Comments about ‘Senate passes resolution warning Utahns about effects of porn on kids’

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Published: Wednesday, March 6 2013 3:15 p.m. MST

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Lagomorph
Salt Lake City, UT

The language of SJR15 is wrapped in a sciencey cloak with references to stress neurotransmitters, hormones, prefrontal cortex and basal ganglia, but this scientific pretense masks a prudish, moralistic agenda. Significantly, "soft-core or gateway pornography" is never defined in the resolution. From previous reporting in this paper, the activist behind the resolution is motivated by personal distaste for relatively innocuous images that conceivably could include the Macy's sale ad in this morning's Deseret News (showing a model in bra and panties). The resolution should clearly define these key terms or it is worthless as a policy statement.

Furthermore, the physiological responses the resolution describes are not unique to sexual images. As last week's NYT Sunday Magazine reported, junk food manufacturers exploit these same responses to cultivate addiction to their products in consumers (look up "bliss point"). I would suspect that the same responses are elicited by images of violence as well ("Bambi" could be "gateway porn"!). If the intent of the resolution really is to protect developing minds from the negative consequences listed in lines 33-36, then it should address ALL types of stimuli and not just sexual images. Otherwise it is merely prudery disguised as concern.

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