Monday, January 31, 2011
Violence vs. Nudity-Where Is The Real Pornography?
I saw something the other day that prompted me to write this. Sandy and I were watching Bones, one of our favourite TV shows. The writing is often fairly light-hearted, sometimes informative and in the end a nice way to escape for an hour. At one point in this episode the antagonist has her head blown off by a high-powered rifle. It wasn’t just suggested but was shown very graphically. I was caught off-guard, not prepared to see someone’s head explode before my eyes. Which of course was exactly the intent of the writers; it’s the media’s love of shock-value.
I feel a rant coming on.
This for me goes far beyond one television show, it’s part of a much bigger issue. We all have our ideas of injustices around us, I suppose, but even simple television episodes can speak to society’s skewed way of thinking. My issue lay in what is being defined as harmful these days. In other words, why is it acceptable to show graphic violence but not the human body?
I have to be clear that I’m speaking specifically about North American society. I'd love to hear from those of you in other countries but I think it’s pretty safe to say that places like Australia and New Zealand and many countries in Europe and South America have healthier, more liberal views of sex and nudity. There's also a differentiation that needs to be made between the two.
I live in a society that brings ultimate fighting to the masses, where people pay good money to watch grown men beat each other bloody in the name of sport. Yet these same observers will turn and cringe at the sight of a woman breastfeeding her baby in public. Why?
Although it’s far less common now with the popularity of digital cameras, I’ve heard stories of customers having their film seized when they’ve taken it in for developing because it contained photos of their children nude in the bathtub. If you ask me where pornography lay it’s not here. It’s in seeing children of many countries across the world carrying weapons and being taught to fight and kill for a cause they don’t even understand. There are few things more pornographic than forcing a child to grow up this way.
I live in a society influenced by a media that would sooner show rows of dead bodies after a civil uprising than an exposed female breast. I live in a society that has become desensitized to violence yet taught that the nude human body is somehow pornographic. So many people holding this belief are God-fearing Puritans. Yet if Man and Woman were created through God and the human body is something shameful to be covered, by association would this mean that God himself has created something pornographic? It just doesn't hold water for me. I believe the human body, whether male or female, is not sexually provocative or suggestive in itself; it’s the eye of the beholder that makes it so.
Naturists born and raised into their way of life have extremely healthy views of nudity. I don’t believe anyone growing up from an early age has been morally corrupted or scarred for life in seeing their parents or anyone else around them unclothed. Yet I live in a society in which parents will buy violent video games for their kids then turn around and do everything they can to prevent them from catching a glimpse of a breast in a movie. Just as locking liquor away in a cabinet and telling a teenager they can’t have it increases the mystique, covering the body and treating it as forbidden does the same.
I've been told I'm a very liberal thinker. But I really think it's time society's pendulum swung the other way. We need to celebrate who we are and be comfortable in our own skin. I long for the day when everyone would rather see a body unclothed than harmed.