Aug 29·edited Sep 5

The fact that most of her (presumably female) friends find pornography normal, is perhaps the most striking part of this. I'd expect teenage boys to fall into the trap, males are visual creatures with higher socio sexuality—but when I was growing up (and I'm still only 27), girls still found the objectification and emotionless sex of pornography gross—and the guys who were watching it, pathetic. If we've lost even the next generation of women to this then I fear there is little hope—women pressuring men to get our acts together has been one of the strongest forces of our species history—we need it.

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Disclaimer: I’m old.

But I have never “accidentally” stumbled into a porn site. Teenage girls today are a species I have difficulty relating to. On the one hand, they can be fierce little emblems of radical feminism, with “Metoo” their password and rallying cry; on the other, they disfigure themselves with bizarre “body art,” metal pierced through unimaginable body parts, and clothes that look like they came through a shredder.

Maybe pornography is just another extension of this self-loathing that reduces some young women and girls to a caricature.

Having said all that, there are still legions of girls who don’t fit that self-destructive profile: girls who are dedicated students and athletes; girls with enough self-respect to reject the ludicrous notion of males in intimate spaces in the name of “inclusiveness;” girls who value kindness, family, and faith in God.

I hope Isobel can find herself in the latter category.

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I read frequently how often young women who want to transition cite access to online porn as a factor--if that’s what sex is about --and what women are subjected to--they don’t want any part of it. The normalization and availability of it, plus the increase in OnlyFans being an acceptable, “empowered” way for women to make money, is tragic. It’s ruining interactions between men and women, from teens on up. And treating it as an addictive substance that requires regulation is the way. To talk about it like it’s “sexual health education” is just...degenerate. I think adults and parents would be absolutely horrified at what their kids are seeing--we think porn is cosplaying like a naughty 1980’s playboy magazine, and it’s 1000x worse (and meaner) than that.

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If Isabel is a runner up I can't wait to see who won this contest. This young lady has achieved a level of awareness the majority of "progressive" parents 2-3 times her age couldn't fathom. Give her another assignment, Bari!

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Like any man, I’ve watched online porn.

That stuff is nasty, man.

What’s worse is that you don’t realize it while you’re enmeshed in it.

I’ve gone without looking at it for about a year now.

That is what freedom is; the ability to deny yourself.

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And yet, progressive teachers feel that immersing kindergarteners in transgender studies is okey dokey...

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I’m a mother of 20-yr-olds whom, like you, viewed porn while young and suffer extreme anxiety. My daughter was saved by attending a no-cellphone school but my son hid his troubles and continued without intervention and now is listless and directionless, and complains of all manner of screen-induced ailments. Yet his behavior continues. These two essays confirm sad cellphone-induced problems in todays youth.

Thank you both for sharing your writing talents.

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Congrats on the contest, you’re a terrific writer and surely have a bright career ahead of you

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It is terrifying to think that a young girl's first knowledge of intimacy comes from a porno website. Imagining a generation of kids whose expectations and fantasies are fueled by distorted, cold, abusive images is beyond disturbing. Parents who are eager to win their child's affection by providing early access to technology need to think again - internet access is akin to keys for the gates of hell. God save us. Nice work Isabel - your words are powerful and important! Thank you!

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It was unbelievably disturbing to know that a child wrote this. The world needs pearl clutching conservatives more than ever.

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Well, I’ve been living in a cave. I thought Hustler magazine was bad.

What kind of sick freaks make this shit? Let’s tie them up and choke them, see how they like it.

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My initial reaction was that this essay was created by AI as it is too broadly researched and astoundingly well written to have come from the mind and fingers of a teenager. My second reaction was reminding myself that over the years I have been occasionally astounded by a teenager's competence -- music, public service, oratory -- and have come away inspired to believe that America isn't "going to hell in a handbasket and there is nothing that can be done to stop the descent." I'm going with my second reaction.

And if I were a school board member in anywhere America, I would somehow get this essay into parents' inbox and ask them if they would prefer that their teenager opt-out of the class where this essay is shared and discussed.

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Thanks for writing this. Most adults are too afraid to acknowledge porn, even though statistics say a vast majority of us are using it. It is even more difficult to talk about when you're a kid, I image. This took real courage.

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This article was fantastic. I am so glad I was not raised in the age of porn. I can remember stumbling on these sites as a young man and the inner battles it provoked, but I had developed skills through education and life that pre-teens and teens do not.

Isabel tells how she learns about the birds and the bees, but the birds are tied up, and the bees are altered with silicone and plastic. What they are seeing is disturbing their reality and stunting their growth. You don't have to be a Puritan to know it's wrong.

This article also speaks to the lack of dating and relationships, as porn makes your partners disposable objects to be cast aside when the fun ends. It doesn't teach responsibility, love, and commitment. It makes the life of an individual over a couple. Our culture does not promote healthy relationships, and that vacuum is filled with porn and the frivolity of Tik Tok and Instagram.

Isabel was remarkable in how she shared her story, and I hope she continues to realize her talents and live a happy, successful life.

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Aug 30·edited Aug 30

Brilliant young woman and a clarion call for sanity. Caleb's essay was great but Isabel is the clear winner. Her essay should be the equivalent of Sound of Freedom (another important call against the forces of darkness)/

We all know this is not normal. We are being led down the garden path by some very evil people in tech. Ironic that the very people who shriek about "violence against women" call children's access to porn a "free speech issue." These websites need to be shut down unless they can prove that minors are forbidden access. And even then the damage being done to males (and consequently females) by these purveyors of perversity is almost beyond measure. Gratitude to Isabel for pull back the curtain on this depravity.

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I think pornography fixates kids at a low developmental level. Good sex is about emotional intimacy, and emotional intimacy requires maturity. If you confuse sex with intimacy, you will spend a lifetime lonely and afraid, and no amount of porn or actual sex will heal you.

And all this is really an extension of a core idea of our culture--which to its detriment we seem to have spread to much of the world--which is that Life is something you can buy. The logic is simple: life is a set of experiences, and experiences can be had for money.

But we create our selves. We are not given them, and cannot buy them. Our Self is not out there. It's not on Amazon. It's not a click away. And of course how could any of us expect honest intimacy with anyone else if we don't even have any sense of who we are are? We are just looking for our selves in other people, and they are largely doing the same.

I do think women and girls are hurt more in all this than boys and "men". Males have always been more emotionally superficial in many ways, even if the bonds of loyalty and protectiveness are very strong in most of us.

And I will say that I think this 16 year old has watched more pornography than I have. I'm aware of Pornhub and visit it on occasion, but there is apparently a lot of stuff I didn't know about, and don't want to know about.

Our whole culture needs a detox from itself. I can't begin to say what form that would take or where it would begin, but speaking the truth has always seemed an obvious starting point to me with respect to all complex problems.

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