Monday, June 27, 2005

What's Worse?

On the forums at the Christian Anime Alliance the other day I came across a post which asked the question, what's worse to portray on screen, sex or violence? The poster stated that she thought it was obviously sex, but that others had said they're both equally inappropriate.

I'd argue for people having to be far more careful and restrictive with showing sex than violence even though I think you could argue that in a perfect world, sex would exist and violence would not. Here's why:

1. Public versus private.

2. The nature of watching.

1 - Neither sex nor violence are wrong in themselves, what makes them wrong or right is the context in which you find them. Sex is simple, it has only one valid context and that is marriage. Furthermore, within marriage it is to be a private act, not public. That is, sex should never be seen anywhere beyond in your own life, with your spouse, in private. Within that context, there should be plenty of it!

Violence is a bit more complex. The proper context for it is in stopping or preventing other 'invalid' violence. There is no valid violence without invalid violence. Whilst violence can and does take place in private, that is, you defending yourself with no-one else around, yet if someone were it would be right and dutiful for them to get involved. Point being, that there is something public about the nature of violence. It requires the involvement/reaction of outside parties.

Therefore, whilst sex should never be seen by anyone other than those two spouses taking part, valid violence should be created by someone responding to the invalid.

2 - Sex by nature, and very heavily on the male part, is something that incorporates the visual in the act itself. Seeing a naked body and being affected by it is part of sex, there are physical affects from the visual stimuli - as it should be. Therefore, when sex is shown it starts to create in the person watching a sex response out of context. Both the person(s) displaying and the person(s) watching are participating in the sexual act, in a way that should not occur. It should be private but is in fact public. There should be no such thing as public sex, yet gratuitous displays of flesh/naked bodies and more is perhaps definable as such - public sex.

For violence however, the visual aspect is not something intrinsic to the act. Watching violence is not committing violence in the way that watching sex is participating in it. Seeing violence committed (to oneself or someone else) whilst hopefully prompting one to act, does not have an effect like sex does.

There is however, a watching and enjoying of violence which is wrong - when you see something and fail to act, or you gain pleasure in the pain and suffering of others, which shows that something is corrupt within you. Such corruption, as with many other things, can be bred, and should be avoided.

Watching violence makes you think, how should I act, how should I respond, what's going on, and that thinking should lead to a public act which is valid.

Watching sex forces a response within you, and creates an invalid, public act which may or may not be developed further.

Hope that made some sense.

Violence is a social issue in a way that sex is not, and the natures of the two mean that the act of watching is something very different between the two.