While waiting for my son at his chess tournament, I had the luxury of A LOT of time on my hands so I picked through my friend’s discarded NY Times. I couldn’t help but notice the article, “The Closing of the American Erotic” (2/13/11). The author marvels at the screwy values evidenced in the film rating system here in the U.S. A gory, gruesome film full of violence receives a NC-17 rating while films like “Blue Valentine,” with some well-acted and soulful sex scenes, get an R rating.
Clearly, the Puritanical side of our culture shines through, especially when it comes to media. Now I’m as wary as the next mother when it comes to some of the overt sexuality displayed in music videos and the like. (My husband and I even got a tad nervous when watching Rhianna‘s wiggles and booty shakes with Drake on the Grammy’s knowing that the kids’ were going to want to watch the Tivoed version.) But, for all its in-your-face sexual titillations, our culture actually shuns real sexuality. And, in doing so, it vilifies it. This, counterproductively, makes sex seem both dirty and highly alluring to rebellious teenagers.
To make matters worse, our culture ALLOWS, even celebrates, horrible displays of violence in video games, television and movies. What does this signal? (Another form of acceptable cruelty? The terrible teenage comedy shows on Nickelodeon that make me want to scream, but that’s a story for another day.)
I’m not saying that we should have Big Brother determine what our kids watch. I just wish we had a healthy respect for and celebration of the beauty of sexuality. I truly believe that if we had such respect for sexuality, we’d have less abuse of it. Imagine the positive impact on our children and society in general…