GUEST COMMENTARY: Sex might sell, but at what cost?
The other night my fiance and I were watching what we thought would be a romantic movie. However, it seemed like every other scene, the main couple was having or talking about having sex. The movie felt more like a softcore porno than a film with a plot. After 20 minutes of naked people, we both grew annoyed and turned the movie off. This led to a lengthy discussion of how sex is becoming more and more pervasive in our culture.
We concluded the reasoning was that sex sells. Ads cover my e-mail with women half-naked and posing seductively. I turn on the television and find shows with high school girls discussing their sex lives as if they are 30-year-olds.
We can’t escape it. Sex is flaunted around every corner. Now, I’m all about freedom of speech and people’s rights. I don’t think we should make laws against making porn because people have a right to express themselves in whatever way they want. I do not agree with the treatment of women as a result of pornography, therefore, I believe we should eliminate the demand for it. If people were not making money off selling sex, then we would not have to worry about such a large market.
Porn is one of the top-selling forms of entertainment. It’s no secret that men and women all over the United States have a legitimate addiction to pornography. I wonder, however, if this addiction would be as prevalent if Americans were not saturated with sex all day, every day. When watching television for an hour, I could see at least 13 examples of companies using sex to sell their product. Whether lotion or car rentals, sex is the underlying theme of many commercials.†
The problem with sex being a major part of our culture is that segments of our population are suffering because of it. Teenage girls watch television shows like Sex and The City and Grey’s Anatomy and think relationships are supposed to look like that. These shows promote an attitude of casual sex without real consequences. A study recently showed that teens who watch shows with high amounts of sexual activity were 30 percent more likely to become pregnant. This may also be a result of poor sexual education, but it doesn’t diminish the fact that sex is overwhelming society, and teenage girls are suffering. Rather than tell people to stop making shows and movies with so much sex, we could just turn them off.†
This addiction to sex also puts women in a dangerous place. Women become targeted in ad campaigns to be sexy, being told they are not beautiful. Women all over the United States suffer from eating disorders because they believe being repulsively thin is sexy. Not to mention that fact that more women are becoming victims of sexual violence. Does this have something to do with sexual ads and porn films? I’m not sure, but I am sure that both ads and porn films put women in submissive and demoralizing positions.†
Men are also becoming victims of a society obsessed with sex. Men all over America are struggling with their addiction to porn. Many men to have unrealistic expectations of what women should look like, and why shouldn’t they? They are overwhelmed with pictures of women who are half naked. It is also becoming more common for men to struggle with their body image. Just like women, half naked and unrealistic men are becoming more and more prominent in ad campaigns.†
The United States has a problem with sex. A simple way to undermine this industry of sex is to stop purchasing items that use sex to sell their product. We can buy from companies like Dove, who focus on real women and real beauty. We could also abstain from watching and buying porn that puts women in precarious and dangerous situations. We can promote healthy sex education for our teenagers. And as parents, we can monitor what our children are watching and seeing, as well as have an open dialogue about the things they do come across. If we face this addiction as a society, we can overcome it. But really, I just want to be able to watch a movie or log onto the Internet without feeling overwhelmed by sex.
Carneglia, a social work graduate student, can be reached via [email protected]