• Where Can Hollywood Go When There Are No Lines Left to Cross?

    by  • July 27, 2017 • Sex, Sexualization • 19 Comments


    The hit HBO series Game of Thrones returned for its seventh season on July 16th, as any user of social media – even those who aren’t fans of the show — will have noticed. Was there ever a show that benefited more from free publicity and word-of-mouth than Game of Thrones?

    But even while in many corners of the World Wide Web, critics and fans alike are eagerly dissecting plot developments and the story arcs of their favorite characters, there is a growing sense that, in their desperation to keep maintain the high level of shock and titillation that characterized past seasons, GoT is starting to turn off once faithful fans.

    Writing for The Guardian, Stuart Jeffries shares his experience of souring on the show once he came to realize “how right Ian McShane was when he described Game of Thrones as ‘only t*ts and dragons,’ by which he meant, surely, formulaic hokum that degrades its viewers by commodifying women’s bodies, making entertainment out of sexual torture and pimping up its spectacles.”

    One might wonder why it took seven seasons for Jeffries to finally realize what one director frankly admitted to in a 2012 interview, when he shared that an unnamed producer said to him, “’Look, I represent the pervert side of the audience, okay? Everybody else is the serious drama side—I represent the perv side of the audience, and I’m saying I want full-frontal nudity in this scene.’ So you go ahead and do it.” Nevertheless, the fact that he finally is coming to this realization is, at least, some progress.

    But the problem is certainly not unique to Game of Thrones. An aspiring actress, disgusted by the endless casting calls requiring nudity from female actors, took to posting the notices on her Tumblr page, “Casting Call Woe”: “Fake boobs are a plus,” “We can pay for any plastic surgery she may require for the movie.” “Be sexy. It sells,” “Nudity required but not shown on film,” “NOT UGLY.” These are for so-called “legitimate” roles, mind.

    The backlash is building.

    Writing for CNN, actress and activist RaVal Davis observes, “For far too long, naked women have become such a staple in TV and film that it’s hard to notice, much less quantify, the inequality unfolding right before our eyes. But a recent study from Mount Saint Mary’s University did just that and found that actresses are almost three times as likely as their male counterparts to be required to strip to their unmentionables… Undoubtedly, female nudity has become an accomplice to get viewers through bad plotlines and awkward acting. And sometimes it’s just the cherry atop the box office sundae. “

    She continues, “But it’s not only an issue for the viewer. It’s an even larger issue for the actress being asked to display her body. As a new actress trying my best to break into episodic television, I have to admit I cringe every time I read those typical female character breakdowns. You know the ones: The waitress in the club who has no more than five lines but happens to have sex with the main male character. She’s totally inconsequential to the plot but helps move the episode along somehow. And, of course, NUDITY REQUIRED or MUST BE OK WITH NUDITY is bolded at the bottom of the script. It’s degrading but seemingly sometimes a necessary evil for actresses to make their way above the five-line mark.”

    But though Davis correctly identifies the problem, she misses the mark in offering up solutions. She points to the film “Girls Trip,” as correcting the balance by featuring male nudity, instead.

    And then what? When we’ve crossed every line, where is there left to go? Maybe instead of seeking parity in the nudity featured in entertainment we should instead try telling better stories that don’t rely on nudity to draw-in the viewers.



    Ms. Henson is a noted expert on entertainment industry trends and the how the impact of entertainment affects children and the American popular culture at large. She also directs the organization’s Advertiser Accountability Campaign, which encourages companies to sponsor family-friendly entertainment. She previously supervised the research and program content analysis operations of the PT and produced a number of groundbreaking PTC studies that document the levels of graphic sex, violence and profanity on television. Some of those reports include: The Ratings Sham I & II, Dying to Entertain, Faith in a Box, The Sour Family Hour, The Blue Tube, and TV Bloodbath. She began her career with the PTC in 1997 as an entertainment analyst, documenting instances of inappropriate content on television. Ms. Henson has appeared on a variety of television shows including Fox News Channel’s The O’Reilly Factor, Your World with Neil Cavuto, The Big Story, CNN Headline News’ ShowBiz Tonight, CNBC’s On the Money, MSNBC’s Scarborough Country, and CBN’s Newswatch. She is a frequent guest on radio talk shows across the country and has been quoted extensively in news sources such asEntertainment Weekly, Time, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, USA Today, New York Daily News, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, Variety, Associated Press, Reuters, and Bloomberg. Ms. Henson is a graduate of the University of Virginia where she received a BA in Government. She resides in Falls Church, Va., with her husband and their son.

    19 Responses to Where Can Hollywood Go When There Are No Lines Left to Cross?

    1. Justin
      September 15, 2017 at 4:58 pm

      These days it seems like there’s a very thin line between filming a primetime network TV show and a XXX porno. Actresses having to be naked onset during filming for quick sex scenes?

      “The waitress in the club who has no more than five lines but happens to have sex with the main male character. She’s totally inconsequential to the plot but helps move the episode along somehow. And, of course, NUDITY REQUIRED or MUST BE OK WITH NUDITY is bolded at the bottom of the script.”

    2. Frank
      August 7, 2017 at 9:34 am

      I agree with Ms. Henson, the solution isn’t showing more male nudity. You don’t justify one bad behavior with another. I pre screen all R rated movies before I spend my money. The idea that families are sitting down together watching basically Soft porn is insane. If people think GOT is bad then they should see what is going on at the Starz Channel , Ian Mcshane who stars in American Gods shouldn’t throw stones that show is totally disgusting the worst I have ever seen. I agree the MPAA is a total joke what ever happened to NC-17 Rating. Awhile ago i came across an article that basically said that the NC-17 rating is a kiss of death to a movie. Movie producers put extreme pressure on the MPAA not to get that rating. Personally I believe that there should be a new rating SX which would stand for Soft X. I find this situation so troubling and disturbing I’m am truly disgusted! Thank God most R rated movies loose money and nobody goes to see them.

    3. Diana
      August 2, 2017 at 12:41 pm

      I’m also fed up by the so much sexuality, nudity on TV. I think it’s enough to have private Youtube channels that render such things with the condition that your account is for a 18+ person, meaning that you are 18+ to be able to see it and also I hate when some movies slip on the screen of TV that contain a moment of sex or nudity – there are movies like this who “slip” on TV at hours not very late, hours when children can watch. Also, it’s outrageous that the majority of people lost their shame and do anything for money – at least don’t do it so publicly (go work in brothels, night clubs), do not show off your skin and sex on the public screen. What do you teach the people? Anyone does sex with anyone, anywhere. Are we animals? Do we not have morals anymore? Even some animals build a place to have sex or hide somewhere.

    4. Linda Vigue
      August 1, 2017 at 12:20 pm

      The media, especially television, continues to desensitize the people to violence, sex and all sorts of atrocities. Shame, shame.

    5. Peggy f.
      July 31, 2017 at 3:24 pm

      The degradation, violence and profanity allowed on tv is contributing to the increased degradation of the American society. It saddens and worries me for kids in the young generation being subjected to it.

    6. roy veteto
      July 30, 2017 at 6:49 pm

      believe it or not there was a time when tv didn’t exist and people lived in spite of it. i watch very little on the tube. i don’t condone violence, profanity , nudity , or sex on anything i view . any show , movie or performer that has to depend on swear words or taking clothes off doesn’t have much going for it.

    7. Fran
      July 30, 2017 at 2:18 pm

      I turn tv off any of the vulgar language, nakedness, etc. It is time to realize what this is doing to our teens and younger children when you have parents who do not care or not at home.

    8. Boz
      July 30, 2017 at 1:46 pm

      When all else is done, hen they will start having live executions of Christians. Not very far from now.

    9. Judy Swett
      July 29, 2017 at 10:25 am

      Commercial TV is a perpetrator of banality. No wonder we are in chaos.
      I choose to watch news, PBS and read.

    10. Angelia
      July 29, 2017 at 8:30 am

      I was ridiculed just the other day with a comment I made on the PTC site by another commentator. He told me , “Don’t watch.” You don’t have to watch the shows to see what is being shown. You can watch the news and see the commercials of those shows and even with edited version, it’s not worth seeing. Proponents for these shows claim we don’t have a right to censure them. I’m sure the Roman Empire felt the same way with their entertainment. It wasn’t long before they fell after their moral decay. We learn nothing from history!!!

    11. M. Forest
      July 28, 2017 at 9:41 pm

      Since moving across the country (2009) for a new chapter in my life, I haven’t subscribed for any “entertainment service” whether it’s cable, satellite, mail order movies or streaming over the internet originally out of financial constraints. We don’t even have rabbit ears (digital or otherwise) and my children watch ONLY what my wife decides they can watch…if they’ve earned it!

      Even when our budget has a surplus, what passes for any form of television entertainment these days, isn’t even on the list of considerations, nor will it ever be. Nowadays, we don’t even have time for it! We don’t miss it. From what I hear, read and see in the news tickers & co-workers, my family isn’t missing out on anything that could contribute positively to their lives.

    12. Liz W G
      July 28, 2017 at 7:31 pm

      I know this is Parents TV Council, but I want to talk about how it’s affecting parents and grandparents, i. e. in the nursing homes. I work on the memory care floor. Every room has access to satellite TV. Some of the patients are unable to manage the controls of their TV’s and there are very few good choices on TV anymore. As I walk from room to room every evening I see TVs showing excessive violence – no wonder our patients are so agitated. A few nights ago, in 3 rooms, I saw men watching graphic sexual acts being performed on the BET network. I blurted out, why are you watching such garbage?!! Many of these elderly men are widowers. We have enough trouble with some of them trying to grope the nurses without the TV inciting them. I doubt if their families know what they are being exposed to. A stroke victim was watching a show where DNA paternity tests show cheating women and heartbroken children, to all the world. He said “I’m not interested in this stuff.” So I found the channel showing the Waltons. He was able to relax and smile. I would like to do the same for all of the patients, but I don’t know if I would need permission.

    13. M. Schubert
      July 28, 2017 at 9:42 am

      Totally fed up. I just turn whatever show it is off!!!

      • B J
        July 29, 2017 at 10:11 am

        I’ve ditched the TV as well. Even the commercials were sexual or vulgar. Now choose Netflix which offers Some awful “mature” shows and only a very few PG shows. If the writers cannot provide a good show without sex, violence and offensive language, I really don’t care to view it. Also tired of weak, victimized women. If a guy has his hands around your throat, your fists, knees and feet are free to strike back. Don’t just stand there like you are doomed to die or be abused because you are a woman and that’s what so end do.
        Years ago I got hooked on Grey’s Anatomy and Desperate Housewives. By season two of both, I felt I should not watch them as a Christian, because instead of learning and being redeemed, they sought out sin all the more. There’s only do much of that you can take before you cut the ties and reach for something more spiritually fulfilling.

    14. Stephen Joseph Bauer
      July 28, 2017 at 8:56 am

      This is the sad reality or our time. Unfortunately, not enough women and groups like N.O.W. are picketing the TV stations and corporations who have commercials on these trashy movies. Liberal Chris Dodd is the head of MPAA (Motions Picture Assoc of America. He gets a six figure retirement as a former Senator, all health care paid and now makes millions as the head of the MPPA. Women are treated like sex objects every day. This is the real war on women but I don’t see women or women’s groups complaining. Why? I try to do my part by writing to people of influence, writing sponsors and other grass roots ideas. Write Chris Dodd.

      • E
        August 1, 2017 at 3:27 am

        Plenty of women are aware of this disparity. I read the GoT but have no desire to sit there are watch it with my husband. Many women have been outraged and alienated by the sort of mindless sex and violence of this program but it doesn’t matter if men don’t say anything and stick up for women. Why do women’s groups have to be the only ones speaking up for women?

      • moax429
        August 2, 2017 at 5:03 pm

        Good luck. Chances are he’ll just laugh off all correspondence.

        But for those who hope they can get through to Dodd, tell him to abolish the MPAA’s appeals board. That way, the trashy movies that are rated R now would be properly rated NC-17. And if Judd Apatow, Kevin Smith, etc., etc., ad nauseum (who must be close friends of Dodd’s) don’t like that idea, then – as I said in another posting – they have the right to release their sick product *without* a rating (but with a warning, for example, saying, “Adults Only – No One Under 18 Admitted”).

      • Peter Nyikos
        August 4, 2017 at 8:43 am

        One answer is that the feminist movement, which includes NOW, has been hijacked by abortion rights fanatics and is ignoring other issues of concern to women. We saw that recently when a pro-life group of feminists was barred from a rally ostensibly representing women.

    15. July 28, 2017 at 8:47 am

      I do not watch TV much anymore for the fear of being assaulted by the evil on the TV screen!
      All too much skin on the tube and I do not care for it!

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *