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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    Students learn about perverts, pimps and pills, oh my

    Some racy classes push the envelope as students learn about scandalizing topics. Frank Posillico/The Statesman

    While sex becomes more prevalent in society, it is also becoming more prevalent in classrooms and Stony Brook University has not been left out of this trend, offering classes for students to study sex through technology and film. In SOC 395 Topics in Science, Technology and Society: Perverts, Pimps and Pills, students study what sex means through technology.

    “We discuss the idea that there are a high number of sexualized messages in the media and that this certainly affects the young boys and girls who certainly use mediated technology,” Professor Catherine Marrone said.

    While not discussing the physical act of sex during the class, sex and related topics are discussed throughout the class.

    “We discuss the way that we can, for example, as a society, track sexual predators in unprecedented ways, and at the same time, give sexual predators seemingly endless ways to make contact,” Marrone said.

    Along with sexual predators, Marrone also discusses online dating with her students.

    “We also discussed the use of online dating and ‘match’ sites used by different groups and how these sites have grown in number and become increasingly accepted as ways to make social connections that may potentially become romantic or sexual,” she said.

    According to Marrone, while the class does talk about sex and topics branching off of it, “students in the class are ultimately getting an opportunity to see the effects of the cultural change fueled by the growth in mediated technology and communication.”

    Adrienne Munich, professor at SBU, currently teaches a class titled Gender and Genre in Film, where the students focus on fashion and the “eroticism of clothes,” Munich said.

    “The body is not always erotic,” Munich said. “Clothing has a moral dimension and fashion shows who is good and bad.”

    Within the first three weeks of classes during this semester, students have studied the way men and women dress differently in movies such as “The Women” and “Out of the Past.”

    “The Women” is a movie completely comprised of a female cast living in a female-dominated world. During a class session last week, Munich asked her students “If there are no men in the film, does it mean they’re not present? That the women are not dressing for them?” sparking a debate about the motivations for why women dress the way they do.

    Class discussion focuses heavily on symbolism, specifically those that represent masculinity and femininity, in the various movies the students watch throughout the semester.

    Munich said her favorite part of the class is watching the movies with the students, hearing their comments about the movie and then watching it again to see how it has changed for her.

    “It’s the teaching,” Munich said, that she enjoys. “Otherwise I can sit in my room and figure out what I think on my own.”

    Discussing sex and related topics in the classroom allows students to be more open on the issue and lets them study something that was once taboo in a safe and educational way.

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