“Indecent” Exposure Under Fire

moorekateI am puzzled by the media’s recent obsession with “wardrobe malfunctions.”  Never a day goes by that some celebrity (female of course) isn’t pictured showing an inch or more of forbidden skin, supposedly by accident.

Even Kate Midddleton, who is likely to be England’s Queen some day, dare not venture out on a windy day or change into her bikini on a secluded beach without the paparazzi whipping out their long-lens cameras.

Why, I wonder, are such pictures “news”?

Growing up in rural Jamaica, I became accustomed to seeing bare breasts – mothers nursing their babies on the bus, girls bathing in the river while washing clothes… And I quickly learned not to stare if I didn’t want my ancestry “traced.”

But things are different in other countries.

Americans frown on any suggestion of public “exposure.” Yes, I know there are nude beaches and nudist camps, but I suppose these places are not considered “public.”

When you appear “in public” in America, you have to be modest or risk arrest. And if Montana Congressman David Moore (top right) gets his way, the standards of modesty are going to get a lot tougher. The Republican politician is pushing legislation to shield the delicate eyes of the American public even more carefully.

According to the Daily Kos:

The proposal would expand indecent exposure law to include any nipple exposure, including men’s, and any garment that “gives the appearance or simulates” a person’s buttocks, genitals, pelvic area or female nipple.

And he goes even farther. The Daily Kos reports:

The Republican from Missoula said tight-fitting beige clothing could be considered indecent exposure under his proposal. He also thinks yoga pants should be illegal.

Is this guy easily titillated or what?

Of course, indecent exposure laws don’t affect the publication of those pictures that provide the paparazzi with a living. That battle was fought long ago and the courts ruled that “the press” is granted special freedoms under the Constitution. So published pictures of a celebrity’s underwear – or a glimpse of her bare skin – are legal but if Moore gets his way, suburban moms could be arrested for wearing their yoga pants to the supermarket.

Of course it makes no sense. But things seem to make less and less sense to me as time goes by.

gwgraeme

I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for Jamaicans.com

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