>It seems near impossible to go to a movie these days and not see gratuitous boobage flying around the big screen. Granted, things aren’t as bad these days as they were in the ‘70s and early ‘80s, but once Halle Berry decided that baring her nips would somehow enhance the lame plot of “Swordfish” (which I did not see, but is seems like a very safe assumption that the Berry boobies didn’t add much to the film as characters), the cups in other movies began to floweth over. While I am sure that many guys did drop $9.50 just to see Halle’s Oscars, it strikes me that approximately 50% of the population could have cared less. Or does everyone really love titties? If so, why?
Many years ago I was griping to Dr. P about the prevalence of female nudity and lack of naked men in popular culture and art. “If I want to see a naked women, I’ll take my clothes off and stand in front of my mirror,” I crabbed. “If someone’s gotta be naked for no reason, can’t they throw me a bone once in a while and get a guy to strip down?” Dr. P opined that the female figure is much more beautiful and sensual than the male form.
I thought her explanation was a cop out. There is nothing inherent about beauty – it is created by the norms of society. As long as our social norms are created by straight men who act like horny 15 year olds, of course it will seem natural to have naked women everywhere and easily justify it by saying that naked women are more socially acceptable than men. (Gay guys just prove my point. Somehow, men look beautiful and sensual in their porn movies.) At any rate, there is clearly a higher comfort rate with naked women than men. Most women are inured to seeing naked women, and naked women are even used to sell things to other women.
I can’t help but think that some of our social comfort and even expectation to see women naked stems from the familiarity that both sexes have with nude females. Women tend to be with children more often than men in their daily lives. That means when young boys are out with their moms running errands and need to go potty, they use the women’s bathroom. When they go to the pool or beach, they use women’s locker rooms. They accompany their moms into women’s fitting rooms at department stores. (I cannot express how much I hated this when I was younger and at the pool changing out of my bathing suit, at a store trying on new clothes, or just in the bathroom. Sure, I’d go into the stall and shut the door or curtain, but inevitably some bratty 4 year old boy would yank it open or look under. Even though he was a kid, I had to resist the urge to poke his prying eyes out of his head. Come to think of it, I probably should have and therefore could have prevented future Peeping Toms.) Many children also bathe with their mothers, regardless of their sex. Girls never, or extremely rarely, find themselves with their dads in the men’s restroom, and certainly never in men’s locker rooms. I’ve seen dads ask strange women to take their daughters into bathrooms and women’s locker rooms instead.
I figure this leads to two outcomes: 1) women in various states of undress are common to everyone at all stages of life; and 2) men’s nudity is private, hidden, and afforded more respect. (Unless they are teenage boys hazing each other, but then they are not men, anyway.) Certainly more mysterious.