Teen Tuesday: Sex Sells

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I’m starting a 7-week group study with some of the high school girls in our youth group this week.  With the recent post I did on morality in the media, my passion for that topic led me to choose a similar topic for our study.  We’re not using a book or anything.  We’re just flying by the seat of my pants.  I’ve called it “Media Messages.”  Every Thursday we will discuss a different media message, look at examples in the media, and discuss how it all affects our way of thinking and what God’s truth is about the topic.

The topic for this week is “Sex Sells.”  Basically, the idea here is that sex and sexuality is EVERYWHERE in the media, even when there is absolutely no reason for it to be there – like in most commercials.  It’s pervasive and has become so commonplace that oftentimes we don’t even recognize it as sexual content.  Why is sex everywhere?  Because Sex Sells!  Whether it’s in commercials or ads where they’re trying to sell us actual products or TV shows and movies where they’re trying to draw in viewers.  They know what the average consumers want and what will reel them in.  What will entice them.  So that’s what they use.

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This is annoying to adults who are strong in their faith, difficult for adults who are trying to be strong in their faith, and detrimental to teens who are young in their faith and still very moldable in their beliefs and value system.

Another aspect we’ll be discussing this week is how, in the media, having sex out of wedlock (or anything close to it) is normal, even for teens, and causes no consequences or even remorse.  Obviously, society has something to do with this belief, but the media is definitely perpetuating it.

So, here’s what I need from you all by Thursday, if you can help: Comment with an example in the media (TV shows, movies, songs/music videos, commercials, print ads, books) that has sexual content (doesn’t have to be actual sex but just sexual in nature) and/or that makes sexual behavior, especially in teens, seem normal.  Also, if you can think of some great verses on the topic, that would be great too!  Thanks!

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~ by Dusty Crabtree - Author of Shadow Eyes on June 19, 2012.

11 Responses to “Teen Tuesday: Sex Sells”

  1. OK. I will think about it, because this is something I should be more aware of.. especially with Abbie getting older. I do not watch TV so ads are hard for me. I do read a lot, magazines have ads.

    Though one comment you made I think needs some clarification. “Another aspect we’ll be discussing this week is how, in the media, having sex out of wedlock (or anything close to it) is normal, even for teens, and causes no consequences or even remorse.” There are consequences, just often found out too late. Pregnancy, disease… not even counting shame and often reputation. Pregnancy is something I have already started talking with Abbie about, and how to not even get in a situation that could come close to anything. We can teach them, have high expectations yet when the time comes that they are in a situation, it is not always what we want.

    I hope you will continue to update what happens in your Bible studies. I could use the info!! 🙂

    • You are right, there are definitely consequences! It just stinks that so many times, the media doesn’t show those consequences, so it makes it seem like there aren’t any. I’ll keep you updated. 🙂

  2. The last Twilight Book. Bella and Edward have sex, and it’s violent sex. She gets bruises on her because of his “vampire” pressure. This was a huge series for teen and pre-teen girls. What are we telling them? That sex is not only okay, but it’s okay to be violent and leave bruises? There is a blog post about sexy covers in YA books. I’ll google it and see if I can find it and if I do, post here. Great topic! I hope you’ll keep us posted on how it goes!

    • Thanks! That would be great about the sexy covers thing. Yeah, I know about the Twilight series. I loved those books, but I wasn’t happy with how such young girls who loved the first few followed through and read the last one (as well as saw the movie, of course). Also, in one of the movies (the 3rd one I think), Bella jokingly tells Edward that his old-fashioned notion of wanting to save sex until marriage is not only old-fashioned but ancient! Ugh!

  3. Dusty, Here is the link to the great blog post about cover art on YA books and what message it can send about the female body:
    http://www.stackedbooks.org/2012/04/cover-trends-female-body.html

  4. This is also a topic close to my heart. I’ve worked with teens for many years, both as a school teacher and at church. I try to stay current, so I occasionally watch things my teens watch. Between music videos, TV series (Gossip Girl, Teen Mom, 90210, etc.), movies, and even cartoons (Family Guy, South Park, & more), it’s bad. Check Seventeen and Glamour magazines for sex stories and ads. It also disturbs me that Disney shows have more than hinted at sex, both straight and gay (especially gay), the past several years.
    I think I have found the root of all this though, in that children are no longer being taught shame.

    • Wow! Interesting thought! I have noticed that teens/kids have completely lost their filters and don’t understand the concept of formal and informal registers – how you just don’t act and talk the same way in school and in front of certain people as you would with your friends. Some of that could be a lack of shame too! Also, there’s the whole “let’s let everyone play and win so nobody has to feel bad and let’s rescue our kids from any trouble they’re in” syndrome among parents and sports teams. If kids aren’t ever allowed to fail and “feel bad,” maybe they really don’t understand what “good” shame is. Hmmm…Definitely food for thought. Thank you!!! And thanks for the examples!

  5. Psalm 101:3 I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes; I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me. (KJV)

    2 Corinthians 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.

    My mother taught Psalm 101:3 to me often, especially in my teen years. She taught me to be careful of what I watched on TV and what music I listened to. I thank God that, what the kids called “sheltered”, is how my parents raised me. It made it easier to practice 2 Cor. 10:5. The less you put in your mind, the less you have to take captive. The devil plays in our minds already, we don’t need to add to his amunition.

    Another scripture that was my mother’s favorite; Philippians 4:8 Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (KJV)

    If we keep our minds thinking on things that are pure and virtuous, we won’t want to look at the ads, the shows, the movies & music that try to tell us things that pull us away from God’s commands. The more we listen to what media tells us, the further away we’ll be from the truth of God’s Word and we’ll find ourselves living more like the world than the Spirit of God. We’ll find ourselves “slaves” to those things rather than a relationship with Christ experiencing Freedom.

    I so glad to see you getting into these topics with our youth. I wish more folks would do this. This is reality and where we live. We live in the world, but we don’t have to be of the world, because Jesus has overcome the world for us. 🙂

    • Thanks for those verses! That’s awesome! You are right! I feel like it’s so gradual of a pull away from God’s truth that we don’t even realize it. Thanks again for those examples and your thoughts, I will definitely use them!

  6. Well, our first group discussion went extremely well! Several girls couldn’t make it the first week, and with only 5 of us including me, we still had PLENTY to talk about. I’m actually kind of worried how long it will take us when they all show up! Lol!

    They had some great points, though! Things I haven’t ever thought about. Here is some of what they said (I’m going to paraphrase):

    “We might get teased if we don’t know the popular or “in” songs and shows. So you listen to them or watch them, and then those messages get stuck in your head.”

    “A lot of teens think that if you are a virgin, it’s because you can’t get a guy, not because you choose to be that way.”

    “I want to wait because I can’t really be submissive to my husband as God says if I’ve already given a piece of myself away.” (profound!)

    “Watching these things makes us lower our standards for guys, thinking all guys want sex and are perverts. So finding one that’s just sort of bad, doesn’t seem that bad anymore or we just accept the bad ones.”

    Things they said they’d like to see in the media are the emotional damage that comes with sex and how if you mess up you can still choose not to go back down that road. Also, they wanted to see positive, “normal” role models that choose not to have sex – not because they can’t, but because they choose to – that waiting for sex is normal too.

    As you can see, soooo many good points! I’m really excited for this study, and I love talking with the girls about all of this! Thank you for those who contributed, and look for next Tuesday’s post for the next topic!

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