Thursday, May 27, 2010

Media Sexual Content

For my media class, we had an assignment to watch 3 shows and analyze the sexual content in them. I don't watch TV much, so I watched an older show, one new show (yay, Hulu!), and one movie that my girlfriends recommended (which I have seen before, but it was a long time ago, and I really did forget how much sex and violence was in it). Here's my take on the 3:
I watched one episode of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer ("Amends"), one episode of Glee ("Theatricality"), and the movie Across the Universe.

There was quite a difference in sexual content between these shows. Buffy contained a dream sequence from the past, when Buffy and Angel had sex, a scene where Willow and Oz talk about having sex, but decide to wait, and one other scene of Angelus biting a lady, made to look like kissing and making out.

Glee's sexual content consisted of Fin's mom moving in with Kirk's dad, suggestive costumes, lyrics and dancing in 'Bad Romance' and 'Shout it Out Loud', and a lot of discussion and hinting about homosexuality, including some harassment and discussion about derogatory words ("fag").

Across the Universe contained much more sexual content. There were nine songs all about love and sex, six lines besides those songs that were sexist, and 12 scenes containing sexual images ranging from kissing or mild grouping to a couple waking up together in bed and scenes where people appear (are suggested) to be naked floating in water.

think these shows are a good example of how attitudes towards sexual material in television have changed in the last 12 years. In Buffy, there was always a message of responsibility and love. The audience knows that Buffy and Angel love each other, but that there can still be negative consequences to sex. And in the scene where Willow and Oz discuss sex they decide to wait, and the audience knows it is okay to wait. I think this accurately portrays the general social attitude of 12 years ago: that sex is okay, but should be taken seriously, reserved for loving relationships, and to be responsible.

In contrast is a current show, Glee. The sexual content was much more suggestive than blatant, but there were a lot more erotic images, and more was implied as being socially acceptable, such as unmarried couples living together and homosexuality. It was okay for "teens" to dress suggestively, ans was even encouraged by an adult in position of authority. There was a conversation about the derogatory nature of some words, and how it's hateful to use words such as "fag." There was no message of sexual responsibility, though, or consequences.

Across the Universe had more blatant sexual content and no messages of responsibility or consequences, either. I knew that this movie was all about the 60's and that the Beatles music, like much of the 60's, was all about "make love, not war" and sex and revolution. But there was so much sex and violence, I was surprised it was only rated PG-13. I think this shows how much attitudes have changed over the last 12 years, how in our society today, sex is okay whenever and with whomever you want and that you don't need to worry about consequences.

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