Nudity on Network TV Is Up...A Lot

A new report from a parents' advocacy group shows that the FCC isn't doing nearly enough to prevent (pixelated) nudity from appearing on network TV programs.

Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn

What's the Latest Development?

According to a new study released by the Parents Television Council (PTC), nudity on American network TV is becoming a lot more common. The study compared incidents of nudity from the 2011-2012 TV season to those of the previous season and found that the number increased by more than 400 percent, signaling the networks' ongoing attempts to compete with the cable market. Most of the incidents occurred on shows that aired before 9 pm, and only a fraction of those shows had the appropriate parental warning attached. Especially interesting was the number of full-frontal occurrences: 64 this past season, compared to just one in the 2010-2011 season.

What's the Big Idea?

In case your TV watching is restricted to HBO and similar networks, no, you didn't miss anything: All of the nude scenes described had the appropriate body parts pixelated. However, according to therapist Dr. Nancy Irwin, it doesn't mean much. "Simulated or blurred nudity can be just as titillating as real nudity in the human brain...If something is missing -- as in pixelization -- the brain will fill in the blanks from the existing storehouse of knowledge." As expected, the PTC is pulling out its guns, with its president writing the FCC asking that they "vigorously enforce broadcast decency laws, as mandated by the Congress and affirmed by the Supreme Court.”

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