Living in a Sex Negative Culture

Before an American child turns eighteen, they see over two hundred thousand acts of violence and forty-thousand murders on TV but not one female nipple. So what is more obscene? (Camero, 2014).

You just need to take one glance at the cover of a magazine to know that everyone’s talking about sex and sexuality (thanks Miley Cyrus). It’s a natural part of life and it makes sense to openly discuss something that everyone will experience in their life, right? Despite this current craze about sex and sexuality, there’s still a hushed tone around discussing these things. On the other end of the spectrum, is violence. An act which is comletely unnatural, to want to hurt another person, and cause others pain and suffering. However, you don’t have to wait up past 9pm anymore to see one of CSI’s mangled corpses on your screen. These days you can turn on the 6 o’clock news and you’ll see violent acts such as the murder of two news journalists on live television, or children being killed and wounded in a school massacre. These are all important news stories, however is does raise the question of why is censoring sex more important than censoring violence?

South Africa's Cosmopolitan January 2015 issue. Source
South Africa’s Cosmopolitan January 2015 issue. Source

The answer is children and moral panic. Dr Klein explains that we live in a ‘sex negative culture’ where we tell children that sex is bad for no other reason that ‘because it just is’ (Klein, 2015). This dystopian view (Bowles & Turnbull, 2015) focuses on the harmful effects that exposure to sex and sexuality on TV can have on children. Children have always been viewed of ‘at risk,’ and therefore worth protecting of the horrific nature of a naked body, because it would destroy their childhood (Bowles & Turnbull, 2015). The University of Michigan provides an information guide for parents on children and TV watching saying ‘TV can promote risky behavior, such as trying dangerous stunts, substance use and abuse, and irresponsible sexual behavior’ (Boyse, 2010). This dystopic perspective that television is an evil thing in our loungerooms corrupting our children is contributing to this moral panic and the sense that we need to protect out children from potentially corruptive sources.

So how is the act of censorship spatial? ‘Censorship is aimed at material that is believed to be unspeakable, too private to be public’ (Klein, 2015) which demonstrates how both of an audiences private and public lives can be regulated through the censorship of something that is as ‘unspeakable’ as sex. The fact that this censorship travels beyond the media’s public eye and into our private homes directly correlates with how you would speak about sex to your family or friends. And if you’re brought up being told not to talk about it from the media, then you’re certainly not going to speak about it anywhere else.

So which is worse for our children to see? Source
So which is worse for our children to see? Source

Whilst there is still obviously a lot of concern regarding children and watching violence on TV and in video games, the question still remains. Why is it more common for children to watch a crime show and see violent acts then see something that human nature, real and something that is a big part in our society like sex and sexuality?

Reference

Bowles, K & Turnbull, S 2015, Media Audience and Place: 8 Regulating Audience, BCM240, University of Wollongong, lecture delivered 21 September

Boyse, K 2010, Television and Children, University of Michigan Health Systems, August, http://www.med.umich.edu/yourchild/topics/tv.htm

Camero, C 2014, What is more obscene, violence or a female nipple?, XPress Magazine, http://xpress.sfsu.edu/xpressmagazine/2014/12/08/what-is-more-obscene-violence-or-a-female-nipple/

Klein, M 2015, Censorship and the fear of sexuality, Dr Marty Klein, http://www.martyklein.com/censorship-and-the-fear-of-sexuality/

Further Information

And it wouldn’t be a blog post without a concluding note from Mr John Oliver. This hilariously witty piece looks at how important it is to talk openly about sex in a safe and judgement free environment.

Voluntourism: Are you really helping?

http://www.travelmole.com/news_feature.php?news_id=2010188&c=setreg&region=2

I recently came across this article and found it incredibly interesting and something worth addressing. Whilst I completely believe in equality, education and helping those less fortunate, it was interesting to read that in some cases, can have negative impacts on individuals and communities that they are trying to help.

“No one is saying volunteering is a bad thing, but people need to be really well informed … and know which skills they bring to the table”

I think responsibility and the main focus of volunteering shoul be at the core of a project. Not advertising things as a package and all the amazing/once in a life time things you get to experience, when the main purpose of your presence is to improve the lives of others. And that improvement should not be short lived. Strategies need to be implemented to guarantee longevity of projects and overall profit to the local community and people that volunteers work with.

I also never quite understood young adults travelling to some countries in Africa to build houses or schools when they have little or no construction skills. Are you really going to benefit a community who basically has nothing by building a ‘house’ when you have no knowledge or experience in doing so?

120402-Voluntourism-Cambodia-400x269 (1)
Poverty tourism

The article below suggests that before embarking on a volunteering experience overseas, one should first look at themselves and see what skills they really bring to the table. By volunteering in your local community first, you can gain experience and knowledge of what you’re good at doing and improve your skills before taking them overseas.

I have volunteered in my local community in many different ways and would love to do the same one day overseas. I believe my skills and strengths lie in talking, listening, understanding and taking the time to get to know people and would therefore love to teach english overseas. However, I would only do it with a program whose intentions are true to their practises and genuinely want to make a positive difference in the world.

http://www.smh.com.au/it-pro/gap-year-the-pros-and-cons-of-voluntourism-20141220-1282f6.html

Looking Back to Move Forward

“The Media”

These two simplistic yet extravagant words, evoke diverse emotions and reactions within individuals across the world. The denotations of the media are relatively basic –the means of communication, such as radio and television, newspapers, andmagazines, that reach or influence people widely.” However the connotations of the media are exponential. From political corruption, sexualisation of children, a mediated public sphere, mass communication, controversy, exploitation, heroes, the list goes on. 

MEDIA - generated on Wordle by Adelaide Haynes
MEDIA – generated on Wordle by Adelaide Haynes
Social Media Logotype Background
Sourced from http://www.australianchurchrecord.net/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/social_media_0.jpg

I always thought that my knowledge on the media was current and knowledgable. That is until the #BCM110 took over my spare time and I was exposed to the big wide work of the media. Extending far beyond celebrity hot gossip, sport highlights and natural disasters… it is the unheard stories on unheard mediums, addressing unheard concepts which captured my attention and heart.

Some of these new concepts were difficult to initially understand, helping me criticise, debate, comment and re-evaluate certain aspects of my knowledge. The concept of “Media Ownership” challenged the way I viewed everyday ‘news.’ Was I hearing biased, personal, edited stories from the likes of Rupert Murdoch or Gina Rineheart?  By figuring out the small network of people who own various aspects of the media, it allows myself and others to critically assess the validity and integrity of specific media platforms.

Sourced from http://mediasmarts.ca/sites/default/files/images/eroticization-girls.jpg
Sourced from http://mediasmarts.ca/sites/default/files/images/eroticization-girls.jpg

The discussion of ‘corporate paedophilia’ regarding the sexualization of children in the media and moral panic, is a very controversial topic, one in which I am interested in investigating further. “Children’s general sexual and emotional development is affected by exposure to advertising and marketing that is saturated with sexualised images and themes,” (Rush and La Nauze, 2006) highlights the impending issues regarding such a sensitive topic and its importance to address it. We all treasure our childhood and children should be innocent and carefree as long as they can, before the pressures of growing up/adolescence/adulthood kick in. I don’t believe it’s a cause of ‘moral panic’ due to the long term effects it has on each individuals sexual and emotional development.

Sourced from http://oreowriter.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/dove-campaign-real-beauty-women.jpg
Sourced from http://oreowriter.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/dove-campaign-real-beauty-women.jpg

Being a woman in today’s society, I am very passionate about equal opportunity for everyone on this earth and unfortunately, the media is blamed for its misrepresentation of women, which can limit these opportunities. It is a renowned fact that ‘sex sells’ and from a young age, we are told that beauty is a primary concern, other than intellect or personality. The media is both the solution and the problem and a path I would like to further develop is working towards positive representation of women in the media.

Throughout this journey of awareness, understanding and evaluating the media on a local and global context, I have learnt many things about the world and myself. It has reinforced my passion for exploring and learning about places, events, people and concepts which ultimately shape who we are.

References

Emma Rush and Andrea La Nauze, Corporate Paedophilia, The Sexualisation of Children in Australia, http://www.tai.org.au/documents/dp_fulltext/DP90.pdf, October 2006, accessed 9/04/14

Jennifer Siebel Newsom, Miss Representation, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZkC_fNxmQk, 2011, accessed 9/04/14