Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Recommended Viewing: CBC documentary

Wired for Sex, Lies and Power Trips: IT'S A TEEN'S WORLD

Last week CBC aired this important and revealing portrait of the social and sexual lives of high school students in the wired age. In this documentary, Toronto high school teenagers explore complex issues that both weave and tear the fabric of their social lives. How has media transformed the image of the responsible teenager? Is the objectification of women in hip hop responsible for male students abusing their female counterparts? Can our moral standards catch up to the speed of technology's progression? Are cell phones a distraction from reality and instruments of gossip or tools of independence and empowerment for youth?

What is particularly effective about this documentary is that most of the commentary, the criticism of social issues among teenagers, is provided by teenagers themselves. They are perceiving the same problems we as educators, responsible adults and role models for youth, perceive as disturbingly normalized behaviour. This is crucial viewing for anyone looking to better understand the impact that technology and media are having on today's youth, and for those who find the consciousness of today's youth a mysterious Pandora's Box of questions. This is a portrait of their wired world, still full of humanity, reflection, and empathy.

Cleverly, this documentary subverts the damaging effects of technology's progression by empowering its filmmakers with video cameras, computers, and editing software. Teachers everywhere are being implored to incorporate technology in the classroom and this film is a shining example of why they should do so.

Many of the issues explored in Wired for Sex parallel ideas discussed in Tough Guise: Violence, Media and the Crisis in Masculinity. Tough Guise creator Jackson Katz argues that most of the problems plaguing the social dynamic of western culture can be traced to the narrow image of masculinity presented to boys and young men. If you enjoy the CBC documentary, I suggest you watch Katz's film, I'm sure you'll find the parallels compelling.



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