Through the past few weeks of BCM110, we have covered a range of aspects within media such as,
Is the media to blame?, Semiotics – the reading of sings, Who controls our media? And The Public Sphere.
You will find that these themes are key components and together, they give you the tools to fairly analyse issues within the media, seen through whether or not children and teens are being sexualised (Snow 2013) by the media.
A favorite movie from my childhood was the 1980’s version of the “The blue lagoon”. It stars 15 year old Brooke Sheilds and 19 year old Christopher Atkins who play two teens that had been stuck on an island together since childhood who then faces the struggle of little education and the emotional and physical changes of puberty. At the time, and still today, the movie was deemed controversial for sexualising children (McMurran 1080) as both characters were predominately naked throughout the film.
In all the times I watched this movie, my young mind had never once found the teens to be arousing, provocative or sexualised. If anything it showed their innocence, much like a child when they run around in the nude, not knowing any better. So now that I’m older and of bout the controversy this movie caused, it makes me wonder, was the media really making them look sexualised, or is society just looking at them sexually?
This is where topics from previous weeks come in.
As mentioned above, we can question is media to blame? My previous blog had another representation of children in the media, looking at whether media was causing teen pregnancy through the glamorisation of it. It was discovered that factors within society like education (Jones 2008) can promote this, and the media just reports what’s already happening in society. So as a young person, I did not find these children sexualised from the same media, it can be said that possibly it’s factors within society contributing to people finding it sexualising?
Then we can look at semiotics and signs. Through Sisley’s controversial ad “Fashion Junkie” we looked at the semiotics of signs a sign being anything that conveys a message through signifers and the signified (Berger 2014). It was concluded that signs can read differently to anyone based on a number of factors, but personal ideologies are the ending key in how we interpret a given message. Throughout The Blue Lagoon, the signifier being the naked bodies signified “sexualisatoin” to a broad audience, but realistically a naked body as seen in art or even a baby doesn’t t have to be seen as sexual. This proves the audiences watching the movie perceive it as sexual due to their preconceived ideology that says any naked body of this age is sexual, then yes they are viewing it sexually, they will find it seuxalised.
Thirdly we can look at who is controlling the views out there. As seen in the my blog who controls or media, our society has concentrated media control and the controllers often pick and choose information to be published in order to sway public views for personal gain. This proves that who controls our media is important because through concentrated media, media controllers are publicising their own personal ideologies over numerous media outlets (McKnight 2012) , in turn unfairly swaying the minds of the readers, and in this instance, have created and spread an ideology that the young naked bodies, such as those in The Blue Lagoon, are sexual making them viewed as”sexualised”.
All in all, these themes flow through all topics within the media, however none of these themes or topics would even come to light if it wasn’t all brought together by the Public Sphere, an area where audiences come together to discuss issues within society (Adut 2012). and as proven in my last blog, can be the place for societal change. Issues around children within media are a big debate in the Public Sphere, just as the Sexualisation in The Blue Lagoon was, but through looking at the topics I believe society has viewed the an unsexualised Blue Lagoon sexually though the pressure of media circulated ideologies .
Adut, A 2012, “A Theory of the Public Sphere”, Sociological Theory, vol. 30, no. 4, pp. 238-262.
Berger, A 2014, ‘Semiotics and society’, Society, vol 51, no. 1, p. 22-26, viewed 21 March 2014, Springer Link database, item: 1936-4725.
Jones, A 2008, Scenes of a sexual nature, viewed 14 March 2014,
McMurran, K 1980, Too much too young?, viewed 13 April 2014,
McKnight, D 2012, Gina Rinehart and Rupert Murdoch: a study of power in the media, viewed 28 March 2014,
Snow, D 2013, Stealing the innocence of children, viewed 13 April 2014,