MANILA, Dec. 2, 2013—The increasing sexualization in today’s mass media must be given prime attention for leaving its influences unmediated may lead to the corruption of moral and ethical values among the Catholic faithful, a life advocate said.
Rolando Delos Reyes, Pro-Life Philippines Board Member and Courage Philippines President, urged the public to be more vigilant in looking after mass media to help lessen the proliferation of sexual themes in various media platforms.
“Why do we have to teach the public about sex? … Is there any indication telling that (sex-oriented media) are only for married people? Anybody can pick it up whether you are a single person, a married person, or even a young person,” Delos Reyes said during the Pro-Life Seminar Series on Sex Education and the Media held last Nov. 16 at the Our Lady of Loreto Church in Manila.
He noted that the proliferation of sexual themes leads the public to perceive that pre-marital sex and homosexuality, for instance, are normal and acceptable despite the staunch opposition of the Catholic Church.
Citing the increase of gay-themed independent films, Delos Reyes urged media practitioners to use mass media for the common good and not to sexually titillate the minds of the public with the use of pornographic materials.
“Because here in the Philippines, when we say independent films, we immediately incorporate it with sex. They are giving independent films a bad name. It is unfair for those people doing independent films that are not catering to sexual themes,” he said.
Delos Reyes chided sexually-oriented books, movies, songs, and fashion shows, noting that they manifest “glamorized prostitution and pornography.”
“Why do they have to do this? Is it for that same line of defense ‘for the sake of doing art’?” he asked. “In most noon time shows, why do product endorsers have to dance while literally wearing almost nothing?” he added.
Influencing public perception
Noting the papal document Inter Mirifica (Decree on the Media of Social Communications), Delos Reyes observed the great role played by the mass media in influencing public opinion.
“The principle of moral responsibility for the proper use of the media of social communication falls on newsmen, writers, actors, designers, producers, displayers, distributors, operators and sellers, as well as critics and all others who play any part in the production and transmission of mass presentations,” he said.
He added: “It is quite evident what gravely important responsibilities they have in the present day when they are in a position to lead the human race to good or to evil by informing or arousing mankind.”
Need to counter-act
In countering the increasing sexualization in today’s media, Delos Reyes called on parents to be aware of current media trends and be more critical in monitoring what their children listen to and watch.
“When it comes to gadgets, televisions, and computers, make sure that these are in public places. Meaning to say, don’t allow your kids to have these devices inside their rooms. Let them use it in (the living room) but never inside their rooms to prevent things from happening,” he said.
“As much as possible keep these devices away so you can monitor them and they would be afraid to open such (sexual) material,” he added.
In conversing with the youth, Delos Reyes said teachers must engage in a meaningful conversation with their students on the proper use and appreciation of the mass media.
“Do straight talk…Do not beat around the bush, do not sanitize…If mass media is very obscene about it, we have to follow their language…We have to do the same. We have to speak in the same way, not in the sense of defilement but the sense of reality must be there,” he noted.
He also emphasized the need to show a good example to the youth so they may have role models to follow on how to deal with the media influence they encounter every day.
“Continually remind about the social and moral teachings of the church in the media. Let us all be good examples to our youth in communicating the proper use of any form of mass media,” he said.
Making a statement
Delos Reyes urged the people to “express concern over the growing immorality in media usage” primarily through letting their voice be heard with the use of letters, manifestos, signature campaigns, and boycotting brands that promote media sexualization.
“If we will teach people not to buy their products, then we will leave a mark as their sales go down. But as much as we are not doing anything, they will just continue with these fashion shows, they will continue to produce these magazines and billboards,” he said.
“If we will not speak up, they will say that everything is okay. We need to work and as we are working, my invitation to you is to pray for the media, for the young people, and for all of us,” he added.
“Let us prevent bad media from coming to our homes, schools, and churches,” Delos Reyes noted. (Jennifer Orillaza)