By Wayne Litke
I saw and ad on television a few weeks ago and it made me laugh. Then the light bulb went on in my head and a sad truth became apparent. In the name of business, but disguised as a website that offers single people an opportunity to meet other singles, the advertisement used the most trusted sales pitch of all time: sex. It was the motto of the on-line dating and information website that I found offensive because it was absolutely backwards. It was totally false and misleading.
Let’s be honest, sex or sex appeal can be used to sell any product, an image or a plan. Companies know that and have used sexually-suggestive material to increase sales of everything from cigarettes to mascara to vehicles, guns, clothes, alcohol, food, retirement and libido. I don’t think there is a product available that has not at some time been promoted through the use of a sexual image or jingle.
It always has been that way and will continue as long as we remain beings who procreate through sex instead of a laboratory with test tubes or petri dishes. When mankind reaches the point where people are genetically modified and reproduction does not require sex, it will be a very sad day for big corporations and advertisers who sell products and services. It will also be a very, very sad day for men and women as sex is currently a definitive part of our lives. It actually separates us from the animals around us and was intended to be far more than a method of ensuring parents would have someone to look after them in their final years of life.
It seems like the subject of sex is either seldom discussed because people – parents in particular – who do not know how to broach the subject or address it in a wrong context. I was one of those parents who passed on everything and more than my father told me about sex which was absolutely nothing. We were expected to learn by observing nature in action, overhearing adult conversations, taking the advice of peers and sex ed classes at school. I would like to think I was a naturally gifted student in that department, but the truth is I received more information at school than I did at home.
Now children do not have to rely on parents, friends or classes at school for instruction on how the human body and reproduction works. Thanks to the Internet and mobile communications, youth (and anyone who desires) can find anything they want to know about sex almost instantly. The information they receive may be misleading or wrong, yet it is what educates our youth. More importantly, it is what conditions and prepares them for marriage, children and life! I guess that is why I took exception to a television ad that is promoting wrong values as it encourages people to use its online dating service.
The motto of the singles’ website is “Mating, dating and relating.” It really irritates me because the actions it is promoting are totally backwards. Call me Victorian, but I think the act of mating without any thought of the consequences is causing a huge amount of family and social strife at this very moment. A person does not have to look hard to find a mountain of hurt arising from relationships that were based purely on physical attraction.
To survive, a relationship needs to have substance – an inner bonding that helps hold it together when problems and difficulties are encountered. Purely physical relationships rarely stand the test of time because they are based on superficial values, so why would any dating website make that the first ingredient in its motto? The answer is simple. The company is looking to increase its client base and revenue as quickly as possible and is not truly interested in the well-being of its patrons.
Sex sells and the company is not beyond using that tactic to achieve its goal. Therefore, a motto was cleverly designed to audibly and visually reinforce the sexual images that are bombarding consumers everywhere. The dating site is playing on the minds and hearts of lonely people who want a relationship and it is promoting a type of behavior that leads to sorrow and grief.
Relating to a person and then dating are the first steps in pursuing a possible relationship. However, the main interest of the singles’ dating site appears to be the promotion of mating (the physical act of conceiving in the animal kingdom) which has absolutely nothing to do with relationship. It is a biological method of establishing another generation.
When it comes to humans, mating without first establishing a strong relationship is a sure-fire way of creating a lifetime of emotional pain. There seems to be an increasing number of children who come from unmarried parents and broken families. The difficult task of dealing with children who bear emotional scars of bad parental relationships often falls upon educators and social workers. The financial costs are seldom seen or talked about, but are massive and are not limited to childhood. The ramifications can carry over for generations.
It is unfortunate that we continually to face suggestive and provocative messages (visually and audibly) put out by every type of media and communication network. However, it is more of a travesty that totally wrong messages are being pumped into the minds of children who are very impressionable and don’t know how to guard their minds. Freedom of speech laws are being stretched to the point that there is only one solution: eliminate all advertising on television, radio, print and the Internet that has sexual content or overtones – take it all off! It’s wishful thinking.