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Pornography has long been accused of encouraging men to objectify women, but new research is examining what role it might play in sexism.
The new study, titled “Pornography and Sexist Attitudes Among Heterosexuals,” appears online in the Journal of Communication.
Researchers studied 200 Danish young adults, using both male and female subjects. Each was asked about his or her personal intake of pornography and given a series of personality tests.
Men who are heavy users of porn showed more negative attitudes toward the opposite sex, even levels of hostility in some cases.
“Men who are heavy users of porn showed more
negative attitudes toward the opposite sex.”
The same pattern was not found among women who watched pornography.
For part of the study, researchers asked subjects to view X-rated pornography in the lab environment, followed immediately by a personality test.
Only those subjects who rated low in agreeableness in earlier testing were found to have increased sexist views immediately after watching the material.
“The study is important because it may help nuance the view of effects of porn and enable us to better understand for whom adverse effects of porn are most likely and the mechanisms by which such effects occur,” said lead author Gert Martin Hald, of the University of Copenhagen.
In other studies, like a 2007 Australian effort, researchers found the use of pornography does not predict someone holding a negative or lessened view of women.
For that report, researchers from Queensland University of Technology studied more than 1,000 respondents of varying ages, who were similarly asked about their porn use and given a variety of personality tests.
That study found older men who were less educated and more politically conservative tended to have sexist views.