Opinion

DIRTY MONEY: Why PornHub’s new scholarship should make you uncomfortable

PornHub, an online database of pornographic videos, will be offering scholarship to the student who best answers the question, "What makes you happy?" Money is money. But the source should matter.

PornHub.com, an online database of pornographic videos, is offering their first $25,000 scholarship to an individual who best answers the question, “How do you make others happy?”

In the application, PornHub said their aim is to help an individual realize their goal of “making someone happy.” But while the scholarship may provide that person with a college education, it is also advancing the company by normalizing erotic imagery.

At the end of 2014, PornHub Insights posted statistics from the previous year — 60 percent of PornHub’s users are millennials, making their scholarship a strategic step toward altering the perception of pornography — in the minds of the young and those sending them to college.

Consider this — at Huntington University, $25,000 is nearly one-fourth the cost of a four-year, undergraduate education. If any other aid is factored in, that money could pay for nearly half of a student’s tuition. Instead of being discussed with hushed voices and conflicted emotions, PornHub may now be respected for helping a student achieve his or her goals.

This creates a grey area where it becomes hard to determine whether PornHub is a respectable company or not. While one might say pornography is immoral because it creates unrealistic sexual desires and promotes promiscuity, it becomes difficult to say PornHub as an organization is inherently bad when they offer this aid. Under this new light, they are shifted away from the opposition of many.

Even if PornHub has good intentions, it is difficult not to see the scholarship as a way for the company to make themselves appear like a healthy aspect of everyday life. Their online application states that “[PornHub] works hard to make millions of people happy every single day.” This idea, out of context, portrays an illusion that they have a positive place in society.

The way PornHub is using the scholarship to integrate into everyday life should make us uncomfortable. What starts as a college scholarship could branch out into support for primary schools. Would we want PornHub to be providing education for 8-year-old children? How would this affect the attitudes of the next generation regarding pornography?

Some might say money is money. But it should matter where the money came from. Accepting — or even applying — for a scholarship from an organization like PornHub might be a stepping stone to supporting pornography itself, even if that is not the individual’s intention.

Ultimately, it comes down to the character of the applicants. While you might not think supporting the scholarship will affect others, it might skew your own perceptions. And if it affects you, how many others will be affected?

Jean Donaldson is a junior biology major. This column reflects the views of the writer only.

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