As I look around today, I see a lack of community. I have spent much time thinking about what has happened to cause the loss of this essential element of society, and I have landed on one thing — the destruction of the nuclear family. The foundation of the family begins with committed parents. In the past 40 years, there has been a dramatic decrease in the longevity of marriages. This alone should sound blaring warning sirens, but many do not seem to be concerned. I argue that a resurgence of traditional marriage and family is imperative for the successful survival of society.
To begin, the American Psychological Association says that 40 -50% of marriages end in divorce. Why is this? I believe that there are many reasons, but the first and most toxic one is the rise of pornography. I argue that the gradual normalization of pornography is ultimately a result of the sexual liberation movement which happened in the 1960s and 1970s since the divorce rate slowly started increasing following this time period. Shortly after this cultural shift, the internet began to emerge. This cyber-service is a massive platform and is largely unregulated. The rapid rise in internet usage paired with the ideas from the sexual liberation movement has been a lethal combination for the American family and traditional values. The mostly uncensored virtual venue has provided a place for the pornography industry to thrive. Mature sites now have massive followings with hundreds and hundreds of millions of clicks per month. This is due to the easy accessibility of the internet through any device that has Wi-Fi connectivity. Since most everyone in the United States now has a smartphone with internet capabilities, this means that almost anyone can now easily access pornography.
The religion that shaped the United States was Christianity. In the Bible, it is very clear that the act of engaging in adultery, which pornography is a part of, is a sin, so believers should be concerned. Additionally, there is scientific research that supports exposure to pornography is harmful since it can cause dopamine receptors in the brain to wear down. Simply stated, the more someone sees, uses, or does something, the less value it has for the individual. This leads back to my original claim that constant exposure to pornography at any level causes traditional marital relationships to seem less valuable; and therefore, these bonds will be less likely to last.
The instability of marriages greatly affects children who are the most vulnerable members of the nuclear family. Procreation and the establishment of strong values are essential because children are the future. In recent years, the fertility rate in America is below 2.1, which is what the United Nations has set as the replacement standard for society. This means that the population rate in America is actually decreasing. This might be partly due to the financial responsibility associated with having children, but another problem for the younger generation is the previously mentioned rising divorce rate. Not only does divorce affect procreation, but a Scientific American article states that divorce frequently leads to depression, anxiety, and substance abuse in the children of separated parents. Additionally, research reveals that children whose parents divorce are also more likely to divorce themselves when they get married. From this data, it is clear that divorce has an effect well beyond just two individuals. It can create a vicious cycle that often continues for generations.
Even worse for the “divorce cycle”, current mainstream culture (which has an enormous effect on younger people) is also blatantly promoting open and casual relationships. A recent example of this is the “rapper” Cardi B. She created a song and music video that glorified numerous types of sexual behaviors in a positive light. Ironically enough, her three-year marriage ended in a hostile divorce. The culture now is also responsible for the promotion of pornography as well. As a result of this normalization of pornography, there is now a popularity status associated with casual sexual encounters. Unfortunately, as mentioned earlier in the essay, easy access to introductory pornography has been a detriment to young people including adolescents. Some studies say that about 90% of teenagers visit pornography sites multiple times a month.
So how can the troubling loss of community be fixed or reversed? First and foremost, I believe that society has to condemn sexual glorification and pornography. American culture needs to return to traditional values and focus on faithful marriages, growing families, and establishing moral guidelines. Current trends will be hard to radically change, but a dramatic shift is the only way I envision the survival of society.