Breasts in Media

Breasts in Media

Joined: March 26th, 2005, 3:47 am

November 18th, 2005, 4:02 pm #1

A quick not before I head to school.

I came across the below pic in an article by CTV on the movie "Lie with me". Though the movie has only just made the MSN news ( http://sympatico.msn.ca/) you can read the CTV article, from September 9, at http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/s ... /20050908/.

It is nice to see a major media outlet treat the female breast, and sexuality, as it should be treated. I was wondering if anyone has seen other positive, or at least neutral, photos of the naked female breast (like NOT from celeb-skin.com, etc)?

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Nat
Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

November 18th, 2005, 8:05 pm #2

I don't think we are likely to see bare breasts south of the border any time soon, Adelle. 20 years ago, a photo like that would have been no problem but now the RRR has the media so spooked I'm surprised they even show guy tits these days.
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Bob
Bob

November 19th, 2005, 12:42 am #3

It is true that, during the 70's and much of the 80's, name-actresses were baring their breasts with much greater frequency than today. (Just check out the "Sex in Cinema" features in Playboy magazine from the 1970's and compare them to today's features). Part of the change might be attributable to the more-conservative mood of the country (US), as well as the activity of certain conservative/religious groups that lobbied against such exposure in film, and even on TV (remember all the furor over "NYPD Blue"?)

But, I think a greater influence was the criticisms of actresses that went topless in movies, and movie studios for making such movies, by feminist groups. During the 1980's, I recall a number of feminist leaders, and some actresses in Hollywood that had chosen not to bare their breasts, coming out against nudity. The women referred to the topless scenes as being sexist and exploitive of the women. They stated that true talent did not have to strip, and baring one's breasts could be seen as admission on non-talent (e.g., "No one will take you seriously as an actress!")

It didn't take long for the "A" stars' topless scenes to almost-disappear from the screen. With a few exceptions, most of the female nudity today involves actresses that have little acting ability and know they will be relegated to the "B" movies (e.g., Heather Graham) . . or they are once-A list actresses (if only briefly) that fell from favor or simply got older (e.g., Meg Ryan, Diane Keaton). Those first-run movies that show breasts at all will likely not show the female lead's breasts . . . it will be some unknown actress instead . . . or the star will use a body double so that, later, she can say "It wasn't me!"

Maybe the trend will reverse at some point, but for now most serious up-and-coming actresses won't risk harming their careers by doffing their tops.
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Nat
Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

November 19th, 2005, 1:26 am #4

You can blame Jerry Falwell's "Moral Majority" movement of the early 1980s. Up until about 1983 breasts were common in movies and becoming increasing so even in main-stream magazines. I remember my wife use to get women's magazines like "Self" that routinely showed bare breasts in ads and to illustrate articles much as European magazines did. But in 1983 the MM began picking stores that sold magazines with bare breasts and theaters that showed them in movies. Both industries quickly caved in. In fact, many movies which had already been made with bare breasts were re-edited to remove them.
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Bob
Bob

November 19th, 2005, 3:04 pm #5

I think there have been multiple influences, and groups like the Moral Majority have had their contribution. I would agree that they have had more influence in removing topless ads and features from magazines, for example, but there weren't that many to begin with. MM, among others, probably led the charge to have Calvin Klein stop featuring near-nude young teens in their ads. They are the type of group that undoubtly flooded CBS with outraged calls after the Janet Jackson Super Bowl nipple flash. Still, I don't think they are a major player.

First, not all nudity has disappeared from the movie screen. As noted, many "B" ("C", "D") movie actresses continue to go topless. Some more-major stars have still done topless scenes (e.g., Anjelina Jolie, Halle Berry, Uma Thurman, Katie Holmes, Reese Whiterspoon). I think MM's influence would be to try to squelch all such nudity, but it hasn't occurred. The difference seems to be in the willingness of actresses (those that have a career to protect) to bare their breasts or not. Back in the 70's, it was considered bold and an expression of freedom for a woman to go bare . . today, the stars who do it fall more into the "rebel" category or otherwise are going to buck the trend away from nudity (in Halle's case, the extra $100,000 for a few seconds topless was an added inducement).

Second, look at all the non-nude changes there have been in media. In the 70's and 80's, we saw the advent of the "T & A" television shows (e.g., Charlie's Angels, Dukes of Hazzard, Three's Company). Today, there is sexual innuendos everywhere on TV sitcoms, but less skin (I recall an episode of "Yes, Dear" (CBS) in which the female lead tries to induce her hubby to want sex by continually bending over and putting her cute little butt right in front of him). I think the MM wouldn't work take off one and leave the other.

As I've previously noted, televised beauty pageants of that time used to show close-ups of the contestants in their swimsuits . . and during NFL football games, TV coverage showed close-ups of the bouncing, buxom cheerleaders. Today, the pageant coverage takes a close-up of the contestants' faces only and then drops way back when giving the full body shot. If NFL coverage shows cheerleaders at all, its a face shot and a bar is then put up to cover cleavage (the bar shows games stats or a sponsor's message, but we know the real reason for it).

Why would MM care about such innocuous content? I don't think that would be a priority to them . . . but it was for feminists. It was feminists who complained that the T & A shows were exploiting women . . that the beauty pageants did the same . . that the NFL should be about the game and not about selling more air time with exploitive shots of cheerleaders.

Interstingly, one area that has bucked this trend toward less-skin on TV has been the daytime soaps. With the possible exception of MTV videos, no place on television has more scantily clad women and bedroom scenes than on daytime TV. Why this exception? I believe it is because the audience is largely-female, and women (as well as men) are interested in sex, and feminists aren't going to complain if women want to see scantily-clad women . . but its hell to pay if a man does.

Clearly, if more female stars were willing to go nude in movies, the studio execs would love it --- big box office! Hell, we ALL would love it! Work on that, will ya? And, while you're at it, tell the network execs to bring back swimsuit close-ups and bouncing NFL cheerleaders in all their exhuberant glory. Thank You!
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Nat
Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

November 19th, 2005, 4:13 pm #6

I'm sure movie producers would have no problem finding attractive young women who would gladly go topless to break into movies. But movie producers have decided that in today's social-political climate nudity is more trouble than it's worth. Guys who want to see tits can see all they want in porn so why fight the RRR to show them in mainstream movies? So while an occasional movie may have nudity- it's a fraction of what it was 25 years ago.

I clearly remember when bare breasts first appeared in movies. For decades nudity was a total taboo in US movies, prohibited by the very strict "Hayes" code that was put in place in the 1930s. But in the 1960s imported European movies were becoming so popular that US movie produces lobbied that the Hayes code was antiquated and out of step with the times so the MPA came out with the "G","M","R","X" rating system (modified over the years) which gave produces free hand to put nudity in their movies.

This began about 1967 and increased through the 1970s. I recall when we first got HBO in 1979 it seem nearly every move on it had at least one topless scene- and usually quite unnecessary. They seem to be just stuck in because it was expected at the time. Today when they show those same movies those topless scenes are almost always gone.

But I think you give way too much credit/blame to the feminists movement for this. The feminists movement is nearly dead these days. Surveys show today's young women are much more concern with finding a husband and rasing a family than having a business career. It's the RRR- successor to the MM, thats limiting breast freedom these days.
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melissa
melissa

November 19th, 2005, 4:54 pm #7

I think that a lot of reasons for nudity is movies being how it is today.

I have to disagree with Bob's assertion that serious actresses don't do nude scenes. I think that the real serious ones do "but only when they feel it's called for in the script" as the old saying goes. Look at who's been in the Best Actress nominations in the past few years. Charlize Theron, Naomi Watts, Kate Winslet, Nicole Kidman, Hallie Berry, Salma Hayek, Julianne Moore & Angelina Jolie all did nudity, many in the films that they were nominated for; and that list was just a quick glance over a list of best actress noms between 2000 and now, I'm sure there are more that I didn't know about or think of. I think it's the bubblegum pop type actresses who won't do nudity, like Julia Roberts, Cameron Diaz and Reese Witherspoon (who used to be an interesting actress before she decided to permanantly play the peppy blond bimbo in every movie). Actually I think that move that Meg Ryan did her nude scene in was her way of trying to show that she's a serious actress and not just a cute romantic commedy actress.

I agree that many actresses with little talent will do nudity in B films because it's all they've got. Look inside any Blockbuster and the dumb "thrillers" and "action" films starring playboy models with big fake boobs.

I think that another reason people are getting more affraid of doing nudity is that in the old days (before home video, HBO and the internet) unless a film was a classic the R rated version pretty much faded away after a few years. You might see an edited version on TV in a few years but that was it. Now if a 25 year old actress get nude on film she knows that 15 years from now her son's friends will probably be downloading nude pics of her off of the net. Now I can't even check my e-mail without someone trying to sell me a site with nude actresses on it, and I'm a girl and I've never ordered porn off the net.

Of course the biggest problem is still the puratanical attitude about nudity in this nation. If you look ot foregn films they don't seem to have that problem at all. Because if nudity is matter of fact and accepted than who cares if you teen son's friends will see naked video of you acting. Not when your son and hundreds of others saw you naked (or very close to it) on the beach last summer when you spent the day with the family at the beach wearing nothing but a thong bottom.
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Nat
Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

November 19th, 2005, 5:08 pm #8

Well the bottom line is that if we didn't make bare breasts a taboo there wouldn't be all this fuss about them. No one peddles photos of actresses' legs because we don't hide legs, and no woman would have to worry about photos of their breasts showing up on the internet if we didn't making them a taboo.
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Bob
Bob

November 19th, 2005, 5:11 pm #9

I'm sure movie producers would have no problem finding attractive young women who would gladly go topless to break into movies. But movie producers have decided that in today's social-political climate nudity is more trouble than it's worth. Guys who want to see tits can see all they want in porn so why fight the RRR to show them in mainstream movies? So while an occasional movie may have nudity- it's a fraction of what it was 25 years ago.

I clearly remember when bare breasts first appeared in movies. For decades nudity was a total taboo in US movies, prohibited by the very strict "Hayes" code that was put in place in the 1930s. But in the 1960s imported European movies were becoming so popular that US movie produces lobbied that the Hayes code was antiquated and out of step with the times so the MPA came out with the "G","M","R","X" rating system (modified over the years) which gave produces free hand to put nudity in their movies.

This began about 1967 and increased through the 1970s. I recall when we first got HBO in 1979 it seem nearly every move on it had at least one topless scene- and usually quite unnecessary. They seem to be just stuck in because it was expected at the time. Today when they show those same movies those topless scenes are almost always gone.

But I think you give way too much credit/blame to the feminists movement for this. The feminists movement is nearly dead these days. Surveys show today's young women are much more concern with finding a husband and rasing a family than having a business career. It's the RRR- successor to the MM, thats limiting breast freedom these days.
You say I give too much credit to the Women's Movement/Femenists . . I say you give too much credit to the conversative/religious orgs like Moral Majority. I think we both have points in our favor . . of course, I think I made more.

You wrote, "But movie producers have decided that in today's social-political climate nudity is more trouble than it's worth." Since when? Seems to me that controversy sells rather than hurts sales. And, don't we agree? . . money is what its ALL about.

Yes, the movie ratings system (like the TV ratings system/V-chip and the music ratings) was pushed by conservatives. And, I think the success of their effort reflected the growing conservatism of the American public: the desire for more family-friendly entertainment . . the desire to let-children-be-children and not expose them prematurely to adult content. I don't think the push for ratings systems would have succeeded had not a sizeable majority of voters indicated (via surveys) that THEY wanted to rein-in the TV networks, movie studios and recording companies.

As for your claim that there are plenty of young women around to go topless/nude in movies -- of course there are. I said that in noting how lesser actresses are mostly the ones doing that. The difference is with the big-name actresses, who aren't disrobing with much frequency. Studios would love to get these big-name stars (male or female) to get nakesd, as there is more fan interest in seeing someone they know and follow get naked. Suzy Unknown can strip all she wants . . . but what would REALLY sell is having Jennifer Love Hewitt agree to do a topless scene . . . . Shania Twain do a topless scene or layout . . . seeing Jessica Simpson do a topless scene or layout. Those would be big sellers . . the movie studios would be glad to put it out, with minimal worry about "backlash".

And, as I said, I think the greatest impediment to seeing more stars strip (other than their own beliefs or feelings of modesty) are concerns about backlash, not being taken seriously as an actress, seeing them passed up for future roles, and so on. Fans would flock to see their stars do nude scenes . . so where is the problem? I think it is mostly due to the fight from feminists (including academicians) who claim such nudity is exploitive of women, sets a bad example for girls, results in girls feeling badly about themselves cause they don't look like that, etc. These are the people who put the fear into actresses (singers, models) minds, that doing nudes would hurt their image and their careers.
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Nat
Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

November 19th, 2005, 5:37 pm #10

A guy who goes to a movie to see tits will be quite content to see the tits of some unknown actress. Just being a big name star doesn't make their tits better.

As for the feminists movement, it is so weak and disorganized now that I don't even know who leads it anymore. Back in the '60s & '70s feminist leaders were constantly in the news. Today they are just irrelevant.

What's more you are forgetting that feminists did much to encourage the brafree-movement of the '60s & '70s. It was news coverage of feminists burning bras at the 1968 Miss America pageant that really got brafreedom fashion going mainstream. Thats pretty inconsistent with your idea that feminists want to hide breasts.
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