By Chris Agnone ’18 and Alex Kirshner ’18
Brophy held its annual Summit workshop day on human trafficking on Wednesday, February 28th.
The workshops played host to a plethora of extremely qualified speakers, as well as students and teachers.
These speakers varied from officers of the law, to adult movie industry escapees, to victims of trafficking in the United States and internationally.
Over 40 workshops were available to students, and Brophy did a great job of giving students a wide variety of topics to choose from.
Some of the workshops that we attended and that stood out to us were: “Athletes as Commodities” by Connor Park ’18 and Kinner Patel ’18, “Pornography and Popular Culture” by Mr. Ryan Hubbell and “Be a Man: A neuroscientific and Ignatian antidote to toxic masculinity” by Mr. Chris White. Each of these workshops were well thought out, insightful and remained relevant to the topic of human trafficking and commodification.
The workshop by Park and Patel was especially relevant to the news today, as the issue of paying college athletes is a hot discussion topic.
We both attended the workshop with several of our friends, and we spent our entire break continuing the discussion of whether or not collegiate athletes deserve compensation for playing sports.
This is the point of the Summit: to ignite discussions outside of the classroom and to reach a conclusion that keeps Ignatian values in mind.
“Pornography and Popular Culture” by Mr. Hubbell offered the harsh reality of the porn industry’s grip on the world, from the human mind, to economic interests and business ventures.
The pornography industry alone makes more yearly than all of the top four American professional sports leagues—NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL—combined. When we hear of a huge contract given to single a professional player we are blown away. The porn industry makes more than all of them together.
Porn has also completely infected the World Wide Web, making up for 12% of all websites.
Mr. Hubbell did a great job of presenting the facts, and as this was my first workshop, I were dumbfounded by it.
Mr. Hubbell moved into the psychological and social effects porn has on our society.
“Porn is changing the way we have sex and changing the way we think of sexuality,” Mr. Hubbell said in the workshop.
Mr. Hubbell recognized the argument that it is hard to resist because of young men have raging hormones and natural inclinations as men, but invalidated by stating that controlling any habit is like being potty trained. We resist our natural inclination to go to the bathroom everywhere and wait for the appropriate time.
Finally, Mr. White’s workshop focused on the concept on toxic masculinity in today’s society, as well as the neuroscientific causes behind porn addiction.
Mr. White said that studying porn addiction can be extremely challenging, in part because there is no “control” variable.
Studies have shown that 93% of teenage boys under the age of 18 have been exposed to pornography, which means that it is nearly impossible to study teens who have not been exposed to some form of pornography.
He also discussed how the human brain is developing at its fastest during adolescence, and that our brains are wired right now to cater to our pleasure systems, something that pornography caters to.
As young men, it is important for us to educate ourselves about pornography and human trafficking in our society. The Summit workshop day was effective both in discussing the many ways that human commodification is prevalent in our lives and exploring the ways that we, as Jesuits, are called to action to combat human trafficking and restore the human dignity of those affected by it.