The "Boob" Tube
Have been housesitting for some friends for the past several days, which among other things means I have had access to cable television. I'm not much of a TV watcher in general, and not having had regular access to cable programming for many, many years re-immersing myself in this world always presents a bit of cultureshock. Frankly, even with 70+ channels to choose from, there's still not much out there that I find of interest -- I mean, do we really need four video shopping channels, six sports channels, three channels dedicated almost exclusively to cartoons, five local/state/federal government channels, not to mention entire channels devoted to rerunning old TV sitcoms (or the one aparently used exclusively for advertising DVD collections of said old TV shows), bad music videos, bad sci-fi movies, home/personal/pet/motorcycle makeovers, neo-revivalist religious broadcasting, or weepy "women's programming"? And this doesn't even include the pay channels like Showtime & HBO, which (fortunately) my friends don't subscribe to? Really, who has time to watch all this drivel?
But, the one thing that really surprised me was the incredible emphasis on many, many channels with women's breasts. Comedy Central, E!, ESPN2, VH-1, Spike, and at least a half dozen others all seem to have programs that extole the "virtues" of silocone-enhanced female mammary glands. I can only conclude that either the target demographic of most of these programs is males 14 - 30, who evidentally just cannot get too much viewing of women's cleavage. As Terry Thomas opined 40 years ago in It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, "What is it with this unhealthy obsession American males have with women's bosums?"
Now, don't get me wrong, I'm as admiring of the female form as the next reasonably well-adjusted 40-something middle-class heterosexual American male, and I certainly don't consider myself prudish or holier-than-thou by any stretch, but it just seems to me a bit disturbing that there's so much of this blatant objectification going on. With programs like "The Man Show", which seems to have little justification for its existence other than showing scantily clad, silicone-enhanced women jumping up-and-down on trampolines for minutes on end, music videos where women seem to be little more than sex slaves to gold chain-wearing "gangsta rappers", women's pro wrestling, women's beach volleyball tournaments, salacious dating competitions, and the lowest of the low, the late-night commercials for the umpteenth edition of "Girls Gone Wild", all of which cumulatively seem to comprise a fairly large percentage of total programming on cable TV, there seems to be this sense of nonchalance and matter-of-factness designed to convey the idea that young women have this insatiable compulsion to lift their tops whenever someone with a video camera appears within 50 feet of them.
Maybe I'm just getting old. Maybe I'm becoming more conservative. Maybe I'm just bothered by a mass culture that seems to treat female sexuality so casually -- who knows? All I can say is that if this is what cable is like all the time, I'm glad I don't have to view this on a daily basis. Frankly, it's enough of a struggle to try to remain optimistic about any possible future relations with women, when everything around me is already screaming that I'm too old, too bald, too pudgy and too poor to ever attain any semblance of attraction to the opposite sex without being further innundated with images of young, slim, overly-endowed females jiggling away with abandon, as if every day is a perpetual Spring Break, and I'm the only one still trying to cram for mid-terms.
I can't help but wonder if the purpose of all this is to, on the one hand make American males of a certain demographic type feel "cool" and "hip", knowing this is presented for their benefit, while at the same time making other males not included in this desireable subset feel inadequate and vaguely disconsolate, so that they'll feel obligated to buy the hair-restoratives, exercise machines, flashy sportscars, erectile dysfunction medications, etc., etc., in the mistaken hope this will somehow restore their lost virility, making them once again attractive to the kind of women that wouldn't give them a second glance otherwise. Is that too much of a cynical attitude to cop? Or is all of this just supposed to be post-milleneum pop culture's idea of good, clean dirty fun?
Or is it that I'm secretly jealous no lycra-wearing bikini babes are ever going to invite me into their televised roving hottub party?
on 12:07 PM