The double standard in censorship of body types


By Taurean Small

Star tennis players Venus and Serena Williams are known for their provocative attitudes. Evident in their tennis outfits, both women tend to push boundaries when it comes to their work. Subsequently, they are powerful figures in the sports industry, but that does not make them invincible.

Recently, Serena Williams’s trailer for the new game, Top Spin 4, was leaked on the Internet. The trailer featured Williams in a leotard and see-through tights while playing the game. Between several shots of her from behind and the sounds of several female tennis players grunting, “The World’s Sexiest Tennis Player” was deemed too sexy for TV by the game’s developer, 2K Sports.

I won’t lie and say it wasn’t a risqué commercial. But compared to the content MTV airs, this ad is acceptable. Take a look at almost any pop music video they run. Better yet, look at any Lady Gaga video. The woman is afraid of pants. The most I’ve seen her wear in a music video was probably underwear. On top of that, her overly-sexual “dancing” is accepted as well.

Why does Gaga get a pass but Serena doesn’t? Is it because curvy women are too sexy for mainstream TV?

Singer Beyonce Knowles also experienced this body-size double standard when launching her fragrance line, “Heat,” in the U.K. The commercial showed Knowles walking down a steamy hallway, singing the song “Fever” while wearing a low-cut dress.

The Advertising Standards Association pulled the ad, saying, “Beyonce’s body movements and the camera’s prolonged focus on shots of her dress slipping away to partially expose her breasts created a sexually provocative ad that was unsuitable to be seen by young children. We considered that the ad should not have been shown before 7:30 p.m. due to the sexually provocative nature of the imagery.”

While the ad does show a lot of Beyonce’s sweaty skin, what do you think a commercial for a fragrance titled “Heat” would feature? Should she have worn a long coat with an ankle-length dress?

Once again, the commercial seemed innocent when pitted against popular shows and music videos of today.

Not to pick on Gaga, but in her most recent video for the song “Born This Way,” she displayed many different scenes that would usually be deemed inappropriate. For example, in one scene, Gaga pulled a gun out of her crotch.

Yes, you read that correctly. Other scenes showed the singer in a skin tight and flesh-colored body suit with zippers over her chest areas, and of course dance scenes with her wearing nothing but underwear.

Seeing as she is currently one of the top superstars in pop culture, it seems like sex has become an ubiquitous part of America society. It is however, unacceptable to be sexy in America if you are above a size 4, without being viewed as racy.

If you watched all three videos mentioned in this column, the one marked “Not Safe for Work” should be the latter. Unfortunately, that is not the case.