What Are the Issues?
Routledge – 2001 – 376 pages
Series: Routledge Communication Series
This book examines the representation, impact, and issues relating to the control and regulation of sex in the media. It covers work that has been conducted around the world on the depiction of sex in the mainstream mass media, especially the audio-visual media of film, television, and video, and the alleged effects that such content may have upon media consumers. In addition to reviewing the research on the effects of media sex, the book also examines what is known about public opinion concerning sex in the media. A key theme running through the book is whether the evidence about media sex can be taken at face value. Are the methodologies used by researchers to investigate media sex problematic? Have they yielded data that can be questioned in terms of validity and reliability?
Media Sex questions whether media sex poses a serious problem for most viewers of mainstream media. It acknowledges that there may be serious issues relating to the causation of public offense and the cultivation of anti-women attitudes and beliefs that need to be addressed in productions where more extreme forms of sexual conduct are combined with violent and sadistic behavior. With the unrelenting growth of media, media consumers demand and are given greater personal control over the reception of media content. The notion of freedom of speech conflicts with the view that media content needs to be centrally regulated and controlled. This conflict creates problems for regulatory organizations and the legislators in nation states in which freedom of the press is legally protected. The book examines the debate surrounding this conflict.
"…Gunter asks all the pertinent questions such as to what extent media sex influences children, degrades women, miseducates boys about girls, sells products, causes sexual deviance, and so forth. He then proceeds to explain, and in fairly straightforward prose, the profound effects of the sexual saturation of modern society. And, in the end, the author even comes up with some excellent ideas as what steps we might take to regain a modicum of control over our ostensibly insatiable appetite for sex. Not that he expects everybody to take a break from all the non-stop carnality to listen to him in a moment of temporary sanity. Fascinating and highly recommended, just for its stats alone."
"Media Sex's strength lies in its state-of-the-art literature reviews provided in each chapter….treatment of the subject matter is current and comprehensive."
—Journal of Communication
Contents: Preface. What Concerns Have Been Raised About Media Sex? How Much Media Sex Is Shown? What Is Acceptable to the Public? Does Media Sex Influence Young People? Is Media Sex Degrading to Women? Does Media Sex Give Men the Wrong Ideas? Is Media Sex the Cause of Sexual Deviance? Can Media Sex Portrayals Influence Nonoffenders? Can Media Sex Sell Commodities? How Are Effects of Media Sex to Be Explained? Can We Trust the Research on Media Sex? How Effective Are Controls Over Media Sex?