clinic has spent the last two months apologizing to concerned residents and is embarrassed about the flier, said Dave Wade, marketing manager for the clinic.

Wade said he contracted with an out-of-state company to do a mass mailer for their services of liposuction/breast augmentation and while he signed off on the proof, when he received the glossy, oversized postcard, he realized they made a mistake.

"We wish we'd never gone through (with) it," he said. "We're trying to take steps to make sure nothing like that ever happens again."

His advice to other companies is to make sure they consider the collateral around their target demographic — which in this case was children who picked up the mail — and make sure their ad isn't offensive.

"Everybody's entitled to their own freedom of choice," he said, "and they deserve their rights to say what can and cannot be in their house.

Rally organizer Jennifer Brown appreciates the efforts of Wade Laser Clinic to make amends, but hopes the rally sends a message to other businesses that these types of decisions need to be made before questionable material is considered for advertising, given that it can cause serious damage to the young people who see it.

Brown, a dentist and mother of five boys, became an anti-pornography advocate several years ago when she began to notice the mass of sexualized images bombarding her children.

After spending years reading peer-reviewed studies on the impact of sexually explicit images on the brain, she quickly learned this wasn't a religious, moral or free speech argument, but rather a deeply scientific discussion about why children need to be protected from images they can't appropriately process.

"We shouldn't be subtly crafting these teenage boys to literally want to seek out porn, when they don't have the self-control and the knowledge to understand what's going on," she says.

What kids (and many of their parents) don't understand is that even subtle "soft-core," or "gateway" pornography like magazine covers, clothing ads or movie scenes set off a cascade of neurological reactions in the brain and leave lasting impacts.

When a child views a sexually stimulating image, the brain sees it as something new, unknown and potentially dangerous, which triggers the body's emotional stress-response system.

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