Thursday, July 5, 2012

tft... it's been awhile!

Okay, I've been wanting to mention this, bring it up on facebook or on here for quite awhile, but I've been kinda chicken.
I've kept things pretty even keeled around here lately... no big controversies or mommy wars, none of my usual, sporadic stick-my-foot-in-my-mouth opinion tangents... just mostly sticking to friendly recaps of our summer adventures.
So I haven't wanted to bring anything ugly up and change that nice flow, but this stuff has been driving me crazy and it was hard to ignore again when I read this article last week.
Then when it dawned on me that today was Thursday... I thought why not.  So I'll just jump in.  It may be jumbled, it may be pointless, but here it is.

Two things, and they go hand in hand.
First off, the book.  You know what book.  It's everywhere.  I've seen both a mom and a young woman reading it poolside in the last couple of weeks, I've glimpsed countless "conversations" about it on facebook, and I caught part of a book club discussion on it on The Today Show.  All the attention it's gotten is ridiculous.  I have no desire to hear about it, let alone read it, yet I can't seem to get away from it.

All this and then the hoopla over this movie that came out this past weekend makes me... sad.
That's not to mention the fact that somehow the marketing machine for this movie has invaded the places you don't normally see big movie marketing: HGTV, Pinterest, and other "mom" places.  Suddenly you-know-who is half naked all over the place.
This is a big deal to me because as a woman, pornography -I know that may come across as kind of a strong word here, but hear me out- doesn't usually seek me out. But with this recent media bombardment I have a bit of a reality check of a smidgen of what my husband fights every day as he tries to do something as simple as check sports scores.

You've probably figured out by now the movie, and I'm sure you're familiar with the title of the book, that I'm talking about, but I'm not going to give them the satisfaction of naming them (if you're clueless, they're both mentioned in the article I linked to above).

Some of you may be on board with me that it's just pornography wrapped in a mainstream bow. Others may think I'm a super conservative prude. Before you make a decision about me though, spend a little time thinking about the impact that pornography has on our world.

For those who are fortunate enough to not know some of the daunting facts about what is really going on out there, what men and women (yes, obviously it’s not just men) are consuming, becoming addicted to, it is difficult to see the need for this conversation. But the truth is, we all need to be educated on the reality of this part of our world and how pervasive it can be, because it will affect your life at some point, if it hasn’t already.  Even if you are somehow spared from a real life, up close look of the ugliness it breeds, it's hard to ignore the impact it all has on our culture.

For example; with 11-17 year old boys being cited as the #1 users for online porn and more and more college aged girls -about 50%- saying it is an acceptable way to enjoy and express sexuality... if you are a parent, it is going to affect you. The age at which most are first introduced to porn is a lot younger than even those stats… Way before “the talk” age or sex ed. 
It is scary to realize that hard-core porn (because Playboy magazines are now considered soft core compared to what is out there these days) is the #1 sex educator for our youth.
Moms… are you hearing this?

Regardless of your belief system, it is a fact that pornography has severe negative effects on our communities.  There is no such thing as "harmless" porn.  The industry is oppressive. Pornography destroys relationships and families, it destroys healthy sexual relationships, it destroys people.

I am no expert, and every adult gets to make their own decisions about this, I just want to prompt anyone to think twice about viewing... whether it's on the screen or on the page... something explicit. Even these seemingly "innocent" things so hyped up by the media.
To think about what your dollars are paying for.
To think about the kind of person you want to be - and what does that person value?

Some argue that this book that "leaves it to your mind's eye", these movies that just "show a little skin"... just "show a girl a good time"... it's not really porn. 
But think about what these things stand for.  What consuming these things stand for. Are those the things we want to stand for?

Bottom line for me...
there are too many other amazing things in this world to enjoy, including a healthy intimate life, in real life.
And honestly it makes me kind of sad to see so many wasting their time and mind on things like these books and movies.

Your thoughts??

If you didn't click over to the article I mentioned, it really is worth a read.  There are some especially good comments on it too.  Good food for thought, imo.

obviously I have not personally read the book or seen the movie in point here.  and I do not mean to be preachy or soapboxxy.  really.  i am by no means perfect or blameless or right even half the time.  i'm not judging you if you've seen/read them.  it's mostly my opinion on the hype surrounding these things.  and a peek at the reasons behind my opinions.  :)
if you have seen/read them -or are wanting to- and you have feelings that differ than mine and you'd like to share, please (kindly!!) do so.


Chrissy said...

I wholeheartedly agree!

Cindy Odneal said...

I absolutely agree as well!

Kim said...

wow, titling a post "50 Shades of Skank"... kind of judgmental, just sayin'. :)

you know... this whole thing reminds me a lot of the time when i was maybe 12 ?? and there was a lot of media surrounding the disney princesses and how they looked. that they were too busty/skinny/etc, their clothes were too skimpy and they were holding young girls to unattainable ideals (i think this still comes up at times). actually... now that i think about it, i might have been a little older (like 14, 15?) because i think the newest movie was pocahontas, and a lot of it also had to do with how the movie wasn't based enough on actual historical facts. this completely outraged my young self. :) oh man, i loved those movies when i was little. and i was also smart, wanted to be an engineer like my dad, and knew damn well by the age of probably, oh, eight not to rely on a disney movie rather than my history book. that stuff in the media actually... sort of made me feel bad, like all these grown-ups were suddenly everywhere saying i was a stupid little girl who couldn't separate a movie from the real world.

so, i grew up (and grew a lot less judgmental/outraged :) and i like to think i turned out okay. i mean, i didn't become an engineer, but i do lead a team of 5-6 men in web/software development, so there's that. i like to think i'm a pretty confident person. i worry about my body, like i think most women do, but (i think) a lot of that is because *i* feel uncomfortable with *myself* when i can't fit into something, or get winded walking up stairs. i don't like that feeling, so i work out and (sometimes) watch what i eat. but in general, it would appear that my life wasn't ruined by princesses after all. and i'm happy about that.

ANYWAY, that was kind of a tangent. but related in a way, i guess. because:

i read the books. there's nothing special about them. i think the media has totally overblown it. and the end result is this: maybe i am different than the average person... but it hasn't affected my life one bit. not that i'm aware of anyway. i don't look at my husband, or other men, any differently due to reading three poorly written novels (in which i actually skipped through a lot of the sex scenes because they were repetitive/not realistic). it was entertainment for me, and that was it... i didn't morph overnight into some "skank" (to use the word in that post) that is going to go around looking for something outside of my marriage to satisfy me. i didn't suddenly expect my husband to make huge romantic gestures or fly me somewhere in a private jet or have amazing sex with me every time we are alone for two minutes. i have noticed that in general, i'm the kind of person that is usually not attracted to/notices people unless i KNOW them. but i KNOW my husband very well. :) i realize that this is real life, that christian grey is a character in a book, that my husband is going to annoy me, get sick, and trim his toenails in places i'd rather he didn't... but hey... that's real life, not fiction. i mean, if you want to go all out, you could say that movies that are simply romantic are dangerous to a marriage. for example: i could try to hold my husband to the standards set by ryan gosling in the notebook. i could become dissatisfied with my marriage after watching that movie. OR on the other side, i could believe that i need to look like rachel mcadams to deserve anything close to that sort of romance. and i could feel bad about myself due to that. i could. so maybe it's part of who i am that these books don't bother me? not sure. i listen to rap music when i work out, but i'm not, like, wanting to bring a gun to the club or something. or even go to the club, for that matter. :)

Kim said...

part 2 (this was too long, should have just wrote it on my own blog! :):

i totally agree with you that there are problems out there with addiction to porn. just like there are problems with addictions to a million other things. this is where parenting is important, and where you have to know your own self, how things affect you, and what you can handle. my husband sits on the couch and eats a bag of chips while we watch TV at night, but i know without a doubt that i can't do that, so i don't (at least not every night :). i could very easily get addicted to food and i know that i wouldn't be happy with myself if i was. but, i believe that i can choose to read/watch fiction and still be a good wife, a good mom, and a good person in general. and the same person, actually. i can handle it. and that's really all that matters to me. maybe some people can't say the same, and that's for them to figure out.

side note, i once broke up with my high school boyfriend ON THE RIDE HOME from watching the movie titanic. seeing jack and rose must have convinced me that our love wasn't quite up to their standards. however... pretty sure i already know that before we watched the movie. :)

heather said...

ha! i completely agree... that "50 shades of skank" title is a i little much, right?

i see your points... and i like that you brought them up. i remember all too well the stupid disney princess stuff and thinking it was a little ridiculous. and i totally get you on the "separating real life from fiction" points, knowing and being confident in your life and your choices for your own reasons. that obviously what the media says doesn't really impact a solid person's points of view.
i guess i'm not meaning to infer that these books or this particular movie are examples of "evil" things that can change a person... like you said, reading those isn't going to necessarily make someone want to be in those relationships or enjoy those fantasies. but rather they're just representative of the whole "genre" and i think it's a little sad that the media, all this hype, and all these women being so excited to talk about and share these books and get a group of friends together to see the movie, play it up as a good thing. because it's not. sure, it's entertainment, but why should we value entertainment like that? we create all this hype around it and they're just going to create more and more of it. we don't appreciate men idealizing women and sex in those ways so why is it suddenly the "in" thing to do when it's flipped?
suddenly it has everyone talking, everyone wanting to read and watch, everyone saying women deserve to have fantasies and strippers too... and i just think it's sad that our culture tries so hard to make it all normal and okay and desensitize us to this stuff.

beanski said...

I read the books. I think they are poorly written and depressing as hell and not from a pornography perspective. From a literature perspective. Seriously? All the books in the world and this is what they are giving attention to? UGH. Says a lot of sad things about our culture, I think.

I agree wholeheartedly with Kim's response to this. You are responsible for your own actions, for what you read and for how you are impacted them it. You are responsible for what your kids watch and what they eat and how they treat their neighbors. The people whose life are changed from reading some poorly written, soft core porn books probably are into porn anyways. These books were something to let my mind numb when I'm laying down to bed and I read them solely because I wanted to see what the type was about and I think that's what they may be to a lot of people? I was interested in Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele as characters at the beginning and I kept reading waiting for SOMETHING TO HAPPEN and well, it didn't. Ever.

All this being said, I'm locking my kids up until they are 30 because I don't like how prevalent sex is in our society in general. I'm sending them to a school that requires uniforms SOLELY because I want to avoid the topic of sex for as long as I can ... eight year old girls in slutty clothes scared me silly :)

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