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The Norseman

Moral barometer: Violence, sexuality used excessively desensitizes society

This article is a continuation from an article in the previous edition of the Norseman that discussed the degrading of cultural morality and why swearing is immoral.

Graphic sexuality has also escalated dramatically, particularly in movies. This not only includes actual sexual encounters but promiscuous jokes and actors wearing little to no clothing. It usually doesn’t even affect the plot but instead attempts to appeal to audiences at a gratuitous level.

Even if morals are excluded, watching sexual scenes can kill real love. Numerous studies have shown that watching things such as pornography ruin relationships. Relationships shown in movies do not reflect real ones, and people are constantly disappointed when their standards obtained from popular culture are not met.

Additionally, watching things like pornography rewire the brain and cause an addiction. This isn’t a metaphorical addiction, this is an actual addiction, like with drugs and alcohol, and a physical dependency develops.

However, morally speaking, sexual relationships are not something to be broadcast. If an affair is necessary for a story, there are plenty of ways to communicate it to the audience without going into detail.

Whether looked at from a moral perspective or not, watching or reading about affairs or hearing sexual joking not only can kill love but objectifies people. Both men and women are presented as if each only exists only for the pleasure of the other.

Perhaps society only considers sex outside of marriage “objectifying” in the case of rape, which occurs more frequently to women than men.

However, portraying these relationships degrades both genders equally and conveys the message that each one is only good for whatever they can physically bring to a relationship, even if it’s never said outright.

Strangely enough, despite the huge wave of feminism and the #metoo movement, I’ve not heard anything confronting the degradation of both men and women in a sexual manner within media.

Many famous celebrities and prominent politicians have been charged with sexual allegations, and though it is good society is trying to do something about fixing their misconduct, it is not trying to fix the root problem but rather the consequences.

Right now, it’s like society is trying to put out a fire by pouring gasoline on the ground with one hand and spraying a garden hose in the other. They’re the ones fueling their own problems, and when they try to solve the problems, it’s completely ineffective.

Violence is also on the rise in popular culture. Video games in particular have become more violent as first-person shooter games have risen in popularity. It’s usually not just people falling over when shot but is accompanied by large amounts of blood and gore.

It is very easy, when it comes to violence, to say it’s to make a point or to honor others who suffered, which to some extent, is true.

In a movie about the Holocaust, depending on the plot, it would be disrespectful to those who died and the survivors to only briefly touch on what was done to them and whitewash the situation.

Nonetheless, this does not mean it is okay to go into huge, graphic detail, describing every drop of blood spilled and every mutilated body.

No matter how much this may make a point, if people surround themselves with violence, even if it is only in books, movies, or other media, they become immune to its effects.

It becomes easy to have a heart of stone and not only brush off the pain of those around them but to also be able to ignore actual, physical violence and take it as “being part of life.”

No matter how many times people tell themselves logically something is wrong, it is hard for them to live by it if they cannot feel anymore.

Over time, exposure to such violence can create a dangerous familiarity and lead to outright apathy when it comes to violence or even committing violent acts.

Now I understand that there can be a deliberate reason for including some of these things. Sometimes, the author or whoever develops the media will use, say, excessive violence to demonstrate the depravity of a person or group of people. Sometimes they will use extremes to draw sharp contrasts between different types of characters.

Additionally, if the situation is meant to mimic a real situation, it could dishonor the real people who suffered or those who were in similar situations to gloss over it too much.

However, much of what I have seen is unnecessary to the plot or development of a character and is used instead to shock the audience. If it is a part of the plot, sometimes it can still be left out, and the story will not suffer.

Even if it is necessary, whatever is happening does not always need to be described graphically. If the creator is a good writer, they should be able to get their point across without going into great detail.

I think the biggest reason why there has been a shift in morals is because people have stopped caring about the consequences or don’t see anything wrong in the first place. “It’s just a movie,” someone might say. “It’s not going to hurt me. Why are you being so sensitive? Can you not handle it?”

In terms of kids movies, they say that we shouldn’t “shelter” kids and that they need to eventually learn what the real world is like.

This is completely the wrong mindset to take. What we allow ourselves to watch, read, and listen to influences our thinking and beliefs and translates into our lives. And morality does matter. It is not just a social construct to tell humanity “proper” behavior and meant to control society.

One cannot claim to have the moral high ground if they ignore the parts of morality they don’t like. If someone believes in and follows some morals but purposefully ignores others, he or she is being hypocritical.
While it is difficult, if not impossible, to evade everything immoral, an effort should be made to avoid them as much as possible.

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