Yesterday I happened to come across a video of a song that was performed at the Academy Awards a day or two ago called “I Saw Your Boobs”. And it made me really angry. You might ask why someone who writes about health, food as medicine, nutrition and emotional healing, wants to write about a song that was meant to be a piece of comedy related to an industry that I have nothing to do with – however I see this so called “light-hearted” sketch as having much broader repercussion, as a statement about women.
Now you might say that I’ve just lost my sense of humour. Maybe in this instance that is true, but I know I normally have a fantastic sense of humour – sometimes it’s pretty way out there and I find humour in many varied situations – so I honestly don’t think it’s that simple. This song triggered in me a whole cascade of thoughts that I want to share here. At the very least it will be food for thought for some who may have just had a laugh and moved on!
For those who haven’t seen it or heard about it, the host of the award show sang a song (above) about actresses and the movies they have been in where they showed their boobs. This disturbed me on so many levels. Being in the natural health industry, and interested in so many more interesting subjects than what is going on in Hollywood (as with most of my readers) – movie stars and their lives don’t really rate much of mention on my radar. But I can’t disregard the fact that Hollywood has a huge influence over our modern culture. What happens in Hollywood, the themes, the direction of the latest movies, what gets the most press, what wins awards – is all determined by mainly powerful, rich, white men in a capitalist society, manipulating the world into seeing their version of reality. To my way of thinking, it is a pretty sick and twisted version that is most often represented.
Not only do we have “sex and violence” used in the same sentence as issues of equal importance when it comes to rating movies and determining what will be too “damaging” for young eyes, when we do see sexuality on screen it is very rarely infused with anything resembling a higher level of love, awareness and spirituality. This bastardised form of sex that is promoted in Hollywood, shows the depth of disengagement people have from their bodies, and has twisted healthy sexuality into something that is often depraved. We see that acted out in our culture on a regular basis.
With the Academy Awards being watched by millions of viewers as the industry is showcased around the world, this sort of humour cannot be written off as simply a bad taste joke. A lot of behind the scenes thought would have gone into it, the segment would have to have been approved, and there would be much more to the psychology of using that song than most people would be aware of. This is big business and a multi-billion dollar industry, nothing would be left to chance.
The song reduced the actresses to boobs. Infantile, shallow, degrading, reductionist. As if the women being sung about had no more value than their breasts. For sure, these women are not doing brain surgery and saving lives everyday, but they are living their passion in life, they are brilliant at what they do, they bring in billions of dollars to their industry, they take roles that highlight important topics like domestic violence, mental illness, endurance and love in all it’s many facets – and they are philanthropic, doing more for charity and good causes than most. So to objectify these women and make up a song about them showing their boobs on film, is to reduce these women to nothing more than one body part. It doesn’t hold them up as creative, inspiring, intelligent individuals, but reduces them to just their boobs.
The flow-on effect of this is a culture that continually makes it OK to objectify women. To value them on their looks alone. I can’t tell you how many women I have seen in clinic who hate their body, who diet, starve, binge and punish themselves for not looking a certain way. They may be unwell, they may have huge stresses and suffering in their lives, but it is the way they look that consumes them. Where does this idea come from? And who is perpetuating it?
Humour is essential in this life, but for me, humour that is representative of an insidious theme of devaluing people, is not funny at all. In Patricia Evan’s book The Verbally Abusive Relationship, one of the characteristics and categories of verbal abuse is termed “Verbal Abuse Disguised as Jokes”. She states “Abuse disguised as a joke is a category of verbal abuse which all of the women I interviewed experienced… This kind of abuse is not done in jest. It cuts to the quick, touches the most sensitive areas, and leaves the abuser with a look of triumph. This abuse never seems funny because it isn’t funny. Disparaging comments disguised as jokes often refer to the feminine nature of the partner, to her intellectual abilities, or to her competency.”
I’m not trying to say that the song is “abusive”, however the parallels are there. Abuse themed “as a joke” is pervasive in our society and is used as a common way to denigrate others.
Seeing as the host of the awards also made jokes about domestic violence, it normalises these topics in the eyes of the general public. Domestic violence and reducing talented women to nothing more than breasts, becomes funny and “normal”. Does anyone else not see the deeper ramifications of normalising these behaviours and attitudes? Am I the only one that found this song to be representative of something greater than it appeared to be? What were your thoughts when you heard it? Just a laugh and that it meant very little, or did you see something more in it? I would love to hear your thoughts!
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I thought Halle Berry’s portrayal of a grieved mother in Monsters Ball was heart rendering. I cried during that “sex scene” because for me it wasn’t a scene about sex at all. Now that I read your post I agree that the song does reduce Halle’s brilliant protrayal as just a set of breasts. Yes it was done in fun, but it wasn’t all that funny.
Thanks for this post Leisa.
I am so right there with you. I couldn’t even watch it. What is going on with the world??!! – and if I too could use this space for a little rant of my own…
Is it any wonder that these men get away with things like this when some woman will go to incredible lengths to fit the ‘ideal’. I recently saw the promo of an upcoming current affairs report that shows the growing trend for women to have the bones in their feet surgically altered so they can fit better in the outrageous new dimensions of the latest shoe fashions!! I can’t believe that there are people out there who find that important. Imagine what we could achieve if their priorities were in the right place. If they are willing to go as far as having bones removed from their feet imagine what they could achieve directing their efforts to things that actually matter.
Thanks so much for “getting it”. This is exactly what I meant – it reduces performances that are full of meaning and heart, to a joke. Maybe I’m reading more into it than is there, but it rubbed me the wrong way!
Wow, totally hear you my friend! Totally appropriate rant, and it is so sad that so many women buy into this bullshit and don’t have the strength or self-esteem to walk away from it. There are some great people doing work on this subject – Naomi Wolfe has been addressing this for years – I love her work, and the movie MissRepresentation follow this theme as well. http://www.missrepresentation.org/the-film/ The more of us that see this and speak up about it, the closer we’ll get to changing it! Bring it on sis-star!
Wonderful insight, Leisa, this offensive song deserves more than a ‘rant”. It might be fun for small minded men to have a ‘giggle’ over, but I bet they wouldn’t think it such fun if the song was referring to male private parts and sung by a woman!
Totally Elle! Can you imagine if men made movies where they were raw and emotional, exposed and naked, and then women went and made fun of their penises? There would be hell to pay! The concept is just offensive whatever way you look at it – male to female, female to male – it’s time they got over this 12 year old level of humour and just grow up!
Here are some more awesomely intelligent responses to the topic of this post – there are many who saw past the “light-hearted humour” to the deeper sentiment behind it:
And this one from a man, with a different angle altogether, and one that I also found very insightful:
I totally agree with you. I don’t watch award shows ever or tune into Hollywood. This song has an effect on the collective feminine psyche. However, it’s a double edged sword. Is it empowering to show your breasts to begin with?? It depends who you speak to I guess. The song is expressed through a 50’s theme, seemingly innocent and light-hearted but like you said a LOT of work goes on behind the scenes. I too see many women struggle with self-love but I also see it in the many actresses and models that are glorified. They too share the same issues because they are afterall women.
Thank you Ulyana, it is so true, a lot would have gone into the planning and strategy for a song such as this. Is it empowering to show your breasts? I think the context is important. In this particular case, he wasn’t singing about women who choose to show their breasts for male gratification, that would be a whole different topic and the fors and againsts could be argued for days.
What irked me, is that the majority of movies that were sung about, were brilliant pieces of art with important themes that were being shared through story. Whether breasts were revealed or not is irrelevant.
Twelve year old humour that makes fun of women is never going to support a world where we have self-love and positive body image. In our actresses, models, and general public…
Oh please, I have boobs and I could see the funny side. Get over yourself.
I’m so sick of the political correctness that is destroying our communities. Take a joke.
Cathy, I appreciate that at many times political correctness is out of control and that yes, quite often people do need to find a sense of humour. However, what I was trying to point out here is the greater context of this kind of humour in our society that is representative of a damaging cultural mind-set. For sure, there are probably many other representations of the issue that could be much more appropriate – it was just that this one turned up and triggered some thoughts about the deeper significance of making a joke about seeing a woman’s boobs while she is portraying a rape scene. It trivialises these issues, and the point was that it is so culturally acceptable, and so ingrained, that we often don’t take the time to think about the bigger picture and see it in a context that explores the psychological impact that it has.
Sure, I know it was a joke, and my sense of humour is very intact, but it was also a great opportunity and platform to explore deeper issues. It is quite fine to also just have a laugh and see it as nothing more than that. There’s nothing wrong with that either, but telling us to “get over ourselves” for having a discussion on a topic that has hit a nerve with many people, isn’t adding to the conversation.
I appreciate your position though, there’s no right or wrong, it’s just a conversation we’re having
check out the comments on Facebook your article here has started
Thanks Rose, that’s just awesome!
Yes – sad to imagine what kind of thoughtlessness went into that highly staged and well planned song. It reminded me of the comment “i saw your underpants!” that is sometimes said at school to shame an unselfconscious little girl into feeling that she needs to be an ashamed, self-protective little person who can’t feel comfortable with her body… i work with kids and you’ll be glad to know that most little people are above that kind of comment in kindergarten.
I haven’t viewed the Awards or listened to the song …. don’t need to!!
I already KNOW what a depraved world we live in, where women are abused, degraded and dishonoured by men.
Thankfully, we are in the midst of deeply transformational times – spiritually, socially and individually – where the truth of all injustice is being revealed, preparing the way for collective healing.
The call for women to be treated honourably and equally, can only come about through their own EMPOWERMENT … their collective voice … and compassion for their ‘lost’ male counterparts!!
Thankyou, Leisa, for using your health blog to highlight this issue which affects all of us – male or female!!
Good grief, where are we back in the school yard? Honestly, this makes me want to see less of the Oscars from now on. I am totally with you on this, I too can only think, what if a female host was up there singing “we saw your penis” highlighting the same type of roles actors played as their female counterparts did and were just made fun of?! Seriously, come on now, how ridiculous would that sound-we saw your penis.
I wonder if Kate Winslet was sitting in the audience, the bloody hard work she put in all those roles to have some guy sing like a four year old, ‘he he we saw your boobs!’
Sorry Cathy, don’t agree with you on this. Taking away the serious side to how offensive this is, on the most basic level it isn’t even funny! Think about it, some guy in a tux singing: we.saw.your.boobs…. I feel for those who had to sit through this rubbish just on the meagre entertainment value.
You worded beautifully the way I felt after hearing the song. In every corner of our world today we are bombarded with masculinist standards of femininity where the body is so sexualised that women are referred to as mere objects to gratify the male. Don’t they realise that this attitude is totally responsible for the violence, rapes and murders that will always plague women unless these attitudes are changed.
Loved reading your article
Thankyou for your post and your rave ! No you are not alone in your feelings about the boobs song. Both my partner and I who choose not to watch television were offended and definately not amused by it.
I have long felt that we are creating a world of puppets who are fast asleep and caught in a greed inspired world of illusion. For women to be degraded as nothing more than the socially projected view of what is currently deemed beautifull is absurd!
The meaning of the word beauty is TRUTH, of honouring yourself and all others with the values and principles of love, which is why in our consumer-culture the power of that word has been so degraded as to be a LIE!. To be beautiful is simply to place love as your highest value and all it teaches us as your social principles . To love yourself and value your own truth as an awakened human being is to have peace and beauty beyond measure. It is time we started to reclaim our birthright as taught by the great masters throughout the ages and share that wisdom , so women and men can become the great balance of love and creativity that we are meant to be. We have all been handed so many lies to keep us snared in a virtual reality that allows the few to prosper and the majority to suffer.When men accept the stupidity of undervaluing women, they become unmanned as the hero/protector the Divine Nature intended them to be, and we are all pitted against each other as enemies of differences . When there is perpetual unhappiness we become retail consumers ad nauseum – hence the economy rolls on and all that is valuable and precious is continually violated and we are kept separated, confused and endlessly on the treadmill. It is no wonder that anxiety and depression are the Western Words greatest epidemic!
For you to see the offensiveness of what others may perceive as a funny song is to realise that you are not asleep, so give yourself a great big love hug and send some out to those who are still asleep. As Christ once said – ” forgive them as they know not what they do “. All the parables of the Ages hold the answers to our modern dilemma – not in the bastardised teachings of our modified religions but in the sacredness of our own creation and the responsibility we carry as awakened humans. Thank you for reminding me to see Beauty in its power and grace – maybe we could collectively heal the women of the west and save our disassociated heroes….
in love and light, May we rebirth our BEAUTY!,