Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sex vs. Violence

I've had many a talk with moms and dads over the years over the subject of what to censor from children.  Most parents will allow their children a somewhat violent movie over something with a little gratuitous sex or a heavy kissing scene.  I know a few parents who limit both, the don't promote one over the other.  I've never quite understood the idea of violence being more acceptable in society than sex.  Violence as a natural thing, is strictly a life preserver.  The stronger male wins the village and the mate, the stronger female wins the strong mate, therefore strong children, but that's where the necessity stops.  Violence for the sake of violence is strictly a human invention.  We are the only species that kills for pleasure or the simple sake of taking life. 

Sex, on the other hand, is necessary for life and love.  Sex is a totally natural thing that is prevalent in all species.  There are animals besides humans that have sex for pleasure.  Apes, monkeys, big cats and even dolphins interact in affectionate ways with their mates besides the sex act that is for offspring.  The idea of violence is to maintain status or for survival.  It is a necessary thing, but not to the same extent. 

So why the glorification?  Or is it simply that parents are so afraid of their children losing their innocence, a.k.a. their virginity, that they will allow them what they consider the lesser of two evils. 

What do we see in our normal society, sex is not revered, sexuality is looked upon as a taboo, women are viewed as objects, and anything sexy is taken to an extreme level.  Take the newest crazes, 50 Shades of Gray and Magic Mike.  I haven't seen or read either one yet.  I have no intentions of reading the 50 Shades trilogy, I do want to see Magic Mike however, my Texas honey is in it.  The books are about a powerful man, both in the boardroom and the bedroom.  He takes a shy, unsure woman and pulls her out of her shell and shows her a world of domination that she didn't know she'd love.  The idea behind the book is that women want to be dominated...this isn't necessarily always true.  Magic Mike is a look into the life of male strippers.  Women behaving badly and objectifying young men, a total reversal of what happens in gentleman's clubs.  Why the need to bring it to the perverse?  Why do we need to glorify the objectification?  Of course a mother or father wouldn't want their children to be exposed to such.

I do censor the movies my girl watches to a degree.  The general rule is PG13 and below.  Typically I'll watch the PG13 movie and see what's the ingredient that gives it the rating, if it's violence I'll usually have reservations about it.  I don't want to shelter her from the world until she's completely naive, however, I don't want her to grow up believing that blowing someone up and reveling in it is in any way correct.  I'd much rather the rating come from a love aspect between two people that are involved in a loving manner.  Do I want her watching anything where a woman is objectified or harmed as a result of a sex act?  Absolutely not.  I am trying to raise a strong little woman, who knows that society isn't always correct in their view of women in the world.  The Sweetest Thing may be a mommy movie, but Hope Floats would be acceptable. 

Between video games and subjects in pop music, they are surrounded by various ideas and images that stick with them.  Children are visual people, moreso than we are are as adults.  As we grow we become more diverse in the way we glean information and ideas, but during those formative years, raw images stick.  There comes into play a certain amount of attention to what they see, hear, and feel, even when they are not at home.  I have had talks with other parents about what she's allowed and not allowed to be exposed to, sometimes those talks were not well received.  The response was usually, "well I let my kids watch it, it's fine, they like it".  Ok sure.  They like it, and you wonder why their brother beats the crap out of his sister after you've told them that they shouldn't fight.  Children will hit their natural sexual ages without the help of TV or video games, it's just up to mom and dad to recognize those moments in time and deal with them accordingly.  Violence is learned, whether it's subliminal or obvious. 

To each his own when it comes to raising babies, we all have our own methods and reasons behind those methods.  For a lot of folks sex is going to be taboo because of past experiences or perhaps the way they were raised, for others violence will have the same effect.  And for still others, both subjects will be eyebrow raisers, or anything goes.  My personal take is to not force my past and various hangups on my child.  I am trying to bring a balance of caution and common sense when it comes to worldly things that I know are unavoidable.  Above all, I want her to know that love, sex and affection are all necessary things that must be approached with an open mind, common sense and a good attitude. 

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