Nudity is bad, violence is okay. REALLY??

By Kenneth

Growing up in an evangelical Christian environment I always noticed two profound things about their view of movies; nudity is bad, violence is okay.

If you didn’t read my article about breastfeeding in public or nudity in film, this is an extension of those two.

At what point in our society did watching a dude kill a zillion people on film become okay for little Susie, but if a girl shows a little boobage on film it will end up traumatizing little Johnny for life?

I’ve never really understood this rationale.

I should probably add a disclaimer that I’m not endorsing graphic gratuitous sexuality in film, there is definitely a point where it can go from being art to being nothing more than objectification and a way in which Hollywood elites (mainly men) suppress the female gender.

I’ve always been uncomfortable with the way our society has demonized nudity but is completely desensitized to violence.

At a church I attended for quite a long time, the men in leadership would occasionally attend a movie together. The movie choice could never contain any elements of sexuality or nudity (since the minister went with them no nipples could be seen on screen) but they never had a problem with watching films with heavy doses of killing and violence.

Has anyone ever thought about the message you are sending to our children? Nakedness is evil, violence is cool.

I used to have a client who liked going to nudist resorts. He was really weird. From the experience of knowing him I am quite confident I will never go within a thousand yards of a nudist resort, that is for sure.

I’ve just never been into extremes. Nudist resorts seem extreme to me. Christians who say any form of nudity in art seem extreme to me. Remember when Attorney General John Ashcroft had the Spirit of Justice statue covered up because he was uncomfortable being photographed in front of a nude statue?

What’s wrong with people in the United States? Or is this a problem that other countries deal with as well?

For now, I think I’ll have another cup of coffee


Categories: Correlations & Contradictions, Really???, sex

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

176 replies

  1. I’ve often thought that myself.

    • Yea, a couple months ago I went to the theater and saw the film Taken 2 (a typical R-rated violent action film) and a family a few rows in front of us had brought with them their two children who couldn’t of been older than 2 and 4. Do parents think its cool for little children to see very violent films?

    • I don’t know, but I remember a couple with their kindergartener in I AM LEGEND and thought the same thing. But there were no boobs in it so…

    • Thats the point! I sometimes wonder how some of the new generation parents forget the consequences of violent movies can affect children’s psychology.

    • As a parent its hard with the British paedo culture to think of allowing my child to be open about nudity, pretty scary times here but I whole heartedly agree on the violence aspect. I recall waking one morning and ended up watching a child’s education programme about Greek mythology, where they graphically depicted Medusa being beheaded and in that moment I though how is this ok but people being affectionate on television isn’t? It makes very little sense other than profit to shareholders. x

    • Too many parents would allow their children watch and play violent cartoons, movies and computer games and yet censor nudity and/or sexuality. It seems that for those parents (and their children), it is perfectly fine and unobjectionable to see people being exploited, discriminated against, tortured, injured and killed in various way everyday in film or in real life, and yet to be exposed to any overt act or explicit portrayal of sexuality in the media, films, documentaries and scientific studies, is considered to be far worse and objectionable.

    • This is such a spot on commentary of a very American/Christian mentality. You hit on something that blows my mind. As a woman coming to America from Europe in my teens, it was the first thing I noticed that was strange about that twisted logic. I think as long as nudity doesn’t become pornographic or disturbing, it should be far more acceptable than a desensitizing, extremely violent, American pop culture. You might even say that Hollywood should spend more time making passionate love scenes a part of their formula for actual good influence. Again, if an early teen could see that affection in the nude was a loving experience and not painted as dirty or taboo, maybe that would be more effective than sex education which is just an extreme scare tactic that often has kids only learning about all the negative results such as std’s and teen pregnancy. It’s about common sense and human instinct.

  2. You had me at your first sentence. My experience completely. I’ve lost quite a few FB friends and others because I post “nude” artwork or photos. Their reaction is just so bizarre to me. It’s fun (and sad) to watch some of the flame-ups when people post risque photos on Pinterest. It sometimes feels like an inquisition.

    My question: why is this the case?

  3. Myers, I’m no expert on the subject, but I guess if we’re going to pin it down on one thing it would have to be the Victorian era when the mere glimpse of a woman’s ankle was considered scandalous. (

    It’s too bad people have their priorities so mixed up. With the advent of such violent video games, it would be nice if parents eased up on their attitude towards the human body and were more concerned with senseless violence.

    • Hi Culturemonk – I don’t think we can fully blame the Victorians as these extreme reactions to nudity aren’t so common in places like England. I think the US has a particular culture of what’s okay and what’s not. Another thing is drinking – some Americans seem to act like it’s horrific whereas going to the pub is a normal everyday thing in England.

  4. I’ve lived in Germany for more than 20 years and it is fascinating that a film seen on American tv will cut the nudity/sexuality scenes, while the Germans limit the violence. It’s like watching 2 completely different films. —Jadi

    • Great example!

      For some reason American’s have bought into the idea that nudity is more destructive for a society than violence…it doesn’t make any sense.

    • Exactly. It is more gratifying to watch most European films because of this fact. It serms like grown-ups made them. Why do bodies gey demonized and gore glorified in American films (mostly). Some indie films are hip, but not many.

  5. I think the problem with nudity is simply based on the Puritan standards that we have never given up in our minds, or souls. As for violence? I think it is considered ok, but that is reality of life. I could argue that both are in the realm of life but no one wants to hear my views on that usually. Perhaps the simple answer is that we are lustful human beings and seeing nudity makes us desire someone other than our spouse/partner?

    • Celtic….I agree that violence is definitely an element of life, it seems like war in places like the Middle East, the Sudan, etc. are never ending. I guess what bugs me is the way my society embraces violence (in film, video games, etc) but shuns nudity. I’m not suggesting that films shouldn’t contain violence, in representing truth (the truth of war, domestic violence, etc) portraying violence becomes necessary.

      However, Western society often does not consider the ramifications of glorifying violence and shunning nudity.

    • No, it doesn’t and I wish our media wasn’t so violent but I seriously doubt it will ever change, our news stations are some of the worst with over covering violent crimes. I think you would like the course I’m taking: Media, Crime and Criminal Justice…it is very interesting but so sad to people like us.

    • Good thoughts and I agree, I think things are pretty much going to stay the same.

      Your class sounds really interesting. I never took an entire course on media & crime but in my psychology course work the role of media in relation to violence and aggressive behavior came up all the time and it was always fascinating to study.

  6. I now dislike the idea of watching violence on TV or at the movies and avoid it. But 2 years ago I discovered nudist beaches in the Greek Islands (and soon Croatia) and life is great! Nudity on such beaches with like-minded people has nothing to do with sexuality but all to do with being free physically and mentally of the normal humdrum of our everyday lives. The Europeans know something the rest of us don’t.

    • Thanks, you bring up a good point,

      After I wrote the post last month I realized I came down hard against nude beaches without intending to do so…they are not for me, but I don’t have a problem if people are into that kind of thing.

      Germany definitely seems more laid back than the U.S. when it comes to nudity.

      I think I was looking for a metaphor of an extreme (in relation to nudity) and the only thing that came to mind at the time was the particular client of mine who seemed a bit overly-obsessed w/ nude beaches, he was very open and honest w/ his motivations for going to them and it was to gawk (he actually used the word ‘lust’) at women.

      Maybe a better metaphor of an extreme in relation to nudity would be a film in which the director includes a nude scene; not because of any artistic reasons or anything meaningful, but merely because he/she is appealing to a low common denominator.

      Have you ever seen Schindler’s List? There’s a great example of what I would say is a good use of nudity in film.

      I’m very moderate in many of my thoughts on life and don’t usually lean towards extremes on any side of an issue.

    • Glad to hear an American say this. Really, nude beaches in Germany have as much to do with sex as do house slippers. In fact, when I compare the US and Germany with regard to their view of the human body it is really remarkable how on the one hand people in the US cover up a lot more vut on the other hand the society is much more sexualized. I’d say your clients reason of going to the nude beach to stare at women is quite American, as those people certainly exist in Germany as well but most people really go because it’s much more convenient not having to change your clothes after swimming or risk catching a cold in the wet swimwear. Especially for children, who generally go swimming naked, this is an important aspect. Will never forget how my friend told me after moving to the US that she was told at the beach that her two year old had to wear a swimsuit.

  7. sex and nudity is normal, just not too much gratuitous kind, violence on the other hand, while we can be a violent species, do we really need to be so desensitised. No wonder people runa round taking lives – it seems to be like a huge game, but Charlie Sheen with his harem is just way too much.. go figure.

    • Charlie Sheen without his harem is way too much! LOL…although you’re in Australia…isn’t the culture there a little bit more laid back towards sex and nudity? In the U.S. we are WAY too uptight about such things.

    • i figured that, yes and no. there are some odd ideas floating around, getting eerily similar to those of the US. Some games come out and are banned because of too much violence, so I don’t know anymore. ~sigh~ Generally speaking though, i think slightly more laid back.

  8. Hi, I am from Germany, grew up as a nudist and have never understood why Americans are so weird in that department. But then, we consider them weird in general.

    When I came to your country first, only a few days later Nipplegate happened, and I could not understand what the problem was. OK, so there was like half a nipple seen on TV for a second. And? What was the problem again? Coming from a culture where magazines with bare breasted woman are laying around in supermarkets, this was something my new In-Laws could not explain to me. And I still don’t get it.

    Meanwhile I got used to it. But I have insisted on buying a house far away from human neighbours, because I need to be naked in the summer. With neighbours, in this country I would actually get arrested if I walked through my own yard in my birth day suit. And in case a child would sit in a window watching me, I would even be registered as a sex offender! Yes, no doubt, I don’t want American neighbours.

    On the other hand, abusing animals or children is perfectly OK. 9-year-olds are taught to shoot with real weapons, and that won’t harm them, no… But seeing female breasts, that would make them blind, or so. Pets are killed in millions in so-called shelters here. (What exactly is a shelter if you are not sheltered?) Several states allow children to be beaten by their parents or teachers. That is all OK. But naked people? No, that would harm the children.

    I am scared of people with that mindset.

    • Ya everything you said is right on….I was actually having a conversation with a friend last week because we were discussing whether or not it was right that people get arrested in in the U.S. for being topless, etc. and I was arguing that we need to relax our laws quite a bit.

      I mean, its definitely one thing if you walk naked into a grocery store…but I know that’s not what your talking about.

      I don’t understand why people in the U.S. think they’re children will be traumatized if they see a naked person, and that was the point I was trying to make in my post. If a child sees a naked person; no big deal, so what. Yet so many people have a problem with that.

      However, Americans in general don’t have a problem if they or their children see a dude get decapitated in a film.

      It seems like a bizarre double standard.

      Your comments are much appreciated. Thanks.

  9. I have a daughter-in-law from Germany whose parents were missionaries in Tanzania. She was horrified at the level of violence my son tolerated in movies after they married (we’re from the U.S.), and he was horrified by her seeming lack of concern over nudity. My theory is that both are deeply anti Christian values and shouldn’t be tolerated…along with profanity. It’s very limiting, but I’m thinking that’s what an attempt at living a holy life demands.

    • When I first got of the plane in London (my first time in Europe) I instantly realized that American culture is very different than the rest of the world. Your point is well taken in that there is quite a major difference between cultures.

      Don’t you think sometimes that Christians have maybe focused a little bit too much on the wrong sins ?

      When I was growing up in evangelical culture a lot of time was spent focusing drinking, smoking, cussing, etc.

      but…. very little attention was paid towards making a positive impact in the community; i.e. helping the poor, feeding the homeless, helping single mothers, paying the bills for widows, etc.

      I mean….things like cussing, nudity, etc….they don’t seem like that big a deal compared to the major problems that families and people face on a day-to-day basis.

      I have a certification in addictions counseling and worked pro-bono for the past 12 months at a rehab clinic and I didn’t see any other Christians volunteering their time….yet the need was/is very great.

      I don’t want to sound contentious at all…I appreciate your comments a lot….I think there are elements of this issue which have wider implications.

    • First, thanks for your sensitivity to the needs of the poor and your hard work to alleviate suffering. Bravo! My husband is the CMO of a Christian psychiatric hospital, and I have a son working as a dentist in a clinic that cares for the poor, so I am totally on-board with your perception that as a Church body universal, we’ve become absorbed in protecting and indulging ourselves rather than sacrificially giving to others. I am at fault in this area myself, so I’m pointing to me, not just the ubiquitous “others” of the world. However, I really believe that carelessness with dress is a stumbling block that often leads to people making poor choices such as addictions to pornography or a focus on the body that might make people even more tempted to stray from their mate because someone else has more physical appeal, etc. Same with profanity. Taking the Lord’s name “in vain” (as meaninglessness) shows a lack of respect for God and an underlying lack of faith. A lack of faith (to me) is a HUGE problem, because “without faith it’s impossible to please God.” I take that to mean that anything less than the motivation to do good because we love God and all his creation will likely be selfish and therefore lack genuine, altruistic love, which is (I believe) what God intends for us and is that which produces true goodness in us and others. So, if we overlook/are careless about being concerned with nudity, profanity, violence, etc., won’t we be much more likely to be generally permissive (with ourselves) in other areas too? Remember how Jesus said that tithing was good, but that there are also “weightier” matters that should not be neglected? I’m thinking that caring for the poor is MORE IMPORTANT than nudity, but that both are genuine concerns, because it is a life of immoderation and sin that often leads to poverty in the first place.

  10. It’s the same sort of disconnect that allows “Christians” to walk right past someone sleeping on the sidewalk as they’re on their way into church.

    • Gosh its so sad isn’t it? It’s interesting you use the word ‘disconnect’ because I’ve been using that term quite a bit when I write on the subject of Christianity and culture. There is a MAJOR disconnect between theology and real life unfortunately.

  11. Very interesting article. You got me thinking. Thanks!

  12. There’s a separation here that I think is important. You have nudity (sex) and violence that exist in a fantasy world that I think is probably unavoidable, entirely normal, and characteristic of most of the human race. Then you have actual nudity (sex) and violence in the “real” world. Two very different kettles of fish. If sex and violence started to blend together in some unfathomable way in my dream or fantasy life and I couldn’t explain it myself, I may be worried enough to seek counsel. Sex and violence in the “real” world is subject to cultural differences of all kinds, We all have our own moral compasses on these issues, but when they mix in the real world, most of us find the result abhorrent. Personally, I’m no more offended by nudity than by mixed martial arts. Put them together and you’ve got long prison terms. Good blog, culturemonk–very thought provoking.

    • OK, thank you Crow for pointing out what exactly I find so disturbing on Americans: Nudity = Sex!

      No, you are totally wrong, it actually isn’t that way at all!

      Nudity means, you are naked doing whatever you are doing everyday, washing dishes, playing ball or chess, eating, sun bathing, swimming, weeding the garden, harvesting cherries or strawberries, whatever…

      Why are Americans always thinking Nudity equals Sex? I guess that is where the problems are coming from. They see a naked person and think “SEX” immediately. I don’t! I only see a naked person, nothing else. Actually, I don’t even think naked people are very erotic. In fact, when I am totally honest, I must say that there is nothing less erotic than naked people. HALF-naked people are erotic, but naked people are only naked, nothing else. But this is the view of a West German who grew up as a Nudist.

      I have looked into Nudist camps over here, luckily they have web sites. I couldn’t believe it! This is so sleazy! So Nudist camps here are for swingers or singles who are looking for erotic adventures? Booaah, I am shuddering! This is NOT what a Nudist camp should be like at all!

      I fear there is no regular (asexual) Nudist Camp on this side of the Atlantic, so I am staying in my own yard.

      Crow, seriously, you haven’t understood what Nudism is about. Not at all. Not a tiny bit! I am sorry for you.

  13. Hello there–And thank you for stopping by my blog and showing support. That’s a genuinely kind gesture, and I’m genuinely grateful. I appreciate the comments in this thread. Interesting. Especially interesting is the exchange with Kathi, I think. I am greatly concerned, as are you, with the escalation of casual/recreational sex and of social-media-generated porn in the US, AND I am horrified by the terrible addiction to visual violence perpetrated by US media, esp. video gaming and Hollywood. I can hardly watch most popular US films anymore, because their violence hurts me. Literally. I just cannot watch. What is this doing to our spirits, our children, our relationships, our neuro-chemical organisms? The effect is clearly not neutral, as recent massacres point up. By the same token, gratuitous nudity and displays of sex as only self-gratifying recreation (or as violent) is offensive to me, too, since the overwhelming majority of such images (doesn’t take long to research this one, everyone should) is of women, young women, airbrushed and perfected women. It is an age-old, but increasingly graphic exploitation. I know you aren’t talking about pornography per se here. but I find it significant that your first question is about a woman showing some boobage. Men’s bodies are not (again the research is all out there, and it is elucidating) equally exploited in the media we consume. It’s worth considering, because the manner in which media and art depict genders and the human body not only reveal a culture’s existing soul, but will shape that future communal soul and individual souls as well.

    And I breastfed in public all the time. My breasts and my mother body sustained four thriving lives. I loved your post on that one! You’re right that US culture is full of contradictions, no kidding.

    Keep generating conversation, cm.

    Thanks again for stopping by my blog and liking it and sharing it with others.—M.

  14. Very well put, I am in complete agreement with your views!

  15. Oh…and I should probably add a P.S. so there’s some context for my comments. If I may…? 🙂 While I’m an American, I’ve studied, worked and lived outside of the US for over 20 years, primarily in Europe, where we have chosen to raise our four children. This includes Scandinavia, (Norway, precisely), where it is quite natural for kids to go swimming, as my young children did, in the buff. And I have lived extensively in France, where nudity might not be the norm, but la séduction is. (See Elaine Sciolino’s excellent book on the topic.)

    I add this information to help readers understand that there are not strict stereotypes regarding “Puritanism” and squeamishness about bodies, and also to underscore why as someone who is not steeped in US media, I am so alarmed by the gratuitous violence I see permeating American media whenever I do meet up with it, a media that sets world trends and therefore world norms and attitudes? Should we slow down, unplug and ask ourselves what we’re buying into, what appetites we’re not satiating, but whetting? And in ever-younger audiences?

  16. I agree with your comments about our odd contradictory views. We have to be made to believe violence at some level is OK so the qualms of our consciences at going to war will be mitigated. And we have to be made to equate sex with nudity so that we can be more easily manipulated – sexually aroused men are pushovers for the clever sales pitch or propaganda. I am coming across as cynical here, and I don’t want to. Sorry.
    Glad to have found your blog.

  17. I don’t know if anyone made this point in the comments but I believe sexuality is more pernicious than violence. Most of the time the violence in movies is cartoonish, like Bruce Willis destroying a helicopter with a cop car in Live Free or Die Hard. The violence is not based in reality. Violence where the point of the movie is the bad guy gets justice is a redeeming value. Movies where the bad guys win is not promoting a redeeming value. Horror flicks and the gratuitous violence in them are of no redeeming value. But, not all movie violence should be lumped in the same category.

    Nudity, however, is a different story. Men are visually oriented. A man’s sex drive and desires are jump started through the things he sees. Nudity will ensnare a man in sin quicker than violence will. Lust is such a snare that God says to flee from it, not to stand against it.

  18. We’re born naked; we die naked. What’s with the clothes thing? #justsaying

    A couple of weeks ago, I did my first paid nude modelling gig for a local artist group – just after my 57th birthday. Open minds are better than closed doors.

    Nice post, thanks.

  19. Yeah… What ever happened to “Thou shalt not kill?” And I think some of our societal problems stem from our excessive prudishness. Good post.

  20. Hey, you know, I am a minister myself. I want to comment, and before you say oh no, God made us nude, naked, In His Likeness if you believe the Bible. He never made clothes to begin with. Argue all you want. Lust is not from God, sin is not from God, clothes were not either. Go figure. All good things come from him, according to scripture. All evil comes from… wel you figure it. We just twist it all in our evil minds. A baby does not feel ashamed being naked. Neither does a toddler, We teach them that. Jesus said unless we become as little children, innocent, we won’t see heaven. Just sayin’. Too much violence. Too much crap about what God made for us to enjoy. Like it or not.

    • yes, clothes are from God. God clothed Adam and Eve after they sinned.

    • only after sin came in, and in the form of disobedience. It was never intended to be that way. Or do you think God made a mistake?

    • The reality of the world now is that sin has caused us to live in a world of shame. To hide our shame God clothed us. To go unclothed now would be rebellion against God.

    • Its freezing in the U.K. in winter, so God did give us the ingenuity to make clothes so that we could be warm and protected. If you were nude in the middle of likely moor in January and someone gave you a coat – I think you would thank God for it!

  21. Your point is well taken. Nevertheless, this should not be an either/or situation. Once upon a time, both nudity and violence were off-limits for most people. At the risk of being pegged as a reactionary throwback, I believe it would do us well to return to that ethic. Of course it makes no sense to countenance violence but not sex. But why put up with either one, knowing the potential deleterious effects on impressionable young people? Violence is pervasive in popular video games, movies and even TV shows. Why? It is all about the love of money, otherwise known as the root of all evil. What we need is more wholesome entertainment alternatives that, while free of violence and nudity, feature enough humor, drama and spectacle to appeal to the up and coming generation. As cliche as it must sound, it is very sad that we are willing to sacrifice our youth on the altar of the dollar.

  22. Thanks got stopping by my blog & the like!

    I’m from the UK & am an evangelical Christian (go figure) & I totally get what you’re saying! Tbh, I don’t have many a filter when it comes to the movies/shows I watch unless it has explicit gratuitous sex in it or extreme violence/horror, but that’s just me! I have a 2 & a 3 year old & I don’t let them watch ANYTHING with any of those things in – sensitive minds & all that! There are some kids films I’m careful with too, but I think that’s just good parenting – it’s my job to protect them from anything that could upset their minds for a good long while. But when it comes down to it, when they’re older, they can choose to watch what they want – my filter is for now, not for later when they can make their own thought out, rational decisions! I have to say I take age certificates pretty seriously – my parents didn’t bring me up a Christian, but they always made sure what I watched was age appropriate & the things I did watch that weren’t (if I went to a friends house etc) were always upsetting at such a young age – I wouldn’t want my kids to experience that! So, I believe we should take care with anything young children watch in order to protect them for their developing period.

    With regards to church goers & they’re ability to filter out the boobs yet take pleasur in the gore, I totally get what you’re saying – it’s very odd, & I myself have experienced it with friends & fellow church goers. But I think ultimately it comes down to what Romans 14 says about ‘disputable matters’ – don’t judge them – some people believe their faith (or whatever you want to call it) to be high enough to ‘take’ watching certain things, others don’t, and that’s OK – leave them to it – you just need to be aware of what you can handle!

    I hope that makes sense … & didn’t go on yoo long! I tend to write as I think things out! Lol, I have a cold & my oldest is bouncing on me right now so it’s also hard to concentrate … haha,
    Nina x

    • good thoughts.

      I don’t really have a problem if certain fundamentalist christians want to live highly rigid lives; to each his own.

      The danger is when those fundamentalist (evangelical or whatever you want to call them) try to force their ideology on others, and try to convince the world that their beliefs are the correct beliefs; they aren’t open to criticism, debate, or honest inquiry with regard to anything they believe.

  23. To me, violence in any fashion is deplorable, but it’s a component of life. I used to be a gung-ho Christian at one point in time and the notion of violence was always expressed as a ‘human’ trait. I questioned this thought when I saw video footage of a monkey abducting and raping a domestic cat. At that moment I questioned, “if rape was a violent act of free will which only a human can enact…are animals sinning when they engage in random acts of violence? And if so, are they sinning?

    I brought this question up to my pastor at the time but cleverly left out the part about the raping monkey. He said that only humans can sin, that animals do not have the capacity to sin because they are not ordained by God like humans are. When he said that, I then asked him if rape was a sin, to which he replied, yes. I then asked him the obvious question, “if an animal rapes another animal, is it a sin?” The pastor then responded that animals do not have the ability to rape. I then showed him the video footage, to which he responded that the animal was suffering from a mental disorder and that the act was not considered a sin.

    Anyways, my point is that violence is cruel and unfortunately isn’t going anywhere. Historically, the level of violence in the world has been on decline with the spread of Democracy, but that’s another long discussion worth getting into later.

  24. I agree….the level of violence in popular culture is out of control. I understand that it is tough to do a murder mystery without a murder, but sometimes I think they could really tone it down…ALOT! Sure, it is a component of life, but one can argue, so is a flash of leg, topless etc….I guess, like food, these things need to be in moderation and gross overexploitation of either in the name or shock value, ratings etc….is taking it further than it needs to go!

  25. O.k. Yes. First off, I wasn’t allowed to go to the movies growing up. Secondly, I have a very low tolerance for anything graphic in movies. My T.V. diet growing up was Andy Griffith, Bill Cosby and well, that’s it. So, it is a major issue when we are choosing movies in our house. We have 4 children 5 and under and a 16, 18, 21 year old and my husband who does not understand the concept of censorship AT ALL. But yes, the violence… absolutely floors me in today’s movies. Like, why do we glorify this stuff when our society is so violent as it is? It’s just my personal preference I guess, but the violence makes me just as uncomfortable as the graphic sex scenes in which women are objectified.

  26. Dear Culture Monk,

    I didn’t read every single comment in this thread word for word, so I hope I’m not repeating anyone’s comments, but I would just like to ad that I find the same thing is true, from an English teacher’s point of view, of the parents who find some of our reading material objectionable and try to remove this offensive literature from the classroom. It’s always about the sex and never about the violence. Thanks.

    • One wonders how those parents got to be on this planet in the first place, and how they managed to produce children without engaging in this shameful activity! #justsaying

  27. Reblogged this on Writing On Walls: The Enigma of My Mind and commented:
    Well-written observations and critical thinking. All the ingredients for Dopeness.

  28. Good point. Maybe we should stick to Pixar and Superhero movies 🙂 No controversy there, unless you’re against talking animals and strong, flying humans.

  29. Happy to say that I believe this is a problem for which there is no solution
    PS thanks for visiting

  30. Zits ran a great cartoon about this. The mom nixed the teenage cheerleader flick but okayed the violent flick and the teen boys sat in front of the exploding screen wondering her logic.
    Violence and nudity are always going to create dilemmas because of differences in cultural and personal values. Our entertainment, unfortunately, is a reflection of societal preferences. I’m saddened by the influx of gratuitous nudity and violence. Is this what we are really all about?

  31. We talked about this in my Human Sexuality class in college. One point that stuck with me is that people will gather around to watch a fight, but turn away and get uncomfortable if they see people kissing.

  32. I found this same experience with reviewers of my first novel, SL,UT. Writers of horrifically graphic works who were also competing in the Breakthrough Novel Awards were outraged that a piece like mine (with graphic depictions of adults having consensual relations) would make it so far in the competition. Then, I opened the work of one of my most vocal opponents and found an adolescent female character being violently impaled in a war rampage on page one.

    This shows a serious problem with our culture, shouldn’t we love humanity more than we fear our own biological, necessary, human urges?

    • Authors have to have thick skin, right?

    • Definitely need a thick skin, and to remind ourselves that our stories are for us. If someone else likes them, fantastic. But, that shouldn’t change the story.

      It also made me feel a bit validates, the whole point of my piece (hence the title) is to discuss (in a fun way) this pathological habit we have of labeling and judging other people’s behavior.

      I personally feel that I don’t have the authority to do so, and that others don’t have enough context to label me.

  33. Thanks for liking my blog and leading me here. I would much prefer to see nudity than violence!

  34. This is something I never thought about, but it’s true. Why is it okay in society, I’m not sure.
    It’s kind of reminds me of the point a woman walking around in her underwear is weird, but she can walk around in her VERY skimpy bikini (that shows even more skin than if she was in her underwear) just fine.

    We’re all pretty backwards, that’s for sure…

  35. Personally, I think it’s because we’ve learned to connect violence with entertainment and nudity with perversion. Furthermore, heavy-handed people and people who talk about being violent or enjoying violence tend to be more revered and recognized even by people who may not like them. However, anyone perceived to be obsessed with nudity is often also perceived as a deviant, a danger, and a menace to society. For example, a woman who speaks up for herself and holds her own even in possibly violent situations may be called a bitch, but people will also see her as a force to be reckoned with and deserving of a certain amount of respect. Meanwhile, a woman who is open about her sexuality is likely to be considered a slut or a woman who is far too loose with her relationships, even if she is actually rather monogamous. Anyway, that’s just my take on it. Thank you for reading and liking my blog. I hope you’ll continue to read along.
    – Azariah

    • there are a lot of double standards in this world aren’t there…..

      always seemed hypocritical to me when people call a woman who sleeps around a ‘slut’ and a guy who sleeps around a ‘stud’

  36. Prechristians didn’t have a lot of nudity taboos from what I hear; those came in with Christianity, at least in western societies. They didn’t have violence taboos, either; violence was common until no so long ago. Nobody was excited by little boys playing ‘cowboys and indians’ in the first half of the 20th century (if you were an indian, you were dead) and the western movies popular then were full of violence…but it was always more cartoonish than graphic. Graphic violence WAS taboo, just like nudity in public.

    I suppose both taboos were tossed in the 1960’s with religion and related morals. I see news reports of ‘topless’ protesters regularly now and of course, movies use it. And the violence has become much more graphic. Perhaps we see more of it in entertainment because the dialogue has been dumbed down and reduced so much…

  37. Nothing is wrong with people in the United States, something is wrong with christian – seriously wrong.

  38. I’ve always said I would rather my kids see people having sex than watch someone. The first wouldn’t scar them and could be explained, the latter would and couldn’t be. These of course are extreme and I would prefer they saw neither. A few years ago my wife and I rented two movies, Walking Tall and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind. Walking Tall, a moderately violent movie with lots of fighting was PG13, Sunshine was rated R, the most risque thing in Sunshine was a scene with Kirsten Dunst dancing around in her panties. I always think of these two movies because they should have been the exact opposite.
    Perhaps we can blame the 60s with the “Make Love Not War” rally of the anti-war demonstrators. Obviously many felt their movement was far more destructive and dangerous than anything the US was doing in Vietnam.
    Thanks for a great post and hitting a nail on the head!

  39. Great post- I’ve often thought the same thing. I am really abashed at the amount of rationalization in the comments. Yikes! It’s even scarier than I thought. This post seems like such a statement of the obvious that I can’t believe it stirred up so much controversy. ” Make love not war” still sounds fine to me.

  40. Hey there! Good post! You sure got me thinking about something I’d rather ignore. Here in the Philippines, being a predominantly Catholic country somehow influences how society thinks of nudity (and sexuality).
    *The Reproductive Health Bill became a law recently after so much bruhaha between the Church and State, where our President, who is Catholic, had been threatened to be excommunicated. But of course, that did not stop those who supported the bill. Also, there was an actress who wore a dress with a very high slit that it reached her groin so much that it kept viewers wondering whether she had been protected as she had a previous “wardrobe malfunction” before. She had to do a lot of explaining.*

    I am a Catholic, and have been brought up in a conservative family. But times are sure changing, and fast. Slowly, people have developed tolerance to cleavages, and micro-mini skirts. I’d have to admit that I am not quite comfortable with people who dress in a liberated way. It’s important to note too that when people here say “liberated”, it is often associated with western culture and almost always, they mean stateside.

    So yeah, I see where you’re coming from, as some shows here are a bit tolerated albeit their themes of violence.

  41. A good Quaker friend of mine, in discussing this very issue, used the phrase “the obscenity of violence.” I think your point, and the crux of the matter, is that on a very deep basic level, our society embraces violence as a legitimate extension of control. Even the most “conservative” Christian elements condone and cheer on the machinations of war, in absoulute defiance of The Carpenter’s teaching. In a somewhat cynical and/or satirical vein, never trust someone who loves bombs and hates boobs. Thanks for sharing these good thoughts and making us think a bit…

  42. Both; violence and nudity are primal to humanity … in a collective memory violence represents power and dominance, while nudity demonstrates equal fragility of all humans.

    Great post,

  43. I agree with you and you have shared some good examples here. It is the opposite in Europe where they have no problem with nudity, but don’t allow their children to watch violent films. This makes more sense to me, as I recently explained to my son: “We are all born naked!” I guess we can’t shake off our calvinistic prudish past in this country.

  44. My goodness – so many comments. You obviously touched a nerve. I totally agree with you about what a strange society we live in. Nudity bad – violence okay. It reminds me of when I was growing up in the 50s and 60s. It was considered terrible to use “fuck” or “shit”, but okay to use all sorts of derogatory racial and ethnic terms. It always seemed backwards to me.

    BTW, thanks for liking and following my blog. It always feels like an honor when someone does! I would like to follow yours too, but I can’t find a follow button. I will keep looking.

    • What a Heart can Hold,

      I think that whenever we delve into a subject that contains strong elements of societal hypocrisy it causes people to pay attention….

      we human beings detest hypocrisy.

  45. I totally agree with you – have wondered that for a while myself! Well said. America needs to get it together on nonsense like that…

  46. As a Christian, this leaves me scratching my head too. Non-pornographic nudity is not offensive to me. Violence, blood and guts, bad language…those are what offend me. There’s a serious issue with your culture when a bare breast is more offensive than a man with a gun going on a bloody shooting rampage.

  47. I completely agree. Never will I understand this concept, especially when it comes to art. Now there are instances when nudity is inappropriate. All one nerds is common sense.

  48. I too am baffled. I have also seen that people are more comfortable with art that includes violence than art that includes nudity. I think both should be expressed cautiously in film, as when a concept is overused it loses its significance and power.

  49. Very thought-provoking. I feel the same way as the folks who claim that America’s puritannical stance on nudity does in fact result from the fact that we were colonized by . . . Puritans. Also, have you noticed that when nudity is presented, it’s almost always female nudity? Sexuality is seen by the upper classes as something dangerous — something that very much needs to be controlled. Most especially the sexuality of women. That’s why people are so strange about public breastfeeding in America as well.

    • Diane,

      great thoughts….

      The great art critic John Berger has written extensively on the way women are always objectified in art, movies, etc. yet men’s bodies are not….interesting stuff if you want to read some deep intellectual stuff on art 🙂

  50. Absolutely. The Pornography of Violence poisons our lives.

  51. It seems this is one of those links that people get when you like their posts 🙂 Thanks for stopping by 🙂

    We believe in modesty in dress (and behavior) as well as avoiding the violence God stated that he hates. The world is too loose on both accounts. At the same, I think you can guard your heart and mind without being particularly uptight, especially about what others do. There are guidelines in the scriptures and those are to our benefit. But Jesus showed that adding to “the law” was just as problematic as not having it.

    • Pamela,

      Thanks for your good thoughts 🙂

      What I was trying to get at in my post was the apparent double standard in religious circles; violence is okay but nudity is bad…..

      just look at a few of the comments in this thread, one particular ‘christian’ defended watching R-rated violence as being comical but then suggested that the mere sight of breasts was scandalous and evil..

      I could of chose other religious groups other than evangelicals who do the same thing, I merely chose evangelicals because that was the religious bent I grew up in.

      Thus…I wasn’t referring to ‘the world’ as you say….I was referring to the religious institution that I defined as evangelicalism.

    • What constitutes “modesty” in dress is something infinitely variable according to time and place. What one culture considers “:modest” another might consider “obscene”. There is no universal one size fits all definition of “modesty”, a concept many would reject anyway. Only one thing is certain; Nudity is not “obscene”, the naked human body is not “evil”, and though people can be pretty ugly (especially if they let themselves go) to show your body is NOT a sin. Sexual repression & hypocrisy, alas, has been perhaps Christianity’s greatest flaw.

  52. And it was such a stupid vanity project of a film, too. Europeans have such a better grasp of how to portray sex and violence, I think. We demonize bodies and glorify gore over here. *sigh*

  53. Well, choir, it seems we agree about all that violence. Its hard for me to join my wife and friends going to a movie…except the animated Cars, Nemo type. As a student of physiology,self and what goes on around me; I am also concerned that we dump SO much adrenaline into our systems while sitting still. The Sympathetic Nervous System (aka: adrenals, fight or flight) is meant to charge us to action and help prepare and feed muscles to run (or whatever). But, while sitting still at a movie or video, are basically overdoses of chemicals without even the heart rate to distribute and cleanse us of them. Hmmm, what does that do? Gives me uncomfortable chills like the close calls of a near miss car accident. Like so many topics, I often feel “out of the mainstream” and am glad of it. Problem: look what its doing to our culture, look at recent news.
    …what “action” can we take? Thanks for writing about it.

  54. In my country, sex videos (real or otherwise) are often used to smear a politician’s reputation. To me, what one does behind closed doors with another consenting adult is none of anyone’s business. There are other more important issues at hand like incompetence and corruption. Sex is used to take cheap shots and distract the public.

  55. All comments well said.

  56. Absolutely right, our priorities are completely mixed up. Northern European countries have a much more relaxed, and sane, attitude towards nudity. Too much violence nevertheless. that’s the same everywhere. TP

  57. Social rules are necessary, yet sometimes completely arbitrary. America is weird …

  58. This is really interesting and I’ve had the same thoughts. It’s a bit different here in the UK, but having only spent a few months in the US I can’t really know the full cultural effects. I’m glad you pointed this out here in a simple manner. It’s such a weird dichotomy…

  59. Just wanted to add that in American films, breasts are good, penis is bad, especially on film, Boo!! I grew up Baptist/Pentecostal and am now fully atheist. The bible preaches violence is good (in god’s name of course), sex is bad, go figure!

  60. I found this post very enjoyable to read, as there’s a lot of truth behind what you’re saying. How is it acceptable to watch mass violence but not nudity? Thanks for this post and I have to repeat what you said here as the behavior is baffling: “The movie choice could never contain any elements of sexuality or nudity . . . but they never had a problem with watching films with heavy doses of killing and violence” Great stuff.

  61. As a European who has spent time in the USA, this is still a complete mystery. You guys are so open, warm, friendly and, in many ways, uninhibited, and yet, even in ‘anything goes’ Key West, a lady’s bare breast is forbidden lest the world stops revolving!
    Great post, but good luck finding an answer!

  62. It never made sense to me either. Naked boobs are bad but spilled brains are fine?

  63. Reblogged this on The hub and commented:
    I agree we have our morals somewhat WRONG

  64. I agree with what you completely. I think nudity and sex has been demonized in our society whereas violence isnt. I dont mean to offend anyone but religion is the best example of this. Violence is rampant in any of the religion (except buddhism maybe). This has defined our moral values to the point that we have an invisible rule book. This was something recently going on in my mind.

    PS: I reiterate I dont mean to offend any religion. I dont believe in it but I believe one has the right what he wants to do and follow anything as long as they dont force or hurt anyone.

  65. I haven’t read all of the responses, but I would bet that it has something to do with sex. Nudity=sex. Violence=death which may be a little bit easier to explain to a kid. Death is going home to be with your Maker. Sex is wrong and of the devil until you are married.

    Just my couple of pennies!

  66. I went to a nude beach once. It was cool~ Some colourful people for sure,but still cool.

  67. Btw, I agree. Extremes don’t really work for me either. Middle o’ the road! I like that best~

  68. Excellent point. I am a “Christ”-ian dude. I like Monty Python and humor about sexual temptation. I believe in ethics, conscience. Sounds like Ashcroft’s conscience reflects ills HE was taught. Outlier of outliers. Nudism is weird, I agree because why? I look awkward naked. What the hell. Nudity is generally a bad idea with people’s fat, pock zits, misshapen. Sheesh.

  69. “What’s wrong with people in the United States?” We want to be politically correct. I think the saying goes “If you stand for nothing then you will fall for anything.” I’m finding American’s in an effort to come across as understanding we have corrupted the moral’s and values of our nation; thus, giving approval to anything that is socially destructive.

  70. Hi culturemonk. There is much in this life I’m unhappy about. But I’ve always been broad minded and tolerant. But it’s worrying what seems to be classed as acceptable and normal in this society! Thank you for liking my poem ‘ Terraced House’. Best Wishes. The Foureyed Poet.

  71. Hello, I’ve nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award ( Congratulations!

  72. It does seem hypocritical to me, and I’ve ranted about it myself (not to say that you were ranting). I’m learning to do my thing while working within the confines of American culture. A person really has to de(re)program themselves in order to figure out who they are in this society, in my opinion. Thanks for saying something about it.

  73. It’s the same thing with the video games. When my son was little he couldn’t understand how violent video games equate to becoming anesthesized to violence. I tried to explain, but he still didn’t understand; so I smacked his arm hard, and said this is real. The video games are not. Perhaps you think that was a lousy thing to do, but he DID understand my point.

  74. Totally agree. Interesting values we are conveying as you say.

  75. I thought about this just the other day but in a different context. We live in the Bible belt. Our city doesn’t have a single strip club, but right across the state line, you’ll run into five or six of them. I was discussing breastfeeding in public with a woman who has lived here her entire life. Apparently, churches have special rooms for nursing mothers to go nurse in, away from their families and the rest of the congregation. This baffled me since we have three Hooters restaurants and a place called “the Tilted Kilt”, which is Hooters but with short kilts on the servers. Both establishments show plenty of skin and have calendars rivaling the SI Swimsuit Edition available for sale and nobody seems to have a problem, but I can’t nurse my newborn during the sermon? There are a lot of things backwards about the church these days. It seems that more and more churches are becoming worldly based instead of being God-centered. In our home, we don’t watch movies with violence with the children around, we don’t play violent video games, and we don’t let them watch sex. My husband is a recovering pornography addict, so we try to steer clear of anything even remotely close to things like that, even if it means missing out on a movie we wanted to see. Who was it that said “be the change you wish to see in the world”? Our children will grow up one day, I don’t want them to think that violence is funny or entertainment. I want them to be able to stand up when something is going wrong and do the right thing. Hopefully, there future spouses and my future grandchildren will be able to see a real change in the world.

  76. I agree with this post. I can’t recall the last time anyone was nuded to death.

    As far as what’s wrong with America, entire books have been written about that, but I can recommend Ameritopia by Mark Levin.

  77. Thanks for this post, I’ve often wondered this myself. It is weird to think that if you leave your house as nature intended then you’re probably going to be arrested! The attitude towards being naked feels (at times) almost a little childish. I can understand trying to preserve the innocence of children for as long as possible, but as a grown up I’d like to be able to make the choice of whether I see a few tits or a penis myself!

  78. @Has anyone ever thought about the message you are sending to our children? Nakedness is evil, violence is cool….>>Am I ever glad you stopped by my spot & commented..You are spot ON with this topic..If I’ve said it once; I’ve said it a cazillion times..What WE intake, good or bad, has a direct impact on our psyche..I was on the bandwagon(its been a while ago now..) of parents backintheday; to fight for ratings on video games. I hated when we’d rent a video game & bam! middle of an innocent game women’s tits were in tightly clad tight you could see their nips. I’ve NO issue with nudity; but I didn’t want our young sons to see them that young..Having said that I wonder myself why here in our country; nudity is shunned. Something as natural as being nude…Honestly? Not that I frequent nudist camps(which I don’t cause I’ve no desire to see fat naked people; and more than likely they’d be there too!) but in all honesty? I think wearing clothes is just a coverUP for who people really are…Why as Americans can’t we be as open about nudity/sex as in other countries? And yet! some of the biggest freakiest perverted stuff happens behind closed doors in America. Yet I digress…The message being sent to our children with all the violence in movies/video games? I honestly think it is one of the reasons so many folks are nutting up & going on killing sprees here..Total lack of regard for human life & handling ones frustrations by going OFF the deep end…Its not a video game & the person is going to get “another life”..I’m going to stop there because I could go on & on (even more than I already did) & on. 2 thumbs UP on bringing this topic up…Dialogue is good

  79. Late to the party, I know, so if this has been brought up, please forgive me. I think John Piper addressed this issue. When it comes to violence, we intuitively know that it is fake and done so for the movies. But when a woman is naked, that is not make believe. That is real and becomes sin for those of us who are trying to guard our hearts against the lust that we will have for the nude woman on the screen. That is why it is different. But you are right in asking the question. It should not be. The Scriptures condemn violence as well.

  80. Of course, a lot of Christians have quite different views. It varies greatly from country to country, as well.

    And why aren’t naked men being discussed too?

  81. We are messed up. Many of our Christian views in America are not from the Bible, but from our “christian culture.” As a young woman I was shamed for wearing the same top as another girl because my breasts showed more. What? That same top is fine on that girl, but you are not allowed to wear it. What the heck? God made my body and I am proud of it. That made me feel like a sexual object and not a child of the Lord. Mixed up for sure!

  82. You make me ponder something that just strikes me: the more violent a culture is (as mirrored in newspaper daily headlines) the more violently they are anti-nudity. In the Middle East one can’t even show a naked FACE! But one can kill and kill and kill —
    Do the two go together? Maybe.

  83. This is particularly funny since 1/3 of the people in the US are obese…I am frequently stripped because I have a boob that was made from my abdomen following cancer. I WISH, WISH, WISH that I could post it, because it is fascinating! And because there is very little out there that shows women what plastic surgeons can do. But I know someone would complain to wordpress and I would be OUTED. It’s not nudity that is the problem, it is how the person chooses to respond to it. And of course you know the mantra: God gave us strong sex drives to populate the earth, and nudity drives this. Nudity outside of a married, closed door lifestyle only leads to promiscuity, sin, STD’s and…BABIES. Nudity leads to sin…..but nudity does not made a choice, people do. And you are absolutely right, violence in any form is the result of a choice already made.

  84. Great article. This has ALWAYS bothered me. I directed a Christian group home many years ago, and the Christians staff would go out and rent the Terminator and war films and The Matrix and other movies full of killing, and show them to already traumatized pre-teen boys, and think nothing of it. I once showed a movie at one of the group homes – I wish I could remember which one – and it showed a quick side view of a bare boob – and you’d think I’d stripped naked and showed everyone my junk! Some of the staff called for my resignation. It was just one in a series of bad experiences I had with Christians…

  85. Dont worry, we have the same problem in Romania so I understand you.

    • Everybody is shy and chaste but in their bedrooms they do all kinds of troubling things 🙂 (i mean sexualy)

  86. I don’t think nudity worst than violence in movies

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  88. This reminds me of a quote I heard once (possibly by Lennon but please don’t hold me to that) about how we have violence on the street, but people are force to make love hiding behind curtains.

  89. I’e often thought about this. It isn’t world-wide though, the Europeans are a lot more relaxed about nudity. But yeah how a flash of boob should be more scandalous than someone being shot in the head doesn’t make sense to me.

  90. I totally Agree with you! Thank you for the post!

  91. If you hide the body (keep it covered up) maybe it desensitizes you to the humanness of it. If you are blind to the physical body maybe it desensitizes you to harming or killing it? Maybe the two are linked – nakedness is shameful, hurting the human body is not a big deal. Just a thought. I believe the human body is beautiful and it mentally and physically pains me to watch violence of any kind, be it physical, metal or verbal. (I am pretty much a rom-com chic!). This topic is a fantastic one and the amount of comments and discussion clearly show how important talking about this issue is. Thank you for your very relevant blog and I am so grateful you stopped by mine so I could find yours! You have created a very lovely and witty platform for discussions I know so many of us are desperate to have with one another in an honest and respectful way. Bravo, Culture Monk! Proudly following 🙂

  92. I didn’t read the comments above, because 137 comments seemed like a really big commitment on a lazy Saturday morning, so maybe someone already said something similar, but…

    I am an evangelical Christian. And I think you’re right to a large degree about the violence vs. sexuality and other Christians. I know several Christians who really like slasher flicks. (I hate movies like that.) Frankly, I don’t appreciate extreme sexuality/sensuality/nudity OR extreme violence in any movie, regardless of the audience. I find it distasteful and I worry about desensitization.

    But as I “rank” them, I have to conclude that it’s better that I let my 16 year old daughter watch something mildly violent rather than something mildly sensual. Why? Because she’s less likely to act out the violence than the sensuality. While I don’t want her acting out EITHER of them, I’d bet she’d gravitate to the sensuality faster than the violence. So, I would be more likely to let her watch a movie with sci-fi or superhero kind of violence before I’d let her watch a movie with a sex scene – even a mild one. It just makes me cringe.

    As for your men’s group going to the movies, I suppose they could make a similar argument. An average man is more likely to engage in inappropriate sexual behavior than in crazy violence, therefore the violent film is “safer” than the sensual film. Access to inappropriate sensuality is everywhere, making it easy for men to act out. Opportunities for inappropriate violence are probably not as numerous.

    Of course, the simple fact is, we should all be careful what information we fill our minds with, as that information can someday inform our actions. As I said the other day to a friend, “Baby steps and giant leaps lead to the same place, baby steps just take longer to get there.” And desensitization is the first step in either case.

  93. You make very good points. But, it seems that nudity and violence are synonymous in all forms of entertainment these days. I wonder what switch got thrown as the decades have gone on so that now, since about 2005 or so (in my recollection, anyway) that its not considered entertainment unless sex, violence, and drug use are present, in everything from the movies to television shows thus numbing all of us to these horrible things that go on in daily life and we don’t really care.

  94. Dear Culture Monk, I just found your blog (thank you for “liking” my post). Your posts are a goldmine! In this post, you have articulated an issue that has ALWAYS bothered me! Violent films are not “Life-giving” and although they are different than films filled with sexuality, they are horrific. I believe that they do sensitize people to violence. It is a WEIRD double-standard! Thank you for being out there in the blogosphere. You made my day!

  95. I worked at a movie theater for about 10 years during high school and college in the mid 90’s to mid 2000’s. I can’t tell you the number of times that a parent has come up to me with their kids and asked me about a movie. I would look at the kids and talk about all of the blood and gore that happened to be in a particular movie and they would stop me and say, “So there’s no nudity in it? OK, we’ll take 4 tickets.” Unbelievable. It didn’t even matter if the nudity was sexual in nature. It’s OK for junior to see zombies eating brains, but God forbid he see a woman’s breast.

  96. I stopped watching a lot of T.V. a while back, here in the U.K. we get a lot of American soap operas/comedies. It seems to me the story line content is always either leading to or suggesting one night stands, illicit or teenage sex, or the pursuit of it; like the “prom” is portrayed as a rite of passage for teenagers to lose their virginity. English programmes are tediously filled with copycat allusions to casual sex too.
    what bothers me is the deflowering of youth who are watching and absorbing these values, believing them to be a true reflection of how “everyone” behaves..
    Its not nudity per-se that corrupts; but the attitudes of fictional characters toward sex and violence, young people learn from what they see.
    Philippians 4:8
    “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
    The problem is, that our culture is constantly tempting us away from this.
    As a (practicing Catholic Christian) artist, I am grateful for the life -models I have learned to study anatomy from; The body is a fascinating thing. Just as nudists become de-sensitised to some degree to the need for clothing, watching violence can de-sensitise us to the protection and care of our neighbour, and therefore de-value the dignity of the human being.
    In tribal circumstances, even if all the tribe are naked; one will denote his or her standing in the community by wearing beads or bracelets (and ” supportive thongs” in some cases when hunting for practical reasons.)
    In this sense total nudity is not natural but an artifice; & the media have to keep us hooked and curious, so they will always offer to Adam or Eve, the forbidden fruit!

  97. True, it’s far worse to let kids watch graphic violence, and there is no harm seeing some innocent nudity. A kid can come across plenty of aesthetic nudes at an art museum.

  98. I think it’s partly an American thing; I’m Swedish, and I agree completely: it seems weird that violence – which is arguably never normal – is OK, whereas sex and nudity – which are natural phenomena created by God – are objectionable.
    Having said that, I don’t endorse all the sex – gratuitous or otherwise – in films and art; much of it is just there to titillate and sell anyway. There are limits…

  99. First, thank you for the like on my blog…you seem to have caused quite the ruckus over here! Look, I’m a 45 year old American agnostic with a decent moral compass and 2 young daughters. I’m married. We try our best to teach our girls right from wrong, and talk to them in an honest, age appropriate way. When it comes to sex and violence, I’m with the “Americans are weird” group. We are!

    I fall on the side of believing the people are human beings with long standing drives/urges created by evolution. Sex? Yes, please. What’s wrong with it? Temptation? If you’re hones with your SO and people in your lives in general, why should a beautiful body be demonized?

    Don’t get me started on the Catholic Church…..I was in that for a long time….

    We continue to move forward as people and cultures. Movements ebb and flow. Only you can be the judge of how you want to live your life, raise your kids, choose your faith, look at boobs, smoke pot or love to lick gerbils. But for the love of the world, can you just be nice to one another and respect each person?

  100. I’m not American, so I can’t say ‘Americans are weird’. That would be rude. But really…!

    I don’t endorse gratuitous sex scenes or provocative nudity, but a bit of boobage – an inescapable part of the female anatomy – is only dangerous if it’s seen so rarely that it provokes instant, irrepressible and unmanageable lust. Which seems to be the general expectation among the puritan sector.

    Guns, on the other hand, are always dangerous. They kill people. Yet owning one is completely acceptable. In a way, you have to see violence as cool. Otherwise, you’d have to question your gun laws. And I don’t believe that doesn’t influence your kids’ behaviour. You’re the Western country that has massacres.

    Just saying…

  101. I read this after checking out the article about the 15 year old Alabama boy who was threatened with dire punishments following a streaking incident at a school football game. What used to be thought of as a silly youthful prank or rite of passage is no more. At least in Alabama. Christian Adamek hanged himself.

  102. Just a thought, to play Devil’s advocate. Have you, perchance, considered that nudity and sexuality are more dangerous to the virtuous life than violence is? Myself I feel strongly as though my seeing violence in film does nothing to make me more violent in my every day dealings with others. However, my seeing nudity and sexuality on screen does lead to my being noticeably less chaste in my dealings with women. Perhaps it’s just naive to think that it’s unreasonable to have a natural desire to protect children from sex on television more than from violence on television. Seeing Superman fly off a building very seldom leads to a child trying the same trick. Seeing Rambo take out the bad guys very seldom leads to children or teenagers taking the same approach with all the bullies at school. Seeing Jessica Alba naked and objectified, however, is extremely likely to make little Johnny objectify Susie, Britney and Amanda. It is extremely likely to make Johnny want to view pornography, which leads to serious psychological addictions, lower average self-esteem rates and depression.

    Moreover, violence is not always and everywhere wrong, and while nudity and sexuality are not even close to always and everywhere wrong, immodesty and unchastity are always and everywhere wrong. The greater danger is sometimes the more imminent one. Notice also that of the two, unchastity leads to violence more often than violence leads to unchastity. Objectifying women does account for the abuse of women, physically and otherwise. Never has there been a correlation shown, however, between practicing a martial art and objectifying or harming women (or anyone else for that matter). It may be just an odd sociological fact that a high percentage (not necessarily higher than 50%, but proportionally higher than expectation permits prima facie) of murders occur immediately after the murderer has viewed pornography, but isn’t it interesting that people do not view pornography after committing a murder? Why is the trend pointing in one direction?

  103. Yup never understood it either. Not in our house…nudity is just not an issue. We are known as the Streakin Shearins when we get out in the country!

  104. I don’t let my kids watch anything with violence. In my opinion it’s not cool, and it shouldn’t be used for entertainment purposes. It seems to me there is an obvious correlation between the rate of violence in our society and the fact that we are complete desensitized to it. It doesn’t bother us anymore. We can watch people get gutted in HD without flinching (well, I can’t, but you know what I mean). We think it’s funny!
    Is it any wonder that more and more people commit acts of violence? It doesn’t bother them… They see in the movies all the time.

  105. Very true. I love this piece and completely agree. Even from personal experience I can tell you my parents let me watch all the R-rated violent action movies I wanted when I was young, but as soon as a girl took her top off I wasn’t allowed in the room. Interesting.

  106. It’s all about control. He who controls another person’s sex life controls that person. The Abrahamic religion priesthoods were no fools, they understood and utilised that fact. Still do …

  107. Hi there, thanks for ‘Liking’ my post. I also wrote a post about the double standards and hypocrisy in the media. It wasn’t exactly about nudity and violence, but about nudity and the ‘heavy business, if you know what I’m talking about 😉
    Here is the link, if you’re willing to read it:

  108. it is interesting, the cultural double standard regarding violence and nudity; it’s almost as if the status quo in what’s considered acceptable in mass media favor ugliness over beauty. thanks, incidentally, for liking my poem.

  109. sorry, i meant to write “the status quo. . . favors ugliness,” not “favor.” sorry too to be so persnickety about these things.

  110. Probably a lot to do with the connection of Hollywood to the big companies that want to shape how our world looks like. Violence (and control) is made everyday and OK with the big masses by endorsing and making lots of movies that brainwash us to see it as something that is perfectly Human, something normal to happen. A method to justify wars and controlling of the general population.

    The people would probably be shocked if the USA sent ten nude people into Afghanistan or whatever, but if they send people with guns and bazookas, killing women and children, that’s just normal and ok. Media has a big power over us.

    Good thing is people are starting to see this connection between media brainwashing and what is accepted in our cultures. Like your writing proves 🙂

  111. Hollywood is definitely big on torture scenes these days. During the ones in ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’ and ‘Alex Cross’, I closed my eyes.

  112. I can’t forget the constantly flummoxed former Attorney General, John Ashcroft, spending $8,000 for drapery to cover two “offensive” aluminum statues at the Justice Dept. He wanted a wholesome backdrop while he announced new measures on the “War on Terror”.

  113. I think both nudity and violence is bad to depict for children. Your post actually reminded of when people use to kill each other over religion. Cristianity sometimes contradicts itself, similar to most things in life. Good post btw.

  114. I will always feel that children and adults should be able to see nudity in most of its forms as a form of “art.” I don’t see any “art”: in violence. I like to watch detective shows so allow the violence to explain society and the way the person responded in some kind of psychological way. But I don’t believe that children should view the video games or movies that have rated “R” violence and would hope parents feel the same. This is a good discussion subject and you did a great job of writing and starting the ball rolling!

  115. Agreed, don’t even get me started on the issues that shielding your children from any form of sexuality or nudity can cause. It’s utterly ridiculous the way that some parents try to “protect” their child from sexuality of ANY form. Makes you wonder what they are hiding sometimes. I would know, I’m about five months away from being legal and my parents would still rather have me watch two and a half hours of gratuitous violence from a hard R rated movie instead of five minutes of a love scene in a PG-13 film. Have my own ventures into media that involves natural and loving sexuality harmed me? Hardly. It does however make me wonder what exactly makes my parents seem so immature when it comes to human sexuality.

  116. If you talk to American conservatives about this, they will generally say that they want to limit sex on screen because young children can imitate it, whereas small children are less likely to shoot up villages full of innocent people with M2 machine guns. They see less social cost in violence portrayed on TV than anything sexual. Appeals to “nature” usually fall on deaf ears. Of course we need to always keep in mind that America was founded on violence. It’s so much a part of our core that we expect our culture to celebrate it.

  117. Hello there. I’m Canadian and non-religious, and I’m opposed to both nudity/sex and violence in entertainment. Many here are claiming that America’s censorship of nudity/sex is “puritan” or Christian at its source, but I would disagree — particularly since I’m atheist and totally understand the concern.

    Let’s get one thing straight — sexuality in film is not a “love scene”, it’s pornography. Why would you want to watch porn with your family members or friends or even strangers in a theatre? Images that illicit lust are for the bedroom — not the Sunday afternoon living room with company over. Society has become way too casual about sex and modesty has faded to almost imperceptible levels.

    Anyways, for the record, I don’t watch anything unless it would be rated suitable for children, and my standards do impact others. For example, my office was going to see a movie but because I protested, the outing got cancelled and no movies were seen by anyone. We can make a difference in terms of lowering demand/profits for indecent films (both sex and violent content) by applying pressure to our social relationships. The entertainment industry relies on social interaction to gather viewership and in turn, profit. By cutting the chain of social interaction with regard to indecent material, we can greatly impact the demand for it.


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