Bernice Bishop in her essay The Boob on the Tube (n. d) narrated Janet Jackson’s exposure of her boobs at the halftime show of Super Bowl XXXVIII and the reaction of the people as well as the Jackson family towards the show she made. Bishop started her essay quoting a phrase from Gulliver’s Travels depicting how disgusted Gulliver was at the sight of the giant’s enormous breasts. This was used by Bishop in comparing and contrasting the reaction of the public on the show Jackson made.
She said that like Gulliver, the public was also disgusted by the exposure of breasts; however, unlike Gulliver, the revulsion did not come from the enormity of the breasts but from the people’s appeal for a sense of decency. Many opined that the showing of the breasts should have been avoided. Bishop said that “Jackson’s status as a woman does not bestow upon her the exlusive right to cheapen the image of women everywhere, (Bishop, n. pag. ). She also criticized the way the Jackson family reacted. She said that they are the “least reliable judges of what is normal behavior, (Bishop, n. ag. ).
Bishop appeals for more decency in the national television. According to the author, Jackson’s breast exposure has fully depicted the kind woman that MTV is trying to portray—a piece of meat ready to be torn of her clothes. This kind of imaging and the rowdy behavior that MTV showcases is exactly the reason why Bishop and her husband decided to cut their cable TV subscription. The television shows such as MTV and VH1 are trying to create false impressions and build the wrong attitudes in the youth.
Bishop feels that the Americans have a decaying morality and there is a need to salvage it by observing the proper decorum at least in family programs. “If she (Jackson) contends that baring her breast was a gesture designed to provoke thought about sexuality, her contentions do not change the fact that millions of Americans do not think that little kids staying up late to watch the Super Bowl once a year, need to have their puberty jump-started by pop stars, (Bishop n. pag. ).
The essay The Breast has Become Too Big for Its Own Good by Terrence Blacker, (n. d), narrates the Super Bowl incident and the reaction the society gave over the performance as well as an assessment on the role breasts play in the society. The controversial Super Bowl production, which exposed Jackson’s right breast decorated with a golden crown in the shape of a sun, pictured how the breasts have evolved from being merely a part human female body to something which is developing a personality different from its owner.
It has now become a public version of sexuality. The Super Bowl half time show which showcased a view of Jackson’s right breast due to an accidental removal, received varied comments from the different American social groups, most of which are negative. The Traditional Values Commission and the Parents Television Council which found the show “pornographic” (Blacker, n. pag. ) others opined that the brief breast exposure was not an accidental removal. Jackson’s breast was “dressed to impress” (Blacker, n. ag. ).
It was not a simple human error, it was meant to arose and electrify the audience. Blacker said that if this kind of style in programming should go on, then it would be better to have an alternative approach in the way people look at breasts. “The moment has surely arrived when we might consider reclassifying the female mammary gland and recognizing that it is now too thoroughly exposed to have any kind of mystique. The breast should be officially deregistered as an erotic zone (Blacker, n. pag. ).
In the past decades many women have been augmenting their breasts to ignite sexual excitement from men and to make them look attractive. Women falls for the belief that the bigger they have, the more beautiful they are however, Blacker thinks this is idiotic and is alarmed by such notion. “… the contemporary breast has become too big for its own good and too public to be worth a moral panic (Blacker, n. pag. ) An analysis of Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction during the Super Bowl half time show was provided by Charles Dragon in his essay, Cable and Braodcast are Different Media (n. . ). In the entire essay, Dragon posed several questions wondering if the incident had something to do with the program promotions of MTV and CBS which belong to a single network—Viacom.
Dragon said that the performance might have been the network’s way of advertising both programs. “MTV could bring its content to a wider audience and at the same time please its master, Viacom, which is trying to attract younger viewers to CBS and enjoy some of the synergy they keep talking about to shareholders (Blacker, n. pag. . However, Dragon said that the aim, which might have been healthy for the enetertainment business caused a great illness to the society as it only added to the boisterous programs which is plaguing it. Dragon opines that the network should remember that the audience they are catering to belong to different age groups and being such, there is a need to observe different levels of decency. The younger ones will definitely have a different perception and acceptance of what are being show on TV, from the adults.
According to Dragon, what may be acceptable to the 1. 2 million young viewers might not be for the other 90 million viewers. The performance of Jackson and Timberlake is definitely a show to remenber not only because of the controversial exposure but also due to the realization it ignited among Americans. According to the essay, the Federal Communications Commission received nearly 200,000 complaints coming from the liberals and conservatives and this is an extraordinary moment as rarely do the two groups reach a common ground.
Dragon says that this only goes to say that the stunt did not only raise questions of decency by the need to maintain different censorship standards on network and cable television. If Jackson and Timberlake wanted to make a statement in their Super Bowl exhibition, they definitely did. Their famous performance is not only remarkable for having such a great audience appeal but also for reaping thousands of comments all over America. The down point only is that these comments and audience appeal mostly fall on the negative.
However, if there is any good that their show brought, that is the fact that Americans have come to realize that despite the ballooning programs exhibiting sexuality, drugs and belligerent behaviors, they still clamor for a sense of decency. More than attracting a large number of audience, the media must not forget that it also has the responsibility to deliver good programming and mould better individuals. Being in the media is both power and responsibility—the power to shape people’s minds and the responsibility to do it correctly.
Television programs are supposed to entertain, not create the wrong attitudes and provoke a negative appreciation of the youth’s liberality. I agree with Dragon and Blacker that there should be a different kind of censorship to be observed in network and cable television because one caters to a smaller audience and the other to a larger and unsegragated group. “… the misjudgments run deeper than not properly assessing the interests of the audience, it stems from the blurring of the lines that used to separate cable and network television (Dragon, n. pag. ).