I've been trying not to write about this because I feel like its a tricky issue to talk about without inflaming passions on all sides. But I was inspired by Maryann Johanson's piece about The Onion, and just felt like I needed to get it out there for the record.
I think Seth MacFarlane is funny--not so funny I wanted to see Ted or any recent episodes of "Family Guy" or stay up and watch the second half of the Oscars, but you know, funny. Ish.
I chuckled through the first part of the Oscars--yes, even at the "We Saw Your Boobs" song. I laughed in particular at the coincidence that at the very same time that song was being performed on TV, my Twitter stream was filled with discussion of whether Anne Hathaway was deliberately displaying her nipples. Art imitating life. In real time!
The song made me think that it was interesting just how many female Oscar winners had shown some nudity at some point in their careers, and I idly wondered if there is a point at which nudity becomes a statment of seriousness. As a female actress, do you have to do a nude scene to show just how committed you are to your craft? And if so, why? Why does showing your boobs demonstrate your level of commitment when many, many male actors are recognized for their seriousness without a nudity requirement?
Now, after the song was over, some people whom I respect said that they thought that the song shamed the actresses by objectifying their bodies. And I can see that. Having watched the Oscar pre-show, I was awash in objectification of women's bodies already, and I didn't see MacFarlane's references to women's bodies as all that different than E!'s, but I can understand how others might.
Later still, I read several pieces that talked about just how many of the movies referenced in the song involved scenes of sexual assault or rape. And that made me like the song a lot less. And yet. The song was not about the characters in the movies exposing their bodies in these horrible situations: it was about the actresses, and the actresses hadn't been coerced in any way (important exception: Scarlett Johansson whose phone was hacked and had nude photos disseminated against her will). Or had they? And so I'm back to thinking about compulsory nudity among serious female actresses, which I think is an interesting and complicated topic--and one that I was made to think about by Seth MacFarlane.