Thursday, February 21, 2008

Some thoughts...

You know, whilst I often comment about politics and religion, I never talk about my own personal beliefs and practices. Today though, I realised something as I opened one of the many free newspapers that are handed out during the rush hour as well as whilst looking at many billboards. There was a naked woman (with very beautiful natural breasts I might add) on one of the pages as an 'art' exhibit of some sort. Now this paper wasn't the Sun or some tabloid, it's supposedly a step up (only slightly) and it's called the London paper. I actually wasn't expecting it and quickly changed the page as the person sitting next to me might think I'm ogling!

Then later, as the bus edges closer to my home, I notice giant billboards for strip clubs such as "For your Eyes Only" or "Spearmint Rhino". These gentlemans clubs were advertising in main roads and throughfares where anyone can pass, brazenly and openly. I turn on the TV, and it seems that there must be something here or there that just pops up, just about titillating enough, whether in an advert or film or television series, to do with sex. The question I ask is, why? Not that I don't understand it's all about advertising revenue and what not, but why is this considered acceptable and since when?

It occurred to me, I wouldn't like to publish imagery like that and wouldn't like my sister, mother or daughter plastered on television or newspapers like this. I'm sure they wouldn't like me plastered up there advertising for DKNY underwear (as much as I know the public would like to see that). So why is it now acceptable to foist sex (in some form or other) at people on almost every opportunity available? It's so frequent that I almost don't even notice it but I tend to see beautiful naked bodies almost everyday.

Since when is it acceptable to advertise strip clubs so brazenly and openly? Why are so magazines in WHSmith openly competing with who can get the most flesh on one cover? Covers which actually made me uncomfortable to walk my mother past as I brought her a copy of Marie Claire or something. Is it any surprise that many children routinely have sex from the age of 13 when sex is being pumped into society at full blast? I know I should look away, as a (almost!)decent man and also as a Muslim. But where to look? When did the public become everyone elses (excluding myself) private sphere? Shouldn't I also have a right to not see this stuff whenever I cast a stray glance somewhere without thinking? (I can't believe I'm saying this by the way).

Philosophy is all about asking questions and probing, and if the post-modernists are right about there being no objective truth, that there is no knowledge, no morality. What does that leave us with? This? What are these people that are being produced from it [this society]? Is it even possible to call it sick or unhealthy? It feels so, dare I say it, I being a Victor Meldrew?


poshlemon said...

Yes, you are being Victor Meldrew! And I'll help you with that and add mine: What bothers me more than the naked woman on the front page, is the agents situated at meter intervals from one another slapping their papers at you. I cannot explain how much it gets to me.

Anyways, I don't want to get too much into this. But I can say that it has become normal for me here to see certain things but just slight them.

I think had these things been controlled over here as they are in other countries, the root of the problem will always remain. It's not the advert or the tv show, it's what's behind them. Sex, one night stands, strip clubs, pornography, and so forth will remain as they have always been around for centuries. So the problem is not the image itself if I can say.

I am not very good with statistics but I know for sure that cigarettes are still being sold despite the fact that they are not advertised/marketed as other products are being thrown at us, despite the high cost of the pack and despite the smoking ban (although efforts at quitting have increased, but it's besides the point). So, I can say that if cigarettes were advertised for, maybe sales would slightly increase but the problem is still there.

But, I guess you kind of have a point while discussing the astonishingly young age at which people start having sex here. However, not wanting to disregard the powerful reach of the media, I don't want to blame the media for that, at least not fully. I would rather search elsewhere in establishing institutions such as the school, the family, the home, the legal system. And in Britain, I can see how these factors are direct and felt factors for much of the problems youth face. If as a teenager, your family structure is broken, you have no parental institution to fall back to, there is no supervision on how and who you choose as friends, your school is not interested in providing you with proper education along with guidance, support and motivation, your government permits you to drink at such a young age, while existing in a society that celebrates binge drinking, you are ultimately existing in a risk-involved environment where having sex becomes the "cool" fad and you end up with an std or what not before you know it. Do you see this very vicious cycle?

If I were to raise my children in Britain, I would be the least worried about these images because I think it all goes down to the mechanism of interpretation of such images.

I realize I have been rambling for quite a while now. I shall resign now.

qunfuz said...

But smoking, posh lemon, is continually decreasing in Western countries. Of course we don't want everybody to be as repressed and hypocritical as Arab societies tend to be, but this is an issue of sex being used and promoted in the marketplace, for the benefit of the marketplace. Can't we have a hal wasat? Can't we respect the private sphere? When I opened my MSN Windows Hotmail account today there was a virgin airlines advert which showed someone struggling to remove a woman's bra. My 8-year-old son has his own email account. The fact that I don't want him exposed to this filth does not make me a prudish or repressive father.

nadia n said...

Well 13 year olds having sex was a problem way before this was around, that is a whole other set of problems, but otherwise I agree.

Sex, one night stands, strip clubs, pornography, and so forth will remain as they have always been around for centuries. So the problem is not the image itself if I can say.
I agree they will, but they certainly have never been so ubbiquitous, and they're becoming more and more indecipherable from popculture, which really worries me.

We have a Canadian equivalent to Mtv here and I was watching it the other day while they were doing one of those gossipy talk shows and they were talking about celebrities, essentially what this entailed was looking at different pictures of celebrities and reviewing their cleavage and how hot or disgusting their boobs looked. That's not so weird, except this was an after school show set from 5-6pm, they do kiddie stuff like play truth or dare, and then you have a 30 year old guy talking about what kind of boobs he likes to a studio audience that's 90% female and under 17.

I don't know, it's not like there wasn't a lot of "adult" subject matter on tv and movies when I was growing up, but you weren't beaten over the head with it in the same way. We were more busy with talk shows about pregnant 13 year olds and dramas about white kids in high school going on and on about how life sucks.