Television shows and pop culture will continue to glorify adultery and premarital sex over traditional marriage in 2012, one media watchdog group laments.
Criticizing the entertainment industry’s growing focus on infidelity and unhealthy marriages, the Parents Television Council, an organization advocating responsible entertainment, believes that the new year would bring in much of the same damaging content to viewers.
“This is part of a larger trend that we’ve seen coming for a few years now that seems to glamorize any form of extramarital or premarital relations and glorify that kind of behavior, whereas sex in the context of marriage is treated as either nonexistent or sort of something that you do out of obligation and not out of love,” Melissa Henson, director of communications and public education for the PTC, stated, according to OneNewsNow.
As networks continued to spotlight broken marriages and sex outside of marriage, the cultural attitude toward marriage consequently is becoming more and more undesirable and even unnecessary, Henson noted.
“I think that is to a certain extent to be expected when the message that people are constantly being fed by the popular culture is ‘why get married? You can enjoy all the benefits of marriage and enjoy it more if you’re cohabiting than living together as man and wife.’”
Henson believes that Hollywood would continue to tell these stories until it became costly for them to do so, she explained to The Christian Post.
“It will unlikely continue unless there is economic backlash from viewers refusing to watch and advertisers refusing to support such messages,” the PTC spokeswoman said.
“We plan to continue to call attention to these kinds of stories and encourage viewers at home to be more discriminating. As a result, it will become more costly for Hollywood to continue to undermine families and marriage by glorifying such behavior.”
The PTC has been on the forefront of stemming the flow of harmful and negative messages targeted at families since 1995.
Helping successfully “clean up the Family Hour,” the organization has greatly assisted in making television family-friendly, calling on networks to reassess their content while also challenging advertisers to examine their values by taking a look at the shows they support.
They have launched several campaigns denouncing shows like MTV’s “Skins,” and Fox’s “Allen Gregory,” both of which was canceled and removed from the broadcast schedule due to their efforts.
“I think we need to be more careful with the messages we expose ourselves to,” Henson told CP. “Most conscientious parents know to watch for damaging or harmful messages in the programs they let their children watch, but then once the children are in bed, many of those same parents may be exposing themselves to messages that could ultimately undermine their family.”
“We hope that as we get older we are less susceptible to TV’s influence, but that’s not always the case,” she added. “The Greek philosopher Epictetus said, ‘Most of what passes for legitimate entertainment is inferior or foolish and only caters to or exploits people’s weaknesses…Be discriminating about what images and ideas you let in your mind.”
If people did not choose for themselves what images and thoughts they exposed themselves to, someone else, whose motives might not be the highest, would, Epictetus revealed.
Henson, continuing to quote the philosopher, said, “It is the easiest thing in the world to slide imperceptibly into vulgarity. But there’s no need for that to happen if you determine not to waste your time and attention on mindless pap.”
The PTC understands that television is one of the most powerful mediums in the world.
“Whether we choose to admit it or not, television is profoundly influential,” the University of Virginia graduate described.
“On some level, whether conscious or unconscious, people who watch a lot of television come to view the lives they see on television as somehow truer, or more real, or more representative of ‘the real world.’”
“When folks see adultery or sexual promiscuity depicted as normative on television, they come to believe that it is more common in the real world than it actually is,” she further detailed. “That, in turn, translates into a type of peer pressure by removing moral or cultural barriers that might have prevented an individual from engaging in those kinds of behaviors.”
Encouraging viewers to be more mindful of the content they viewed, Henson hopes that audiences would work to correct the messages that were being sent out by entertainment industries today, including those that demeaned marriage.