Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Shut up and drive?

One of my favorite topics to discuss with students during Chastity presentations is the media and the influence it has in today's society. We wear Nike shoes because our favorite basketball player does, and use a certain body wash because we will instantly become popular and get hundreds of boyfriends/girlfriends (p.s.... why exactly is 2 better than one?), and how did leggings come back in fashion? Thanks Ms. Lohan. The topic can go in a variety of directions, but no matter age or background, no matter how many examples a person looks at to examine the messages that bombard our everyday lives, the concept is still hard to fully grasp... the media has an influence on us... and we have no idea how much.
Music is greatly influential and has become increasingly sexualized in recent years. It pains me to say it, as there are very few minutes in my day where I don't have a cd playing in the background, but music's messages are clear and persistent... and will be repeated in our heads for hours even after the radio is turned off. As one study states, "Boys learn they should be relentless in pursuit of women and girls learn to view themselves as sex objects." It went on to say, "Teens who said they listened to lots of music with degrading sexual messages were almost twice as likely to start having intercourse or other sexual activities within the following two years as were teens who listened to little or no sexually degrading music."
In high school we look at music to examine the messages the media is sending us about our sexuality. One song we use is Rihanna's "Shut Up and Drive". It does not take much to see the objectification of women when she, herself, is the one saying she is merely an object, a car in particular. She similarly relays the message that a man is merely a driver, with no worth beyond his sexual prowess, easily replaceable.

In one line she states, "I've got class like a '57 Cadillac.." But oh how our society progresses everyday. In the new Cadillac commercial we do not even need to compare an actual person to a car to make the advertisement sexual. The question the commercial poses is: "When you turn your car on... does it return the favor?" Wait... now I have to fight the media influence even before my radio starts blaring after turning the ignition? Please.

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