As a Clemson student, you are bombarded daily with posters, flyers and candy with sayings on them, all trying to promote an event or gain a vote. If you’ve been in any bathroom or stairwell during the past month on Clemson’s campus, you’ve probably seen a poster for Fight the New Drug. What is Fight the New Drug? I attended the event in Tillman auditorium this Friday night to find out for myself.
Tillman was surprisingly full Friday night; the hosts stood outside greeting the attendees while offering free pizza. Fight the New Drug, as it turns out, is a campaign to inform people about the negative effects of pornography. This campaign is a part of the International Justice Mission (IJM), which mainly combats human trafficking and also fosters other popular social justice campaigns such as Dressember. Fight the New Drug is a non-religious, non-legislative organization that really has one goal in mind—to inform society. Fight the New Drug uses facts from research and personal accounts to back its claim that porn has a negative effect on the mind and relationships.
The presentation started out with a video of several interviews with scientists who have studied how the brain reacts to pornography. They set up studies where they monitored the brain activity of people who were viewing pornography and compared it to the brain activity of those who were not viewing it. The results showed that the part of the brain that lights up when viewing inanimate objects lit up when viewing pornography as opposed to the part of the brain that lights up when viewing humans.
It also discussed the problems specific to the porn industry. A previous porn star gave her account of the abuse she suffered while working in the industry. She explained that though most people want to give the situation the benefit of the doubt, no viewer can know for sure if what they are seeing is consensual. They also gave an extensive list of celebrities that openly oppose pornography; many of which still struggle with porn addiction and have even gone to rehab for it, such as Russell Brand, Terry Crews and Emma Thompson, who all speak out openly about the toll their addictions took on their lives and relationships.
“People become objects, people become body parts; they become things to be used rather than people to be loved,” said Terry Crews of his own addiction.
The presentation then went on to highlight several other negative effects of pornography and how studies have shown that it takes a toll on relationships by setting a standard that isn’t realistic even for those who are not addicted to it. Porn also encourages self-gratification and promotes social isolation, which is one of the main reasons why it is so hard for those addicted to get help—people just don’t talk about it.
These studies and facts can cause people to feel guilty because they have viewed this content. Fight the New Drug’s goal is not to shame or guilt people, but to help them feel like they can start a conversation about their feelings on the matter and their potential struggles with addiction. Since pornography is such a taboo topic in our culture, Fight the New Drug wants to help get people talking.
I had the chance to talk to one of the students who helped bring Fight the New Drug to Clemson. This student had a past friendship that was negatively affected by a porn addiction:
“It changed the way he viewed women and how he interacted with women, romantic or not.” the student said. Through this experience, they discovered Fight the New Drug. Since the statistics, as presented in the presentation, show that porn addiction is most common among the college age group, they thought it would be fitting to bring the presentation to Clemson.
Fight the New Drug wants to start a conversation about the effects of pornography. Their aim is not to directly change laws, but to inform people more about how pornography is shaping our culture. After being educated by FTND’s presentation, the main problem I see with pornography is how it makes the viewer see people more as objects than as human beings. I support Fight the New Drug’s cause, and I also admire the fact that they do not attempt to guilt people out of watching pornography, but attempt to end the silence in our society about its effects. By starting a conversation about it, Fight the New Drug hopes to change the industry and our society for the better.