by Ralph Greco, Jr.
The change was noticeable but unspecific to my initial glance. To censor is a malleable tool. I was caught unaware (and making a large part of my living writing for the adult field, I would have thought I would have known well beforehand). But it seems presently, television networks at least E! network programs can now show the full derrière, known in some circles as the colloquial tush. I hesitate to use the word crack as it’s associated with the drug though the tush can serve as a fetish. Sexual innuendos can be a confusing wordplay business. As in this case, I’m referring to the full booty, the up, down, and in-between of a person’s complete ‘down there,’ back-of-front.
I was alerted to this change watching the beginning of the new season of the popular plastic surgery fix-it-all show Botched. At the start of the third episode, the show featured a bouncy buxom blonde standing in her home, au naturel. Showing her from the front, as I suspected they would be, her obvious fake and enhanced breasts were blurred in post-production editing around her nipple and areola, and of course, there was a big blurry patch set between her legs. But when the lady turned to walk away from the camera, I was surprised to see her complete, ‘unblurred’ naked derriere. Just a year ago, watching this same series, which by its very nature of fixing bodies, and the nipping and tucking of human parts (real or not), shows lots of skin, the powers-that-be usually blurred ‘offending’ body parts like the fashionable exterior fissure in the buttocks. It only becomes an issue if you look deeper. Internal organs make their own statement.
The glorious buttocks…Now we see one!
Who’d have thunk it?
The thing that’s always surprised me about the nudity American network television has hidden from us—or at least blurs—is that we see lots of breast flesh and copious acreage of buttocks, even when nipple and crevice are obscured. And even though, nipples and areolas specifically don’t cover all that much human real-estate, for decades, television censors have seen fit to cover the crack, the nipple, and various holes (lumping these three together like this instantly suggests that famous trio of erotic sculptures by Allen Jones, “Hatstand, Table and Chair”). Hell, people are still making a big deal out of the flash of Janet Jackson’s nipple we were all supposedly traumatized over during Super Bowl 2004’s halftime program (J.J. addresses it even in her recently run A&E/Lifetime documentary, “JANET JACKSON”).
Be it tush, nipple, or the exits and entrances of the sensual and sensitive, I believe what censors, a few theologically adrift, and many politicians have tried to keep us from seeing and then obviously thinking about is the potential functionality of these parts. And if we even manage a momentary tickle of thought about function, God forbid we might have occasion to consider, and maybe want to see—just for reality’s sake—the secretions these parts…well…secrete.
Or at the very least, we might see the ooze, ejaculate, and spill only to realize, ‘Hey, none of this is all that very offense, really.’ Why is it more acceptable to display the victims of a bloody siege, battle, or war? Life is certainly not a Disney or Hallmark movie though escape fluff may lighten a nurturing though troubled heart.
Now we are allowed full booty and to lay our eyes on the potential narrative of the diverse shapes of the buttocks, delighting in the exterior flesh, but feeling somewhat uneasy or even queasy with its purpose and the associated secretions and fluids! Unless you’re in a Luis Buñuel 1974 film titled, The Phantom of Liberty where in one scene the guests defecate in toilets in one room while in conversation with each other and they eat in private as if it was the most personal and private of human acts.
I suppose the external is preferable to the internal and glad the skin is colorful and not transparent.
As a society, are we still evolving? Have we come to a comfort level with our fluids, bodily noises, scents, and smells that we are now admitting to our rarified standing as the planet’s dominant yet lovingly flawed creature, what Desmond Morris called “The Naked Ape?” Is there hope for us in accepting each other as pretty much so much more similar than we are different (when it comes to our rectums, you know the old joke about how we all have…)
In growing past the fear of full booty, will we see past the differences in the color of our skins, our divergent views on politics and religion, and raise or chins from our cell phones to embrace the empathy needed to regard each other with dignity and respect, furrowing a way forward where harmony and humanhood will see us at our best even though we so often show our worst?
Are we freeing ourselves of centuries of shackles that our younger generation even now shows they won’t be bound by? Is there indeed more hope on the horizon for us all than any one of us even dare dream?
Nah, it’s just network television trying to complete with cable by throwing us the crumbs of what makes us human.
We’re not evolving.