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Transcript
Deepika Mukhara
University 112
12/05/2014
Stronger Regulations on Sexual Material available to the Public
Introduction:
How would you react if you saw an eight year old girl walking down the street with her
pre-matured breasts showing, wearing booty shorts (which may be considered underwear) and
singing the latest Nicki Minaj song? The United States is becoming immune to the presence of
sexually provocative material in music videos, and the children of this nation are dramatically
impacted as a result of it. The Federal Communications Committee (FCC) fails to regulate
sexually explicit material in music videos that is openly available, sometimes even targeted,
towards young children. Unfortunate in this regard, pop culture music videos are the most
commonly viewed type of music video in children from ages 7-18 (Gutnick). Music videos are a
common form of entertainment for children of this age group and therefore, sexually explicit
material reaches children more easily via music videos than most other forms of entertainment.
The FCC should alter its current definition of what is considered sexually explicit to better
encompass inappropriate sexual content (i.e. breast and buttock exposure) in pop culture
music videos in order to protect the virtue and mentality of children.
It is vital, that as a community, we must ban together to motion for change by the FCC to
alter its current definition of sexually explicit material. With this change implemented, children
will be far less likely to openly view sexually explicit material and the rate at which children
become sexually provocative at a young age will expectedly decrease for the future generations
of America.
Impact on Children [Circumstance, Quantitative Reasoning Revision]
How often do you turn to the internet, specifically youtube.com, as a source of
entertainment when you are bored? For children and adolescents, ages 8 to 18, the answer is pretty
often. A study by Aviva Lucas Gutnick, an expert who compiled the research and findings of 7
other specialists in the field of social psychology at The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame
Workshop found that approximately 20% of the time children (ages 8 to 18) spent on online is on
video sharing websites in the United States (Gutnick, Takeuchi and Kotler 3). In other words, of the
average 44.5 hours children spend in front of a screen every week, approximately 8.9 hours are
spent per week on video sharing websites. With so much time spent viewing music video content,
children are inclined to view the content they see in these videos as the “norm”. It is essential that
we do not condone sexually explicit material in pop culture music videos because many small
children, in present day, frequently view these videos and gain an altered perception of what reality
should be.
Currently, pop music culture videos consist of vulgar, sexually explicit images that are far
from appropriate for a child to view. For example, in the recent Anaconda music video by the artist
Nicki Minaj, 18 seconds into the video her buttock is exposed, while her breasts are partially bare—
with minimal coverage (Young Money Records). The New York Post, a well-known newspaper
agency, stated that this vulgar video broke the music video record on vivo (a video sharing website)
with an accumulation of 19.6 million views in 24 hours and a majority of those viewers recently
polled to be between the ages 12 to 21 years old (Atinson). Another example of music video that
skyrocketed in popularity (drawing in 19.3 million views) is the Wrecking Ball video sang by the
pop culture music artist Miley Cyrus (Hollywood Records).
Dr. Susan Villani, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine’s assistant professor in
psychiatry, stated that since 1990, the amount of time the average child spends viewing media has
drastically increased in the U.S. (Villani 399). With this comparatively large amount of media
exposure in the average child (<18 years), media begins to be a notable influence of a child’s
mentality (Villani 399). Dr. Villani found “research prior to 1990 which documented that children
learn behaviors and have their value systems shaped by media” (Villani 398). This influence of the
media on the value system and mentality of young children alters the perception of what “reality”
should be. For, children are evolutionarily inclined to mimic the actions of those around them by
observational learning (Zimmerman and Rosenthal 32). Therefore, if a child is regularly exposed to
sexually explicit material, it is only natural that they be inclined to display more sexually explicit
behavior. Sexual exposure at a young age can lead to an incline in sexual activity at a younger age
(Zimmerman and Rosenthal 33). As social media crows to be less sexually conservative, so have
children.
Allowing a young child to view erotic material can be classified by the appearance of
breasts, suggestive imagery of male/female genitalia (Villani 395). However, the FCC currently
allows for the partial appearance of breast and suggestive imagery of male/female genitalia, which
De. Villani suggests is “sexually erotic”. By, Dr. Villani’s definition, the current regulation of what
is considered sexually explicit does not suffice and needs alteration. With a plethora of
inappropriate music video content available for children to see (e.g. Anaconda and Wrecking Ball
music video), the FCC should alter its definition so children are no longer freely exposed to such
erotic as they are today. By revising the current definition, children will be less likely to perceive
being sexually provocative as a norm. However, children are raised in varying environments,
and the definition of what is considered sexually explicit may vary from household to
household.
What is Sexually Explicit? [Definition, Argumentative Fairness & Humility Revision]
By the nature of a person’s upbringing and mindset, the definition of what they consider
“sexually explicit” differs from person to person, as well as across cultures. For example, in the
middle east (which is predominantly of Muslim religion), an individual who is not dressed in a
full burqa or hijab is typically considered “sexually provocative” (Reece 36). While on the other
hand, nudity is nothing out of the ordinary in several in the French culture (Boule 301). With
these drastically different perceptions on what is considered sexually explicit, the precise
definition becomes murky.
In the United States, the Federal Communications Committee (FCC) website defined
excessively sexual content by stating that:
“the Supreme Court has established that, to be obscene, material must
meet a three-pronged test: An average person must find that the material, as a
whole, appeals to the prurient interest; the material must depict or describe, in a
patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by applicable law; and
the material, taken as a whole, must lack serious literary, artistic, political or
scientific value” (“Obscene”).
This classification brings up the question whether sexual content in music videos holds
“artistic value”. Sexual display of the human body can be used in an artistic sense—such as
twerking. For example, Charing Ball, a writer for the madamenoire, extensively explained how
buttock shaking (twerking) is an art that not everyone can achieve (Ball). She stated that “there is
a certain level of physical endurance one must have to be about propel and control mass
[buttock] through space” (Ball). Ball also stated that while some might view twerking as vulgar
or obscene, it requires proper posture and techniques to carry out the action as an art (Ball).
However, the sheer act of twerking itself is not the debate of this issue but the clothing or
exposure of the person who is doing the twerking in the music video. Putting aside the action of
expressing one’s sexual being through an art form, the act of exposing one’s body parts is
currently allowed by the FCC’s current definition of sexual content but exposing one’s private
body parts is not a form of art, and should therefore be explicitly banned. Sexually explicit
material in music videos, as displayed in the anaconda music video by Nicki Minaj, is material
that suggests inappropriate flaunting of “private” body parts (i.e. buttock and breasts).
Some may argue that being sexually explicit (displaying breasts and buttock) in music
video is protected by the 1st amendment right by freedom of expression (“Constitutional topic”).
It is true that music artists have the right to display their body parts as they please (within the
confines of the law), but it is the duty of the federal government (specifically the FCC) to
promote the protection of the general public in the media. Furthermore, the U.S. constitution may
protect the freedom of expression in the first amendment, but the preamble of the constitution
also states that the government has the duty “to promote the general welfare”, and allowing a
child to view erotic material freely is certainly not benefiting the welfare of a child nor the
community.
From a practical standpoint, it is not likely that the changes in the FCC definition can
effectively regulate all pop culture music videos ever posted. Implementing this change would
cost numerous of hours of workers to implement the changes, funding for these workers to make
sure the change is maintained, as well as creating a large amount of resistance from the music
industry that is making profit off this sexual exploitation. The change can, however, be restricted
from key music sharing websites (e.g, youtube.com, hulu.com etc.), and perhaps these vulgar
music videos can avoid broadcast during times of the day when there is a likely risk that children
are in the audience.
Overall, the FCC’s current definition of sexual content holds merit in some forms of art and
promotes the freedom of expression, but it does not sufficiently protect the viewers of pop culture
music videos, and the changes to the definition can be effectively regulated and implemented to
notable degree. Granted, the definition of being “sexually explicit” encompasses display of
breasts and buttock, the prevalence of this material continues to spur on.
Sexual Content Spreads like Mold [Argument by Comparison]
The prevalence of sexual related content in the media has nearly doubled from 1993
(Bleakley et al. 443). With this dramatic increase in frequency, the presence of sexual content in
the media is comparable to that of mold. For example, both mold and the prevalence of sexual
content exponentially increases. For when a mold cell spreads it divides into two daughter cells
via mitosis—the 2 daughter cells, divide themselves and create 4 resulting cells, doubling at a
much faster rate. As for the media, researchers found that teens with the highest level of sexual
content exposure were 120 percent or 2.2 times more likely to initiate having sex than those with
no or low levels of exposure to sexual content in the media (Reichert 3). In other words, the
presence itself leads to far more sexual content or mold. Sexual content in the pop music culture
videos are like growing mold: it only exponentially increases with time.
When a mold has more access to wet places, new mold will grow there—creating the
presence of mold in many more places. This is much like the prevalence of sexual content in the
media. According to Tom Reichert, writer of the book Sex and the Marketing of the Media,
“Corporation speculates that access to new media (e.g. music videos) results in more exposure to
sexual content, more privately, at more times of the day, and in more contexts than traditional
media” (Reichert 5).
The spread of mold can be eliminated with the use of Clorox bleach. However, in the
case of sexual content in the media, the presence of it cannot be entirely irradiated, but the FCC
can play the role of bleach, limiting its existence. As the mold is tamed, to an extent, acts of
sexual violence will consequently decrease—dramatically reducing the damage the mold
can cause.
Increase in Rape Cases [Argument by Consequence]
Research has demonstrated that boys who watch music videos four days a week and pro
wrestling 1.7 days a week (the mean exposure rate for boys) are 70% more likely to endorse a
greater level of rape acceptance (Heins). If restrictions by the FCC are not tightened, rape cases
will increase in the United States.
Greater exposure to sexual content can drastically increase the number of unlawful and
immoral acts of sexual assault and sexual penetration of another human being without their
consent in the United States. The irony being that America a country which “protects the rights
of its citizens” when it is doing little to protect its citizens from exposure to sexual content, and
unknowingly promoting acts of rape as a consequence. Dr. Marjorie Heins, a specialist
researcher in the field, stated that she "found a fairly positive correlation between the amount of
sexual content humans see and their level of sexual activity or their intentions to have sex in the
future" (Heins).
Granted, the presence of sexual material cannot be banned entirely “indecent material
contains sexual or excretory material that does not rise to the level of obscenity. For this reason,
the courts have held that indecent material is protected by the First Amendment” (Heins).
Therefore, sexual material can be expected to be present in future generations. However, if the
FCC tightened its restrictions, humans will be less exposed to sexual activity, and in turn reduce
the number of violent sexual acts in the United States. Furthermore, the power to reduce acts
of rape is granted to the people by the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court Vests the Power in the People [Argument by Authority]
The Federal Communications Committee (FCC) and Commission of Obscenity and
Pornography (C.O.P.) are the primary groups involved in regulating “obscene” material in the
United States. Although these groups are fostered by the federal government, the U.S. Supreme
Court—which has precedence over the rules set forth by the FCC and COP—ruled in Miller v.
California that material can be judged as obscene if the community, as a whole, finds the
material to be offensive in a sexual manner (Miller v. California). Therefore, according to the
ruling of the Supreme Court, because of “variable tolerance”, the Supreme Court left the decision
whether of whether material is considered explicit or not up to the people. This ruling allows for
the citizens, such as us, to restrict material which has no first amendment protection and the
government can restrict its availability to everyone. The Supreme Court, which holds the final
power over the law, ruled that citizens may decide what they find sexually explicit, over the
regulations of the FCC and COP. This in turn makes the U.S. citizens, depending on our stance,
the authority of this issue. Display of breasts and buttock in music videos is far from appropriate
for children to see, and many children view these inappropriate behaviors via pop culture music
videos. The Supreme Court has vested the power to decide what is appropriate and what is not on
the community, and it is our right to excise this power and enforce the law. We, as parents,
must use this right to protect the children of the United States.
Duty to Protect the Nation’s Children [Value, Ethical Reasoning Revision]
Would you allow the innocence of your small child to be tarnished by watching sexually
explicit material in music videos? Granted that many TV shows and internet websites are also
sexually explicit, parents are generally aware that a show or website is sexually explicit.
However, many parents are not aware of the extent to which pop culture music videos are
sexually explicit, unknowingly allowing their children to watch sexual content via music videos.
It is your responsibility, as a parent, to guide your small child away from such material. Amy B.
Jordan, an expert researcher on the role of media on the lives of family and children joined with
Daniel Romer a doctor who reached his PhD in social psychology from the University of Illinois
to research on the role of sexual content in media and its impact on children. They found that
approximately 40% of parents are unaware of the extent of sexual exposure their kids view
online (Jordan and Romer). Sarah Carrigan, a concerned parent stated, “I am utterly appalled that
this was an oversight, that my son viewed these videos on youtube.com [It’s] unacceptable,”
(Jordan and Romer). Although it is important for a child to be aware of what sexual activity is,
promoting it at too young of an age can have drastic negative effects. For example, allowing your
child to view sexual content of one kind or another has demonstrated in recent years to be linked
to “eclipse attention to other problems” (Jordan and Romer). Blatantly disregarding the
wellbeing of your child, by allowing them to view explicit imagery, can be a violation of 39.201
statute in Florida: “neglect may be accepted by the hotline for response to ameliorate a potential
future risk of harm to a child” (Judicial Branch). Regardless of your view on “the birds and the
bees” talk, you must not tarnish the perception of innocent children by allowing them to view
vulgar material via music videos which in turn alters their perception of life before they have
experienced it for themselves. Although the right to knowledge is seen as a basic human right,
too much knowledge has the potential to cause harm. Men who have been exposed to sexual
material from a young age (ages 6-18), are more inclined to take part in aggressive sexual
behavior than those who have not been exposed (Jordan and Romer). Higher sexual aggression
overall will likely lead to more acts of rape. By reducing the exposure of sexual material to
children, sexual violence cases will likely decrease, and the FCC has the power to change that.
The FCC should tighten their classification of what is considered sexually explicit or vulgar
material, which would cause less young children to be exposed to such material. Although, as a
parent, you may not dictate the FCC’s actions, it is your job to notify the FCC of this vulgarity,
and with enough support, the parents of the U.S. can motion for a change in FCC’s current
policy. Maintaining the current classification of what is considered sexually explicit would be a
blatant disregard for the well-being and mindset of young children viewing these vulgar music
videos.
Conclusion
Sexual Content in pop culture music videos is harmful to children and the future
generation of America. However, this impact is not received through material that is explicitly
labeled as sexual content, but rather through music videos, which subliminally impose a false
reality of how society should be in children. For this reason we, as a community, should ban
together to alter the definition of what is considered sexually explicit by the FCC to further
encompass the showing of breasts and buttock. It is crucial that we make this alteration because
this change would limit a vast majority of sexually explicit material that children are currently
viewing in pop culture music videos. Realistically, the FCC may show resistance or disregard,
but with enough support from the citizens of the U.S., this change is protected and can be
implemented by the Supreme Court decision of Miller v. California. With the consent of the
Supreme Court, the only action that is required on your behalf is your support and signature in a
petition to the FCC to enforce this change.
Bibliography
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