You can now take striptease aerobics classes, your clothes stay on thankfully but you get to learn all the moves. Or if that’s too tame, try the pole-dancing aerobics classes, which oddly enough I just saw advertised on Groupon. Now this is where my anger bubbles over—when did stripping, and all its associations, become a harmless even legitimate form of entertainment and now exercise? As if we need more sexualization in our already over-sexualized society.
I remember coming home after 7 years abroad with limited American TV and no commercials. I knew things were racy but I was not prepared for the explicit sexual content of so many of the ads for products let alone the movies/shows. Had it gotten worse in those 7 years, or had I just been away from it for so long I was no longer desensitized to it?
Even more shocking was how explicit the music industry had gotten with their lyrics and videos. MTV and VHI are blocked on our TV and will stay so ‘til pigs fly or the industry gets a conscience—unfortunately the pigs are looking more likely to sprout wings.
The entertainment industry has steadily increased its sexual content and explicitness over the years until all sorts of things that were once unacceptable for public view are now ubiquitous. They’ve skillfully employed the proverbial boiling of the frog technique. Of course, their claim is that they are just reflecting society, but as we would say on the farm when trying to avoid the rather large steamy green residue left over from our cows—bull manucky.
I saw a snatch of an interview with Pierce Brosnon about some movie he was in with Salma Hayek. He made a remark with a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his lips that “of course there is the requisite love scene.” That’s not the exact phrase obviously, but “requisite” was there as was “love.”
Why is a “love” scene requisite? Who requires it? Certainly not me. I stopped going to movies long ago because I was tired of walking out thinking, “that was a great movie except for that one part.” I mean where else as a consumer to we apply that measurement. “That was a great sandwich except for that one part with the cockroach.” Or “that’s a great couch except for that gaping hole in the back, but I’ll buy it because the other parts are so good.”
Can you imagine a furniture store successfully selling couches with holes in them? If some furniture salesman tried to sell me a couch with a gaping hole in it on the premise that the hole doesn’t detract from the rest of the couch’s star quality and fine material, I’d think he were cracked.
Now that is genius on the part of whoever got us to buy into what the movie industry was selling even when it promotes practices that we know to be harmful and against everything we believe in--evil genius maybe, but genius nonetheless. As a result, the movie industry can safely claim that the consumer is driving the content. I mean if we pay for it, we want it right? (As a note, I realized that I needed to go to and purchase movies that were uplifting and that didn't leave me feeling violated. The more I support those movies, the more likely those movies will be made.)
Oprah had an episode with a famous Bollywood couple. They were talking about how in Indian movies a kiss is seen as too explicit. Oprah admitted her surprise and the guy said something like the Indian consumer doesn’t need kissing or more to enjoy their movies, in fact they don’t want it in their movies.
I wanted to scream at the TV, “I don’t want it either!” I enjoy Pixar, Narnia and thousands of other movies far more than the cheesy chick flicks that all seem to be built around a sex scene—find an excuse to have your stars, usually the female one, half exposed and then build the story around it seems to be the movie plot of the day.
The guys making the movies may want the “love scenes,” but not me and not a lot of other people I know. My mom often said that you can make just about anything taste good if you add enough fat and sugar. Apparently the entertainment industry thinks the same of sex.
Now I’ll be the first to say that the U.S. has an odd history to all things sexual. The whole Puritanical approach didn’t help make a generation of people with a healthy view of sexuality but the “liberation” movement just tipped the scales way off balance in the opposite direction.
“Jobs” in the sex industry were usually related to the mafia or at least seen as exploitive to women. Now, women are exploiting themselves and somehow thinking they are liberated and past all that prudish nonsense—not to mention they’re raking in a whole lot of cash. The same evil genius that started desensitizing our society to sex in the media has now convinced women that they aren’t really liberated if they don’t celebrate and even flaunt their sexuality. I mean really, that’s one of the craftiest battles ever won.
One of the benefits/challenges of my husband’s job is living overseas, and while I love my country, I do not love this culture that’s being hijacked by Katie Perrys, Madonnas and the like. This is not the culture I want my country linked with and yet it is. Some parts of the world see us largely through the entertainment we produce and what they think of American women as a result is not nice and not something I want my daughters associated with.
I want my daughter to know that she is more than her sexuality and quite frankly that is a message that not enough girls are getting in our sex-ridden entertainment culture, which I can’t seem to get away from. The news has it. Fox News’ website always has some salacious article or picture of cleavage posing as news. Explicit sexual stories are giggled about and legitimized on every news outlet, Supermarket aisles are strewn with magazines whose topic and photos would have been sold underground just a few years ago.
I can avoid sexually explicit shows in my home, but not the commercials or ads for other shows that pop up in between them. Talk shows have self-help steps on how to release your “inner sex kitten.”
Celebrities who are overtly sexual are oogled over, worshiped and paraded about as near goddesses. We can’t even have a female superhero unless she’s got a perfect body and as tight or as few clothes as possible.
Where are the Marie Curies, Jane Austens, Harriet Tubmans, Dorothea Dixes, Susan B. Anthonys, and all the women who have exhibited monumental courage and smarts? They are out there, but our culture does not celebrate them nearly enough.
Like the processed food we now have filling our supermarkets we’ve got processed intimacy and processed views of women. Women are starving their full potentials.
Sexuality has been hijacked from its natural and healthy state and turned into an unhealthy, addictive, mass-produced byproduct that feeds people’s basest needs but never satisfies.
Like the diseases we see from a glut of non-nutritive food, we will and are suffering from a glut of sexual material and insubstantial intimacy, and when someone tries to sound a warning, he/she is branded as a prudish, backward, unliberated religious zealot out to trample on people’s rights.
Speaking out against the sex or entertainment industry will garner you a rapid and vicious backlash. There’s too much money in it to publicize the harm that’s being caused from the glut of sexual content. Just like the cigarette companies of old, money is more important than honesty and the health and the well-being of society.
There is so much women can contribute to the world that doesn’t involve a pole or a bikini. It’s time for a new suffrage movement, or I fear for the world my daughters will inherit.