Every day, we are inundated with sexual images. Some are certainly overt. Pornography, a multibillion-dollar industry, is literally a click away. Additionally, many popular films feature explicit sex scenes (Brad Pitt in Troy enough said). However, you may not be aware of the more subtle signs of our sexualized culture.
Here are just a few examples:
· Baby Bratz dolls: skimpily dressed toddler aged dolls caked in makeup.
· Teenage stars: Many teenage stars are often marketed as sex symbols. At 16, Justin Bieber posed for some‘sexy’ photos with Kim Kardashian, who is over 10 years older than him! Around the same time, Miley Cyrus took some risqué photos for Vanity Fair, wearing hardly any clothes. Clearly, marketers are depicting teens in a mature and hyper-sexual way.
This list could literally go on for ages! The problem though with our sexualized culture is that there are some very twisted messages about what is healthy sexuality. Below are just a couple of the many lies out there.
Lie #1: Unattainable Beauty is the Ideal
In any mall, you are likely to see images of beautiful models in the stores, such as Victoria’s Secret models with perfectly toned bodies or male Abercrombie and Fitch models who look like one of the Cullen vampires from the Twilight movies. Have you ever thought that these men and women look flawless? Professional photographers can digitally “touch up” any picture. For example, they can remove blemishes, make someone thinner, or change someone’s skin tone to where they hardly look like their real self.
Numerous studies have shown that these images have negative effects on people’s body images. This is especially true in the young. Many people will spend a countless amount of time and money to look like these models. However, they will never achieve their desired results since these images are not real.
There is much more to a true romantic relationship than physical attractiveness. Never should you base you or your love interest’s self worth off of physical appearances. As the old saying goes, beauty fades and personality stays.
Lie #2: Casual Sex has no Consequences
With films such as Friends with Benefits and No Strings Attached, casual sex, or “hooking up”, is clearly more common that ever in mainstream films. However, these films rarely show any substantial discussion regarding the risks of unplanned pregnancies, STDs, or the emotional consequences of sex outside of a lifelong monogamous relationship. This may sound obvious but Hollywoodis not reality. Filmmakers are just wanting to create an exciting movie. Would the movie, Titanic, have been as successful if Rose got pregnant or caught an STD after she made love to Jack?
It is important for you to cultivate your media literacy, which is the ability to analyze and evaluate a particular message in the media. Certainly, the agenda behind many sexualized images is financial profit. If there is a demographic with money to expend, marketers will do anything to try to reach that group, even if they don’t have
consumer’s best interests in mind. Do marketers having any vested interest in protecting you from the risks of unplanned pregnancies or STDs? I think not.
Look to a parent or another trusted adult to form your opinions about sex. They will certainly offer you more realistic advice about sex and relationships. Even though it may seem like talking to an adult about sex is really embarrassing, you may be surprised at how open and willing they are to discuss and offer support.
Do you believe that our sexualized media is a real worry? Please comment below!