Whoosh! Issue Nine - June 1997

By BRET RYAN RUDNICK (brudnick@ivanova.harvard.edu)
Copyright © 1997 held by author
443 words

[01] What is it with the fascination of some segments of society with women's breasts?

[02] I refer, of course, to the "incident" of late, wherein Lucy Lawless, singing the National Anthem at a hockey game in Anaheim, accidentally "popped out" of her costume briefly. Clearly, this was an accident and no publicity stunt. Ms. Lawless's PR people were very quick to issue a statement of apology and embarrassment on Ms. Lawless' behalf.

[03] In a normal country, that would be the end of it. But we live in America, land of the free, home of the pent-up-Puritan-and-teen-mindset, and a country where some prominent religious and/or political leaders decry "indecency" only to later be caught doing a little unauthorised research on their own. People are not taught to take pride in their bodies, they are taught to fear them. They are not, as a work of fine art, a thing to be appreciated, but rather a thing to be gawked at.

[04] Local television displayed nationwide schizophrenia immediately after the "incident" by showing it -- sort of -- according to varying censor standards. The first (of many) rebroadcasts on one Los Angeles station featured a tiny "Duck" logo (symbol of the home team) racing around the screen, chasing the errant breast and never quite succeeding in catching it. Later broadcasts, realising this failure to cover, enlarged the "spot" to cover virtually the entire screen.

[05] The Internet, bastion of immediacy that it is, soon was filled with pictures, video, and loads of irrelevant comment as to breast aesthetics, size, quality, and quantity, and this was only in the Xena areas I noticed.

[06] Is it meant to be some State Secret? Are we to suppose that women do NOT have breasts? That this is some abnormal thing unsuitable for everyone? Will debate about breast-versus-bottle now take the country by storm? Will the nudie magazine industry sell one more or less copy because of it? Will teenage boys and narrow-minded adults find anything else to talk about this summer?

[07] To be fair, the "incident" did not spark quite as much response as I first feared, but then, I only monitor a very narrow slice of the Web.

[08] Personally, I wonder what would have happened had people listened to the words sung by Ms. Lawless -- words about the land we live in, the struggle for freedom, and the symbol of our nation. Perhaps no one would have even noticed the brief mishap.

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