Jonathon Van Maren

From the front lines of the culture wars

Featured Image
Kanye West presents the Fashion Icon Award to Pharrell Williams onstage at the 2015 CFDA Fashion Awards at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center on June 1, 2015 in New York City. Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Blogs

Why Kanye West is right in saying porn is ‘not okay’

Jonathon Van Maren Jonathon Van Maren Follow Jonathon

October 25, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – I’ve heard the story more times than I can count: A young boy stumbles across pornography, and spends the following years—even decades—struggling with sexual addiction. I’ve gotten emails from desperate high schoolers who started on porn in Grade 6 after Googling something out of curiosity and now find that they are nearly incapable of dating a real girl. I’ve heard from guys who found, in their early twenties, that their long-time porn addiction had resulted in erectile dysfunction. I’ve even heard from pastor’s kids who found porn stashed in the basement, and began their own secret habit.

So when hip-hop singer Kanye West came out to discuss his long-time struggle with pornography in an interview on Apple Music’s Beats 1 Radio, his story sounded very familiar. His porn use has been something he’s spoken about publicly before, and his casual comments on late-night talk shows about his porn preferences were extremely normalizing. Porn, West shrugged, was a totally normal thing to do. When Jimmy Kimmel asked him if he’d changed his views on women since having daughters of his own, he responded “Nah, I still look at PornHub,” and proceeded to tell Kimmel what his favorite porn categories were.

I’ll admit that I generally take notice of celebrity culture only when one of them makes comments about cultural issues, such as Charlize Theron’s announcing that she was raising her child transgender or the recent push by Netflix to boycott states passing protections for pre-born children. I find the obsession with celebrities and their opinions to be generally counter-productive, especially for the pro-life and pro-family movement (fresh-faced Disney stars, for example, almost always change their tune when they decide to project an edgier image.) But West’s comments this week on pornography were valuable precisely because his experience is precisely reflective of how porn wreaked havoc on an entire generation of men.

“Like for me,” he explained, “Playboy was my gateway into full-on pornography addiction. My dad had a Playboy left out at age five and it’s affected almost every choice I made for the rest of my life – from age five till now having to kick the habit. And it just presents itself in the open like it’s okay. And I stand up and say, ‘No, it’s not okay.’” 

This is a significant shift from his casual chats about his PornHub preferences a very short time ago—and West went on to admit that he eventually “drowned” in sex addiction. Now, West says he encourages those who work with him to avoid extra-marital sex (although he admitted that most people reacted to the request with disbelief.)

Interestingly, West even blamed himself for his wife Kim Kardashian’s famous body-flaunting, noting that he had encouraged her to pose for pornographic photo shoots and dress provocatively—but that now he’s changed his tune and regrets the role he played in the commodification of his wife. 

Those comments, predictably, have already been met with widespread mocking and calls for West to stop “shaming” Kardashian. After all, West has built his career on often blasphemous and explicit lyrics, while his wife is primarily famous for soft-core porn photoshoots and a lurid reality show. West’s change of heart on pornography is not only unexpected for most people—it contradicts both his own career as well as that of the famous family he married into.

I do hope his public admission that being exposed to a Playboy magazine at the age of five “affected almost every choice I made for the rest of my life” will contribute to a growing cultural conversation surrounding the damaging nature of pornography and the way in which it can inhibit intimacy, reshape sexuality, fuel addiction, and steal years of live from both men and women. 

West’s generation was often exposed to porn young, without realizing until years later how the toxic material impacted their behavioral patterns and damaged their relationships. West alone struggled with pornography for 37 years. Kanye West’s cultural influence has, thus far, been collectively corrosive. But if he can start a broader conversation on what porn is doing to boys, perhaps his platform may yet do some good.

Jonathon’s new podcast, The Van Maren Show, is dedicated to telling the stories of the pro-life and pro-family movement. In his latest episode, he interviews Jason Jones, president and founder of Human Rights Education Organization and Movie to Movement and producer of the pro-life movie ‘Bella.’ Jones experienced the heartbreaking tragedy of losing his first daughter to abortion. His high school girlfriend’s father took her to get an abortion while Jones was away at basic training. “I exploded!” Jones shares. He goes on to say that he didn’t even know abortion was legal until he found out he had lost his child to abortion.

You can subscribe here and listen to the episode below: 

FREE pro-life and pro-family news.

Stay up-to-date on the issues you care about the most. Sign up today!

Select Your Edition:

You can make a difference!

Can you donate today?


Share this article

Jonathon Van Maren

Follow Jonathon...

Jonathon Van Maren is a public speaker, writer, and pro-life activist. His commentary has been translated into more than eight languages and published widely online as well as print newspapers such as the Jewish Independent, the National Post, the Hamilton Spectator and others. He has received an award for combating anti-Semitism in print from the Jewish organization B’nai Brith. His commentary has been featured on CTV Primetime, Global News, EWTN, and the CBC as well as dozens of radio stations and news outlets in Canada and the United States.

He speaks on a wide variety of cultural topics across North America at universities, high schools, churches, and other functions. Some of these topics include abortion, pornography, the Sexual Revolution, and euthanasia. Jonathon holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in history from Simon Fraser University, and is the communications director for the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.

Jonathon’s first book, The Culture War, was released in 2016.