Nudity, prudity, and double standards on cable television

posted at 12:01 pm on March 11, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Yesterday, I mentioned the obligatory and gratuitous nudity featured in True Detective, one of the most interesting and original premium-channel series. The mention prompted a couple of challenges from readers to discuss that aspect of film entertainment at more length, which prompted my column at The Week today. I may well be a prude, but the issue — especially in this segment of the industry — isn’t really about whether nudity should be used at all in art, a fight that was settled in the Renaissance and later after the abolition of the Hays Office in Hollywood. It’s about what is being sold, and how.

In the beginning, premium-channel original series were about as subtle as a jackhammer about how they differentiated themselves from free-broadcast competition:

As anyone who has watched original series on premium channels knows, the only constants are bare breasts and slapping pelvises. Ever since 1982′s A New Day in Eden, the market has defined itself by its willingness to bare all. The fact that this definition holds to this day speaks to an anachronistic view of cable television and its audience, and to a stunted point of view from the people who produce it.

In the beginning, this nudity made at least some market sense. Series like A New Day in Eden had to differentiate themselves from their broadcast competition. Most of them couldn’t compete on quality — A New Day in Eden was a bad soap opera even for soap operas — so the only way to keep viewer attention was by putting skin literally into the game.

The selling point for pay-TV was that it was unedited and uncensored. Back before the universal access of HBO and Showtime, Los Angeles had ON-TV, a scrambled over-the-air service that advertised itself with a woman disrobing (with a strategic freeze-frame to make the ads airable). The sale was sex, sex, sex rather than high-quality original entertainment.

That changed over the next decade or so, when premium channels started putting money and effort into their original programming. The quality and prestige improved … but the sales pitch never did:

Defenders of the practice claim it shows authenticity and artistic honesty, but the examples seen by audiences seem like anything but honesty. In Showtime’s The Tudors, which ran for four seasons, we barely got past the opening credits of the first episode before the ridiculously young Jonathan Rhys-Meyers (playing a middle-aged King Henry) and a female bit player began discarding royal clothing. The series wound up making Tudor England look like a nudist colony.

HBO’s Game of Thrones is arguably even more licentious. One of its directors, Neil Marshall, talked in June 2012 about the pressure executives placed on him to amp up the nudity and sexuality. One executive producer, whom Marshall declined to name, told Marshall, “I represent the perv side of the audience, and I’m saying I want full nudity in this scene.” Clearly the motivation here isn’t honesty.

In fact, it’s particularly dishonest.  In most of these shows, it’s the girls undressing for the camera – and girls of a particular body type (with Girls being an exception). The men aren’t doing that, as True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto noted off-handedly while defending the series’ nudity to BuzzFeed’s Kate Aurthur:

The staging was more or less there in the scripts, and then Cary and I worked together on the execution. But there is a clear mandate in pay-cable for a certain level of nudity. Now, you’re not going to get our two lead movie stars to go full-frontal, but we at least got Matthew’s butt in there. There’s not a great deal of nudity in the series at all, though, compared to other shows on pay-cable. I’d be happy with none. Seems to me if people want to see naked people doing it, there’s this thing called “the internet.”

Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey are credited as executive producers, which means that they could have settled for “none,” too — or offered up as much nudity as they expected from their female co-stars. Like most series — Girls and perhaps Game of Thrones being exceptions — the nudity comes almost entirely from women who don’t have significant roles on the male-centric series in which they appear. The Tudors was especially egregious in this regard, shuffling in dozens of bit players to get naked with Jonathan Rhys-Meyers.

If women are overrepresented among the underdressed, they’re underrepresented in practically every other aspect of filmmaking:

The latest study on women in front of the camera finds that female characters are still significantly under-represented on the big screen. …

Female actors accounted for 30% of all speaking parts in the survey, which has examined some 7,000 screen characters across 300 pics since 2002. Only about 13% of 2013′s top 100 pics featured an equal number of female and male characters.

“Overall, we have seen little movement in the numbers of female protagonists and females as speaking characters over the last decade,” Lauzen said.  “Moreover, female characters are less likely than males to have identifiable goals or to be portrayed as leaders of any kind.”

In other words, women tend to get hired to service “mandates,” perhaps especially so in premium-channel programming. Most of it is just as gratuitous as Pizzolatto indicates, or as Game of Thrones director Neil Marshall indicated in June 2012 about the pressure he faced from producers to service the “perv side of the audience.” Naked female bodies don’t drive narratives in most cases,  but serve as sales pitches for products that shouldn’t need them in the first place.

As good as these series have become, they need to come to terms with their exploitation of women, especially those who don’t have much power in Hollywood. That may make me a prude, but the problem is too acute to ignore.

Update: I laughed when one commenter accused me of “basically being a lib,” because I had that thought myself when I wrote the column. However, I’m not advocating for government regulation as a solution (and I would oppose it, especially on narrowcast pay-for services). I’m offering criticism as a way to impact the market, its demand, and provide feedback to provoke some original thought in Hollywood.


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FYI, there really is an institution known as Colorado College in that town. They had a decent hockey team when I lived there.

MJBrutus on March 11, 2014 at 2:16 PM

They haven’t had a championship level team in a few years.

We have to be careful what we wear downtown – I was Air Force and my wife got her masters at Denver University – (CC’s 2 in-state hockey rivals – and seeing as DU has won 7 National Championships (back-to-back in 04 and 05) since CC’s last one – my wife doesn’t like to wear her DU clothes anywhere near the CC campus.

dentarthurdent on March 11, 2014 at 2:27 PM

They haven’t had a championship level team in a few years.

We have to be careful what we wear downtown – I was Air Force and my wife got her masters at Denver University – (CC’s 2 in-state hockey rivals – and seeing as DU has won 7 National Championships (back-to-back in 04 and 05) since CC’s last one – my wife doesn’t like to wear her DU clothes anywhere near the CC campus.

dentarthurdent on March 11, 2014 at 2:27 PM

I totally believe that. CC was totally hippie-dippie when I was there, but the first mantra I learned was DU SUCKS. The hockey games were fun as hell.

King B on March 11, 2014 at 2:28 PM

dentarthurdent on March 11, 2014 at 2:27 PM

I’m showing my age a bit. I live in the Springs through most of the ’90s.

MJBrutus on March 11, 2014 at 2:29 PM

LMAO! But I lived near there and that makes me the expert :-)

MJBrutus on March 11, 2014 at 2:21 PM

What part of town?
I’ve been here over 30 years.

dentarthurdent on March 11, 2014 at 2:30 PM

SEX is Not a “spectator sport.”

listens2glenn on March 11, 2014 at 1:22 PM

.
The success of the porn industry would suggest otherwise….

dentarthurdent on March 11, 2014 at 1:24 PM
.

“The success of the porn industry” shows how “base”, depraved, and undisciplined the world has become.

That’s the ‘take’ from the eye of this beholder.

listens2glenn on March 11, 2014 at 1:30 PM

.
And just how much have you beholden to be able to have that take? Hmmmmmm? ;)

GWB on March 11, 2014 at 2:05 PM

.
Oh ….. well, I’ve seen—– … hey, wait a minute … thought you could ‘out-smart’ me, huh ? /sarc
.
I’ve seen enough to convince me that the ‘smiling girls’ in those videos can’t possibly be enjoying the activity I’m watching them engage in. But at the time I saw it, I was enjoying it. Really !

But then some Christians cast a spell over me, and I became a “prude” . . . : (

listens2glenn on March 11, 2014 at 2:32 PM

Has this become an all ghey all the time thread yet?

Galtian on March 11, 2014 at 2:32 PM

dentarthurdent on March 11, 2014 at 2:30 PM

Northwind. Near Vickers and Rangewood.

MJBrutus on March 11, 2014 at 2:32 PM

I totally believe that. CC was totally hippie-dippie when I was there, but the first mantra I learned was DU SUCKS. The hockey games were fun as hell.

King B on March 11, 2014 at 2:28 PM

Hasn’t changed.
Ya the in-state rivalries can get nasty.
For hockey, we have 2/3 of the CO rivalry in the house (AF and DU).
For football, we kind of have all 3 in the house. I always hated CSU – but then my son went there. And my wife is a UCCS grad, so she always associated with CU – and CU and CSU hate each other.

dentarthurdent on March 11, 2014 at 2:34 PM

So far no guy/guy action on Black Sails.

Give it time. STARZ can’t help itself.

That said, I stopped watching Spartacus because I got tired of endless rounds of spraying blood, teeth and brains. It was a little too graphic for my tastes.

It was extreme. They were really pushing it in the first few episodes but did calm down a bit on it later – not reducing blood levels or anything but stopping with the graphic comic style of displaying it. I thought it went with the storyline pretty well.

The guy/guy and girl/girl stuff didn’t do much for me either. ;-)

ClownsToTheLeftOfMe on March 11, 2014 at 2:26 PM

I figure most people said this about the guy/guy stuff. I don’t remember all that much lesbo action. The series could have been just as good without most of the sex scenes. It was good writing, acting and directing for the first two seasons. The third one pretty much sucked. I stopped watching it at that point. Two good seasons was still a pretty decent run.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on March 11, 2014 at 2:35 PM

So, basically Ed is saying these women aren’t capable of deciding for themselves whether or not to pose nude in these shows, therefore it can only be exploitation. Maybe the right’s war on women is real after all.

xblade on March 11, 2014 at 2:36 PM

When you had that class – were they still teaching the “West Point method” for disarming someone aiming a gun at your face?

dentarthurdent on March 11, 2014 at 2:13 PM

I have no idea what they called it, but it worked for me. Several of my classmates were … less aggressive and I ‘shot’ them every time.

Severian on March 11, 2014 at 2:13 PM

The problem with most modern series about Greece or Rome is they take certain aspects of the culture (namely sex and violence, sometimes combining the two) and blow them up out of all proportion, making them the entirety of the experience. It’s a bit of projection from the hearts of the film makers onto the screen.

GWB on March 11, 2014 at 2:40 PM

Northwind. Near Vickers and Rangewood.
MJBrutus on March 11, 2014 at 2:32 PM

I know the area well – an “older” part of town. Used to have a co-worker who lived in there and held great casino New Years Eve parties.

When I met my wife (1981), Briargate was just starting to be built – her dad lived in one of the first neighbordoods to be built – just above Chapel Hills Mall – which was still under construction.
Now Briargate is considered an “older” neighborhood.

dentarthurdent on March 11, 2014 at 2:40 PM

blockquote>When you had that class – were they still teaching the “West Point method” for disarming someone aiming a gun at your face?

dentarthurdent on March 11, 2014 at 2:13 PM
I have no idea what they called it, but it worked for me. Several of my classmates were … less aggressive and I ‘shot’ them every time.
GWB on March 11, 2014 at 2:40 PM
The “west point method” (really just an instructor’s joke) was you clapped your hands together around the gun barrel that was in your face – instead of using one hand on the wrist and one on the gun barrel to knock it away.

dentarthurdent on March 11, 2014 at 2:43 PM

So, basically Ed is saying these women aren’t capable of deciding for themselves whether or not to pose nude in these shows, therefore it can only be exploitation. Maybe the right’s war on women is real after all.

xblade on March 11, 2014 at 2:36 PM

.
You’re gonna have to show me how you arrived at that conclusion.

listens2glenn on March 11, 2014 at 2:50 PM

I don’t watch shows in which women allow themselves to be degraded in this manner. I’ve dropped quite a few popular shows from my viewing because they were disrespectful of women and girls, either in plot or language. Any show that thinks its job to to “service the pervs” is never going to play in my house.

blackgriffin on March 11, 2014 at 2:58 PM

xblade on March 11, 2014 at 2:36 PM
.
You’re gonna have to show me how you arrived at that conclusion.

listens2glenn on March 11, 2014 at 2:50 PM

Check out the news stories and videos about the Duke University porn star. According to her, she enjoys what she does and makes good money doing it.

dentarthurdent on March 11, 2014 at 3:00 PM

And Joffrey’s redeeming qualities are…

overall, I agree with you. It’s well written and the characters aren’t 2 dimensional, but I think Joffrey’s just there to move the other pieces around the game board.

trubble on March 11, 2014 at 2:02 PM

The fact that he’s so hated is a testament to how GOOD of a character he is.

He doesn’t have to have redeeming qualities to be a good character. He can be evil to the core and still be a good character. He’s well-written, he’s relatable (as in we all know someone in our lives who has never faced any kind of repercussions for their actions) and he’s evokes an emotional response. Good Character. Bad dude.

To me Joffrey represents the Millennial generation. He comes from a broken, screwed up family. He has been coddled his whole life and never had to pay the price for his reckless actions. His mother coddles him and shields him from anything bad that could ever happen to him. He’s a spoiled rotten kid with absolute power thanks to his Uncle who is using him as a puppet.

Defenestratus on March 11, 2014 at 3:04 PM

The “west point method” (really just an instructor’s joke) was you clapped your hands together around the gun barrel that was in your face – instead of using one hand on the wrist and one on the gun barrel to knock it away.

dentarthurdent on March 11, 2014 at 2:43 PM

Ahhhh, no; we were taught the proper method. We were also not taught the push-the-slide-back-and-push-down-the-breakdown-lever-and-disassemble-weapon method.

GWB on March 11, 2014 at 3:06 PM

As for Ramsey and Reek, the real reason Martin does it is to satisfy the audience who wants to see some payback for Theon’s betrayal of the Starks. If he wrote a story where what goes around never came around, it would put people off.

trubble on March 11, 2014 at 1:19 PM

It’s not all payback. It’s also redemption. Which is why it is important to see the full horror that’s visited upon Reek.

spinach.chin on March 11, 2014 at 3:11 PM

So, basically Ed is saying these women aren’t capable of deciding for themselves whether or not to pose nude in these shows, therefore it can only be exploitation. Maybe the right’s war on women is real after all.

xblade on March 11, 2014 at 2:36 PM

.
You’re gonna have to show me how you arrived at that conclusion.

listens2glenn on March 11, 2014 at 2:50 PM

Check out the news stories and videos about the Duke University porn star. According to her, she enjoys what she does and makes good money doing it.

dentarthurdent on March 11, 2014 at 3:00 PM

Welllll, yes and no. The casting couch is still alive and well if you believe some of the gossip sites and if you think about it rationally how much power to say no do these women have? This could be their big break. Or not. Yes, they could walk away, but then they may not get another chance. Malin Akerman (sp?) has a pretty nice career going and she started by showing her bewbs (sorry don’t want the post in mod) in a Harold and Kumar movie.

As for Ms. Duke, I went and perused a few of her clips and she had some odd wounds on her legs that I saw. I am just speculating, but she looks like a cutter and she apparently likes the more “nastier” stuff. I wouldn’t necessarily take her as a shining example of clear eyed awareness. Although, she seems to be exploiting her notoriety pretty good right now. I’d love to be a fly on the wall in 10 years.

So I wouldn’t say “incapable”, but rather poor choices make poor decisions for poor goals.

kim roy on March 11, 2014 at 3:16 PM

Emmm…this entire article is exceptionally astute as well as a validation of everything previously stated by a blogger who used to go by the name of Roissey, but now calls himself Chateau Heartiste.

Men are visual and respond to naked hot chicks, and women are stimulated by what their minds fill in, such as the atrociously written Fifty Shades of Grey.

What appears to disturb EM is the tragically inescapable element of human nature. When it comes to what moves us to action, 50,000 years of evolutionary psychology trumps a puerile desire for equality.

This is why Playboy outsells Playgirl 9:1, and why both men and women prefer to pay for and watch a movie about how Mel Gibson, rather than Susan Sarandon, deals with a terrible problem. Men are more fascinating when they take action, and women are more fascinating when they are gorgeous and naked simultaneously.

Blame Mother Nature and get on with your lives.

thejackal on March 11, 2014 at 3:22 PM

Check out the news stories and videos about the Duke University porn star. According to her, she enjoys what she does and makes good money doing it.

dentarthurdent on March 11, 2014 at 3:00 PM

She says that now. And it’s helping her make money at the moment.

But she also says she “knows exactly what she’s doing” but is surprised when people find out about her profession and make assumptions about her, or criticize her. News flash – if you put your naked body on display, people are going to make all sorts of judgements about you. That’s the way the world is. And if she believes otherwise, that people have NO RIGHT to have opinions about her or anything else, then that Duke education isn’t preparing her for Realville.

hawksruleva on March 11, 2014 at 3:38 PM

As for Ms. Duke, I went and perused a few of her clips and she had some odd wounds on her legs that I saw. I am just speculating, but she looks like a cutter and she apparently likes the more “nastier” stuff. I wouldn’t necessarily take her as a shining example of clear eyed awareness. Although, she seems to be exploiting her notoriety pretty good right now. I’d love to be a fly on the wall in 10 years.

So I wouldn’t say “incapable”, but rather poor choices make poor decisions for poor goals.

kim roy on March 11, 2014 at 3:16 PM

Aaaand here’s part of the issue for women in Ms. Duke’s situation. She does movies showing a particularly degrading and violent kind of sexual act. But then she tries to say that being degraded and beaten on film is empowering. If that’s true, then shouldn’t we all be degrading and beating women to empower them?

hawksruleva on March 11, 2014 at 3:43 PM

South Park took down Game of Thrones with Butters screaming “I’m still waiting for the dragons to show up and kick but, but all I get is weiner, weiner, weiner.”

Iblis on March 11, 2014 at 3:45 PM

While I don’t disagree with Ed Morrissey’s thoughts here, I was kind of disappointed by his relatively shallow and secular take on the subject. The best comment of this thread was by a lefty (!?!) verbaluce remarking about the real import being how it desensitizes us, the audience. And that applies to more areas than just gratuitous nudity. Oh well. Wish I had some profound thoughts, but I guess that’s it for now.

Fenris on March 11, 2014 at 3:47 PM

thejackal on March 11, 2014 at 3:22 PM

Dude, HA is the anti-Roissy – it’s where pretty lies flourish.

King B on March 11, 2014 at 3:54 PM

I’ll listen to concerns about excess female nudity when those who decry it show equal vehemence to the continuing episodes of Dad Is A Dope on every sit-com.

I know Ed does.

hadsil on March 11, 2014 at 1:42 PM

Not to mention every single commercial where the man is always an idiot and the woman always smart and in charge.

Monkeytoe on March 11, 2014 at 3:57 PM

Sorry, I’ll stick to TCM. I need a medium that includes quality acting and a plot.

Deano1952 on March 11, 2014 at 12:24 PM

Comments like this are why I cringe at the approach Ed took in this post. Game of Thrones, Tudors and certainly True Detectives all have outstanding acting and strong story. If anything, the nudity is an annoying distraction. In the video game world, they call it “fan service.” Gotta stick in the obligatory boob shot to make sure a certain element of the audience is awake.

I agree with Ed that criticism needs to happen, but dislike the moralistic tone. We should let show runners know they don’t need to have the perv stuff, that it actually detracts more often than it helps, and do so on an artistic basis rather than finger wagging. Game of Thrones in particular needs to be slapped for going off message from GRRM’s material so often- which has sex scenes, but brief and almost never gratuitous. Whenever the show wavers from the book material, they get stupid in a hurry.

Also, it’s unfair to lump True Detectives in with the others. I had to struggle to remember where there had been any nudity in TD. The scene with Marty’s gumah, finally remembered it. It was entirely forgettable and thrown-in. The rest of the series is fairly tame both in depicting violence and sex, though not the horrors of the human mind.

evergreen on March 11, 2014 at 4:05 PM

Aaaand here’s part of the issue for women in Ms. Duke’s situation. She does movies showing a particularly degrading and violent kind of sexual act. But then she tries to say that being degraded and beaten on film is empowering. If that’s true, then shouldn’t we all be degrading and beating women to empower them?

hawksruleva on March 11, 2014 at 3:43 PM

Only the ones who want it and that’s okay to want it – at least in her mind. It’s all the old hippie free love garbage, but instead of just getting laid now it’s pron and exploitation. We are apparently supposed to be just fine with her consent to have rough sex on film and not “judge” her.

Sure.

The phrase “cake and eat it too” comes to mind here.

Feminism in a nutshell. They do what they want, how they want and when they want and no one is to get in the way, have an opinion or do anything except agree no matter who it impacts and how (imagine her poor family). Top of the food chain special snowflakes.

kim roy on March 11, 2014 at 4:08 PM

Let the market decide. If you don’t like it, don’t watch. If the shows stay on because enough people like them, it is capitalism at work.

argusx2002 on March 11, 2014 at 4:41 PM

As a fairly horny straight male, the nudity in Game of Thrones actually annoys me a lot of the time. It’s there for shock value much of the time and doesn’t add to the story though it is relevant at times. Time is important as the books are very long with a lot of content and even with 10 one hour episodes you can only cover so much of that content so wasting it on senseless bewb shots doesn’t add anything. If I want to look at nudity for the sake of nudity, there’s a million or so places on the internet for that or I get out of my house and find a date.

Yakko77 on March 11, 2014 at 5:04 PM

or I get out of my house and find a date.

Yakko77 on March 11, 2014 at 5:04 PM

My wife won’t let me do that….
;)

dentarthurdent on March 11, 2014 at 5:19 PM

Prudes….
Here in SoCal we have our enlightened PBS TV channels airing “fine British drama”, but bleeping out profanities uttered in the Queen’s English, and pixilating flashes of boob -
I thought they were trying to acculturate us heathens by bringing us the product of a higher culture?

Another Drew on March 11, 2014 at 5:30 PM

It’s one thing to pick sexually attractive people for a show. Nothing wrong with that. But to constantly waste time with lengthy sex scenes that do not advance the plot or reveal anything about the characters is just lame. There are many shows now that are guilty of this. It’s a shame.

DisneyFan on March 11, 2014 at 5:49 PM

Yakko77 on March 11, 2014 at 5:04 PM

So what you’re really saying is that as a “horny male”, you find it hard to stand up after watching said shows?

BobMbx on March 11, 2014 at 5:53 PM

DisneyFan on March 11, 2014 at 5:49 PM

Well, I’ve got nothing against nudity and sex in a show, but like Yakko just said – if you just want sex with no plot, there’s lot’s of web sites with lots of materials for whatever your taste might be…..

I do agree that a movie or TV show should have more to it.

dentarthurdent on March 11, 2014 at 5:54 PM

Update: I laughed when one commenter accused me of “basically being a lib,” because I had that thought myself when I wrote the column. However, I’m not advocating for government regulation as a solution (and I would oppose it, especially on narrowcast pay-for services). I’m offering criticism as a way to impact the market, its demand, and provide feedback to provoke some original thought in Hollywood.

Ed, even your explanation here leaves something to be desired. The ‘market’ clearly ‘demands’ all the nudity in said shows, or they wouldn’t be as popular (read: profitable) as they are. Game. Set. Match. Prude =P

nullrouted on March 11, 2014 at 6:33 PM

In most of these shows, it’s the girls undressing for the camera – and girls of a particular body type (with Girls being an exception). The men aren’t doing that

Have you seen Breaking Bad? Excellent series, but, seriously, I’ve seen enough of Bryan Cranston’s bare butt to last me several lifetimes.

Hayabusa on March 11, 2014 at 7:39 PM

What a load of garbage. Both the nudity (not necessary), the double standard (topless men ain’t nudity) and the “guys never get naked” crap. Are you kidding? If you really think that’s true, see http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0125980/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1. I’d like to see Ed’s take on that one. :)

liberty0 on March 11, 2014 at 9:24 PM

I’m not a prude, i loved the Tudors (being female and a history buff it was for the depiction of Henry VIII which correctly showed him as more of a brat then a king, then for the naked girls).

But I have to agree that it is ridiculous that there is a “certain level of nudity/sex” that needs to be maintained, to the point of ridiculousness!

Case in point: the TV Show the Mentalist on CBS was marketed to HBO as well and the differences between the pilot scripts are astounding. In the pilot that was shown on CBS, when a serial killer leaves a note for the main character, Patrick Jane, he chases after him through the stairwell of the hotel.

in the pilot script for HBO, Patrick Jane also chases him…but this time he is naked. Not only that but when his partner, Teresa Lisbon, joins in she winds up talking to him in the parking lot…still naked.

Why is he naked? Why is she not even batting an eye that he is naked? Why does he need to be naked at all???

That’s the difference between CBS and HBO LOL,

NerwenAldarion on March 11, 2014 at 10:20 PM

ooooo this is like a women’s study class. kewl. i think this kind of cultural sensitivity does tend to make one a “lib”. congratulations. Also something that might be of general interest if you haven’t heard about it yet. a test, which has been described as “the standard by which feminist critics judge television, movies, books, and other media”

The Bechdel Test, sometimes called the Mo Movie Measure or Bechdel Rule is a simple test which names the following three criteria: (1) it has to have at least two women in it, who (2) who talk to each other, about (3) something besides a man. The test was popularized by Alison Bechdel’s comic Dykes to Watch Out For, in a 1985 strip called The Rule. For a nice video introduction to the subject please check out The Bechdel Test for Women in Movies on feministfrequency.com.

brushingmyhair on March 11, 2014 at 11:26 PM

i thinki lost a post, maybe its being moderated i don’t know. but… this reminds me of the bechdel test.
i can’t remember if hot air posted about this earlier.

http://www.psfk.com/2013/11/sweden-bechdel-test-film-ratings.html#!zoKWW

brushingmyhair on March 12, 2014 at 12:38 AM

Update: I laughed when one commenter accused me of “basically being a lib,” because I had that thought myself when I wrote the column. However, I’m not advocating for government regulation as a solution (and I would oppose it, especially on narrowcast pay-for services). I’m offering criticism as a way to impact the market, its demand, and provide feedback to provoke some original thought in Hollywood.

Except your criticism isn’t about unnecessary nudity, it is about the “unfairness” of more female nudity than male nudity and the “unfairness” of less female characters on shows.

If your post was simply a criticism of unnecessary nudity, it would be criticism. But it isn’t. When you start talking about equality issues – which is the heart of your post, whether intended or not, you are delving into liberal territory.

I’m not saying you are a lib, but your very argument demonstrates just how much liberal though pervades our lives – to the point where your attempt to criticize Hollywood for gratuitous nudity comes out as an equality argument. Your argument, as you present it here, boils down to “we should either have more male nudity or less female nudity so that it is equal”. Otherwise, why address the disparity in female to male nudity at all? And, the tack-on at the end of lack of female characters is done with no actual analysis of why that might be . . . it just all reads as very “we need a quota for nudity so that female to male nudity is equal and a quota for developed characters so male-to-female characters are equal.

I know that this was just a blog post – not particularly researched or thought out, which is exactly my point. Without realizing it, you have to some degree internalized the idea that all this stuff has to “be equal” regardless of market forces.

Monkeytoe on March 12, 2014 at 10:38 AM

In today’s world, in this country, as an adult, if you’re not being accused of being a “prude” at some point (including indirectly, as most people aren’t going to engage in “debate” with the people hurling the label in the first place), there’s something wrong with you. “Prude” is like that great old insult “goodie two-shoes”, AKA “person who has moral standards and lives by them” — the go-to insult when you can’t call them a “hypocrite” for failing to live by those standards once in a while.

CanofSand on March 12, 2014 at 11:13 AM

This is an extremely important article about a crucial topic.

Sherman1864 on March 12, 2014 at 5:05 PM

Frankly, I don’t want to see any nude guy on TV, cable or otherwise. I just think that the female body is much more attractive naked than the male body.

searcher on March 12, 2014 at 6:08 PM

This is an extremely important article about a crucial topic.

It is, actually. And the author doesn’t go far enough. Today’s culture is dominated by filth and you are part of the problem.

CanofSand on March 13, 2014 at 6:53 AM

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