Nipple Indecency Is Complicated

by on November 7, 2006

Over at my other blog, my friend Amy Phillips has a funny comment about the blurring of nipples on those plastic surgery reality shows:

I watch a lot of plastic surgery, and while they always blur out women’s nipples, they never blur men’s (even when the men in question have boobs bigger than some of the pre-surgery women).

This leads to very weird results in shows about the plastic surgery that transgendered people undergo. When giving breast implants to a M-to-F transgendered person, the nipples are never blurred out at the beginning of the show, but about halfway through the surgery, once the implants are inflated, they pixelate the nipples. Same nipples, but when they sit on a rounder chest, they become indecent.

On F-to-M transgendered people, they blur out the nipples at the beginning of the surgery, but once a sufficient amount of breast tissue has been removed to make the chest look male, out come the nipples. Again, the same nipples that were once obscene become perfectly okay to look at once the chest is flattened out.

This happens without fail, regardless of what gender the patient in question considers her/himself, regardless of what genitalia the patient possesses, and regardless of the person’s legal gender. Context is everything, apparently.

Given that these are usually cable shows, we probably can’t blame the FCC for this one. We just live in a strange country.

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