Thursday, February 5, 2004

When is a Boob Just a Boob

People need to get off of Janets boob. Basically, we've all seen boobs before, we'll all see them again. You're children have likely seen them (with or without your knowledge or consent). Is the issue really a 1 second flash of boob that everyone seems upset about but many peolpe actually blinked and missed? Or is the issue improper depictions of sexuality on television?

For one, mammery glands are not, in and of themselves, sexual. Rather, they are seualized by society. Evidence of this can be found in many "native" cultures that do not blink at having their women go topless in public. This behavior is only catagoraized as "savage" or "indecent" by societies that have close ties to Old Testament based religions. The point being that a breast is not ovetly sexual, it is societaly sexual and as members of society we have responsibility to discuss these issues with our children. How much of the energy being directed towards CBS, MTV, Janet JAckson et al, could be better used to help foster within our chilren a healthy attitude towards sex and sexuality?

Finally no one is discussing what I see as the larger issue, depictions of sexual violence against women. Janet's unveiling had about as much to do with sex as sexual assault does. Sexual assault is often misconstrued as being a crime rooted in the act of sex or sexual contact. Though it does involve these things, sex crimes are infact violent acts perpetrated by people who want to control and exert power over another and choose to do it in a sexual medium. To quote Adam Carolla "Its the same thing as beating someone to death and then having an orgasam." Of course this is a largely debateable point. My main issue is that the real subversive effect Timberlake's act had on society is the reinforcement of the idea that it is acceptable to treat women in a violent and domineering manner, particularly in regard to sex and sex roles. The picture of a shocked Jackson trying to cover hersealf and a vicious Timberlake looking like a viagra crazed maniac says it all. The imagery of a man syaing "I'm going to get you naked" and then forcing the act himself is a powerful and damaging message to send not only children but adolecents and adults as well.

All of our collective societal energy is being directed at the issue of whether or not a 1 second boob is a sign of the downfall of America, God and the free world. Meanwhile, the structures and attitudes that are truly damaging our society go unexamined. Until we focus our attention on educating our children in our daily lives, until we can reveal the real demons of violence and patriarchy things will not change. The societal structures that allowed Sunday's events to occur were not based on fialing sexual morality, but on the true enemy of "family values," the underlying American belief that agression by men towards women is still covertly acceptable.
5:24 pm est

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