Has The Media Made Affairs More Socially Accepted?

Has the media made affairs more socially acceptedAdultery has always been looked upon as an evil deed, but has media and the internet changed the way we think about adultery? Since as far back as the 1800’s, when Nathanial Hawthorn wrote The Scarlet Letter, people have turned their nose up and scorned those who break the holy vows of matrimony. In Hawthorne’s work, poor Hester Prynne has a child from an affair with the minister of her church. She spends the rest of her life keeping her child’s father a secret and trying to live a life of dignity despite being labeled as an adulterer with a giant scarlet letter A on her person at all times. Early newspapers report adulterers as criminals and indeed, it was an offense punishable by jail time in years gone by. Even in those days, the perceptions given to the public by the media tend to stick around.

Has the media made affairs less of a human offense? It is certainly possible. As humanity progresses many things take on different importance as society and its goals and needs change. In European countries, sex and relationships have been less than stringent than the United States. Americans have always put a huge emphasis on sex being private only and strictly between a man and his wife. Before women’s rights were established and women’s lib started to take hold, an affair was a bad thing, but worse for a woman than a man. Men could have an affair and be looked down upon, but as long as he came to his senses and went back to the wife and kids, it was all good. All’s well that ends well, and all that, right? Women, on the other hand, always get the fuzzy end of the popsicle when it comes to affairs. Whether they are the one getting cheated on or the one having an affair, it usually boiled down to something she’d done.

The Women’s Movement Has Made Having An Affair More Acceptable

Women started coming into their own in the 1920’s but it didn’t help the double standard with affairs much or the medias take on those who have them. It wasn’t until the 1960’s and what’s known as the sexual revolution that media venues began to loosen up on affairs and sex in general. The teens and young adults of the 1960’s began to look at sex in a different way than their ancestors. Gone were the stereotypes about who couples should be and how dating should work. The media dubbed 1969 the Summer of Love and the phrase free love began to be thrown around like confetti, especially in progressive California. It wasn’t long before the entire country was feeling the effects of free love.

Media venues picked up on what was happening in the country and reported it to the world. While it still wasn’t ok to have an affair, the idea of sex outside of marriage began to be more accepted and sex as a whole lost some of the stigma. As years have progressed and people have changed with the world around them, sex has begun to seem natural and normal and the idea of having it with only one person for the rest of your life didn’t seem as appealing as it once did. It seemed more probable, in the spirit of love and brotherhood the 60’s ushered in, that it was possible to love many, many people in a single lifetime.

Girl Power

Yet another factor the media has glommed onto is the change in women over the years. In days of yore, it was every girls dream to grow up, get married and raise a family. Very few little girls had other aspirations, and even if they did, a husband and family were still in there somewhere. Women changed their goals and views as the world changed. No longer was a girl’s fondest wish to be a married woman. Women began to strive for careers in medicine, space and business in legions, more than ever before. Education, careers and being happy began to take command in women’s lives as well as men. It wasn’t so important for girls to find a husband and it was for them to find someone that made them happy.

In a nutshell, media hasn’t made affairs more socially acceptable. The media has pointed out what is important to the changing face of dating America and shows it back to us. This isn’t to say that no one in the country values marriage or craves the loyalty and dedication a marriage demands. Many people still aspire to a happy marriage and take their vow very seriously. However, it isn’t for everyone.

The media has also made us aware that not all affairs are full on evil. Stories of abused women and deadly, black widow wives and gold diggers have given us an opportunity to see affairs from many viewpoints. Nothing is black and white.

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