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Men are objectified just as much as women on TV


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I’ve only ever watched the odd episode of Game of Thrones at uni when my flatmates forced me to, but everyone around me raves about how great it is and how much mystical nudity there is in it.

But upon reading The Guardian’s article on Game of Thrones star Natalie Dormer stating how men are objectified in the series just as much as women, I found myself more interested in the comments that followed.

One women of (who appeared to have a character from Game of Thrones as her picture), commented: “It’s men who are the ones obsessed with nudity. They're the ones desperate to see every woman naked and make sure they have boners constantly. Women are really very normal and nonchalant about it. It's men who cannot control themselves.”

This lady is saying that the reason there is perhaps more focus on female nudity is because females don’t need to see nude men and can control themselves. Did she not hear of 50 Shades of Grey, Magic Mike... or virtually any hen party?

We’re entering an era of television where, like Natalie Dormer says, men are now “objectified” just as much as women. In the instance of Game of Thrones it’s clear (or so I’ve read) that the sex and nudity scenes are central to the story and create a sense of realism as both the man and woman are naked. There were far more women than men raving about 50 Shades of Grey, and far more women than men in the cinema watching Magic Mike. So to say that men are the only ones obsessed with nudity is unfair, and just hinders efforts to make men and women equals in the media.

It seems to me that when it comes to the debate of which gender is more naked on TV than the other, it's rarely just the women anymore - and because of this I don’t particularly agree that it’s “objectifying”,

In films and TV shows like Game of Thrones the nudity is important in telling a story, and the actors and actresses are playing a character. This is the reason why Aidan Turner’s character in Poldark is a perfect example of how nudity is needed for the story of a programme, rather than to gain more viewers. This is exactly how Turner justified himself being partially naked:

“Apparently it was common law at that time that when you were scything you had to take your top off. So I did. It’s not a stripper show.”

But what was disappointing was Turner then explaining how he wasn’t allowed to eat Cornish pasties because he’d “get fat and has to take his shirt off.”

Wait, what’s that supposed to mean? Is that his own rule or that of the producers'? It was this part of Aidan Turner’s interview that I started to question whether the focus of having naked men and women on television has really changed to being all about telling the story nowadays. And this is why I don’t totally agree with the Game of Thrones actress saying “casting decisions aren’t always made on whether they are seen as attractive.”

I can’t get my head around Game of Thrones (or any other popular TV series) ever hiring a women or a man for a nude scene that wasn’t even somewhat attractive. Although the nudity in the programme is important to the story, I wonder if making sure the characters that tell the story are attractive to viewers as priority is at the forefront of the producers’ minds.

Does anyone even remember a film or TV series they’ve watched where the characters with their clothes off weren’t obviously attractive? I can’t.

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