Sex and the Sundance Film Festival

Posted: February 19, 2013 in Current Events, Movies, Pedagogy & Education, Philosophical Debris

In my previous entry called “Fifty Shades of Porn” I predicted that Fifty Shades of Grey was going to do for media what “Animal House” did decades ago.  “Animal House” normalized stupidity; Fifty Shades of Grey normalized sex/porn.

This year’s Sundance Film Festival leads the way.  Whether it be a movie about gay bars, the biopic about Linda Lovelace or a film about two mothers trying to seduce each others’ sons.  And then there’s “Don Juan’s Addiction”, which speaks for itself.  It’s a social commentary film which “…takes measure of a society that objectifies sex until nothing about it is personal.”  (Rolling Stone Review)

In addition you have the landslide of soft core porn novels which want to stand on the shoulders of Fifty Shades.  S&M has become quaint.  Exhibitionism common place.

Is this necessarily a bad thing?  My personal values are far from prudish, but, like “Animal House”, when particular values become normalized and begin a domino effect through our popular cultural standards, there will be consequences.  In the normalization of stupidity, we’ve seen it fuel a cultural attitude which allows the ridicule of intelligence and reason.

Do we want a normalization of sex or porn in a society where easy Internet access has 11 year olds watching porn on their smart phones at school lunch hours and texting or skyping vids of themselves masturbating to friends and strangers?  Do we want it to de-personalize sex to the point it no longer falls within the realm of privacy?  As one young teenage student said to me during a sex-ed class, “They’re called private parts for a reason.”

I don’t have a problem with sexual themes in the arts, but as I’ve said before, when it comes to youth being exposed to these things, we then have the possibility of this “normalization” impacting socialization and what is perceived as normal behaviour.  Cheapening sexual behaviour is not in anyone’s interest (-except maybe those chasing cheap sex – although I’m not sure we want to social reinforce that kind of behaviour on a grand scale-).  I know I’m sounding judgmental here, and I don’t want to sound puritan, but I think that some of the social attitudes currently being advocated and supported by the Internet are not in our best interest.

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