(COMIC) The Pervert Press Parade
“While the majority of media communication may not be pornographic, it does echo in somewhat muted forms the predominant themes of pornography: sex, violence and male domination of women”
–an excerpt from “Gendered Media; The Influence of Media and Views on Gender” by Julia T. Wood.
Does anyone else think its strange that there is a show that is almost entirely dedicated to rape as a form of entertainment? I speak of course of Law and Order:SVU, but other shows like “To Catch a Predator” and a lot of what Nancy Grace puts out also seems to be in the same genre of “Rape-tainment“. Why is it that we have shows that focus on sexual assault, but there are no TV shows that have an honest and healthy conversation about sex – - real sex that real people are having.
We, both in the media and in our collective consciousness in America, seem to have some weird fixation with victims. Its not enough if someone gets assaulted, we need to see them paraded through talk shows, teary eyed, recounting with horror their ordeal while we the audience listens on, turgid with rapt attention.
The Smart girl who was abducted a few years back was putting her support behind a piece of legislation, but all Nancy Grace wanted to talk about was her abduction. Grace, in an incredible act of “cunt-ness”, had the nerve to passive-aggressively berate the poor girl on live television because she refused to get into the graphic nature of her abduction. Grace managed to actually make me angry, which is not an easy thing to do. The sadder part is that the ratings on her show probably would have gone up if Smart had divulged some “juicy new information” on her kidnapping.
It gets even weirder when high profile personalities are involved, because thats when the media circus is revved up to to maximum. In a 2003 article by Julie Blidel of The Guardian:
The reporting of celebrity cases adds to public perceptions of rape being a good bit of juicy gossip. For the thousands of genuine victims reading such rubbish, it can only add to their pain. …It is not as if the reports show genuine concern for the accuser. The mix of scandal, sex and fame makes for salacious gossip – nothing more.
Here is where some of the problem is. With Kobe Bryant’s trial, there almost seemed to be a carnival like atmosphere to the news. The trial (and many others like it) stripped the whole ordeal of its true gravity, and by extension, paved the way for non-celebrity cases of sexual assault more of a salacious, gossip-laden dark entertainment in the public mind.
They canceled regular Law and Order, but SVU is still on the air and doing well. To Catch a Predator went off the air because it got so popular that it got harder to lure perverts to spots where the crew could actually film and catch them. Apparently, according to the numbers, we as an audience love watching rape and underage kids having sex. We can’t get enough of it. Why? Where does that come from? I’ve been trying to find the meaning of for about a month now and I can’t really dig up an answer that explains our strange need to watch such things on television. Is it because we, in America, are sexually repressed and all this sexual violence on TV is the result of our warped sensibilities, like the vending machines in Japan that dispense used girl’s underwear?
I believe that, as Americans, our Puritanical roots are clashing with our true human nature now more than ever. As society and gender roles shift and we all progress further in that forward march of progressive legislations and enlightened thought, the pillars of sensibility that once held up Olde Tyme America are now stifling to us. There is so much shit that we need to let go of or confront from our past as Americans. So much of our past that still haunts us, and as long as we have some of those outdated forms of “proper demureness” toward sexuality, the weirder we’re going to get. We need to learn to be honest and open about sexuality, and depicting rape and inappropriate relations as much as we do in the media is a clear sign of “un-health”.
I’m curious in the extreme on what many of you think on this. Where does the apparent urge to play voyeur come from when we watch these sexually violent shows? Leave your comments below! Also, special thanks to Zachs on the Duncan Trussel Family Hour Message boards for hooking me up with some sweet, sweet research info.