Sex vs Violence in Media

In light of the previous short story, over which I can almost hear at least a few gasps of indignation, I thought it might be a good time to touch on this topic.

Why is it somehow looked upon with shock when books, movies, video games or other media include themes related to sexuality…but violence is normal and accepted? Am I missing something here? How does something as (relatively) normal and non-harmful as sex generate more reaction and outcry than violence? Even if you are religious (as I myself am), “sexual immorality”(to use the Biblical term) is something one can generally recover from. Being dead, on the other hand, is a slight bit more permanent.

There can be little argument that, from a practical perspective, the victim of violence is far more likely to be permanently harmed than a ‘victim’ of sexuality. The one will probably survive the experience and will have a chance to recover, particularly if what they are the ‘victim’ of is merely watching a streaker run through their local park. The other much less likely so, a victim of violence is all too likely to be dead or permanently maimed. Yet, we live in a world that thinks nothing of violence and reacts in shock at the tiniest view of a nude woman(or man).

Video games like Grand Theft Auto glorify killing on a grand scale, yet there was a massive outcry and lawsuit when a hack granted access to a sex scene in GTA: San Andreas in 2005. When the game Mass Effect was released with, frankly, one of the most tastefully done set of non-explicit sex scenes ever created for any media, there was a massive outcry and calls for the game (which contained hours and hours of gunning people down) to be re-rated adult only. Nor is the issue restricted to games, the famous film critic Roger Ebert argued that the current movie rating system places too much emphasis on sex, while allowing the portrayal of massive amounts of gruesome violence. Such has been echoed by other critics, such as David Ansen, and any number of filmmakers.

What, exactly, is wrong with people? Personally, I’d rather the youth of any nation be exposed to virtually any level of sex scene (short of some rather extreme fetishes, or rape) than a single scene containing a murder or maiming. Yet something like Star Wars: Attack of the Clones is rated PG… despite lopped off limbs and mass fight scenes where dozens of Jedi and thousands of human clones are gunned down. While I understand and agree that sexual content should be restricted, I can’t help but think we have our priorities a bit backwards. What, exactly, does it say about us as a species that we are more accepting of murder, than of someone flashing their tits?

It is times like this that make me think I may actually be the only sane man on Earth. For anyone that knows me, that thought should be terrifying.

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