Current Moral Social Issues Term Paper

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¶ … Moral and Social Issue of Recent Media Debate Why Censorship of Sexuality Cannot Exist in the Modern, American Media

With the rather sentimental reminiscing about the end of the ten-year-old television show "Friends," it is easy to forget some of the controversy that surrounded this eight p.m. show during its first years of network airing, before its images became institutionalized as part of our cultural discourse. "Friends" was noted for the high level of sexuality incorporated into a relatively early show, spanning the reference framework from lesbianism to single motherhood, to 'going commando' in one's style of evening underwear. The recent 'wardrobe malfunction' of Janet Jackson on live television during the Super Bowl similarly highlighted the discomfort with open displays of sexuality on television in American culture, that seems to be accompanied by an equally intense fascination with sexuality. This dual adolescent American cultural fascination and repulsion by explicit sexuality, which is almost always simultaneously accompanied by calls for banning certain forms of expression, must be rejected for a more mature and understanding perspective upon sexual mores. Only in a media arena free of sexual censorship, where one censors one's consumption and the media consumption of one's children by simply turning off the television will the arts truly flourish.

The difficulty of arguing rationally against sexual censorship in the media is often seen in the reactions of some of censorship's usual, harshest liberal critics. If an individual was censored because he or she was against the United States' current form of involvement in Iraq, liberal critics often are willing to defend the censored...

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But because of the humorous, almost cartoon-like nature of sensuality that has become the target of recent censorship, the quality of the media involved affects the quality of its representation in the media. But merely because a sexually explicit form of entertainment is popular does not mean that it deserves censorship. Or, to paraphrase Voltaire, one must be willing to fight to the death to defend another's right to bare one's breast for one's career advancement, however repellent or prurient the action might strike the viewer's mind.
Allowing a free and open media is important for economic as well as artistic reasons to create a more representative and expansive popular culture. In fact, "close to 10% of adult magazines are run by women, public perception lags behind the facts." (Newitz, 2002) In other words, the current drive to smother the expression of sexuality is not pro-women or even necessarily pro-good taste. "Women are generally in the vanguard when it comes to fighting sexual censorship. The civil rights lawyers, activists, sex workers, media pundits, and professors who fight for your right to have dirty pictures are by and large female. Many call themselves feminists. Women are generally in the vanguard when it comes to fighting sexual censorship. The civil rights lawyers, activists, sex workers, media pundits, and professors who fight for your right to have dirty pictures are by and large female. Many call themselves feminists." (Newitz, 2002) This is because women often have less economic power than their male counterparts, and a free and open access to all forms of expression, sexual and otherwise, can be a way of gaining a forum and simply gaining a livelihood.

The reason for…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Levine, Judith. Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children from Sex. University Of Minnesota Press, 2002.

Newitz, Analee. "Obscene Feminists." May 8, 2002. The Media Guardian. http://sfbg.com/36/32/news_womenvscensorship.html


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