The Daily Gamecock

Column: Calling a wrap on oversexualization

In today's society, it is not uncommon that a show or movie is rated TV-MA (for mature audiences) because of scenes of nudity or sexual intercourse. We all know the line “sex sells.”  While this might be the norm on screen, I put to you that this generation should not find this acceptable but rather an atrocious act of over-sexualization that is harmful to women, men and society at large.

The concept of sex in and of itself is not considered a bad thing to most people — even Christians, who are generally on the conservative side, say that "sex is [a] wonderful gift" given by God. But when producers broadcast sexuality, such as the risqué film "Fifty Shades of Grey" and the TV show "Californication," we become objectified — viewed as sexual objects — because our primary representation on screen has to do with sex to the point that it seems humans can't be seen on screen without at least referencing or actually having sex.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs categorizes sexual intercourse as a physiological need of humans that is at the base of human nature, a deficit need arising from deprivation of these things. With that in mind, TV shows and movies containing nude or sexual depictions of men and and women are reducing us to our most carnal, animalistic state. One could conclude that the creators of such shows and movies are telling us that we need sex.

It is at this subtle, basic level that producers and scriptwriters have told us where our developmental needs lie by filling the box office with sexual content and ignoring the contemporary realization by some psychologists that sex is not a physical need. By doing so, Hollywood belittles the value of the higher developmental needs like love, acceptance, self-esteem, respect, knowledge and understanding.

And if this were not yet enough, the hierarchy that Hollywood seems to abide by only describes sex from an individualistic perspective, which places sex at the primary level of need. This demonstrates a viewpoint of sex that disregards the emotional connection that the human brain is designed to attach to such physical intimacy. When sex is for individual pleasure, it turns it into a commodity and the human body into an object.

The reason that so many of our TV shows and movies are filled with sexual content is likely from a combination of the “male sexual appetite driving [the] business” and our own projected taste for the subject displayed by the attention we give to what Hollywood feeds us. It is also said that objectification plays a role in sexual violence and abuse.

Are we so low on the developmental scale that the only thing that we tell Hollywood we want to watch is sex and nudity? If the answer is no, then this generation — we, as students, learning how to impact tomorrow — need to be the ones to refuse to consume sexually driven productions.

By refusing to watch such films, we can effectively reduce popularity ratings. By voicing our distaste for oversexualization, we can send the message to filmmakers that sex is not what defines us as a society and as individuals.

At a minimum, I urge you to reconsider before watching productions with sexual content. Contemplate how your viewership could be supporting the idea that such sexualization is okay and if that is something we want more of.


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