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Hot Button Issue Paper


Media plays a large role in projecting the pattern of interpersonal communications. Unfortunately, a lot of the time the projected images contain sex and violence. While it is justified when this is related to reporting news stories, the amount of aggressive content in films and computer games, as well as the behavior of online trolls may be harmful to society. There should be a number of steps to be taken in order to improve the current situation.

Hot Button Issue Paper

The rapid evolvement of the media may mean a change in the sources people use to gather information. Long gone are the days when one relied on books, newspapers, radio and television for news and entertainment. With the advent of social media platforms, people turn to facebook, twitter, tumbler more and more often. But while the sources of information become more and more diverse and decentralized, the age-old problem of violence portrayal is still a problematic issue. Aggressive, hateful, demeaning imagery has a clear negative effect on children and can even influence interpersonal relationships between adults.

Sex and Violence in Media Portrayal in History

Sex and violence are the two topics that have always captivated hearts and minds. Closely related to the ideas of biological survival and evolution, entertainment was literally built around violence and sex in ancient Rome. In the era of motion pictures, using real suffering for entertainment was considered unethical, but fictional movies were still providing aggressive and sexual imagery. The negative impact that sex and violence in films can potentially have on the audience has been a hot topic of discussion throughout the 20th century.

When motion pictures became popular, sex and violence were the major theme that proved a recipe for commercial success. In The Great Train Robbery (1903), one of the famous early films, this trend was present from start to finish. The final scene of the movie was that of the villain “firing” into the camera (Kutner & Olson, 2008). Such aggressive imagery quickly became controversial, and whether the effects of fictitious events had a lasting impact on the audience became an important topic.

Simply portraying sex and violence, however, is different from glorifying it – and unfortunately, a number of movies appear to do the latter. The 1955 film Rebel Without a Cause was a prominent example of critics voicing their fears that the violence on the screen was promoting delinquency in real life (Ferguson, 2013). Sociologists were worried that viewers would subconsciously adopt the attitudes, projecting the harmful behavior.

The violence in the context of sex continues to be the issue that people have to grapple with. From pornographic movies and late-night shows to graphic rape scenes in dramas, women were often portrayed as victims. Even worse than the portrayal itself, is the fact that some of the rape scenes have an involuntary element to them. For example, Bernardo Bertolucci, the director of the 1972 movie Last Tango in Paris, thought that it was a good idea to only …

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