May 25, 2004

Mammary government.

After the Janet Jackson nipple hoopla, it's nice to see the Brits having their own little media nipple problem. The Guardian reports:
For free-loving Eurocrats, an image of a breastfeeding baby seemed the perfect way to promote the joy of voting in the European elections.

But a glimpse of an exposed nipple in the soft-focus advertisement has proved too much for flustered British censors to bear: the image has been cut from the production before it could outrage cinemagoers across the UK.

The new EU states made no objection to the uncut version, a montage of images depicting people making choices, including an opening shot of a baby deciding which nipple to feed from.

Prudish British censors felt differently. While the British Board of Film Classification gave the short film a "U" certificate, the Cinema Advertising Association ordered that the nipple must go.

In an edited version approved for British audiences, the baby's hand at first obscures the nipple, while a second brief shot of the child's mouth closing around the nipple has been completely axed.

I just have two things to say about this (other than that's a jarring use of the word "axed.")

1. The Janet Jackson nipple exposure was in much better taste because it connected the viewer's sexual interest to actual adult sexuality, whereas the EU ad exploits the viewer's interest in sex by showing a breast in a context that isn't sexual at all.

2. Portraying the voter as a suckling infant and government as the mother's breast really says something about the European conception of government!


Anonymous said...

Not sure how you make the jump that the mother breastfeeding is sexually exploitative. You really think they were trying to appeal sexually? I don't think so. Maybe in America that view would predominate, but it seems Europeans are a little more mature than us about breasts anyway.

Also, if I were a European, I'd much less mind my government being compared to a mother suckling an infant, than to a soldier shoving a broomstick up someone's rump, as some view the American government now. Touche.

Ann Althouse said...

The use of breasts in the ad was intended to interest the viewer by reaching the viewer's sexual feelings.

By the way, "touché" is what you say when you are acknowledging that the other person has met your argument.

Anonymous said...

It's a fencing term when one opponent matches another. I was saying the Europeans could easily counter your argument, thus touching yours with the tip of the foil. Way to avoid the substance though. Also, I highly doubt that scene was meant to appeal sexually. You are bringing your American attitude of sexual immaturity to the commercial, seeing what you want.