media darling

a personal record of how different forms of media and their content affect me (a college student)

I Kissed a Girl – annoying and over-played yet thought-provoking November 13, 2008

Filed under: sex on tv — katie @ 1:30 am
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I heard Katy Perry‘s “I Kissed a Girl” on the radio for the thousandth time today and began thinking about the portrayal of girl+girl experiences in the media. I don’t classify these interactions with girls as lesbian interactions because the few examples I can think of are with girls who are confirmed heterosexuals. So, my question is why there is such a double-standard for hetero-girl-on-hetero-girl action in the media, that definitely influences girls’ behaviors in real life.

“I Kissed a Girl” is about a girl who has a boyfriend but decides to kiss a girl for a new and foreign experience, and proceeds to explain how much she likes it and how fun it is. It also states that she is drunk and has “lost all discretion.” Not to say there is anything wrong with anyone experimenting with their sexuality, but she is blaming the incident on alcohol, basically saying that the kiss wouldn’t have happened otherwise. This sends a confusing and pressuring message to girls absorbing her song and music video trying to get something out of it.

Some other examples I could think of was the unexplainable make-out session between Madonna, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera (three definite heterosexuals) and the pseudo-lesbian couple that “teases” the boys in the movie “American Pie.” The Madonna/Britney/Christina episode got huge coverage when it happened at the 2003 VMAs and yet there was little explanation of what the kisses meant or were intended for. It definitely got the reaction they were probably looking for, though.

I have to wonder what sort of effect seeing these shock-factor images has on young girls who are just hitting puberty, experiencing sexuality for the first time, and exposed to “fake lesbianism.” It must be confusing to first figure out sexuality in general and then feel the pressures of the media to engage in sexual activities with someone they might not be sexually attracted to, to fulfill the pleasures of other people – namely guys.

Are girls who feel the need to make out with other girls doing it as a sexual experimentation or liberation? Or just to entertain guys because the media tells them it would be cool, shocking and sexy?


women as gatekeepers – not the media! October 2, 2008

I recently watched a very old episode of “Felicity” which I believe is from the first season, because she is a freshman in college. It is the episode when Felicity decides that she is ready to have sex for the first time with her current boyfriend, Nole.

Although some parts of the episode were somewhat idealized and unrealistic (and corny), it was a great episode and rare to see on such a popular show because of the blatant effort to advocate consent, safe sex and sexual responsibility. It was similar to the “Friends” condom episode that I mentioned in an earlier post, however the “Felicity” episode definitely sought to educate viewers on safe sex with discussion and visuals.

In terms of gender, however, I feel that this episode would reach out to females much more than to males because Felicity was calling the shots about the sex the entire time. It was her decision to have sex with Nole in the first place, granted she was a virgin (he wasn’t) so it should have been her decision when she was ready, but she decided when and where they would have the sex, she learned about the condoms and protection to use, and basically ran the whole show. This would make males feel pretty useless in my opinion, except when it came to the sexual act itself, which never actually occurred by the end of the episode for a multitude of reasons.

I think this portrayal of a character’s sexual experience is the type of media that causes sexual schemas for real people. I believe the “Felicity” episode is a perfect example of the social norming effect and why there is the stereotype that women are “sexual gatekeepers” and say yes or no to sex when men want it. Felicity didn’t even leave the responsibility of getting condoms for their sex up to Nole – one of the ways men are typically viewed as sexual gatekeepers. Watching Felicity manipulate (more or less) Nole into doing exactly what she wanted in terms of their sex-life, strengthens the stereotype that men always want sex and women decide when they can have it.

It’s a common opinion for people my age to think of guys who have a lot of sex as players (or awesome), but to also think of girls who have a lot of sex as sluts. It’s things like the “Felicity” episode that reinforce this stigma, unfortunately, because it was putting out a great message, but possibly causing other effects, like stereotypes.


bj’s now the norm for teen TV? September 18, 2008

Filed under: sex on tv — katie @ 2:39 pm
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The new “90201” spin-off started on the cw network Sept. 2 and I watched the pilot for old times’ sake to see if this new one would be any good. “90210” was really popular before I was old enough to watch it, but I remember watching reruns of it after school when I was in middle school (and thinking i was pretty cool).



This new show is flashy and edgy and not nearly as corny as the original (but close), and of course, it’s much racier. To be honest, I was not watching the show intently, but I had it on as background noise and happened to look up during a scene that literally blew me away, no pun intended. The scene is of the two siblings, Annie and Dixon, that have just moved to Beverly Hills, going to their first day of school. Annie sees someone she knows, Ethan, and catches him getting a blow job in a car outside of school. School hasn’t even started yet, it must be 7:30 in the morning! The school scene starts just over four minutes into the clip.

This show has a rating of TV-14 (which technically means it in intended for 15+), and I am astounded that the producers would include such a blatantly implied sexual act, that is totally unnecessary. Especially if this show is created for 15+ year-olds, there are definitely tweens younger than 15 watching, because they know its the cool show to watch. I was in 8th grade when I was 14 and although I would have killed to be cool and watch this show, I’m fairly certain that I wasn’t even positive what a blow job was, granted I was extremely sheltered, but it was also something that I didn’t need to know about at that age. My parents never would have let me watch this show as a 14-year-old, and although I would have hated them for it then, I can understand now because there is definitely too much sex on TV, geared towards younger and younger audiences. I was shocked and somewhat offended (now I sound like my mother) at the “90210” scene because these actors are portraying young teenagers, so much sex is implied and it’s sending out a message to young teens that they can have lots of sex without responsibility.

i understand that newer shows have to be better than the shows before and the ones they’re competing with, but it’s a shame that sex has to be used further and further to push the envelope. interestingly enough, the new “90210” got great ratings.

I’m not saying I don’t watch TV that contains sexual content (considering it is basically impossible to do so). “Sex and the City” is one of my all-time favorite shows, but it is on HBO, a channel that I pay extra for on my cable, and it has a high rating, intended for adults.

The CW network is not on basic cable, but it is included in the standard cable that most families have. Sex is not something that should be hidden or something to be embarrassed about, however it is a personal, private act that should at least be respected, and I feel that the immeasurable amount of sex on TV and in the media has caused many, even including myself, to lose respect for it.