Jezebel’s (blessedly now employed elsewhere) Irin Carmon asks: Do Anti-Sex Trafficking Ads Really Need To Be This Graphic?
Short answer: Yes, obviously.
Longer answer: For many in America, sex trafficking looks like this:
These two yahoos are behind The DNA Foundation, created to promote awareness and stop child sexual slavery and trafficking, using other celebrities, YouTube and ass kissing media articles to get the word out. You may have seen their PSAs online. Their website is vague and clearly self serving, but gosh is it all so nice and clean, attractive and funny.
DNA claims to be global but the PSAs make it clear this is a wholly American campaign. The “real man” stereotype is popular in US movies and TV shows, the videos are exclusive to YouTube and their “action plan” conducted entirely online.
No real screen time is given to why we’re watching all these well-known American movie stars bumble about for 45 seconds. The uncomfortable conversation of millions of children raped, kidnapped, killed and drugged is never broached. Americans, generally, don’t like actual sex or, to a lesser degree, violence. Combining the two is a recipe for disapproval and complaint letters, so the otherwise explicit subject becomes glossy and easily digestible; an unfortunate side effect of our collective delicate sensibilities is that it also becomes easily forgettable, like any other part of the media machine.
We prefer such shiny posturing over the much harder realities of life, so is it any wonder that’s what we get? Is it any wonder why nothing is ever accomplished, why nothing gets done?
No man, real or imaginary, should rape children, regardless of their grasp on the concept of cereal. Women should not only prefer but demand a man who does not engage in sex with prostitutes, especially underage. These are not radical words or ideas, so there is no need to soften their impact with fluff. Bradley Cooper is not realistically standing between a man and his final decision on if he is comfortable buying a child prostitute, so why involve Bradley Cooper at all?
Meanwhile, around the world, governments and non profits are working to show the reality and repercussions of sexual slavery – even on humorous but relevant levels – and America clutches her breast and gasps, “Is this too graphic?!”
No, it is not too graphic. I wish it were possible to make it more graphic. It isn’t easy to talk about, but it’s happening everywhere, and the victims deserve more than half baked gender jokes and a lot of lip service. Real men, and women, are facilitating this violence every day.
I bet some of them even know how to make a sandwich.