utopia part four
January 5, 2005 05:14 PM

This is about sex. Specifically, it's about to be parti quatre of the utopia series I started and abandoned a couple of months ago.

I haven't talked about sex and the media yet. And I think they're linked, in a very Venn diagrammy way where they overlap just a tad but influence each other in many ways. This is not, however, a preamble to moaning about how the media is forcing young people to have sex at an early age and corrupting our culture, because that would be a very silly argument for me to try to make.

So. In my happy little utopian view, children would be listened to, communities would be the core concept of governing, and we would all be blissfully divorced from our tendency to see things like gender and sexuality and identity in general as purely dualistic. Would those things resolve the problems I've referred to in the past re: the porn culture [that is, a culture with an emphasis on sex as a commodity and using sexual imagery to promote, well, everything]?

Well, yes - if they were applied to a whole new culture, a group of people completely uninfluenced by events up till now. Not so much so if applied to us as we stand today; Americans particularly have a long, strange history of puritanical mores and sensationalist tastes. It seems like the worst effect of the porn culture thing might also be the easiest one to solve, though - rape and sexual violence could be stopped if we built "don't rape" into the culture (along with the complexities like communication and gender equality in sexual interaction). We're just apparently unwilling to do it now (it's so much easier to argue legal issues like whether what someone's wearing contributes to violence against them, I suppose).

So, in happy little utopia, there would be no notion of violence that looked sexual on the outside. Would there still be sex that looked violent on the outside? That is, would there be bondage, or dominance play, or pain play? I don't know. It's so hard to tell whether that's something people would still want if divorced from the power imbalance of heterosex - which is also, for the most part, the model for all sex.

But I would expect that the lack of duality thing would lead to a much wider range of preferences of any sort, including sexual, being acceptable. I just have no idea what those preferences might be and how much power exchange might be part of them. Or whether sex would even retain its current function if our concept of family were different. Hrm.

Which is also the deal with media. Ideally non-internet media would be about as diverse as the internet, as that's what people would want. It makes sense, really, given the lowered cost of producing many things (movies, tv, even books) digitally or semi-digitally; it could be less costly to produce a wider variety of things. Ultimately, though, I suspect that the whole media-ownership thing would have to change dramatically to see real diversity. Basically, this is the one area where I'm a full-on socialist. As long as the distribution of the more widely consumed media like radio and tv are controlled by companies who answer to shareholders, I'm not sure real change would be possible. I think independent media are the answer, but there's usefulness in having some form of interconnected global medium (the internet being an example of this) so that everyone can communicate.

I'm about to start reading a book that may give me more ideas on this one, though. So stay tuned.

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