300 – Rise of an Empire: Rise Of The Itty Bitty Titty Committee

300 – Rise of an Empire: Rise Of The Itty Bitty Titty Committee

Artemisia, Queen of Halicarnassus, saunters up to Xerxes and breathily declares, “I will attack the Greeks… with my entire navy.” Oh Artemisia, you don’t need an entire navy. Every modern girl knows that a flash of boob is all that is needed here to paralyze the opposition. (Did you learn nothing from the way you were reviewed in The Dreamers?)

I enjoy the presence of a nice rack from time-to-time, but I have to admit that I’ve always been more intrigued with men intrigued by breasts than I have been by the wonder that are breasts themselves. As tempting as it is to dive into the psychological analysis or debate the theories of Freud’s oral stage, I simply offer this: Hooters has 452 locations in 28 countries around the world. Boobs are a big deal.

I have a love-hate relationship with my own breasts. The hate part of the relationship stems from two of my classmates, Troy and Jed, once referring to me as the “President of the Itty Bitty Titty Committee,” carving a permanent scar in my self esteem. The love part comes from me enjoying the fact that breasts are sisters, not twins. “Not everyone needs to be so damn perky all the time,” I tell my left breast, “you hang down and to the left all you want, dear. I know that you’ll be back to your usual self once you get a little attention.” [Ed note: When will the Itty Bitty Titty Committee get enough legislative power to become an Itty Bitty Titty Senate?! Or at the very least, an Itty Bitty Titty Bicameral Parliament?]

Besides, men find funny women sexy. For example, I prefer sexual innuendos involving National Parks. “Hey there, handsome. Wanna put your Devil’s Tower in my Grand Canyon? Want to get up close and personal and climb my Tetons?” [Ed note: Who are you trying to seduce?! Yogi Bear? James Franco’s armless hiker in 127 Hours?]

What floors me most about the love affair men have with breasts is that they never seem to grow tired of seeing them, especially in the movies. Forget porn. I’m talking about any run-of-the-mill PG-13 or R-rated flick (Titanic, I’m looking at you!). Men, and most of us in the movie-going audience, are as desensitized to seeing breasts and full frontal female nudity as they are to seeing Nicolas Cage in a Jerry Bruckheimer film.

You know what you won’t see in a PG-13 flick or most R-rated movies? Male nudity. Nudity itself is nothing new to the movies, but male frontal nudity is. Airbrushed male chests make appearances, but most of the men who show their chests in films are not running down beaches with their jugs squeezed into an impossibly tight and skimpy ensemble, bouncing up and down, in slow motion, with camera work that can only be referred to as “inspired.”

Surprisingly, some of the most in-your-face man boob comes from Disney—Aladdin (tasteful, with a vest, no nipple), Li Shang in Mulan (often shirtless and nipples in full effect), and let’s not forget Tarzan, the loincloth-only lad everyone loves. [Ed note: And yet there’s not a single shot of the The Hunchback of Notre Dame’s nipples. Is this really what Walt would have wanted? Covered up hunchback man-boob?]

Not surprisingly, though, is that male frontal nudity is so rare that when people in theaters see it, they feel that the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) should be more clear. The labels of “graphic nudity,” or “nudity” had been reserved for female nudity by the MPAA, as those two categories are apparently not specific enough for our sensitive eyes.

In 2010, three movies debuted with “male nudity” explicitly called out, as if somehow the bodies of nude men needed more warning than those of nude women. The MPAA took a lot of heat for that decision, so the blanket “nudity” ratings seem to to back in full effect.

300: Rise of an Empire is no Magic Mike (the male stripper movie passed the Bechdel test, after all; the previous installment of 300 failed miserably), but those of us who appreciate a nice set of abs and a round derrière on the men folk will be left satisfied. I lost count of how many six-pack abs and spankable cheeks made their way into the trailer itself, which makes me certain that this will be a great date night movie—plenty of action regardless of viewers’ motivations.

I, for one, am perfectly happy to endure a couple hours of bloodshed for a few minutes of male onscreen T & A. Is a valiant effort from Hollywood to desensitize me to the male body as much as it has to my own too much to ask? I think not. I’d like to believe that Hollywood is capable of producing movies that force men to create their own version of the Bechdel test, though you won’t catch me holding my breath.

So please, Artemisia, flash them some benign boobage so we can get back to ogling the ass of Rodrigo Santoro. I have better things to do—there’s a Redwood waiting to explore my Mammoth Cave.

In theaters March 7, 2014.

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