Media Portrayals Of Promiscuity And A Related Survey

1287 words - 5 pages

The media is known for displaying a large quantity of violence and sex on television, possibly desensitizing situations that should not be taken lightly in real life. Two previous studies show sexual attitudes portraying entertainment television tend to correlate to attitudes, beliefs, and actions of people in real life. According to a study, television suggests that sexual encounters take place between young, attractive individuals, overemphasizing heterosexuality, and ignoring the fact that major risks are included in such impulsive actions. In "dialogue, characterizations, storylines and themes, television presents adolescents with numerous verbal and visual examples of how dating, intimacy, relationships and sex are handled" (Ward 237). Therefore, television is to blame for promiscuity, especially at a young age. In a second study, people watching television with a lot of sexual content also made incorrect assumptions on frequency of sexual behaviors in real life. Research was analyzed that showed "a correlation between sexual content on television and sexual activity...other researchers, however, find no such relationship" (Taylor 130). However, both studies have many grey areas, and the topic needs further investigation.

Reality shows and soap operas are key examples of television shows that exaggerate how much individuals partake in sex. For example, in a reality show it may seem as though every time a specific character is shown, they are engaging in some type of sexual activity, however, that is because the media chooses to only show those certain scenes. Too much sex shown leaves the audience with the impression that the character's life revolves around sex a great deal. One sitcom that came out on HBO in 1998 now has reruns showing on a cable station, TBS, playing it weekly and making it available and easier for a younger audience to watch. "Sex and the City" is about four single, successful, women who live in New York, obsessed with looking for the "right" man to marry. The main character played by Sarah Jessica Parker, is a sex columnist that writes about topics she personally encounters or hears through her friends. While she is searching for a monogamous partner, her three girlfriends have given up all hope of finding the one "right" person, allowing themselves to be seduced by men. This gives viewers, especially young women, a false sense of reality about pre-marital sex. The show has the potential to influence its younger audience. If viewers see the lifestyle as glamorized, they may want to live similarly. Finding a relation between the show and low morals will allow blame to be placed on the creators of "Sex and the City." Before conducting the surveys, my research question is as follows: Does the amount of openness about sexuality and frequency of "Sex and the City" viewing for a college female relate to her beliefs about premarital sex?


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