Bernadette Barton: The Pornification of America

In her eye-opening book, Bernadette Barton, professor of sociology and gender studies, examines America’s raunch culture through sexism, misogyny, and pornography. From politics to religion to workplace, raunch culture has taken over every aspect of our lives. Boys learned about sex though gonzo porn on the internet and applied violent techniques to thier girlfriends. Men objectified women for their own pleasure. Girls competed for sexual attention on social media. The country elected someone who bragged about grabbing women by the pussy to the highest office.

Reading this book made me realize that I had been exposed to raunch culture since I migrated to America at the age of twelve. I noticed the difference between Vietnam and America in regard to sexualized advertisements, rap music videos, as well as the way boys talked about girls at school. I didn’t know what objectify meant, but I was there when a group of boys checked out and commented on girls’ bodies. There was an incident where a boy came up behind a girl and dry-humped her. She punched him back, but the boys laughed. I thought it was inappropriate, but I didn’t say anything. I had friends who handed me adult magazines covered in folders. I took a job at a local video rental store just so I could have access to the porn section. At a certain point, I was craving for real sex after watching porn videos. I had to quit that job and dumped all of my porn stash in the trash as I realized that I had a problem. Nowadays, porn is only a click away. I can’t even begin to imagine if gonzo porns were available when I was growing up.

Reading stories from this book horrifies me. We’re living in a time in which raunch culture is thriving and it is impossible to escape. Fortunately, I am in a different place in my life where I have a meaningful relationship with my wife. She keeps me grounded and away from temptations and seductions. I worry about my boys and their exposure to raunch culture. I had no guidance when I was growing up, but I hope that they can come to us if they come across it.

After reading this book, I am optimistic there is still hope and Barton has provided a path out of raunch culture. Read it, learn it, and apply it.

Bonjour Vietnam