Scorpio Risen

Just a bit of Q & A (edited)

Posted on: 18 April, 2007

In an earlier post, someone commented me asking these three questions:

“Why is todays society so focused on sexuality in the media?

Why do so many young women seek to replicate this ideal of sexuality?

But more importantly: Is this a problem?”

For this particular blog entry, I will seek to offer my own personal perspective and opinion on at least the latter two questions, but briefly. I’m sure there will be more to come on the matter at some point.

Now, to begin. The first feminist book I ever read was “Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women & The Rise of Raunch Culture” by Ariel Levy, and I most heartily recommend it, for those interested in feminism and contemporary culture. This book really got me into feminism. So, if you have read this book, you should be able to see where I’m coming from.

Sexuality In The Media

Sexuality is covered a lot in the media. But, for the most part, it’s the same old thing. It’s a raunchy, plastic sexuality, often emulating sex-workers. Just look at music videos, women are gyrating against poles, their lithe bodies are barely covered, and are often glistening with baby oil or something. The Sun has its infamous Page 3 girls, and other tabloid papers contain plenty of sexualised pictures of women. Even in movies, for example the Charlies Angels films, the stars are dressed, as Ariel Levy puts it, “in alternating soft-porn styles – as massage parlour geishas, dominatrixes, yodeling Heidis in alpine bustiers”. And three words: Girls Gone Wild. So, yes, there’s a lot of sexuality in the media.
But, how genuine is this sexuality? As I have described it, it all seems pretty one-dimensional to me. And much of it seems to me to be the objectification of women, and seems to be geared towards men’s pleasure.

But why does the media focus on sexuality in this way? I don’t know, and as yet I don’t have any real theory on it, I’m afraid. But here’s one possible, tentative idea.

Ariel Levy says,
“Passion isn’t the point. The glossy, overheated thumping of sexuality in our culture is less about connection than consumption. Hotness has become our cultural currency, and a lot of people spend a lot of time and a lot of regular, green currency trying to acquire it.”

This could be a chicken-or-egg thing here, but I have to wonder, is the media’s focus on this brand of sexuality reflecting what the audience wants, or whether it’s helping to stir it up.

It’s true that today’s obsession with “hotness” and sexuality is profitable and lucrative to many people. From plastic surgeons, to celebrities, to those working within newspapers and magazines, and the advertising industry. Maybe this is why there is a focus on sexuality in the media.

But, to be more specific about the question (“Why is todays society so focused on sexuality in the media?”), here’s one possible explanation: the media make this new raunch sexuality thing look pretty damn good. Most people like feeling attractive, and they are told this ideal of sexuality will make them hot. And, it is thrust in our faces a lot of the time, and so today’s society focuses a lot on it.

Why do so many young women seek to replicate this ideal of sexuality?

Maybe it’s a case of group mentality? Maybe it’s simply media manipulation. Personally, I think it’s a myriad of reasons.

This new raunch culture style of sexuality (arguably, it can be called a “porno-isation” of our culture) is presented by the media as glossy, fun, sexy. We’re told it’s “Empowering and liberating.” This appeals to women, many of whom do believe this to be empowering and liberating, however whether this is or not is entirely subjective and arguable.

But more importantly: Is this a problem?

Now, do not get me wrong, I would like to state very clearly: I am not an anti-sex prude.

If this is the genuine expression of an individual’s sexuality, if this is what makes them feel free and happy, and if they are completely comfortable with this sexuality, and there are some women with which this is the case, then great, it’s not a problem. However, I am doubtful as to whether this is the case for the majority.

However, I personally feel that if we are truly liberated about our sexuality, surely it shouldn’t be dictated to us or hammered into our conscience by the media. Our expressions of our sexuality should be purely our own, provided that it isn’t harmful to anyone. Renev recently posted about women’s sexuality, and how the patriarchy tries to control it. I personally believe that the promotion of this new so-called “raunch culture” by the media, is another way of controlling female sexuality. How so? By promoting one single ideal of sexuality, women are not being actively encouraged to develop, or discover, their own individual sexuality, they are not bieng encouraged to look inwardly. And, let’s face it, the current ideal of raunch culture sexuality is very plastic, pornified, and largely revolves around the objectification of women. It often appears to me, to be more about the same old stereotypes, and less about individual exploration, or celebration.

In fact, recently a report from the American Psychological Association on the sexualizing of women and girls, stated that there is no doubt that “that the proliferation of sexualized images of girls and young women in advertising, merchandising, and media is harmful to girls’ self-image and healthy development.”

This is a problem. Self-image is so, so important, and yet the image and ideal we are promoting and constantly pushing onto women and girls is harmful to their self-image.

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10 Responses to "Just a bit of Q & A (edited)"

i hated that book…

but I like this post. I wish there was a wider range, of both looks and forms of sexuality, put out there in the media.

I’m not at all surprised you hated the book. I’m pretty sure I’d read somewhere that you said you hated it.

Ah well, each to their own!

And thanks 🙂

I had a feeling you would bring forth some rather interesting points.

“This could be a chicken-or-egg thing here, but I have to wonder, is the media’s focus on this brand of sexuality reflecting what the audience wants, or whether it’s helping to stir it up”

I will give you something on this, that is not the matter of personal oppinion, as much as it is a fact I have derived through experience and understanding on the subject.

I see three/four different types of oppinions among men on this subject. Most men hoot whenever they see this stuff because it is the most culturally acceptable thing to do among other men.

On a personal level, knowing the male sexuality, I know for a fact that some men feel enslaved by it and oppressed (The weak men out there). Others think that it is hot, and have nothing against it. Then a last but smaller percentage of men think it’s appaling, and should be banned.

The most radical of women-haters out there may even say that it is the womans only way of asserting power over men, yet all men can agree this to be some sort of contributing factor.

I believe all of this to be true at the same time, and permit me to talk about feelings here: It often turns me on, and then I want to have sex. This is good enough if I can have sex at the given moment, but it kind of sucks when I am driving down the highway talking to my mother.

Here is an example of mens views concerning how a woman can use her sexual power over men, a widely accepted view in male society on this sort of sexuality. You can derive it from the lyrics in The Black Eyed Peas video ‘My humps’:

So you are definetly right, this is by no means an easy subject, and I should do a whole blog-entry about it sometime, though I do not have anything against it.

I don’t think it’s a problem either. You would have to be extraordinarily insane to go out and rape someone because of a music video – and then the rapist would have been a time-ticking bomb anyway.

“Sexually yours”,
– Martin.

While I was writing this post, I was trying to think of the male point of view too, but I didn’t feel I was knowledgeable enough in this respect to put anything down.

But, you identified four groups really well, which helped me.

I don’t think it’s a problem either. You would have to be extraordinarily insane to go out and rape someone because of a music video – and then the rapist would have been a time-ticking bomb anyway.

Rape isn’t really an issue here.

I will post more on this subject, but I do think, to a certain extent, there are certain problems with this current ideal of sexuality. Mainly with the fact that there’s not much range and whatnot. Meh. Tired.

Rape isn’t really an issue here.
What I meant was, that I wasn’t trying to insinuate anything to do with rape in this particular post.

I see. I am looking forward to more then.

What I find most interesting is that society is basically evolving around sexuality as an instinct nowadays, more so than ‘true love’. Love almost only exist in novels dedicated to women. I can definetly see why one would think this is popular because of men.

Some also believe that women suppress their own sex-drives, and that is why they are not generally percieved to be so interested in sex.

From personal experience, I find women to be just as interested in sex as men – yet most women rarely admit to this, or some other factor may be at stake here.

And a quote that I nonetheless believe to be written by a man, yet the author is unknown:

“Sex on television can’t hurt you unless you fall off.”

Have a good nights sleep,
– Martin

After the well-publicized American Psychological Association report on the sexualizing of women and girls

http://www.apa.org/releases/sexualization.html

there is no doubt that “that the proliferation of sexualized images of girls and young women in advertising, merchandising, and media is harmful to girls’ self-image and healthy development.”

So short answer, yup, it’s a problem, whether you think so or not. Read the report.

there is no doubt that “that the proliferation of sexualized images of girls and young women in advertising, merchandising, and media is harmful to girls’ self-image and healthy development.”

So short answer, yup, it’s a problem, whether you think so or not. Read the report.

You’re right. I have heard of that report. I feel bad now though, because I was pretty tired when I was writing this post, and felt there were things I was missing out, that I was emphasising the wrong things. I will edit it.

Hey, thanks for the update, Amy. I didn’t mean to sound abrupt with you.

It’s cool, and thanks for reminding me of a very valid point! 🙂

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