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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Counter Ageist "Warnings" Before Broadcasts

In the first post I made to my other blog, SexFreedomAction, I listed several "everyday things you can do to combat sex-negativity." Another kind of "everyday action" against sex-negativity is prompted by "warnings" like the one I heard at the start of a segment on Weekend Edition Sunday, saying it was "inappropriate for children" because it dealt with sex. I sent them the following message:

Your story concerning a novel about an SS officer opened with a warning that the segment was "inappropriate for children." This statement was false and dangerous.

There is no evidence that information about sex is harmful to children. On the contrary, there is considerable evidence that hiding such information puts them at increased risk for psychosexual problems, and makes them more vulnerable to abuse.

If you feel the need to insure yourselves against complaints by erotophobic listeners, may I suggest you adopt the approach taken by Ira Glass of This American Life? When sexual subject matter is coming up, he advises listeners that what follows "mentions the existence of sex." This warning allows people to indulge their irrational fears without according them any legitimacy.

If you heard this segment too but didn't think to register an objection, it's not too late. (And if you didn't hear it you may be able to online at npr.org.) Sadly, there are sure to be plenty of future opportunities to do so as well.

Eric Hamell

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