So there was this report on WJLA last night about breast self-exams for women as a cancer detection/prevention measure. As I watched the female anchor warn viewers that the following story contained “graphic images of women’s breasts” I rolled my eyes and wondered what the hell our problem is as a society, and then watched the story, both for self-education and for media-criticism purposes. I wondered how they would handle it.
So I watched, and what struck me was how very clinical it was. The only close-up shots were for the specific purpose of demonstrating the technique. There were no gratuitous boobies hanging out, only depictions of both a doctor and a patient demonstrating the exam procedure. The whole thing was, frankly, the opposite of sexually provocative. It was about as sexy as when my doctor discusses it with me (NOT SEXY AT ALL). And look, I’m kind of a prude about this stuff, so it’s not like I wouldn’t have noticed if it were exploitative.
I’m not saying some pubescent kid with raging hormones and no access to other depictions of nudity couldn’t have found SOME reason to get aroused, but that says more about what puberty is like than about the quality of this report. It was medical, educational, and so it annoys (but does not surprise) me that groups like Concerned Women for America are actually complaining about it. Apparently the Concerned Women are not actually that concerned ABOUT Women. But if nothing else, it generates publicity for the importance of breast self-exam. So, watch it for yourself (maybe not in your cubicle) and decide.