Recently I’ve noticed that there has been an increase in exposure to sex within our social-culture values that are projected by the media. As sex has always been a prominent aspect of our everyday life as it can be traced back to one of the longest profession known to mankind. “Mainstreaming sex: the sexualization of Western culture”, “Sexualization and mainstreaming” are used to describe the ways that sex is becoming more visible in contemporary Western cultures. This takes a range of forms. Pornography and other sexually explicit media representations are much more accessible than before-often only, as many commentators point out, ‘a mouse click’ away’. Porn stars are entering the world of mainstream celebrity, writing bestselling books, acting as sex advisors in lifestyle magazines and becoming stars of lad mags.
As we become more tolerating of sexuality, our cultural beliefs set forth by the media, allow for children and young adults to learn about sex and human sexuality via the internet and television. As this alarming issue becomes the primary mode of consumption for millions, the depiction of men and women in most of popular culture outlets do not represent the reality of things but rather it paints a picture of false expectations that can lead teens to become more self-conscious of their looks and set unrealistic standards of what they should pursue to look like. Additionally, whenever we are faced new “groundbreaking” reality television events, the trends that follow are a portrayal of what celebrities such as Kim Kardashian-West infiltrate as being culture appropriation. According to the article, “pop culture catches up with reality”, when a TV show is “groundbreaking,” it doesn’t really create something new: it reflects something already happening in the population, but the culture hasn’t caught up with it. As we become consumed by the rather demanding lifestyle of celebrities, we are interested in not reading but rather watching the illustration of lives of ordinary people that portray the lifestyle we wish to have.
As social media continues to promote these values and qualities, we as the viewer disguise these all as entertainment that fulfills our need for validation of our cultural belief system as it bolsters any stereotypes created. The phrase “sex sells” confirms the media’s agenda of sexualizing and popularizing sexuality therefore making already easily accessible information concerning this to children and young adults. Take for example, Kim Kardashian-West is most famously known for her sex tape, although over the years she has managed to excel in other aspects of the business world most of her marketing is based around her sexualizing herself. As the media continues to be her primary means of broadcasting messages, her message tends to make women appear as sex objects rather than successful, hardworking women that don’t sexualize themselves.
The media and its many outlets managed to exploit cultural beliefs over the past few years. From the most commonly used media’s such as Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, people are now utilizing these means to not just communicate but to also hide behind the screen and cyber bully those that don’t fit into the popular label. In addition to the ever-growing number of social media apps that are provided to us on a daily basis, everyone from celebrities to your average joe on the street can easily access these means. For some, social media apps represent a manner of living as they become consumed and dependent of this engine. In a report done by CNN regarding teens and social media, the included population was represented by eight grade students from across the country. “participating students, with the permission of their parents, registered their Instagram, twitter, and Facebook accounts through a secure server created by Smarsh, an electronic archiving company contracted by CNN. The study’s co-authors, along with their teams, analyzed an estimated 150,000 social media posts collected over a six-month period. In addition, the teens also answered a number of survey questions about their use of social media…” as the article goes on to say, “the level of profanity, explicit sexual language and references to drug use surprised the experts, considering the study’s subjects were only in eight grade”. “I didn’t realize these kinds of behaviors trickled down. You see this at the high school level, but these are kids, who I think of as children, and we saw a lot of adult content on these platforms, “Faris said.” “In the light of postmodern thought, the latter category cannot, as the obligatory quotation marks suggest, be taken for granted”.
In all honesty, social media is not here to educate children but rather to corrupt this and lead to false expectations of what human sexuality is about. As children and young adults are easily able to access these means, the perpetual struggle to understand the message portrayed by the media can easily allow for these to lead promiscuous lifestyles. Given that portrayal of sexuality is socially acceptable by the media, those accessing these means are left vulnerable to mental instability as well as place them at risk for STD/STIs. As the portrayal of sexuality by the media fails to educate many on the importance of safety and what the consequences of following the medias irresponsibility leads to.