Subtitle: Yet Another Sex Post
This is heavily inspired by this video, which I am assigning as required viewing:
I have been on a "police procedural" TV kick. Despite the violence (both actual and suggested), these shows somehow increase my faith in humanity: There are people out there who devote their lives to catching killers and saving lives. It is a nice reminder to not take the police, the FBI, etc. for granted.
That being said, the amount of violence does disturb me on some level—and sometimes how little it disturbs me actually disturbs me more. People killing and torturing each other is normal fare for TV, but language and sex are censored, at least far more than violence is. (I admit that the violence that is on day-time and prime time TV could be worse—after all there are subscription-only channels that have more violent content). But out of those three—swearing, sex, and violence—which one seems to be the worst for society?
Certain swear words (like racial slurs) can represent hate, true; but those aren't the kind of words that I'm talking about getting censored. When does sex hurt anyone? The case I can think of is rape—but that crosses over into violence.
The out-of-whack priorities particularly struck me yesterday when watching some episodes of Criminal Minds that had been recorded in the afternoon. All of the swears had been edited out (we're talking words like 'ass'). But they could still go into detail about murder.
I see this even inside of the church. Sources like For the Strength of Youth do caution against viewing anything that is vulgar, pornographic, or violent. But in other cases, I see the threat of violence taken less seriously. Regarding standards that members of the church have, I hear things like not drinking coffee, not spending money on Sundays, not swearing, and not having pre-marital sex. But I don't think I've ever heard "not getting into fights" or even "not being hateful." How many times was I lectured to in youth about not having sex? More times than I can remember. But I don't remember hearing about not physically hurting someone—I'm guessing it was mentioned, but it wasn't memorable enough for me to recall; on the other hand, the principle of not having sex was severely stressed and mentioned often. Pornography is a frequently-mentioned issue too. It would be one thing if it was stressed that pornography that was violent or that subjugated women was (especially) dangerous, but that isn't the case. It's pornography in general that is bad because of the sexual component alone.
This just doesn't make sense, especially relating to the belief that, even if it is next to, extra-marital sex isn't as bad on the sin scale as murder. Judging by the movies that are popular with LDS YSA, I can see that movies with a certain amount of violence are tolerated, but a movie that showed a bare bottom or had a sex scene would be totally off limits. Why is sex more taboo than murder, especially when murder is considered worse?
You could say that youth and young adults are more likely to engage in sexual activity than murder, which is probably true. But let's extend violence to hate, which causes it. Personally, I'd much rather have a teenager fornicating than calling a gay classmate a f--. A large component of the chastity talks were preventing sin by controlling the factors (like thoughts) that lead up to them. But factors that lead to violence—like intolerance, hate, judgment, and self-righteousness—are not stressed very much in my experience. BYU wards usually have a chastity talk at the beginning of the semester, but where is the anti-intolerance talk?
I think it's a huge reflection of our society—violence is just far more acceptable than sex for some reason. I can offer guesses for why that is, like the fact that the U.S. has a huge Puritan influence and the Puritans were tight-lipped about sex but saw no problem putting people in the stocks to be ridiculed. I don't know the exact reason why our society has its priorities so out of whack. What I do know is that this needs to change.