Should we accept sex, violence, and crude language as normal?

Brandie Maguire

Sex and violence are becoming more acceptable in our media-intensive culture.

Most nightly news stations report on at least one murder or death every program. On Facebook, there is an abundance of celebrity news focused on people who are captured cursing or mocking traditional values.

As a society, our shows, movies, video games and books are incorporating more violence and inappropriate situations that traditionally would have been considered appalling. Now, because of the mass of information released that includes violence and adult language, people are finding less of a shock factor in seeing these things in the media.

It used to be shocking to hear someone was murdered in a local city. Now, it is commonplace and accepted as the norm as people become accustomed to violence existing and being prominently displayed publicly and in the mainstream media.

Games such as the Grand Theft Auto series and Call of Duty encourage video game violence. In addition, Grand Theft Auto also includes strip clubs with artificial characters such as strippers and streetwalkers. This is yet another concept that would have been shocking 30 years ago, but today does not surprise many people.

Are we as a culture becoming desensitized to violence? Is sex becoming one of the regular tools used to sell products and ideas? Is all shock value lost to a new age of mass sex-as-a-selling-tool and violence-as-a-hobby?

Part of the reason this is happening is because mass media advertising campaigns reach a large audience and transmit sex or violent ideas.

Many of the ads people see contain concepts included for their traditional shock value, yet, because of the supersaturation of these kinds of ads, the shock value is almost lost.

The consequences of society losing its resistance to mass violence and sex could be severe and change the ways in which people live their lives and judge situations. Whether this is beneficial is not clear, as it seems people becoming more accustomed to unacceptable advertisements and situations will only create a downward spiral of depreciation of traditional cultural values.

Even drugs are transitioning into a normal practice as people unite to lobby for the legalization of drugs that cause people to lose their ability to think logically. The trend of kids trying drugs at a younger age keeps gaining speed, and mainstream media is one reason why.

Peer pressure and the desire to be popular and accepted is another factor that is contributing to the increase in sex, violence and drugs. If a person’s friends all appreciate a concept, most people would agree with their friends to fit in and conform out of fear of standing out.

The process of desensitization is one that is happening gradually, and because of its slow effect, we are accepting the small changes without realizing that the end result will be completely different.

If we want society to retain any of its traditional values of sex being somewhat private, violence being necessary only in war and extreme circumstances, and language habits that maintain decency and respect, we need to stop accepting the gradual changes that the media creates.