I don’t watch HBO’s long-running series Entourage for many reasons. The greatest flaw for me as a viewer: it’s pathologically boring. Its other weakness in my opinion—and it’s here that my sex comes into play as a viewer—is its enduring commitment to depicting women as disposable sex toys, brainless bimbos who frolic nude and automatically romp with the series’ regulars as if programmed by those dorks from Weird Science.
I’m not saying the male characters on Entourage are richly fleshed out in comparison—because they aren’t—but at least they have the luxury of their XL golf shirts and jeans to cover up their one-dimensionality.
Writer Mary McNamara recently took HBO to task for what she sees as its frequent reliance on gratuitous female nudity. In a column for the LA Times, McNamara cited the new HBO series Game of Thrones as one of the network’s more obvious culprits in this regard, calling it out for its often ridiculous use of female nudity to compel viewer attention.
McNamara doesn’t object to nudity in its entirety but she does object to a certain kind—the unnecessary type or why is she nude again genre? For McNamara there are “breasts” on TV and there are “tits” on TV, and the difference comes down to context.
Basically, McNamara’s argument is this: Show me breasts in a love scene or suitably appropriate scenario and I buy it. But don’t throw tits in my face when there’s no dramatic justification for it, i.e., in another brothel or strip club.
Though one writer called her concern about excessive nudity puritanical, McNamara has a point.
I am a fan of Game of Thrones—it’s a great show that I highly recommend—but there are many times during the past season where I found myself wondering just what the heck the series’ creators were thinking during certain scenes, particularly a graphic rape scene that wasn’t in the book (the show is based on George R. Martin’s bestselling books) and an extremely graphic and extended sex simulation between two women.
Is it puritanical of me to wonder why men aren’t depicted as carelessly on TV? I don’t think so. In fact, I think it’s a valid critical response. More importantly, I’ve never heard a satisfying answer for the difference.
Female viewers—we are legion HBO, and often home on Friday and Saturday nights—should have the right to query series’ writers and creators for their artistic decisions (and I mean query not censor). Because if the show’s writers can’t justify their choices then you’ve got to wonder if the reasons for all those bouncing boobs aren’t so artistic in the first place.