A situation in which a majority of group members privately reject the norm, but incorrectly assume that most others accept it, and therefore go along with it.
In the realm of social psychology, pluralistic ignorance is well understood term. However, for anyone that hasn’t studied up on their psychology lately it may be a new way of looking at situations. Consider this simplified scenario:
You’re with a group of friends and one of them throws a candy wrapper on the ground. Littering is not something that you personally condone, but no one else in the group is saying anything either, and you don’t want to be the odd one out. You start to contemplate the idea that all of your other friends are okay with that fact that one of them has littered. So, you stay quiet, even though you don’t agree with the action that has occurred. However, all of your other friends that didn’t litter are thinking all of the same things you are, but they just don’t want to be the only one that says anything, just like you initially thought.
Now, the situation above is a very simple one, and perhaps it is one that you can relate to. The situation known as pluralistic ignorance is also one that can be applied to the world of sex trafficking and sexual exploitation.
By being participants within a society that consumes pornography, and a society that illegally supplies humans for the sex industry we are also participating in pluralistic ignorance. However, we only are participating in pluralistic ignorance if we disguise our discontent because sex is a part of the media, and sex is something that so many people so readily accept or enjoy. Becoming aware of the things that support sexual exploitation, and simply acknowledging the fact sex trafficking and pornography are contributing to a mental health crisis, we are on our way to becoming a little less ignorant.
Understanding how your consumer choices impact or even support the sex industry is vital in minimizing your personal pluralistic ignorance in regards to sexual exploitation. Yes, this means that even if you aren’t watching porn, companies that you buy from and businesses that you support could indirectly help to support something as dark as the sexual exploitation of children.