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 TV Bites With Neena Louise

TV Unclothed

by Neena Louise
neena@entetainmentnutz.com
OPINION


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. 
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