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Sexing Religion in the Narratives: creating spaces of sexual dissent in the media


Sexing Religion in the Narratives: creating spaces of sexual dissent in the media
Mary Louise G. Dumas
MA candidate, Media, Peace and Conflict Studies
UN-mandated University for Peace
Introduction
Media’s greatest power is its ability to create and re-create reality, exclude or include bits
and pieces that compose the truth for humanity. Even in a globalizing network of
communication, the information that comes from one point of the world and is delivered in
another could not exactly show the entire context of its origin. The process by which it is
selected, encoded and transmitted is still very dependent on the messenger.
Carruthers (2000) has pointed out the ‘CNN effect’ wherein the selection of news, the
angling of the stories, and the various editorial policies can affect the decisions of the policy-
makers as the information they receive shape their perception of what is happening.
Instead of discussing on what the media have failed to show, however, this paper
focuses on some of what I would be referring to as ‘marginalized realities’ that the media have
in fact picked up and is slowly taking a space in the picture of reality. It specifically centers on
the conflict between human sexuality and the constructs of religion as the theme is treated in a
powerful artistic medium of communication – the movie.
Marginalized realities, to give a definition, are issues that exist but are refused their
existence by censorship and information filtering. Religious norms highly influence social
exclusions and conflicts. But instead of maintaining the status quo on gender biases and sexual
repressions, I believe that the cinema can be used to challenge it and bring about a new norm
more cognizant of the modern situation.
Some of the movies I have selected are adaptations from books and from time to time I
would refer to the books which could give further situational or character backgrounds, its
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