Minneapolis city officials received testimony about peoples’ encounters
with porn, those
who consume porn and those who produce it at a hearing of the
Minneapolis Government Operations Committee in December 1983. This
letter is published in In Harm’s Way: The Pornography Civil Rights Hearings (p.228).
Letter of Phyllis Chesler, Ph.D., December 7, 1983
Based on fourteen years of clinical research and clinical practice, (1969-Present, 1983), I have found that pornography significantly adds to women’s psychological stress…
In my professional opinion, pornography, together with certain other practices, contributes to women’s masochism, chronic depression, anxiety and lowered self-esteem. For example, most women continually compare themselves with tyrannizing images of beauty. Pornographic images and expectations then turns what they feel about themselves, into a deeper self-hatred, and into greater attempts to please men, in order to be loved, in order to avoid being seen as truly “ugly”.
Pornography, in addition to certain other practices, is potentially involved in female problems such as frigidity or dysmenorrhea.
In my professional opinion, what women learn from observing pornography directly, or from relating to men who observe pornography directly, is tolerance for physical, sexual and emotional abuse at male hands. This, in turn, leads to the suppression of anger, and its consequent self-destructive behavior among women.
Pornography also hampers men’s abilities to relate in intimate and nourishing ways, particularly when they marry and create a family. For example, as I wrote in my book, About Men, pornography falsely promises an endless supply of available women. Pornography falsely promises men that no male-male competition or rivalry exists for male access to “available” women. Pornography falsely promises and sets a standard for men of constant and easily achieved erections. Pornography falsely promises men sexual and psychological pleasure as a result of force, sadism, selfishness, or money.
To the extent to which men believe such lies–to that extent are men divided against themselves, against their wives, and against women whom they may love or live with.
Pornographic images are unbalanced by an equal input of non-pornographic images of love, lovemaking, or sexuality.