I was stunned to read this morning that ABC has been fined $1.43m for showing a bare arse on TV before 10pm. They actually showed it at 9pm, which is after the watershed here in the UK, but in any case the odd bare arse shot would not usually be considered indecent here - it might get you a 12 rating at best. The Ofcom rules in fact state that “Nudity before the watershed must be justified by the context.” - ie common sense generally applies.
To me, this is a nanny state gone completely bonkers. The FCC ruling states “We find that the programming at issue is within the scope of our indecency definition because it depicts sexual organs…”. Right, so seeing someone’s bare arse in a completely non-sexual context is considered ‘indecent’ now? I can’t see myself how a couple of cheeks are going to be psychologically damaging to kids old enough to be watching at 9pm. I’d go further and say that I don’t really see how seeing a bare arse could be considered offensive or damaging to anyone - it’s just a bum, big deal, your kids probably see equivalent exposure just going to the beach. What, do the people who complain start hearing wah-wah guitars in their heads whenever they see more than a few inches of skin? That says more about them than the material, really.
Personally I think an attitude that makes such a disproportionately big deal about a couple of cheeks has a far greater potential to create a repressive, psychologically damaging environment. The human body is not an inherently evil thing; personally I don’t see what’s damaging about a bare arse shot, in fact compared to say an action film that contains gunfights, fistfights and car crashes, which the FCC don’t seem to have a problem with, I’d say it’s a lot less damaging. Violence is ok, bums are not, obviously. Forgive me if that makes no sense at all to a clueless European.