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Social Psychology and Social Issues: The Case of Pornography

So obviously this is a contentious topic as well as a sensitive topic to discuss, but its also a pertinent social issue that can/is/and should continue to be addressed by Social Psychology. The link between pornography and aggression has been examined for decades now and psychologists have addressed the issue within various sub-fields of psychology. There are also many societal, cultural, and local folk beliefs about pornography and the consequences of it on Egyptian youth. Film Thaqafy/Cultural Movie was made in 2001 and revolves around this issue. Watch the trailer, both to have a good laugh and to see the direction the film was going in. Worry not, there are also subtitles.

Film thaqafy #2

That was 14 years ago and even more recently there was a call to ban porn sites in Egypt. The UK have had a similar debate but came to a very different legal ruling. The call to ban porn sites was not implemented In Egypt as opposed to the steps that are currently being taken in the UK. Public opinion aside, results of research are mixed, and the field of psychology has been a big player in the debate.

To address social issues, social psychologists create hypotheses and then come up with research designs to test these hypotheses. Creating a hypothesis is an extremely creative process and one in which we draw upon our personal construals and schemas. There is an art to it, the relationship between a hypothesis and the methods or combination of methods used to examine this hypothesis. Curiosity bring on questions, questions bring on hypotheses, hypothesis relegate to methods, and they all lead to (if you do it right) insight into human behavior and the effects of social influence upon said behavior.

So, there are lots of questions to address, but lets focus on these two.

1. Is porn bad or good or neither? How will we be able to tell? How can we form our hypothesis? Oh yeah, and form one because we will be talking about this in class 🙂

2. What exactly can we take from the results of research? Especially keeping in mind the limitations of ethically and practically researching this issue?

PS Read this if you want to read something extremely strange.


PSS If you want to watch the entire movie Film Saqafy/Cultural Film, and you should one day, here it is 🙂


8 responses to “Social Psychology and Social Issues: The Case of Pornography

  1. I believe pornography isn’t helpful ,specially in a culture like ours where the porn addicts think that this is the way they should live and that it is normal …when it really isn’t . our culture and society disapproves of such things and that is why it isn’t okay . Porn causes higher rape rates ,research in Egypt and arab countries proved so .I am completely against it , i think it damages youth’s minds .

    • I understand where you derived your hypothesis from! For sure! But where did you get the information on which you based it? Do you think you have thoroughly examined the “facts”? Even if I share your hypothesis, we need to have a more solid base upon which we create them. I would love to hear more from you on this issue! 🙂

  2. I don’t know the real reason behind why some people watch porn. I guess for some it releases the stress of late marriage (especially here in Egypt). But this also has a down side. If someone can’t get what he wants… he then wants it more; and this can lead to aggression. So i guess it makes people feel better in the short term, but it’s problematic in the long term. By the way, the article about the couple and the dog… they are sick!!!!!! And bale was only 15,000??? Come on.

  3. sabrinek

    I personally can’t say whether pornography is good or bad, from a personal view i think it’s bad but I cannot jump to conclusions as Ingy said we don’t really know the reasons behind why people watching porn. Now is agression related to pornography it could be for some people but we should not generalize. Concerning the article about the married couple, that is really shocking we would all think they’re psychologically disturbed. Regardless of social psychology elements we learned and stereotyping I honestly believe they are. What could explain such a “sick” behavior?

  4. marabm712

    Pornography is a big problem in the Egyptian society now, as Egypt is ranked to be the first among the Arab countries for searching about “adult material” on Google, according to one research.
    Yet, it has been a debate that is ongoing for decades, as you said Dr. Mariham, if pornography caused aggression, as they may be correlated, but there might be no causal relationship between the two variables. Although pornography views are very high among Egyptians and rape rates in Egypt are also very high these days compared to 40 or 50 years ago, we cannot say that this aggression towards women is caused by the high rates of pornography views among the Egyptian men. But at the same time, we can say that there may be a third factor, or even more than one other factor that are causing these high rape rates and the high number pornography views in Egypt, like poverty, illiteracy, and/or late marriages, as Ingy mentioned.
    Also, according to the articles mentioned in the post, banning pornography in Egypt and the UK were for totally different reasons; while in Egypt it was attempted to be banned to “apply the Islamic Law” by completely blocking adult material, the UK is banning it to protect children who may view it by coincidence due to lack of supervision (which I support big time!), by installing family friendly filters that can be switched on and off by the Internet user. Regardless of the reason it is said to be banned, I’m not with that solution to solve the problem of pornography addiction. If it is proved to be a problem, then we, as more educated people, should educate others of it being a problem and the drawbacks of it, because simply banning it will not stop the problem. People will always have their ways to get pornographic material if it is not readily found on the Internet, as in this movie “Film Thaqafy”. When something becomes banned legally, it will be more wanted by the people who are addicted to it, because they are simply addicted to it. I just hope we can find and act on a solution to it before it becomes more rooted in our society and specially among the young youth.

    • We are unsure as to accurate accounts of rape incidents in Egypt. It’s very unfortunate! I know people say that it has increased, but maybe reporting the incident is what has increased. What do you think?

      • marabm712

        Yes, exactly. Reporting the incident increased than before, as women became more courageous and confident to report if they are being sexually harassed or raped… Yet, I think that the number of reported incidents are far less than the actual number of sexual harassments or rapes that actually take place, as still some women fear of public disgrace if they reported the incident.

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