Boobs

So my first response to this song was outrage, and I empathized with the actresses looking so upset on screen. I found myself wondering if their reactions were real, or if it was simply Hollywood staged as usual.

Then I stopped for a moment, and realized it didn’t really matter.  It didn’t matter if it was real, it didn’t matter if they were hurt, the question is, why were they hurt/why did Hollywood portray them as victims of the humor?  It was a song about boobs.  There was no sexualization in it.  There was no shaming in it.  Why did Jennifer Lawrence get to be the victor in the song with her proud smile and fist pump because she hadn’t shown her tits?  Are displaying one’s tits for a movie something that should bring about feelings of shame if mentioned in public?

Incredibly enough, as much as I dislike Seth McFarlane’s brand of humor, I think he actually opened up an interesting dialogue with that particular song.  Yes, the song is inflammatory because it is speaking of ‘private’ body parts, but if the coin had been flipped and it was a song entitled ‘We saw your dick’, would the males be hanging their head in shame, or laughing at the inanity of it all?  Would a particular male get to fist pump and grin if his penis hadn’t been shown on screen?

Which ties back to, oh god, how didactic I must sound, slutshaming culture.  As the broken record goes, in American culture today, the female body is shameful and must be covered, and this is perpetuated by both males and females.  I fully admit to my hackles being instantly raised when I felt the actresses were being attacked, but in reality the actresses were not under attack in the slightest.  The song was scandalous due to speaking about private body parts, but the song was uncomfortable because females have been taught to feel ashamed in public forums if our body has ever been on display to the public, even in fictions created by Hollywood.  And I found myself caught in this stupid trap while analyzing this video until someone logic’d me out of it.

I usually hate this type of humor, but now I’m wondering if I just never looked deep enough into it.  How upsetting.

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About Alicen Lewis

Find me on BaiRabbit.wordpress.com! Archived Blog: Previously a summer intern for the startup incubator Idealab, during the school year I am also on the board of the Scripps College Professionals Network, Team Leader and Head Web Designer for Scripps College IT for Faculty, and President of Scripps Women in Technology. My previous experience includes working Digital New Media with Geek & Sundry, a Los Angeles Commercial YouTube company.

Posted on February 25, 2013, in Gender/Sexuality, Growing Up and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. How did you not get the fact that of course those were staged reacctions, it was a vision of something that hadn’t even happened yet. It was a flash-forward to what MacFarlane was GOING to do, that Kirk was warning him not to.

    • I’m not really worried if it was staged or not, I just found it unfortunate that, whether real or staged, it looked as though the females were portraying negative emotions if their breasts had been shown, and glorified if they had not.

  2. I agree with you about women feeling they have to be ashamed of showing their breasts. Women’s bodies showing on film shouldn’t be a big deal. But this song kind of makes it a big deal. And there is definitely sexualization in the song (he sings about being aroused. Plus, a song about all the breasts you’ve seen on a lot of talented actresses in some very serious and well-made films, where nothing else about their performances is mentioned – reducing women to their bodies much?).

    And as another blogger pointed out, a lot of the breast-showing that’s mentioned in the song occurs during rape or molestation scenes (one even in a rape+murder scene). I have to say I find that pretty distasteful. Regardless of the intention or message of the song, it’s a clear case of sexualizing and reducing women AND the stories about sexual assault in some of the movies, both of which I say “not OK”.

    So I don’t think you even need to dig that deep to find this song unnerving – especially not if you consider the rest of the Oscars and McFarlane many sexist and creepy comments that were not part of a sketch.
    But like I said, the shaming-thing I agree with. I hadn’t thought about it like that before. So thanks for that new perspective. 🙂

    • Yeah, unfortunately the only part of my opinion I’m confident about is that the staged reactions of the actresses were wrong and sent a terrible message. I’m still trying to work out my opinon on Seth McFarlane, and I can completely understand all the points you made regarding the ‘goodness’ of that particular song.

      • Yes, I totally agree that they were. Maybe you don’t have to judge McFarlane based on the Oscars. I don’t know if he even wrote his own lines (I’m sure his comments weren’t spur of the moment, but pretty well planned).

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