Television, otherwise known as T.V – is honestly one of the greatest human inventions since sliced bread, happily bonding families to a digital screen, since the early 1900s.
T.V started out as silent films in black and white, then gradually progressed to colour in the middle of the 20th century. And while a luxury in its early days, reserved solely for the rich and wealthy, due to the high cost (adjusted for inflation a TV used to cost about $10,000 in 1939), the television set soon became a household item not only for the bourgeoisie members of society. This meant that overtime the general population had access to the outside world in the form of news, sports and coverage of special events (presidential inaugurations, strikes, protests etc). Allowing us to see how the rest of the world lives, behaves and experiences life. This opportunity enabled us to build up and expand on our personal life goals and dreams because we were exposed to the numerous amount of possibilities that existed in the external world, ensuring that we are not restricted by the boundaries of our current life and surroundings.
Now, this is all great and fantastic, up until you realize that it got to the point wherein the same way we viewed real life events and the manner in which we were impacted by our actual everyday “reality” was eventually the same way we let series, T.V shows, movies and print media affect our lives over time. It’s kinda like being in the Matrix for so long that you begin to mistake it for real life (just try dodging bullets like Neo, in real life, please, I dare you). And this, ladies and gentlemen, is where the benefits of the media end and where the mindfucks begin, yes, this is where the televised shit begins to hit the fan. Because these same fictional realities that we created have spurred generations of twisted and deluded views of the lives we live and how we relate to the world we live in. Encouraging us to set unreasonable expectations on our lives as well as those around us, while carefully crafting our views and opinions on multiple elements of our everyday lives.
We have stared at digital screens and print media for so long, consuming all sorts of fictional series, movies, ‘reality’ TV shows and outrageous novels that we have completely blurred the lines between reality and fiction, legitimate and fake, true and false. And the scary part is that as I sit here and write this article, I am still very unaware of the many biases that have been fed to me up to this point, leading me to my current state of thinking.
With this said, please bare with me in the first entry of this multi-part blog series as I begin to expand on some of the biggest lies told to us by the media regarding the more often than not taboo subject of SEX (yes, I said SEX…):
Let’s be honest, most of us initially found out about sex because of TV, magazines, or the infamous internet long before they ‘taught’ it at school (“good morning class, this is a penis, that is a vagina – the bible says sex before marriage is bad – and now we shall talk about Napoleon and the french revolution” ) or we talked to our parents about it. African parents, however, seem to expect you to somehow miraculously go from being single and celibate to waking up one morning married with kids, with no steps in between whatsoever. Thank you, Mary and Joseph, for setting the unachievable precedent, I hope you are happy #immaculateConception.
Look, sex sells, and it is used in all sorts of advertising campaigns for products, book plots, movie scripts and a large number of music videos. The media sells sex, and we buy it in bulk, whether we are conscious of it or not. And of course, no discussion around the media and sex is complete without delving into the infamous pornography industry. About 5% to 30% of the internet contains pornographic content, and that’s a crazy percentage, considering that there are well over 1 billion websites on the internet to date – putting the worldwide porn industry market valuation around +$100 billion.
And let’s face it, as crude and taboo as it is: viewing pornography and explicit sexual content is certainly one way to ‘learn’ about sex, and in some cases the only way – because we honestly don’t have a very open culture about it – in school they teach us about home economics, the industrial revolution, and plant pollination processes long before they teach us about our own bodies and how/when to use them. You are kinda expected to just figure that out on your own, so naturally, you make use of what is available to you.
The problem with the constant exposure to these commercial, fictional, pseudo-reproductive processes, is that men and woman who grow up continuously consuming this unreal sexual content and using that as their reference to navigate the world around them are given all the wrong information about sex and then they, unfortunately, base their future sexual encounters on these lies:
Lie 1: You should last hours and hours in bed
Uhm no that’s really not natural guys – unless you stay popping that blue pill…
“According to a 2008 study of United States and Canadian sex therapists, sex that is “too short” lasts one to two minutes, “adequate” lasts three to seven minutes, and “desirable” is seven to 13 minutes. The range for “too long” went from 10 to 30 minutes.” – Medical Daily
“… And fake TV sex acted out by qualified, drugged up, pornstars can last up to 3 hours” – The Media
Lie 2: Your manhood should be the size of an overgrown eggplant.
Uhm no, that just makes life uncomfortable for everyone. Just ask Roberto Esquivel Cabrera. The man with the longest penis in the world. Weighing in at a cool 0.9KG. (damn son!). He is probably the last person you want as a wingman in the club.
Lie 3: The more people you have sex with, the “cooler” you are
Uhm, no. This just increases your chances of contracting STDs and involuntarily impregnating someone. And the last time I checked this was not the standard definition of “cool” And if it is, then I’m perfectly happy being a healthy, childless, celibate, social outcast.
Lie 4: You must lose your virginity by a certain age.
We tend to have this impression that if a guy or a girl is still a virgin after a certain age then something is wrong with them. They are inexperienced, “too pure”, too naive, scared or ignorant. Ahh, no peeps – if you are a virgin – you just haven’t had sex yet and the reasons for doing so are your own. You don’t need an explanation for it, nor do you need people to understand your reasoning for it. It’s not a right of passage or a pre-requisite for life as an “adult”. Your body is your temple, and you can do whatever/whoever you want with it – whenever you want. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.
While this is definitely not an exhaustive list, it does contain a few key points that I am sure we can all relate to. And while sex is never an easy topic to talk about, I believe it is definitely a discussion to be had, as difficult as it may be.
As you carry on with your day/life after reading this, the challenge I pose to you is to try be a bit more aware of what media you are consuming and tread a bit more cautiously when you make decisions and form opinions in your everyday life. Because no matter how independent and self-conscious you think you are, you must remember that at the end of the day you are still a product of your environment and those thoughts you have right now – are not completely your own 😉
In part II of this series I’ll be talking about love – and a few of the lies we are told about that – thank you Disney, for all the fictional romantic bullshit that you have fed us over the years.
Now, go forth and multiply.