By mtjulietintern

State Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mt. Juliet, re-introduced a bill she filed last year that would declare pornography a public health hazard in Tennessee.

If legislators approve the resolution, the state would acknowledge pornography as a public health hazard that leads to a broad spectrum of individual and public health impacts and societal harms. 

“Rather, efforts to prevent pornography exposure and addiction, to educate individuals and families concerning its harms and to develop recovery programs must be addressed systemically,” the resolution said.

Beavers’ resolution proclaims pornography is contributing to the “hyper-sexualization” of teens.

“Due to the advances in technology and the universal availability of the internet, young children are exposed to what used to be referred to as hardcore pornography at an alarming rate, with 27 percent of older millennials reporting that they first viewed pornography before puberty,” the resolution said.

Also, according to the bill, Beavers claims for teenagers pornography can lead to low self-esteem and eating disorders; increase in problematic sexual activity at younger ages; and an increased desire to engage in “risky” sexual behavior.

Beavers also claims children and youth exposed to pornography often use it as their sex education, which shapes their sexual templates. She also claims since pornography treats women as objects, it teaches girls to be used and boys to be users.

The bill also states pornography normalizes violence and abuse of women and children; treats women and children as objects and often depicts rape and abuse as harmless; equates violence toward women and children with sex and pain with please, which leads to increase demands in sexual trafficking, prostitution and child pornography.

Beavers also said pornography has detrimental effects on watchers, such as emotional, mental and medical illnesses; deviant sexual arousal; difficulty forming or maintaining intimate relationships; brain development and functioning; problematic or harmful sexual behavior and addiction and more.

Beavers discussed the resolution last year during multiple Senate meetings. Beavers said due to the internet, mobile devices and social media, people are exposed to more sexual images, which can be hard to monitor, sometimes.

“What’s going on is alarming, especially for our children and the future of our society, and we wanted to bring this resolution to call attention to it,” Beavers said in a Senate Health Subcommittee meeting last year.

Beavers presented results of various studies and information provided by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation during a full Senate session last year, as well.

“In a study that was done, they found that there was a 17-percent increase in access to pornography versus PlayStation, 7-percent increase in access versus a Nintendo Wii and 18.9-percent increase in access versus a Nintendo 3DS. This should alarm all of us,” she said.

By Xavier Smith

xsmith@lebanondemocrat.com