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Abstract

The pornography industry is a multibillion-dollar global industry, and it has been normalized in many aspects of popular culture. Pornography use and exposure are increasingly becoming common and widespread, particularly with the rapid growth and spread of the Internet, smartphones, and social media. In many countries around the world, pornography is widely available, easily accessible, and consumed by large segments of the general population. While many studies have been conducted on the use and impacts of pornography, exploring the topic within various contexts around the world, empirical studies from developing countries, particularly in Africa, are sparse. The present study is the first to explore the topic of pornography within Eritrea. Using in-depth, semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions, as well as a survey of undergraduate students (N = 317), the present study conducted in 2019 explores exposure to pornography among young Eritreans, identifies related factors, and also investigates the possible impact of viewing pornography on general attitudes toward women. Significantly, the study helps establish a baseline of exposure to and consumption of pornography in the country, helps reveal linked factors and identify possible influences, and ultimately contributes to and supplements existing literature. The study found that exposure to and use of pornography in Eritrea is not uncommon. Results suggest that the majority of young people have been exposed to pornography in their lifetimes, and that a large percentage of young men accessed pornography during the previous year. Notably, young males were significantly more likely than young females to have ever viewed pornography or to have viewed pornography within the past year. As well, results show that nearly all of the respondents know of others, especially peers and classmates, who use pornography. Pornography is used for a variety of reasons, including as a sex education tool and as a source of entertainment. One-way ANOVA results reveal that there is a statistically significant difference in attitudes toward women between respondents that had viewed pornography during the previous year and respondents that had not. Specifically, respondents that had viewed pornography during the previous year held more negative, less egalitarian attitudes toward women.

Note on the Author

Dr. Fikresus (Fikrejesus) Amahazion is an Assistant Professor at the National College of Arts and Social Sciences (Eritrea). His work focuses on Human Rights, Political Economy, and Development. His recent work, “Short-sighted Solutions: An Examination of Europe’s Response to the Mediterranean Migration Crisis” is available in Deadly Voyages: Migrant Journeys across the Mediterranean (2019), published by Lexington Books.

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