TV Bites With
by Neena Louise
I marvel at what censors do with bare skin that - god forbid - tries to make it
to air. What kind of dirty minds do they have that equate simple nudity with
pornography? Is not everyone naked under their clothes? I'm no nudist and,
growing up, our family didn't walk around naked, but I still don't see how naked
skin is "dirty".
I'm not talking about gratuitous sex/nudity on television: the kind that makes
no sense in the context of the story, and is there only to give certain kinds of
viewers a cheap thrill. But I fail to see how the nude human form on its own is
deemed inappropriate for television. Then again - not always. Many documentaries
show nude human beings and no one thinks anything of it. Art depicting nudes
regularly makes the airwaves. But dare to flash someone's bare butt on a series
and it gets a "viewer discretion is advised" and all the media
attention that goes with it (which, I suppose, is the whole idea). Even
documentaries that have some nudity often digitize the genital area. How silly!
All it does is draw your eye there and wonder what it is they don't think you
should see. As though they have something different from any other human being.
Another absurdity is what is considered nudity. It's not considered nudity if a
woman is showing bare breasts as long as the nipples are covered. Uncover the
nipples and - gasp - they're naked! How can a half inch be the difference
between naked and not?? And what's so "bad" about female nipples,
anyway? Men's nipples are regularly displayed but females' (which actually serve
a useful purpose) are considered inappropriate. Go figure.
Then there's the difference between male and female nudity. Some full-frontal
female nudity manages to make it to air. Full-frontal male very rarely does -
either on TV or in movies. Why is that? I'm genuinely curious: why is the male
nude form deemed inappropriate while the female is not? In an unusual
documentary on HBO, Private Dicks: Men Exposed, where naked men discuss
their penises, one of the men said the lack of male nudity on TV and in movies
was because the heterosexual male that spends the money doesn't want to see
other men's privates, so advertisers won't advertise on a show that has naked
men. I'd never thought of that. I guess the men and women that are unaffected by
the sight of naked men (or actually DO want to see them) don't count. (As an
aside, the "discretion advised" warning that went with the documentary
was about the "graphic dialogue". No mention was made of the nudity.
Figure that one out.)
The argument against nudity on television is that's it's "inappropriate for
children". Simulated sex, yes. Pornography, most definitely. But naked
skin? How? I would think it would only lead children to become more curious and
more shy and ashamed of their bodies. Everyone has a body, after all, and I
think it's more inappropriate to make an unclothed body a source of shame. Many
people also say "they don't want to see that". Well, so don't look,
then. Uptight prudes.
There's nothing offensive or dirty about the nude human form. Gratuitous nudity
merely there for the controversy is unnecessary for any television program; but
when it fits with the story, I don't see the problem. I don't think depictions
of naked people are going to warp anyone's mind. If it does, the problem lies in
the one that's offended, not the supposed offender. Get therapy.
would love to know what you think, sound off on the
boards and let us know what you think!