** Warning: There are pictures of boobs below. They are not meant to be gratuitous; they are presented to make a point. If you are offended by images of boobs, then please do not look at the pictures below. If you are offended by images of boobs, then I would like you to continue reading, however, because you are the person I do not understand. If you are a man, then you are not reading any of this now, because you have already quickly scrolled down to look at boobs. You others have been politely warned.**
In movies, our future is often depicted as bleak. There is a popular movie out right now based on a book called The Hunger Games in which teenagers set in a dystopian future are forced to battle each other to the death on television. In a similar plot, The Running Man, based on a Stephen King short story, showed a future in which convicts could gain freedom, if they can survive being hunted on television. In the movie Jason X, the future has a large, hockey-masked, slow-walking, indestructible person stalking through a spaceship in the 25thcentury and killing people in unlikely ways…. I’m ashamed to admit that I actually watched that one. As bleak as these futures are, however, none of them are what we
should fear. Clearly, the biggest threat to our future as a civilized society is boobs.
I am basing this assumption on the reactions I often read about or have seen on TV whenever a boob-related catastrophe occurs. There have been many examples. The one that initially inspired me to want to write about this was when I read about a year ago that a lady in a museum started pounding on a 80-million dollar Gauguin painting and trying to remove it from the wall because it was ‘evil’. It was a painting called Two Tahitian Women in which their breasts are exposed. After her arrest, the lady said, “I feel that Gauguin is evil. He has nudity and is bad for the children. He has two women in the painting and it’s very homosexual. I was trying to remove it. I think it should be burned”. She also went on to say, “I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you”…. I bring this example up because I think that it strangely echoes the sentiments of many people in this country. The, um.. the part about nudity
being evil. Less so, the part about radios in heads. For whatever reason, of all the things we can tolerate and subject ourselves to viewing, naked breasts are ridiculously taboo. The lady in the above example was clearly loon balls, but she isn’t the only one who thinks that boobs are evil. And why go all the way to the museum to see filthy smut, when you need to go no further than your TV?
Powerful forces are at work to ensure that evil images of boobs are not defiling our children on the silver screen. Entertainer Nicki Minaj has discovered this, as she has been the subject of complaints on multiple occasions for her show of breasts. During a recent performance on American Idol, she realized that one of her boobs was bouncing out of her low top and quickly turned away to tuck it back in. She was quick to apologize afterward, as she probably wanted to avoid the backlash that she received last summer when one of her nipples was briefly exposed during a morning show performance. Because if a boob is evil, then a nipple is the Eye of Malevolence, apparently. Nothing draws the ire of terrified, conservative, “family values” people like an errant nipple. We know this because Nick Minaj is but the student of “wardrobe malfunctions”. The master did her show in 2004.
Janet Jackson, of course, is the one who brought “nip slips” into the mainstream during her Super Bowl halftime show. Although, it wasn’t so much a nip slip as it was a strangely-accessorized breast thrown in our faces. This seminal event inspired a firestorm of complaints led by the PTC (Parents Television Council)… the aforementioned “family values” watchdogs. Hundreds of thousands of calls were placed, leading to stricter censorship standards on TV and years of old classic rockers performing Super Bowl
halftime shows. Without exposing their breasts. The strange thing about this moment igniting the “decency” flame, is that it occurred during an entertainment break of an event that glorifies large, helmeted men trying to violently maim each other. Parents and their children can watch this and be perfectly content, but then a boob pops out and it’s, “OH MY GOD!! JOHNNY, CLOSE YOUR EYES! LOOK AWAY FROM THE SCREEN!! I can’t believe they let that filth on my TV! Poor Johnny’s sweet innocence…. sigh… now, Johnny, go run along and play your video games. You know, the one where you shoot people in the face. Good boy.”
That halftime show was the notorious moment in our country’s timeline of boob exposure that began the age of hypersensitivity to… boob… exposure. Since then, there has been a shameful and tyrannical witch hunt for all things boob, with angry mobs throwing boobs in water to see if they float, for if they do, then surely they must be burned for the witches they are! But why?! As I alluded to above, we seem perfectly okay with allowing violent entertainment to pervade our culture. Sure, some people fight against violence, but that fight has been much less audible or successful than the fight against boobs. There is research to support wanting to shield our society from violent entertainment. Some studies suggest that exposure to violent entertainment increases aggression in children.
There are no studies that I’m aware of that indicate that exposure to a boob adversely affects children. And I’m fairly certain that it would not increase aggression. If anything, exposure to a boob would probably pacify a person!
. . . . .
Now… allow me to come clean about something. For I am only a man. I once had a dream, true story, in which I was lying on a beach and saw a 50-foot nude woman running my way, when she tripped and fell, breasts-first onto me, crushing me dead. I remember opening my eyes instantly from the dream when I died and trying to figure out if it was a bad dream or a good dream… I admit that it may be difficult for me to be objective about what is and isn’t considered decent when it comes to boobs, as I am susceptible to their charms. I have spent some time trying to analyze what
it is about boobs that makes them so interesting, and I just can’t figure it out. Superficially, they are simply concentrated flesh-bags of fat located in the pectoral region of a woman’s body. That sure doesn’t sound sexy. Concentrated fat in other regions doesn’t seem to be considered so tantalizing. Is it the nipple that makes it appealing? I wonder, because exposed nipples really increase the terror level of the conservative folks. But men have nipples. And it seems perfectly fine for men to expose their nipples. But mens’ nipples don’t make me lose my concentration. When I consider why boobs are so appealing, I like to think that I’m more than a simple bag of hormones bird-dancing at the whim of Darwinian sexual selection…. but then my penis usually tells me to shut up and quit killing the mood.
Another thing I should explain is that I’m not advocating for public pornography. I have three children, including two daughters, and I do have a standard of decency that I expect my children to adhere to. I’m just saying that if I happen to be watching TV with my children and Justin Timberlake happens to rip Janet Jackson’s boob leather off, my reaction would probably be, “Whoa, that’s a boob. Girls, don’t show your boobs to everybody like that, ok?”… I wouldn’t call for the destruction of the TV network, the NFL, Justin Timberlake, Janet Jackson, and worldwide boobs. Simple perspective is all I’m asking for. Seeing a boob won’t destroy my children. And it won’t destroy yours either.
And it didn’t destroy me. I remember my first experience being attacked by unexpected, explicit rogue media boobage. I think I was about ten years old, and I was watching the movie Sixteen Candles with my mom on HBO. The movie was rated PG. There was a scene in which the female protagonist, Samantha Baker, was scoping out her competition for the affections of her high school crush, Jake Ryan. The movie cut to a sudden view of his current girlfriend’s naked body in the girls’ locker room shower. My mom flipped out. While I was trying to hear Sam’s expressions of angst at the perfection that was Caroline Mulford, my mom was ranting about how a PG-rated movie could contain such filthy smut.
According to Wikipedia, PG movies suggest the following guidelines: Parental Guidance Suggested – Some Material May Not Be Suitable For Children. These films are generally
appropriate for children age 9 and older and may contain milder swear words, brief smoking, crude or suggestive humor, short and infrequent horror moments and/or mild violence. Usually no drug use is acceptable in this category. Topless men may be present but topless women are not usually acceptable unless in an educational or scientific context or if the nudity is only shown briefly. A few racial insults may also be heard.
Now, let’s quickly review these criteria and see where this scene might fall. I don’t think it’s a short horror moment. Unless you count my mom’s reaction. I don’t think it’s mild violence. Unless you think that water is too hot or is hitting her naked body too hard. I’m pretty sure that is not a topless man, so that’s ruled out. So, either this scene was considered educational/scientific, or brief enough not to elicit some sort of harm to the viewer. It wasn’t brief, as I seem to recall them showing a close up of the boobs, initially, then lingering on the shower scene while Sam and her friend talked about the girl’s body and Sam’s unlikely odds to steal Jake Ryan’s notice… I’ve watched this movie a couple times. So clearly, this scene qualified as educational/scientific. Indeed, the scene is a practice in researchers scientifically studying a remarkable specimen. And I was educated in how angry movie boobs make my mother. And it’s nice to know that since I was older than 9, it was finally okay for me to hear racial insults.
So, what made my mom so angry? I have mentioned in a previous post that my mother is a bit of a feminist, and therefore resents and deplores the objectification of women. That’s cool. But this was an educational scene. It only served to show that this more physically attractive, yet vapid character was not interesting enough for the brooding, vapid Jake Ryan. My mother should have seen the important message I was learning, instead of reacting to a superficial shower scene. I mean, the hot, naked girl lost, right?! She got stuck with the geek!…. hmm. Perhaps I didn’t learn anything, afterall. And perhaps I just figured out why I have an unrealistic sense of worth.
Anyway, now that I’ve cleared those things up, let’s get back to modern boobs. I want to talk about a couple of other recent examples brought to light by famous breasts. Jessica Simpson recently posed nude on the cover of Elle magazine, ticking off people and prompting store owners to place tacky cardboard signs over the majority of the cover. I thought this was a
silly reaction because Jessica Simpson is covering up her privates with her hands more than many bathing suits I’ve seen out there manage to do… and because Jessica Simpson is very pregnant in the picture. I can’t fathom what could possibly be considered threatening about a pregnant naked lady covering up her parts. A part of me has wondered if the general outrage against boobs was being spearheaded by insecure women who simply felt threatened by perceived sexual aggressiveness on the part of women who expose their boobs. But if so, a married, pregnant woman should not qualify. Even if it is Jessica Simpson and her large, baby-ready mammaries.
“Baby-ready mammaries” brings me to the most infuriating point about our nation’s irrational breast terror. And that’s the issue of public breast-feeding. Beyonce became somewhat of a hero of mine recently when she made a point of performing this very natural act in a restaurant when her baby was wanting. This, of course, rankled the feathers of some people; but also, thankfully, inspired many others. I can’t express how absolutely crazy it makes me to read about some poor mother being harassed, or fired, or discriminated against for simply wanting to nourish her child in the most natural and healthy way, without having to first seek cover somewhere isolated from the eyes of people who may be uncomfortable with it. Again, these are people who probably have no problem watching violence, but can’t handle breast feeding. And I could be taking a leap in the wrong direction here, but it seems that many of the people who are so protective against boobs are religious folks who trumpet modesty. I would be willing to bet that a mother feeding her baby in the manner that He intended exceeds modesty on God’s list of importance. I don’t remember reading “Thou shalt not exposeth thine breast”….
…. In fact, I think that breast-feeding should not only be spared the indignity of societal shunning, I think it should be celebrated as a nationally televised spectacle! I dream of a future in which world-renowned mother-contestants face off in packed stadiums, much like the ones that currently display Super Bowls and controversial halftime shows. The contestants might have clever nicknames like Fran the Feeder, or Nancy the Nourisher, or Milk Maid Mary. These women would battle to see who could produce the most nourishment for their babies. The one with the fattest baby wins, but instead of a jeweled championship belt, perhaps she would win a jeweled championship bra. With an easy-open flap. And maybe we could call this celebrated spectacle… The Hunger Games. I have cool ideas.
People, I’m just saying please stop thinking boobs are harmful or evil. Let’s embrace boobs. Especially me. Let me embrace boobs. Thank you.
And now a series of silly Janet Jackson boob picture captions!