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Violence vs. Nudity

As I was reading my way through the various RSS feeds I’ve subscribed to, I came across this post.  I was in general amused by the post and the included video feed, but then, as so often happens, my mind started thinking about various related things, and in this case it was the (nearly) age-old debate between violence and nudity.

One of the first thoughts that led me down that path was “well, they’d never show that clip on the nightly news”.  If you watched the clip, it’s pretty clear why:  nudity.  <begin Preacher voice>  Yes, oh yes, my children, that video, that clip wrenched from the bowels of hell, contained pornographic images of nudity!!  Keep your own children safe from this evil which befouls the internet, an evil in the guise of…… news.<end Preacher voice>

Ahem.  Anyway, the clip does show people sitting/standing around in the buff eating, drinking, and generally just having a good time, and even though I’d say a lady or two had a bit too much to drink nobody was (really) being inappropriate in any way.  Basically, with the exception that they didn’t have any clothes on, they could have been dining at a local Applebee’s.

Like I said above, though, I know this clip would never be on the evening news, or if it was there would be so much blurring going on you would think you’d need your vision checked.  But why is this?  How can it be that if my child and I sat down to watch the news, that my child would be subject to almost unfiltered visions of war and violence with barely a warning that the scenes may be graphic, but when it comes to local news on what I would consider to be a “lighter note”, the images would be blocked?  How is it that I can see pictures or video of a guy lying dead on the ground, his arm blown off, and flies buzzing around the bloody wound, but I can’t see a nipple on network TV?  Why?

Over the years I’ve heard various reasons and justifications, and usually they come down to this: that seeing pictures of naked people, either in flagrante delicto or simply posing/standing/sitting/etc, would encourage children to lewd behaviour and premarital sex.  Oh, of course, I see………… wait, what?  You’re telling me that if my child sees a man’s “private parts” before she’s of the appropriate age, she’s going to have premarital sex?  Or that if she sees two people having sex she’s instantly going to want to do that too, in a monkey-see-monkey-do sort of way?

And you have no problem with her seeing a guy shoot another person (or two, or three….)?  And you have no worries that she’s going to want to imitate that?  Oh, but of course, the violence is something she won’t want to do because it’s inherently wrong, but sex she might want to do because….well….because she might not find anything wrong with it, but only if she knows about it, so we need to keep her away from it.  But it’s OK if she learns about it school.  And sees people in provocative clothing.  And hears jokes about it.  And talks with her friends about it.  All of that is OK, as long as we don’t show her nudity or people actually having sex.  Because if she only hears about it, but doesn’t see it, we’ll be safe.


::sigh::  Unfortunately, that’s the way some people think, and those people are the majority.  Don’t believe me?  Just look at the movie ratings system.  I can point out a huge number of movies that are PG-13 and under (plenty of which are PG) where people fight, kick, punch, bite, stab, and shoot each other in various ways, yet I struggle to find a movie in the same set where you’ll see more than the briefest glimpse of a nipple or ass (they do exist, though you’ll find that in those movies typically the nudity is used in a comedic form, almost never for a actual sexual reference).  And for actual frontal nudity?  Forget it, unless you are talking about statues or art, and there again it’s usually used in a comedic form so as not to be thought of in a sexual nature (Like, oh my god, did you see that statue?!  It was like, totally gross!).

Now, let’s get a couple of things straight.  One, I’m definitely not advocating premartial sex, though I do think it’s happening more and more and the better tactic isn’t to try and squash it, but to encourage kids to have safe sex if they are going to have sex.  Let’s face it, a determined teen will have sex if they want to.  You can rant and rave against them, give them all kinds of orders, even lock them in their room, but somehow, someway, if that teen wants to have sex bad enough they’ll probably find a way.  If nothing else, think about all the things you got away with as a teenager, and think about how many things you did because someone told you not to…..

And two, I’m not advocating public nudity, or that we should suddenly bloat the airwaves with nipples.  I’m also not advocating porn.  I’m also, btw, not advocating my being nude in any form of a public manner; I’m pretty sure I’m not that attractive in the first place, and being nude probably wouldn’t help.  All I am saying is that I don’t think nudity is really that big of a deal.  I’ve often said that I would rather have my daughter see two people naked than two people fighting.  I said it before I was a father, and I’m still saying it now.

Let me put it this way:  at least it’s pretty hard to put an eye out with a nipple.  :)

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