Thursday, April 06, 2006

no sex please, we're ignorant

first of all, i would like to say that i can understand why some songs are censored. "f**k" is usually smudged out of a song because it's just rude. other words like "ass" and "shit" are sometimes censored too because, well, they're deemed vulgar by some people. i personally disagree because an ass is a donkey and shit is the layman term for fecal matter, but that's just me.

i don't see the rationale behind censoring the word "sex" in songs, though.

in jamie foxx's really sexy, or should i say s**y, sial song "unpredictable", there's a bit in the song when ludacris comes in with his cool rapper's voice (the best voice belonging to any rapper, imho) claiming, "some say that sex is overrated but they just ain't doing it right." when the song is played on the most popular english radio station in malaysia, there is a rough jumble of beats in the place of "sex".

i don't like it. i don't like it at all. here we are complaining that malaysian youth don't know the right stuff about sex while the most widely listened-to radio station sends out the message that "sex" is a dirty word that should be ignored and feared. every day as people tune in to that station, they receive the impression that it is wrong to even mention sex lest discuss about it.

last year, i attended a public forum organised by the ministry of women and family development (kpwk) on the national guidelines for sexuality education. the guidelines have since been approved and sexuality education will be implemented in selected public schools this year, under the 9th malaysia plan.

i was pleasantly surprised at the openness displayed when discussing issues relating to the sexuality education guidelines at the forum. everyone - the students, the religious bodies, the human rights organisations - was in complete agreement that sexuality education is the way to go in solving problems like sexual abuse, sexually-related crimes and teen pregnancies.

education is the key. openness is the way. knowledge is the solution. i emerged from the forum feeling very optimistic that malaysians will finally see sex as less of a taboo and more of a subject that should definitely be discussed with our parents, children, teachers and friends.

but what use is formal education about sex when the media is still telling us that anything pertaining to sex should be avoided at all costs?

we watch television every day. when we drive, we turn on the radio. most people make it a point to read the newspapers each day. one of the major topics in sexuality education is the subject of dealing with the messages the media sends to us about sex. it's just proof - proof that we don't need because it's already indisputable - that the media plays a huge huge part in shaping our perceptions about sex.

and yet we have radio stations playing songs with the word "sex" so obviously omitted. i'm not so optimistic anymore. and if you know me, you'd know that i'm usually unreasonably much so that i border on being annoying.

anyway, it may seem petty to be picking on something as small as the censorship of the word "sex" in songs that receive so much airplay. the thing is...every message the media sends about sex will affect the way the society views sex.

if we can't even mention sex on our airwaves, when can anyone talk or learn about sex then? if we're indirectly told that it's wrong to speak of sex, how is implementing sexuality education in schools going to work properly? allowing ignorance to proliferate is allowing the occurence of heinous crimes to continue and worrying social trends to carry on spiralling downwards.

call me irritatingly optimistic, but i believe that by stopping the censorship of one word, malaysians will be just that little bit more open and willing to get the right information about sex.

lishun at 8:49 PM