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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sex in Media: Books, Magazines, Films, TV & More » Is sex necessary in the media?

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Author Topic: Is sex necessary in the media?
Member # 49208

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Everybody has heard "sex sells"

Is it really needed though? Advertising methods have changed so much over the years. Would it be so bad to go back many years with today's technology without the sex? I don't like that sex is used so much in the media. I don't really think its appropriate. Kids are exposed to things so much younger these days.

Often times I've wondered if I was born into the wrong time period. What are your thoughts on this topic?

Posts: 28 | From: DC | Registered: Oct 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Executive Director & Founder
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I'm not sure it really HAS changed all that much. Having looked at the history of media and sex before, sex has been used in advertising for...well, about as long as we have had advertising. Mind, we have more media and more sources of media than ever before, which I think makes things different, the sometimes the sex is dialed up *somewhat* per what we have seen before, but not really that much.

Can I ask what your reference point is for a time many years ago when you feel advertising was very different and less sexual? What's a time period where you feel there was less sex in advertising?

Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 41657

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Originally posted by Sara:
I don't really think its appropriate. Kids are exposed to things so much younger these days.

It's not like kids don't have sexualities. As far as I'm concerned, there isn't enough sex in the media, as far as actual honest discussion of the topic without shaming or using euphemisms/metaphors that confuse people or reinforce sexist/homophobic/heteronormative/anti-sex attitudes goes.

Always knock before entering my room when I am in there alone, as I may be doing all sorts of wonderfully thrilling things that I'd rather you didn't see.

Posts: 840 | From: UK | Registered: Dec 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 43486

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I feel it's not the quantity of sex I have a problem with, it's the quality. Like Jill says, media often uses sexualized images in ways that are stereotypical and euphemistic. No one had a problem with Janet Jackson singing and gyrating in a very sexualized way, but the instant we (gasp!) saw a nipple everyone freaked out. Oh no, my ten year old was watching that! What do I tell him?

Geez, maybe you could tell him that people have nipples. He's probably going to find out sooner or later. It really bothers me that there can be tons of innuendo, but if anyone comes out and is frank about sex, everyone gets uncomfortable.

I was really disappointed last season on Bones when the teenage daughter of one of the characters *might* have been having sex, and all the characters started freaking out about how she was a 'good girl' and shouldn't be having sex, OMG! The really hypocritical thing was that the man saying this had previously admitted to having sex in high school, with girls. So, what, only bad girls have sex in high school? Please.

I do like it when sex serves a purpose in terms of storytelling. The Good Wife (a show with one of the coolest LGBT characters on network televison) had a really hot scene involving oral sex between a married couple that was not only incredibly tasteful, it also spoke volumes about the power dynamics between the two.

I agree that kids don't need to be bombarded with overly sexualized images, but it does depend on the content.

Posts: 52 | From: Canada | Registered: Jul 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 50299

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there is a type of shower gel in America called old spice. In order to sell it they put an extremely hot guy wearing next to nothing on screen to appeal to the ladies.

This got my attention. And if they sold this stuff in Australia I would have at least given it a sniff. So Yes sex sells. Because it catches our attention. IF they just tried to sell this gel using normal more boring means then I would have ignored it.

I don't see any harm in it, especially if its funny. And kids shouldn't be watching so much tv anyway.

However, most kids won't pick up on sexual context because it won't get their attention. We only pay attention to things that interest us. I think catch jingles work better than sex personally. [Smile]

boobs don't hurt anyone and neither does nudity.

Some things you see with your eyes, others you see with your heart. - Land Before Time

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Member # 43206

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You know, we had an interesting discussion of this over several classes in my English class last semester at college.

A good point that was made, by a advertiser quoted in our textbook, and the professor, was that very few advertisements actually use SEX.

I think it was something like less than 10%.

The thing is, most people lump in advertisements that appeal to your need to be wanted/appreciated by others, or that use sexuality/sensuality rather than sex itself.

For example, if there was an advertisement with a picture of a car, and a scantly dressed attractive woman leaning over it, you might assume that sex is being used as a marketing ploy here to sell the car. In actuality, the intent, and the result of the advertisement, might be to sell the customer a sense of power, importance, and affiliation. It sends the message that, "if you buy this car, you can be important, people [especially women] will like you, and you will be respected.

People like attention, it's pretty central to our existence as humans, it is in fact possible, for human's to die for lack of attention (given the right circumstances). So as it turns out, selling, "you will be important, respected, admired, looked at, liked, etc," sells much better than, "you will get laid."

There's a lot more to it than that, and I've probably gotten some factoid wrong, but you get the point. Sex itself isn't really popular in advertising, you could even say it's avoided.

I know this isn't -totally- central to the topic, but I think it's important to be clear that a lot of cases which people consider depictions of sex/sexuality in the media and advertising, are actually appealing to the basic needs to love, attention, and so on.

Ps. I agree with cyberbat, I'd seen boobs once or twice, several sex scenes (I grew up on james bond), and so on when I was 1-12, but I really didn't care in the slightest about it, or even really notice it, until I hit puberty.

[ 01-29-2011, 05:13 AM: Message edited by: Yakri ]

Chin up and face the future, wonders beyond your wildest dreams await us!

Posts: 47 | From: Crescent city, CA. | Registered: Jul 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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