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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » PSA too risqué?

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Author Topic: PSA too risqué?
orca
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A television news station in Washington, DC, will be airing a two-part series on breast cancer, including how to do a breast self-exam. The series will show two women as they perform self-exams, no blurring at all, in order for viewers to see exactly how a self-exam should be done. The fact that the women's breasts will not be blurred at all has caused a stir among some watchdog groups, who worry it's just a stunt for higher ratings during Fall "sweeps." Read the whole story here.

What do you all think of this? Is the watchdog group making a big stink over an important public awareness message? Should the station be allowed to show these unblurred images of women's breasts (one of whom is a cancer survivor herself and found out early by doing a breast self-exam)?

Personally, I'm not a fan of the FCC, and I'm not a fan of the watchdog group that's complaining. As the article says, many women don't know how to do a breast self-exam, or even know that they should be performing them once a month the week after menstruation, starting when you turn 20. Might it be a gimmick for ratings? Possibly. Or the network may have decided to show it at that time when they assumed more people might be tuning in to their TV station so that they can get the word out to as many people as possible. I also think it's pretty absurd that we're okay seeing partially clothed women and men when it's in a sexual context that objectifies and fetishizes them, but not when it's for an important reason like raising awareness about breast cancer. What about all of you? How do you feel about this?

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Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.--Monty Python and the Holy Grail

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September
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My very obvious reaction to this is: Duh. Of course they should be able to show how a breast-self exam works.

Mind, I spent the last eight years living in Europe, where naked breasts on daytime TV are nothing new, and no one cares. I'm always a little surprised when I am reminded how much different things are here.

The bottom line is that breasts really should be a body part like any other. And this isn't about sex, this is about health care. No one is going to watch a program about breast cancer and self-exams and get really turned on by it (or be really damaged by it, for that matter).

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Johanna
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"The question is not who will let me, but who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand

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Ecofem
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I agree with Joey that this is a good idea and about health, not sex... however, I also think you make a good point about ratings, orca.

My fitness center had hands-on models of what healthy versus unhealthy cervixes look and feel like, which I thought was so neat!! However, it also made me aware of how much more I had to learn despite being pretty well-informed. We really need more of this stuff in the US, which starts with getting over the Puritian attitude about nudity (which probably wasn't even as "Puritianic" as we think it was.)

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orca
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Just to clarify, I don't know if it is about ratings, and even if it is, I don't care so long as they are raising awareness. The watchdog group, however, thinks it's all just a bid to get higher ratings.

Joey, it does strike me as rather odd that we do make such a fuss about this in the US when in many other countries, no one would even bat an eyelash. As I said above, it's pretty infuriating, too, when you consider that partially clad males and females are shown on TV in a sexual context all the time (or in ways that dehumanize them and cut them down to just body parts) and people don't get as up-in-arms about that, but as soon as you want to educate people, it's a different story.

Lena, that sounds pretty cool, re: the cervixes. I don't know myself what they would feel like; I just have some vague clue what they would look like based on the diagrams at my OB/GYN's office.

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Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.--Monty Python and the Holy Grail

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eryn_smiles
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Orca,

Your post reminded me of a couple of Youtube videos posted by a well-known TV GP in the UK (Chris Steele) showing how to perform self breast and testicular exams and also emphasizing the importance of doing these regularly. Unfortunately, viewers complained about sexual content and these videos are now restricted to people over 18. This is particularly ridiculous considering that men in the teenage years and early twenties are a significant risk group when it comes to testicular cancer.

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"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare."

Audre Lorde

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TheBexExpress
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I think the intent of the producers of the program is completely irrelevant. So, let's say the show is designed to attract viewers. Does that change the fact that it's delivering important healthcare information to the public? This could have the most cynical motivations in the world behind it, but it would still be a valuable source of information. Censoring the show based on the watchdog group's claims would be ridiculous.
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initium
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I know this would not even be proposed where I live, which is a shame. Advertisements for cancer awareness repeat, ad-lib, "Conduct regular self-exams." How? When? "See a doctor for more information." Ugh.

I think ads like these are vastly important - I speak as someone with a family history of breast cancer, and who's seen quite a number of relatives debilitated by it or dead of it. Anyone who suggests otherwise, and who ascribes a sexual context to - for crying out loud - health issues... well, that just says a lot about our society. >.<

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Onionpie
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I think it's ridiculous; our culture really needs to stop screaming every time a breast is shown.

I think it ties into the whole no-breast-feeding-in-public thing, too. Breasts are viewed as being sexual all the time, and this creates problems because they're really NOT sexual all the time to any stretch of the imagination. Feeding babies isn't sexual. Checking your physical health and well-being isn't sexual. Everyone just needs to get over it.

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StrangePudding
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And that's the thing, too - breasts are not designed first and foremost as a sex organ! they're designed to feed an infant. if that's not what they're used for, that's ok, but it doesn't automatically make them sexual. I mean, you might be able to drive someone just as wild by playing with an earlobe as you could by playing with a breast, but does that mean that your earlobes should be covered at all times, even when they're NOT being used in a sexual context? (I know some people would say yes, but at least where I live the answer is no!)
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