Media Sex: What Are the Issues?

Media Sex: What Are the Issues?

Media Sex: What Are the Issues?

Media Sex: What Are the Issues?

Synopsis

This book examines the representation, impact, and issues relating to the control and regulation of sex in the media. It covers work that has been conducted around the world on the depiction of sex in the mainstream mass media, especially the audio-visual media of film, television, and video, and the alleged effects that such content may have upon media consumers. In addition to reviewing the research on the effects of media sex, the book also examines what is known about public opinion concerning sex in the media. A key theme running through the book is whether the evidence about media sex can be taken at face value. Are the methodologies used by researchers to investigate media sex problematic? Have they yielded data that can be questioned in terms of validity and reliability? Media Sex questions whether media sex poses a serious problem for most viewers of mainstream media. It acknowledges that there may be serious issues relating to the causation of public offense and the cultivation of anti-women attitudes and beliefs that need to be addressed in productions where more extreme forms of sexual conduct are combined with violent and sadistic behavior. With the unrelenting growth of media, media consumers demand and are given greater personal control over the reception of media content. The notion of freedom of speech conflicts with the view that media content needs to be centrally regulated and controlled. This conflict creates problems for regulatory organizations and the legislators in nation states in which freedom of the press is legally protected. The book examines the debate surrounding this conflict.

Excerpt

Public debate about sex in the media has become increasingly vociferous despite the liberal attitudes that prevail within many Western societies at the beginning of the 21st century. Concern about media sex stems, in part, from the perception of increased prevalence and availability of explicit sexual materials produced by a burgeoning pornography industry. For some sectors of society, such material is regarded as distasteful and offensive, The products of this industry are no longer simply identified with salacious magazines, but with a vibrant video and film production business whose output is distributed not only through specialist stores, but also via subscription television channels. It is not only restricted circulation sex material that has been challenged. Conservative lobby groups and associated right-wing press have accused even the mainstream media, television in particular, of turning increasingly to the use of explicit sex in a battle for ratings.

In the United Kingdom, for example, the country's most widely read conservative tabloid, the Daily Mail, has waged a major campaign against sex on television. Although virtually no channel has escaped criticism, the campaign has focused principally on the scheduling tactics of the new terrestrial broadcast Channel 5 that has made a point of including significant amounts of risqu6 content on its late-night (post-10 p.m.) line-up with naked game shows, interviews with porn stars, and exposés on the pornography industry that often include clips from explicit movies that would not normally be deemed appropriate for television. The same channel (though it has not been alone in this) has also televised late-night soft-porn films with full . . .

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