Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Discussion Post- Nudity Yea Or Nay

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This post was inspired by some conversations I've had with blogger friends about nudity in movies and shows. There's quite a bit of full nudity, male and female, in the show Altered Carbon on Netflix, which was the primary conversation starter on this, but Westworld on HBO comes to mind as well. And of course Game of Thrones, which is notorious for its nudity and sexual content. The question is- how much is too much? Is there too much? Or is it all good?  



This interview relates one experience doing a fully nude fight scene, and this leads to another question. Does it matter if it makes the actor/ actress uncomfortable doing the scene? At what point is it too much? I think usually this is heavily skewed towards women, and we can debate whether it's gratuitous or not, but we see also more full male nudity. Both Altered Carbon and Westworld are again examples. It's still way behind though. So I guess I have questions. 

First, does full nudity bother you in shows? When it is too much? And is it more palatable if the nudity includes men? 

How do you feel about it? 

64 comments:

  1. I generally don't like nudity on shows because it seems to be there for no other reason that to be shocking/edgy. I stopped watching GOT because of that. I just got really annoyed at them putting naked women in scenes that didn't have any need to have naked women behind fully clothed male actors.

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    1. Yeah I think GoT has gotten carried away. I mean they just seem to be trying to push the envelope? If it suits a scene or the story maybe, but when it's just gratuitous... yeah.

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    2. I 100% agree! If the nudity makes sense, I'm fine with it. But most of the time I don't like it simply because it seems so forced and pointless...

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  2. I don't mind the occasional nude scene, but it's over-used constantly, and it gets old quick. It's not shocking, it's not edgy. It's just the human body.

    And if the actors or actresses are uncomfortable doing it, then it absolutely should not happen.

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    1. I think that's where I would draw the line too, if it makes the actors/ actresses uncomfortable. And right? It's just the body, not sure what that by itself is so scandalous.

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  3. I'm not bothered by the nudity in Game of Thrones because the acting and plot were so great. But nudity does annoy and bore me if the actual show is poor and that is just being used to liven it up. If the actors are ok with doing it, I don't have a problem with it overall but there has to be more to the show than just that.

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    1. Agreed. Nudity just to titillate is silly. But if it's in service to the plot or makes sense that is different.

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  4. I'm not so much bothered by the nudity, it's more what is happening in the scene. If it's there just for shock value I find it more eye roll worthy/annoying because it's not needed.

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    1. Yup, same. And you can usually tell! If they're just trying to shock or titillate it's pretty obvious, whereas if it actually makes sense to the story then maybe.

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  5. More completely nude men, please😁

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  6. I don't really mind it so much, although in Altered Carbon, it just felt completely over-used, like every other scene had a naked person in it.

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    1. Right? Altered Carbon got a little crazy w/it!

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  7. Interesting discussion. I don’t mind nudity if the actors are comfortable and it’s purposeful. I don’t want naked people marching all over my TV screen for no reason. Sometimes it seems like shows are just using nudity to be shocking, but nudity is common enough that it’s not shocking anymore. So, basically, if people are naked for a reason, I’m cool with it.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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    1. Same here. A lot of it has to with are the actors being treated with respect, and not just being used for eye candy.

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  8. Full nudity doesnt bother me if it’s done tastefully. The raunchy sexual content I have a harder time with. I loved true blood but at times it was too much for me. A lot of fast fowarding or flipping phone upside down.

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    1. Ha ha. Agreed- if it's tasteful or serves the story I'm fine with it too. The sexual stuff can get out of hand I think sometimes? Like Game of Thrones I think has crossed the line a few times...

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  9. I don't mind nudity but in most cases it's been uneven (women vs men) and gratuitous. Women slowly disrobe under soft lighting while men stand there in a turtle neck and parka lol

    Even in rape scenes where you should be horrified, it's about the gaze or at least as just a body - not about the act.

    The one that comes to mind is Theon's scene where he gets his you know what chopped off. Two fully nude women are presented (which makes sense as to arouse him) but Theon is fully clothed and dragged into the darkness while the scene focuses visually on the two naked women even though that specific scene should involve him being seen and degraded - as they have shown countless times with women.

    I remember an interview with the creators and they said HBO needed them to fill more time (S1) but they didn't have money so they just filled it with topless women because it was cheap filler.

    Although I haven't watched recent seasons - I think Shameless gets it right. From the eps I've seen, it was equal between men and women. it was real - as in not positioned for the perfect gaze. If something came popping out it did - if not oh well lol

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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    1. Obviously talking about GoT in that 3rd & 4th paragraph lol

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    2. Very uneven- and when they DO show a man now it seems unique because it's been so one- sided. Good point about Theon's operation lol- those women rather lingered in the camera didn't they?

      Seriously? That's just... well maybe typical of HBO lol. GoT seems to have really sexed up George's material, and that's not easy to do!!

      Ha I haven't seen that show but I like how you worded that. It should be equal- if you're gonna show the girls, show the guys. Make it casual and not a big deal, cause we can tell if it's just there to shock.

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  10. I have no problem with nudity so long as it serves a point within the scene! Take Westworld for example: the hosts are hyper-realistic and naked when first finished. You can shoot scenes in the staging area creatively so there isn't *always* full-frontal nudity, but naked bodies aren't gratuitous. On the other hand is a show on right now that I love, Counterpoint. One of the characters is lesbian and has several explicit sex scenes. They don't go much of anywhere and her partners are disposable; it feels like baiting and I've started using those scenes to make snack and bathroom runs!

    Basically, like most commenters have already said, I'm not uncomfortable with or offended by nudity. But when it's thrown in just to titillate, I lose interest in watching.

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    1. I thought of that too- both Altered Carbon and westworld feature clones/ artificial beings, so maybe from that perspective it makes more sense to have full nudity, and also gives them a little cover for it? But generally I agree- I'm fine with it if it makes sense, and serves the story. And good point about naked bodies- just the nudity alone is natural, right? Maybe we shouldn't think of THAT as gratuitous at all. I haven't seen Counterpoint but yeah it sounds like maybe they're going to the well to many times...

      I agree with the consensus too, by itself it's not inherently bad.

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  11. I think our uncomfortableness with nudity comes from a belief system that’s been passed down through generations. I don’t find it bothersome though I often wonder if it’s always necessary.

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    1. Good point! A lot of this is cultural and/or religious upbringing maybe, for some folks? they say that other cultures are not nearly as prudish (maybe the wrong word, but you know) as Americans re: some of this stuff?

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  12. It doesn't bother me. And Tammy has a point. If we are to keep thing fair, there should be more completely nude men featured in our shows and movies!

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  13. I like tasteful half assed half covered nudity! Heeheehee!

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  14. I'm not the biggest fan of nudity for several reasons. The two main ones for me are the disparity between men and women (too much 'male gaze' and, usually, just the women getting naked) and how it seldom actually adds to the story. I usually view nudity just as a cheap way to excite the viewers and distract them from a story that, probably, isn't very good to begin with. (And, really, not all nudity needs to be arousing, so if something's horrific, let it be horrific without trying to titillate the audience.) Also, I totally buy into that old adage 'leave something to the imagination.'

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    1. I think those are both problems for me, too. It just seems unnecessary and the disparity. If we have equal nudity then I'd be fine with it, as long as it's not there just to get a reaction. I do think some shows get it right, or at least somewhat, whereas others (looking at GoT) cheapen it...

      And yes there is a lot to be said for leaving to the imagination!

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  15. Honestly, that was one reason I did not watch GoT, just boobs and sex. But then it changed, dunno when since I started watching again at s6 ;) There I wanted a story.
    It's not like I am against it, shameless has a lot of it and I do not care. But there it makes sense

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    1. I think GoT went overboard in lots of ways, not just nudity/ sex but definitely that also. I agree if it makes sense then I don't really have a problem.

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  16. I think when it's relevant to the story/plot, nudity is a must. I loved Altered Carbon and even did a post on it on my blog. I think the nudity in it was there to show just how far humanity had become disassociated with their own bodies. Why/how can you be embarrassed if it's not even your own body?

    As far as the actors, I would think they would know beforehand if their character will have to be nude. I think if I was in their shoes, it would come down to if I feel the story needs to see my character nude, and my own comfort with that.

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    1. Ooh I'd like to see your post! And I think you have a point- I hadn't considered that, but yes- if they're constantly sleeving/ resleeving, after a while simple nudity/ modesty probably wouldn't be a thing, would it??

      And yes the actors definitely have to be okay with it.

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  17. Well, you know my opinion, so I am here for the comments. Tammy made me chuckle :D Karen's comment was VERY interesting, because oh my goodness, naked women are basically considered "cheap filler"!? That is horrible! Because yeah, nudity isn't a huge deal in shows for me, but when you are using real women's bodies as a FILLER?!! Nope, that crosses a line. Especially since I still highly doubt that all these women are on board with it completely. And really, that is my only real qualm with it- that the actors probably feel that they *have to* do it to an extent, if they want to keep their careers moving. And that is where I call bullshit.

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    1. Ha ha and I'm sure you're not disappointed? :) Tammy made me laugh too. And yeah same here. HBO though- what do you expect *rolls eyes* and I agree, I'm sure many don't have the agency to say no if they want to keep the parts they're trying to get...

      Kinda like with the interview above. She's probably not going to SAY she hated doing it, but it clearly wasn't FUN. And she wants to work... that's why I think women taking over in Hollywood, more of them directing or whatever, could be really good for actressses.

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  18. One of the biggest reasons I loved Altered Carbon was it's treatment 9f full frontal nudity! For one, it felt the most even out of shows I've seen as far as the gender divide goes. But what I really loved was that it never felt gratuitous to me - the scenes had actors nude for reasons that made sense (and didn't feel contrived). I felt like most of the nudity wasn't sexualized - like it was there as a "this is normal and expected in this situation" vs I am naked for your viewing pleasure if that makes sense. (Vs Got which always feels sexual. Admittedly I haven't watched past then first season of GoT so I can't speak for the later seasons)

    Obviously I'd never condone forcing actors or body doubles if they were uncomfortable with the nudity, but I am actually really enjoying this shift in nude scenes.

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    1. I will say I agree, Altered Carbon was much more equal. And they made it seem just casual or regular- yes it wasn't sexualized, like a lot of shows can be (looking at you GoT). And it's funny cause this sort of dovetails with something else I was thinking about- I just finished JEssica Jones S2 and only after I was done did I realize that all episodes were directed by women. And you could tell the difference- an article I read said the sex scenes were more intimate, there was no "male gaze" lingering on the women only, etc. Plus I noticed a lot less skin and even over the top violence too. Maybe we need more women directors?? Oh and trust me GoT I don't think ever got past their overuse of sexualized nudity. :)

      I think you're right, if nudity is (finally) more equal then that's a welcome development.

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  19. I think they still use a lot of the nudity as a sex sells motto. I do feel that actors that sign up for certain roles should definitely be comfortable with what is happening and warned ahead of time. I do believe it's frustrating for me as a woman when a show uses nudity as a shock value and when it favors women more over men. Does that mean I want to see naked males parading my screen if it isn't necessary of the plot? Not really, but that does not mean that I want to see boobs repeatedly either. I think despite the plot, it isn't necessary to have a lot of nudity in one episode, but that's just me. I have no issues with nudity otherwise, but there is such a thing as too much

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    1. I think so, and like I replied to Shannon above- I think a lot of th actors do it cause they feel the have to? If they're okay with it and clearly have the ability to say no (and not lose the job) then that's one thing. And I agree- let's be equal about it. But at the same time don't overuse either one! If you have to use nudity or graphic sex to sell your story maybe the story is not that good?

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  20. I'm usually fine with nudity in shows and movies, though, sometimes it can be a bit surprising. If I'm watching an R rated movie or something like Game of Thrones then I'm expecting it. Though stuff like that doesn't really bug me. Maybe it's because so many doctors have seen different parts of my body, but I'm just sort of numb to it all, lol. Great post! :)

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    1. Yeah it doesn't really bother me either, although I remember when Game of Thrones came on I was like dang! Don;t leave anything to the imagination lolol. And if it serves the story that's cool too. I think it's better if it's getting more equal too (not that I'm looking for male nudity but just saying)... also yeah, it's just the body right???

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  21. I guess it depends of show. In GoT it bothered me, I felt like it was just a way to get more audience. Then we have Secret Diary of a Call Girl and there it strangely did not bother me one bit...maybe because I love Billie Piper...

    And it's more fair when both female and male are naked. If it's just women, it's weird and wrong somehow.

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    1. Agree. Why force women to always do it and the guys get a pass? I think if it's more equal that would go a long way. But also, like you said- sometimes they're doing it just to do it. Game of thrones definitely qualifies lol. I haven't seen secret Diary though... glad to hear it works more there.

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  22. I guess I don't really care? But then, I'm not bothered by much in movies or shows. But there is that issue that sometimes it just be there for the sake of being there. And usually it's women. (Karen's comment about how the naked women were used as filler---that's horrible!) And I do think it's a problem if the actor/actress is uncomfortable with it. They shouldn't have to do a scene nude if they don't want to. But if it makes sense in the scene, then it just is what it is!

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    1. I tend not to be too bothered by it although it helps if it serves the story, definitely. And yes like Karen said- that is bad (and not surprisig given HBO's usual MO). I think the trend towards more equality in nudity (I kinda like that phrasing) is a good thing. If you're gonna do it, do it equally right??

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  23. I don't mind it at all. I hear that the U.S. is usually more "awkward" with nudity than those in Europe, and this kind of makes sense to me. I think if the actor is uncomfortable, they shouldn't have to do it though. That's just wrong. Other than that, if it makes sense and isn't used all the time, then I don't really care. But I agree with the other comments in that it needs to be more even between women and men.

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. I have heard that too, and I think there's definitely something there. They seem so much more laid back in Europe about nudity in general, and it makes sense actually? I don't know why we're so uptight here lol. In fact I wondered if reactions/ comments here would be different based on location??

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  24. I'm not a huge fan of nudity for religious reasons, but I've become more and more desensitized to it because it's becoming more prevalent so it doesn't bother me as much as it used to.

    I, however, am picky about the type of nudity if there is nudity. I don't like gratuitous nudity just for the sake of nudity. If it's for a purpose, like in Red Sparrow, then I'm more okay with it. I do not tolerate violent nudity and I'm more okay with sexual nudity when it's not touchy feely if that makes sense. (That's because I'm a victim of sexual abuse, though.)

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    1. As a Christian I totally get that. In fact even though sometimes I wonder should we be so worked up about nudity (it's just the body after all) but at the same time, it seems like it's so often used just to titillate or even make up for a bad storyline? It seems like the more the have to use it to "sell", maybe that's telling us something?

      Same here. If it serves the story that's one thing. I haven't seen Red Sparrow but glad it was done well? Violent nudity and any glamorising of abuse though should definitely NOT be tolerated!

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  25. It doesn't bother me at all but I think if the actor is not comfortable with it, they should not be pressured into doing it.

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  26. I haven't watch S2 of of WW and I can't remember if there was a lot of nudity in S1. That probably tells you how much it bothers me LOL I like it if it is something that adds to a well developed story instead of being used just for entertaining value. Like the famous scene of Danerys getting out of the bath. It felt like it wet with the theme that she was being "sold" by her brother. Great post!

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  27. I agree with many others here, if there is a true reason for nudity, I'm fine with it. However, if an actor or actress is feeling uncomfortable, I think that should be taken into account!
    I didn't really watch True Blood, even if I loved Sookie Stackhouse. It was SO different, and sex and nakedness was mostly used for shock value. Which is kind of sad! That story was good, and the TV series became something else.
    I don't watch GoT, so I have no idea if I'd enjoy that or not.
    Having said that, I don't think nudity is shocking! It is natural. And in a show, if nudity shares more about the characters / their history / their growth / any other positive thing, I'm fine with it.
    Great post, Greg!
    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

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  28. I don't mind nudity as long as it is pretty much equal between the sexes, and I don't mind sex scenes as long as it isn't something I want to watch with my son like GoT... boo hiss. Ha ha. My son was brought up around art photography with nudes, so no big deal watching that with him, but watching sex scenes with him, nopey nope nope. I was surprised at the number of bloggers who watch GoT with their kids. O_______O

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  29. I feel like a lot of TV/movies do not need to be so graphic or explicit. We know what is going on without actually seeing it. I read a ton of romances, where they are graphic, and it doesn't bother me, but for some reason, I feel like a lot of the nudity/sex I see on TV and in movies is gratuitous, and isn't really necessary.

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  30. I don't mind nudity unless I watch the show with my mom. There is something wrong with watching sex on the screen when your mom is sitting next to you.
    Of course the nudity/sex has to fit the theme. In GOT I was much more bothered by the violence.

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  31. I do find myself rolling my eyes and thinking 'here we go again' mostly because it's BORING. Immediately we see nakedness (mostly women) then the action slows right down as the camera lingers on the body. I loved GoT, but mostly despite the naked scenes and sex rather than because of it. There were only a handful of the ones they portrayed that I thought were actually necessary.

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  32. I couldn't care less about nudity if it has a purpose and makes sense in the situation.

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  33. Like books, nudity is fine if it makes sense and isn't there just for shock value.

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  34. I am completely okay with nudity if it falls into the plot and setting appropriately. I do think that it begins to wear on my if I see that this aspect is thrust upon only one sex during the whole course of the show. Because then we realize it is more of a "ratings boost" kind of like fanservice in anime. But if the actors are okay with it and it works for the scene, it really doesn't bother me at all. And of course it will always matter that those asked to reveal themselves are completely comfortable.

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  35. I don't mind nudity at all in films, unless it's grossly skewed toward female nudity with no male nudity at all. If an actor or actress is uncomfortable with it, though, they shouldn't have to do it. Still, then, sometimes you'd have to hire someone else altogether to take their place if it was essential to the plot or something.
    ~Litha Nelle

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  36. I am okay with nudity when there is a valid reason for that. Like in Altered Carbon when the clones were fighting - it made sense. But I am not okay with nudity that is there for the male gaze (or female gaze either, although that is rarely the case). But if the actor is uncomfortable and there is an alternative, then I think they shouldn't do the scene - but if the nudity makes sense for the story (like the clone fight mentioned earlier), then the actor should either do it or be replaced - or maybe use doubles, that's also a thing if the budget allows it.

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  37. I don't mind nudity in tv shows and films, but it's definitely a question of whether or not it's necessary. Like, I find some of the sex scenes in Game of Thrones unnecessary, it just seems to be for attention, you know? I think if the actors are comfortable and it's all part of the story then go for it but if it's uncomfortable for those involved and feels uncomfortable to watch then it was totally unnecessary.

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