We are continually bombarded with sexual biases and myths, via the radio, television, and magazines. Look through two magazines and two newspapers, and cut out as many examples of sexual myths or biases as you can find.
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What magazines or newspapers did you use, and how many examples of sexual myths or biases did you find?
For this exercise, I used the New Yorker, New York Times, and Vanity Fair. Indeed there were many examples of sexual biases which I found interesting. Some explicitly showed the myths, some had them implied.
How did you feel as you were conducting this exercise?
I felt more conscious of the sexual biases that are present in various forms of media. I became more aware that we are actually surrounded by these things, and I was intrigued why prior to these activity, we would normally ignore these things.
Which of the sexual myths or biases do you consciously or unconsciously endorse?
In the area of love, I unconsciously endorsed the myth of the damsel in despair, which tells that girls need a prince to complete and save her in order to live happily ever after. Conversely, I used to believe in chivalry too, which says that good men should do everything to protect and serve the ladies.
How do you think belief in these myths or biases affects you?
Both of them had unconsciously endorsed in me since childhood a notion of men becoming superior to women. Thus, in order to have an ideal society, every woman should have a man protect her. Personally, it led me to thinking that indeed, men should be ‘higher beings’, or at least act superior and meet the expectations (such as high intelligence, bravery, aggressiveness) set to them by society.
From where do you think your sexual beliefs, myths, and biases originate?
They could have been originated from the home, early education, peers, but most especially from various forms of mass media.
Can you identify some sexual myths or biases that the people around you believe?
Similar to 3 and 4, some people believe that women are inferior to men. They need the protection, need, care and love of men as if they can’t stand alone. Even in marriage, it is common for women to marry someone older, more educated, and more economically stable than them because of this belief.
Do you think you are influenced in the sexual realm by what you see on television or read in the newspaper? If so, how?
Yes indeed. The newspaper and the television, as well as other kinds of media, because of their big audience, communicate ideas in an authoritative way. That is, the ideas they present, whether good or bad are considered as ideal, because it reaches a big audience. It is similar to a bandwagon effect – because everyone seems to agree with an idea (as it is shown on the TV or print), it appears to the truth.
What are some sexual biases and myths that the older members of your family may have but that you do not?
Older members of the family used to disagree or be awkward about the use of contraception, as well as the ideas on masturbation and premarital sex. Probably because of the contemporary and less conservative society we have now, I have become more open to these ideas.
Have your sexual beliefs, myths, biases, and expectations changed over time? How?
Yes. As mentioned in number 8, society plays a big role on shaping my beliefs. I’ve become more open to diversity. Also, I’ve become more conscious about different sexualities and sexual behaviors that exist in our society, and the opinions attached to each of them. I’ve become less of a one-sided person.
Is sexism a problem in the sexual realm? How so?
Yes, indeed. As long as there is bias against male and female, there is always something considered to be a weaker sex. And along with notion of a weaker sex comes a tendency to take advantage or even abuse people. Sexism implies a hierarchy which is very unnecessary because all the sexes have the same potentials and should be given equal opportunities.
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