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 TV Bites With Neena Louise

The Jiggle Factor

by Neena Louise

There's been a lot of ballyhoo about the First Network for Men (formerly known as the New TNN, formerly known as The Nashville Network, wanting to be Spike TV) and the demographic it's pursuing. Specifically: heterosexual men.

Personally, I think it's a great idea. There are several "women" networks, so why not one for men? "Women's" networks only seem to have cooking, decorating, weight loss, and "men are dogs" programming, so why not a network with sex, action, cars and sports on the Whatever-It-will-be-Called-Tomorrow Network? Stereotypical, yes (as are the "chick channels"), but if that's what draws male viewers, I think it's great that there's a network to cater to them.

My problem is that, as a heterosexual female, I am sick and tired of seeing half-naked women on every network on every show. I rarely see half-naked men. When I do, all they show are rippling abs, which I don't find particularly appealing ('round the back and lower, thank you). I'm so tired of cameras zooming in on women's breasts. I'm tired of leering camera work ogling women's butts and crotches. I'm tired of it. I'm no prude (far from it), nor am I homophobic (even farther from it) and I'm about as far from a feminist as you can get. It's that I simply have no interest in looking at semi-naked women all the time.

Tune into any reality show today and you'll understand what I mean: On Big Brother 4, the camera crawls up women's shorts and down their tops; the men flex their biceps. On most of the dating shows, the women strut around in their bikinis; the men sit in their baggy swim trunks. And don't even get me started on Dog Eat Dog... Even on dramas, the stereotypical "hot naked woman" usually makes an appearance. Case in point: On Crossing Jordan, there was a completely irrelevant scene of one of Jordan's male co-workers walking in on her while she showered (there was never a scene of her walking in on a naked man). Forget The First Network for Men - every network seems to be catering to men. Or at least what television thinks it means to cater to men.

I have no desire to tune into the chick channels to watch cooking and cleaning, and I don't have to watch Man TV (or whatever they will eventually call it) if I don't like their programming, but shouldn't there be a network that can be watched by both men and women? As it stands now, there really aren't any. There are, of course, a few good shows on network television that are geared to neither men nor women. By and large, these shows are also intelligent enough not to have to resort to jiggle at all. Unfortunately, there are far too few of them. Generally speaking, the sexes are definitely not equal when it comes to the jiggle factor on television today.

Why is that? I like to ogle hot men (as do most of my friends) just as much as men like to ogle hot women. It doesn't hurt anyone and, well, isn't escapist fantasy what television is for? Why is the jiggle factor so unbalanced? Don't The Powers That Be understand that women appreciate looking at well-constructed men? (I used to watch Lois and Clark for only one reason - and it was neither Lois nor the storyline.)

The argument about whether nice bodies should be displayed the way they are today is irrelevant here, since most shows are so crappy that they need to resort to nudity/sex, or risk dying an early death. If you're going to flounce beautiful bodies, however, flounce 'em both ways. 
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