“What Kind of Porn Does YOUR Kid Like?” And Other Acceptable Public Discussions, Apparently.

child

Recently, W5, a Canadian current events program ran a story that focused on a growing pornography addiction trend that many young people are experiencing. Within the episode “Generation XXX,” a twelve year old boy was interviewed, where he discussed his own personal struggle with this addiction and the consequences he is currently experiencing in his life. I am purposefully omitting the boy’s name, because I personally think that the producers of the show breached journalistic ethics in not keeping the boy’s identity anonymous. Within the program, the boy’s name, age, province and home were all shown. The family believes that sharing the boy’s experience will benefit other families, and alert parents to their own children’s Internet use, given that this boy was only eleven when he first discovered the adult content. I don’t think that the ‘shock value’ effect the producers and family were seeking justifies the permanence of having personal information available to the public for the rest of this boy’s life. I don’t believe that children are old enough to give consent to have their personal information released, because they are unable to understand the lifelong consequences, making the technicalities of consent for the release of information and achieving informed consent impossible.

There is always potential to breach ethics when performing interviews, and it seems that reasonable care taken to avoid possible harm to the interviewee is only as much as the law requires. Within the W5 interview, having a young boy discuss the type of pornography he watches could definitely cause stigmatization for himself within his peer group, which is a specific ethics breach regarding harm for the interviewee within interviewing ethics (“Unite for Sight,” n.d.). Producers of W5 no doubt explained to the boy and his family about the possible negative effects that the interview may bring, but I don’t believe that a child at twelve years old is fully capable of making a such a permanent decision. Besides having his personal history discussed, I believe that labelling a young person as having an addiction, when ‘sex-addiction’ and ‘porn-addiction’ are two fairly new topics with little research available may be problematic to his self-identity and self-worth in the future. Revealing this private information, as well as the label of an ‘addict’ will no doubt isolate him to some extent from his peers, as well as the potential for creating barriers for his future partners, or even employers to look past. This is where I believe that W5 has made a mistake in revealing the boy’s identity, because he will not have the opportunity to disclose this information to whom he chooses; his story is now, and will always be accessible to everyone.

Modern reality television serves as a modified, slightly more calculated interview as well, and I think that television today is doing a great disservice to children. I think that most, if not all personal information in regards to children should be confidential, and for it to certainly not available for the entertainment of viewers. The W5 episode is not the only program that I have watched that seems to have a shaky grasp on ethics. If children are deemed not capable to drive a car, vote, have sex, and drink alcohol, why are we assuming that they, along with their guardians, are intuitive enough to make a decision to review and understand all possible risks that come with releasing information to the public? One example that made me physically cringe was an episode of a reality television show that follows a young transgender girl’s life, I Am Jazz. Film crews were allowed access into Jazz’s doctor appointment, where her hormone levels and changing body were discussed. It seems that morality was left behind when this young child was shown discussing her developing breasts and future sexual activity to millions of viewers.

There are indispensable benefits of discussing and exploring the topics that people usually shy away from for our society to continue moving forward. I don’t object to the fact that Jazz has her own reality television show, or that a young boy wants to warn others about the dangers of the Internet. I object to the fact that private information is being treated as a commodity in our society, and that children seem to be bestowed with the rights of adults when it is convenient, and more often, profitable for us.

 

I’m a PC Asshole, and I Love It.

bianca

Increased social networking technology has brought us an ever-expanding access to global information and opinions. Social media outlets have made it so that everyone and anyone can have their own platform to share their personal ideas. And what has come from this technological advancement? Arguments. All of the arguments, that can lead to flame wars, and my personal pet peeve, commenting in ALL CAPS TO SHOW LIKE, HOW ANGRY YOU ARE, OR WHATEVER. These chronicled theatrics delight spectators everywhere; likely, they progress with borderline unrecognizable words and if one was to introduce the word ‘homophone,’ it may be mistaken for a pink telephone.

People have been telling me to keep my opinions to myself for as long as I can remember. My Stepfather would constantly tell me to stop critiquing things; I never stopped, because I was determined that everyone in my family know the cheese factor that I witnessed in the teenaged acting that was Elijah Woods in Flipper.

As I got older, I was ‘Facebook warring’ with people before Facebook was even a thing. I heard the word ‘political correctness’ somewhere in my junior high age, and unlike some of my peers at the time (and even some of my peers as an adult, I’m not going to lie), I understood what it meant. I officially became a PC policeperson (hardy har har) in junior high school, when my gym teacher called one of his students ‘retarded.’ Now, I’m Canadian, and in Canada, the word ‘retard’ is considered to be quite rude, and definitely falls into the category of politically incorrectness. I called him on it, and the story of our interaction became the big news throughout the school for a time. I felt confident while confronting him, because I knew that my argument was ‘right.’ I knew a few other students that had siblings and family members with cognitive limitations, and to have an instructor use that kind of language was pretty upsetting. I don’t dare use the word ‘offensive’ within my anecdote, because that word is becoming overused, with its actual definition falling on deaf ears. I actually wish that I had a deaf friend to ask if they find the previous idiom offensive or not. Be sure that I will not use it in the future if someone objects to it!

Back then, I was beginning to create an identity for myself as a person that defends the rights of marginalized groups. I still strive to do the best that I can; if someone tells me that they are hurt, uncomfortable, or, perish the thought, offended by a term, phrase, comment, costume, or anything (within reason) else, I will believe and support their call for a retraction. I don’t accuse anyone of being too sensitive, or just figure they should get over it. I don’t know how it feels to be an Aboriginal or Native American, finding a ridiculous ‘Native’ Halloween costume in the store; or similarly, a costume that consists of a donkey and a sombrero; and I don’t know how it feels to be struggling to identify my own sexual orientation, and to hear the word ‘gay’ being used as a bad thing. Yes, you read that right. I don’t think people should use the word ‘gay’ as a synonym for ‘bad,’ or ‘stupid.’ I also don’t think that racial slurs and stereotypes are appropriate in any context. You may have freedom of speech, but that doesn’t mean you have freedom from the consequences of what comes out of your mouth. If that makes me an overly-sensitive asshole (I’m writing metaphorically here, I don’t mean I need ultra soft toilet paper or anything. Well, OK, I do actually prefer it), I’d rather be that over being the hurtful and bigoted type of asshole.

So, come at me on my various social media platforms. I’ll even start you off: I identify as a feminist. I love, LOVE discussing gender stereotypes and binary issues with people, especially when they have no flipping idea about what they’re talking about. Let me first counter what is the most common first argument about feminism: feminism is difficult to discuss because there is no official definition of it (which truthfully, doesn’t make us look good), but I adhere to the idea that women should be allowed to be as human as males. I think that gender stereotypes are damaging for everyone involved, so, don’t get down on me about how I’m a man-hater, and don’t care about anyone’s rights but my own. I think that custody cases should be investigated individually and objectively, and women shouldn’t always be awarded custody simply because they are female. I am a feminist, and am not only one when it is convenient for me. So, put that in your pipe and smoke it.

My PC-ness will come out in other forms, as well: I think that all children should be nurtured; yes, everyone does deserve a prize, but perhaps not in the way that you think. I feel like praising a child’s talent or skill over others in front a group can be damaging. If you are complimenting a child’s artistic ability, what does that even mean? Art is subjective, and honestly, depending on the age, the word artistic is probably a bit of a stretch, anyway. So why not compliment a child’s ability to copy an object accurately? And then, compliment another’s ability to use their imagination, or use of colors. There have been multiple articles that discuss how in the early years of school, rules and restrictions stamp out creativity in children, and make them believe that there is only one way to be… fill in the blank: intelligent, artistic, talented…

So, continue to feel free to leave your uniformed criticisms for your PC-Asshole acquaintances (I doubt that you are actually friends) on your various social media outlets. I’m going to bet that my lot are sitting on their computers, rolling their eyes, trying to come up with reasons as to why they haven’t deleted you already. I will continue to be a PC Asshole, because I would rather research how words and actions affect people, and to be conscious of my findings in my day-to-day life, over the kind of person that has not understood a single word that I’ve written.

Playboy Re-brand Astonishes None

Playboy has released their first ‘non-nude’ issue of the magazine, as was promised last October, when Playboy’s marketing team announced they would be making changes to the brand in order to become more accessible to readers (see ‘Playboy Will Soon Be Nudity-Free‘ for all the whats and whys). Now, this description of ‘non-nude’ models is a misnomer for me. Alright, technically the models are wearing some clothes, but this is not anything different from what the models wore in the previous design of Playboy! Below, the picture of Miss March, model Dree Hemingway is wearing a sheer top…

02

… which seems like a very similar concept to a 2007 shoot of actress Garcelle Beauvais, shown below.

garcelle-beauvais-nilon

I’m failing to see the difference, other than the out-dated feel of this one. I know that Playboy was notorious for portraying models in a much more erotic manner, but trying to market themselves as ‘non-nude,’ when they still have this content is just misleading.

Playboy announced their change last year, apparently to become a more family friendly ‘entertainment’ magazine (as opposed to pornography), and therefore, become accessible to people because of the less offensive concepts they are designing. Perhaps the new shoots are more tame in comparison, but I say that the fact that their new magazine is boring will be the most offensive thing by far to their readers.

09

This image is a part of Hemingway’s photo-shoot. I don’t find anything about this photo visually interesting to look at. I would also argue that this contradicts Playboy’s -non-nude’ policy. She looks pretty nakie to me. Well… Ok. She’s wearing shoes. You win this round, Playboy.

I feel as if Playboy has missed their mark on their quest for a re-brand and increased revenue. They spend thousands of dollars on on concept teams, wardrobe and lighting, and the series that I have seen are all tired. Sheer tops and and underwear? Cheeky bedroom scenes?

c_limit,q_80,w_720-http---images-origin.playboy.com-ogz4nxetbde6-4oYwc8WQyckuCGyaUooQSM-de275284ae84d4c968a1a4085e5fdf04-11_March-cover

This has all been done before, and in fact, I think that I have have even seen more interesting photos on amateur models’ Instagram pages. From what I see, this change for Playboy has not been worth the hassle.

Playboy Will Soon Be Nudity-Free

playboy

Get ready for a kinder, gentler Playboy. No more will the Bunnies be shaking and shimmying their mammary glands for the world to see…

Playboy was founded by Hugh Hefner, and first published in 1953 as one of the first mass-produced soft-core pornographic magazines. The magazine was once a huge seller, creating huge profits for the Playboy family by selling a lifestyle of leisure and beautiful women to its readers. The Playboy Bunny is arguably has one of the most recognizable logos in the world, but as technology has improved, the power of the Bunny hasn’t held up well in the face of (or other body part) more explicit material available to people for free.

Playboy began its modernization process in 2011, with the launch of its complete archives in the form of a web app. More was needed to boost popularity, as Cory Jones, one of the top Playboy editors realized. Jones is the innovator behind the new nudity-free Playboy, and hopes that popularity and subscriptions can be gained by losing the nudity, and therefore, the restrictions, and become a prominent member in the social media universe. The new, work-friendly version of Playboy that will be available next March, will continue to include lifestyle columns, celebrity interviews, as well as a new “sex-positive female” columnist.

Playboy will launch the new nudity-free version, with the hopes of gaining popularity again simply by increasing accessibility and visibility of the Playboy lifestyle will be enough to compete with the treasure trove of free explicit material found by those who seek it. The modernization process of Playboy seems to be decades overdue, with sales of the magazine plummeting in a negatively correlated relationship with more easily accessible pornography websites.

Come March, we will see if Hefner’s decision to steer Playboy in a more modest direction will have the desired effect on its prevalence, but the timing of the upcoming family-friendly experience seems suspicious when Mr Hefner is still trying to recuperate from the damage done to his character by his ex-girlfriend, Holly Madison. Madison details the years she spent living with Hefner at the Playboy mansion in her book Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny, where she depicts Hefner as an old-fashioned, abusive misogynist. Details of how Hefner scored the physical appeal of the women that entered the house, the drugs he offered his rotating female companions and their ‘bedroom routine,’ as Madison describes it in the book. Nothing of what she writes may be shocking to a reader when they realize they are reading about the life of a multi-millionaire that has made his money by publishing pornography, but Madison’s book has some illuminating things to say about the sponsorship and endorsement aspect of Playboy.

The Girls Next Door was a program on the E! network that followed the lives of Hefner’s girlfriends. Madison writes in her book that the network was always mindful to portray Hefner as a doting, romantic gentleman that just happened to have three young women as his girlfriends. This portrayal of Hefner made it feel safe for the viewer to watch the program, and Hefner kept his sales of Playboy by representing himself in a flattering way to his public. Time will tell if the revamping of the magazine that will take effect in March will be a permanent and lucrative change, or if it will be a change that causes the Playboy Bunnies to permanently hang up their tails.

Hollywood Men Say the Darnedest Things (and Still Get to Keep Their Jobs…)

boys

English-born actor Daniel Craig has recently raised a few eyebrows by heavily criticizing the James Bond movie franchise in which he has portrayed the iconic character in four of the recent Bond instalments.

In a recent interview, Craig told a reporter he’d “rather slash [his] wrists” than reprise the role. He answered the question of who would play 007 next, by saying: “I don’t give a fuck.” Later in the interview, he said: “If I did another Bond movie, it would only be for the money.” Craig’s frustrations with the character have been noted by the media for many years; Craig was determined in earlier years to bring more “emotional depth” to the character, and explore the darker, convoluted aspects of portraying an assassin.

There are many notable cases of actors and actresses condemning their own projects to the media, and have suffered a backlash to their careers as a result. Katherine Heigl is an actress, who is reportedly difficult to work with, who experienced being ‘blackballed’ by producers after repeatedly critiquing the projects she had been involved in. Heigl called the film Knocked Up “somewhat sexist,” as it portrayed her female character as ‘uptight,’ and the male as a fun-loving goofball. She also dismissed the notion of winning an Emmy Award for the series Grey’s Anatomy because of its, as she describes it, poor writing. Heigl’s statements questioned the quality and political correctness of her projects, whereas Craig’s hyperbolic suicidal commentary is brash, and his petulant attitude regarding his future involvement with the Bond movies feels unnecessary. It will be interesting to see if Craig faces any repercussions over his interview, or if there will be a change in Craig’s status amongst movie producers.