Breasts, Killing, and American Television

Breasts, Killing, and American Television

Recently on the Arsenio Hall Show, some cast members from the reality show, VH1’s Basketball Wives LA graced Arsenio’s couch. The ladies included Draya, Malaysia, and Brandi.

When the ladies walked onto the stage to take their seats, I thought something went wrong with my eyes. Each lady had a white blurred oval on the front of their bodies in the chest area, and at first, the blurry areas did not automatically register in my brain. Then I realized, the network was covering their breasts.

They must have been wearing attire that revealed more of their breasts than the network was comfortable showing. Perhaps the network was afraid of possible litigation because too much breast would be exposed on late night television offending Arsenio’s audience, and Superbowl magnitude lawsuits would ensue for showing forbidden breasts.


We cannot seem to escape the barrage of what I call, the killer shows. The killer shows aka crime shows come in so many variations one cannot keep them straight. The cop shows, the mind-reader, the investigators, police in sleepy hollows, horror stories, vampires, CSI in multiple cities in the U.S., doctors who murder, old school Sherlock Holmes gone new school…death galore. Death in hospitals, in the military, revenge deaths, murder in the early days of the Catholic church, we cannot escape all the shooting, stabbing, asphyxiation, and all other manners of killing and death that are spoon fed to us like our favorite ice cream.

Not to forget, all the raping and killing of women. Abduction of women and girls. In 2013, there were over 75 television shows that either centered on finding killers, preventing a killing, or saving someone from being killed after having been tortured. Somehow this steady diet of murder and mayhem is fine with the networks. Do network executives believe women are as disposable as the shows they order season after season?

Yes, it’s hard to escape the gun-filled, killing shows on television. I admit, there are a few I watch because the story lines involve more than murder. However, there are so many I cannot watch. I have a daughter, I have a sister, I have female friends. The thoughts such shows plant in one’s mind about if a particular scenario would happen to someone you care about can be disturbing. Nevertheless, killer shows are televised 24-7.

Showing breasts? Oh, we must be careful about that on television. Those dirty, disgusting breasts of women can only be displayed within certain measured allowances. Wouldn’t want to offend the viewing audience with the natural state of a woman’s body. Unless she’s being tortured, kidnapped, raped….or murdered. Of course, a man can walk around shirtless on every show without a problem. No blurry areas on male chests.

What is the message we send young people who watch all this murder stuff about men and women’s bodies, and what is acceptable in American society? In many European countries, nudity is a regular part of television. People don’t freak out because they see breasts, or a female pubic area.

The networks’ hypocritical assessment of what is offensive, what they are protecting us from is laughable, and insulting. I’d rather see some beautiful women’s breasts, sitting up perky, or hanging down low than to watch another murderous act, or someone trying to find the killer, or trying to save another woman from an abductor.

When you communicate to young people that something is wrong with a female’s nude body, but still exploit the female nude body in certain situations, no wonder America is so conflicted about female nudity, sensuality, and sexuality.

Ann Levorn

You may also like