University of Maryland Study Examines the Gender Gap in Opposition to Pornography

Maryland_SealA new study by sociologists at the University of Maryland finds a persistent gender gap in opposition to pornography. The study examined the views of men and women regarding support of legal censorship of pornographic materials between 1975 and 2012.

The results showed that opposition to legal distribution of pornography has lessened significantly during the period. But a gender gap remains today as was the case in 1975. In 2012, 38 percent of American women and 26 percent of American men said they would support laws against the distribution of pornography. The study found that men’s opposition to legal pornography has declined faster, so the gender gap in opposition to pornography has widened.

LykkeLucia C. Lykke, a Ph.D. student in sociology at the University of Maryland and the lead author of the study, stated that “with the rise of cheap or free Internet pornography, you might expect that men’s and women’s attitudes would be growing more similar. But we found that men are becoming more accepting of pornography more rapidly than women are.”

Philip N. Cohen, a professor of sociology at the University of Maryland and co-author of the study, added that “previous research has already shown that women are especially concerned about the negative effects of pornography. So, as pornography has become more accessible, and more violent and degrading towards women, this remains a serious concern for many American women.”

The article, “The Widening Gender Gap in Opposition to Pornography, 1975–2012,” was published on the website of Social Currents, the official journal of the Southern Sociological Society. It may be accessed here.

Filed Under: Research/Study


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