^ SEXUALITY IN THE MEDIA AND THE ARTS
Over the last 25 years, representations in the mass media have become more explicitly erotic. Many of the images we see today are explicitly or subtly sexual. Barely clothed females and shirtless, athletic males are so common in our ads that we scarcely notice them anymore. Some even feature full nudity. The majority of movies, even those directed at children, have sexual scenes that would not have been permitted in movie theaters even 20 years ago. The humor in television sitcoms has become more and more sexual, and nudity has begun to appear on prime-time network television shows. In addition, graphic depictions of sexuality, which until recently could only be found in adult bookstores and theaters, are now available at neighborhood video stores.
We like to believe that we are so used to the media that we are immune to its influences. Does sex (or violence) on television, for example, really influence how promiscuous (or violent) our society becomes? Do the constant sexual stereotypes paraded before us in commercials and advertisements really help shape our attitudes toward gender relations? Does constant exposure to sexual images erode family life, encourage promiscuity, and lead to violence against women, as some conservative and feminist groups claim? Also, if we find out that sex and violence in the media do have an effect on how we behave, what should we do about it?