Last night I went to another seminar at church called Living in a Pornified World, presented by Melinda Tankard Reist. I have heard Melinda speak on several occasions previously, and followed her Facebook page and blog for a few years, so I thought I was primed for this presentation. But still, it was disturbing and confronting as she showed us images of this pornification, all taken from mainstream media, to raise awareness of what exactly is happening out there (in case you hadn’t noticed). We were then presented with a lot of research showing the results of this pornification on the development and mental health of girls, in particular, and alarming information on what young people now perceive as “normal” and expected behaviour. One shudders.
The upside of the evening was when Melinda shared what her organisation Collective Shout has been doing, and the victories they have had against advertising, corporations and other media channels (eg music videos). You can also follow Collective Shout on Facebook (I thought I was already but discovered I wasn’t, and was just seeing the posts through Melinda Tankard Reist’s page, so just rectified that problem).
One of the helpful things to take away from the evening was the simple steps that we can take whenever we see material that we deem inappropriate, so I thought I’d share those.
1. Firstly, raise the problem in store if you can. Take the offending item to the service counter and ask to speak to the department manager.
2. Lodge a complaint through the stores/corporations online complaint process.
3. Take it to social media. You can get very fast response times through this, as companies do not want complaints going viral.
4. Also let Collective Shout know, so you are not acting on your own.
At the higher level we can be supporting Collective Shout, which could do much more with more funds and resources. Also, you can badger you local MP about local problems.
As Melinda reminded us, “the standard you walk past is the standard you set”, which was the challenge to act instead of just frowning as we pass.
(One other thing Melinda shared during her presentation is that she has young men (or women) contact her in response to her talks, who are struggling with pornography, and she doesn't know what to do with them, and that many churches don't seem to know what to do either, so I made sure a few key people afterwards knew about the work of Overcomers Outreach, which is an umbrella addiction recovery program, through which you can get many other contacts also. If you've read this blog for any length of time you would know that I used to help out with some of their work (I have a label in my sidebar), and it's a valuable resource.)