Wednesday, September 7, 2011

On indignity and sex

There is something undignified about sex.

Politicians fall from grace when pictures with them in unflattering light surfaced (think Weiner), or when testimonies of their questionable sexual behavior are picked up by the media (I forget the name of the politician, but there was this one politician satirized in Pearls Before Swine who employed the excuse of "I have a wide stance," on his sexual behavior in an airport's toilet).

But it is not limited only to politician. Ordinary persons are not immune to it as well. Ask the Scottish siblings who caught romping in an elevator by CCTV camera.

And then there's the time-honored profession of tavern wenches that features prominently in most fictions set in medieval age (off the top of my head, A Game of Thrones and Sir Apropos of Nothing).

So undignified the profession of exchanging sex with money that we actually coined a number of terms and phrases to refer those who are engaged in such business in a more dignified conversation. After all, it will quite often be beyond the pale to talk about wenches and whores and hoes with scholars, and calling them prostitutes still often be considered banal--the more appropriate term would be sex workers. For the sake of invoking a better social standing for the workers than what they presently are (not) enjoying from the larger society.

There is something undignified about sex, but some parts of it more than others.
"What did you do, Farid?"
"I looked in the door. They were doing it like animals."
- Crossing Over (2009)
So even more undignified that it was Farid's justification for shooting his sister and Javier Pedrosa.

But what is it exactly that make this activity undignified? If the answer is the nakedness, then the unresolved question merely changes form into what makes nakedness undignified in itself?

Yet for all its indignity, our popular culture seems to be characterized in the presentation of thinly-veiled sexual acts. Or endless pursuit of sexual encounters. Or hyper-sexualized icons. And I'm not just referring to Lady Gaga.

If art imitates life, then the sexual wont displayed in culture is a display of the society's wont. But if it is, why many bemoan it?

You know, seeing how we enjoy pointing out others' hypocrisy, maybe if there's an all-watching supra-sentient Watchmaker, the Watchmaker would make it an inevitable destiny that mankind should never escape hypocrisy. I'd wager mankind's hypocrisy will be offered as premium entertainment channel. And rightly so.

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