Source: The Age Date: June 01 2008
(With apologies to Dan Harrison and Melissa Fyfe who did a very nice job writing the original article)
FILMS, plays and other arts projects that feature extra-marital sex would see their government funding extinguished under a radical proposal by the Australian Medical Association.
The AMA is calling on the state and federal governments to amend arts funding guidelines to prohibit government support for any projects that “glamorise, feature or promote extra-marital sex”.
The AMA’s Victorian branch has declared that the arts should not “act like a de facto affiliate of the pornography industry”.
“The Victorian Government, through Arts Victoria … should not support any program that features extra-marital sex,” it states in its draft sexual responsibility policy.
The call comes as the Brumby Government considers a crackdown on sexual promiscuity that would banish pornography from shoppers’ sight and get rid of all advertising that uses sex to sell its product.
The Department of Human Services has told The Sunday Age it is likely the State Government’s yet-to-be-released Pornography Control Strategy, a five-year plan to further curb sexual promiscuity in society, will follow the lead of other states.
…Health authorities say 9.9 out of 10 sufferers from sexually transmitted diseases start as teenagers — tripling their chances of developing STD’s compared with those who start sex in their mid-20s — so it is vital to limit their temptation.
AMA Victoria president Dr Douglas Travis said arts projects featuring extra-marital sex undermined other government efforts to reduce the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS and to curb the annual number of abortions from unwanted teenage pregancies.
“What it serves to do is to create the image that extra-marital sex is normal, extra-marital sex is cool, all of those things we’ve been trying to get away from,” Dr Travis said.
If adopted, the AMA’s proposal could result in hundreds of film, TV, visual and performing arts projects being denied government funding.
…Director NN, whose 2006 film X featured extra-marital sex and received support from Film Victoria, said there was a danger extra-marital sex would acquire a mystique if it vanished from films.
“I sympathise, of course — I don’t want my child to engage in extra-marital sex, either — but the way to stop people from sexual promiscuity is to continue to speak clearly, but not shrilly, about the price you pay for sex outside of marriage,” he said.
In its response to the AMA, Film Victoria said sex in films was a censorship issue best addressed by the National Classification Scheme. “Film Victoria is not involved in the actual censorship of film projects,” acting chief executive Jenni Tosi said. “Our role is to support projects based on their quality, innovation and marketability.”
An Australia Council spokesman said the role of the Federal Government’s arts body was “to provide financial assistance for Australia’s creative arts, not to dictate their content”.
A US study of children aged 10 to 14, published in 2003, found that those who were exposed to extra-marital sex in films were three times as likely to engage in sexual activity as teenagers.
Oh, sorry, I read that wrong. It was smoking that they were trying to stamp out, not extra-marital sex. Silly me.