Former Miss America Kirsten Haglund has some serious concerns about the negative impact she believes pornography and the “hyper-sexuality” of women are having on society.

Haglund, 25, recently sat down with this author and TheBlaze TV’s Raj Nair for our “Freefall” audio series to discuss how pornography and overt sexual images do damage to relationships and create barriers for men and women alike.

When asked why it’s a detriment for men to look at porn, Haglund, who is a frequent commentator on TheBlaze TV and who runs a foundation that helps people recover from eating disorders, was forthright (she has been open about her own past struggles with anorexia).

Photo credit: Kirsten Haglund

Miss America 2008 Kirsten Haglund (Photo credit: Kirsten Haglund)

“It portrays an unrealistic view of women and that, perpetuated, destroys relationships,” Haglund said. “Unrealistic expectations destroy relationships.”

The former beauty queen said that men need to protect their eyes and that pornography can, like anything else, become “an addiction of sorts.”

“It portrays an unrealistic view of women and that, perpetuated, destroys relationships.”
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“Practice makes permanent. If you continue to practice doing the same thing the wrong way it’s going to become addiction, it’s going to destroy your life,” she said. “If you can start just one or a few times a week making the right choice … I believe that guys have that self-control, because I’ve seen guys recover from it.”

Haglund spoke of her own experience dating men who struggled with pornography and explained that some of them would “bounce their eyes,” intentionally diverting their attention from any images that might tempt them or lead them down the wrong path.

Earlier on in the discussion, Nair mentioned that New York City’s Times Square is filled with images of scantily clad women and asked Haglund to “diagnose the problem” of the prevalence of sexual images in contemporary society.

“It’s a very complex issue. It involves the sexuality hyper-sexuality of women and girls at younger and younger ages, but then for guys too it feeds into sex addiction and all of these issues,” she said. “It’s an issue of feminism with the way that women are portrayed and why we continue to hold them up as sexual objects in the media, so there’s a lot of problems represented here in advertising.”

Listen to the interview below:

But while it’s easy to blame the media for perpetuating these themes, Haglund said that sexual images are used because they sell, calling the tactic a reflection of the general public at large.

“It’s really a reflection of our own brokenness in this country with why we choose to see women that way and why we demand that of advertisements and fashion,” she added.

Haglund, also described her experience after winning the Miss America title, noting that she was surprised by how much photographs are generally altered.

“It’s really a reflection of our own brokenness in this country…”
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“One of the biggest things that I learned … is that the image that you see in the magazine or in the photo shoot after is so different from what you went in there to the photo shoot looking like,” Haglund said, noting that she would ask photographers not to retouch her face.

The difference between the projected image and reality is profound, she argued — and one that impacts men and women alike.

“They see people in the broader media defined by what they look like, both men and women, and they achieve all of their success, admiration and praise — and love because of their body,” she said. “So [young men and women] say, ‘How can I get that same love, how can I get that same attention?’”