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When ribaldry crosses the line of respect

Colette Browne (Opinion, Feb 27) delivers short, sharp shrift to Seth McFarlane over his controversial “set of reductive offensive stereotypes masquerading as risqué ribald humour at the Oscars”.

Her commentary won’t necessarily suit every male reader, though her tone and tenor are understandable given the shallow content of the Oscars’ night routine.

One wonders, though, where ribaldry, comedy and entertainment truly cross the respectful gender line. Would Ms Browne disapprove of all sexual bawdiness and cheapened comedic patter wherever it is touted and directed? She might, for instance, venture a comment on the Chippendales and Full Monty capers, which appear to thrive apace, entertaining so many mainly female audiences — perhaps just a dollop of not-so-mute “eye candy” entertainment, as Ms Browne might label it ?

Titillation would seem to work both ways, “gender-ally” speaking. There is a vast lexicon, (or more aptly “sexicon”) of female-initiated ribaldry reverberating throughout the social media. Pervasive email and texting versions of sexism doing the rounds of female-friend networks would suggest something of a appetite for derisory male-sex “comedic” commentary.

We could, conversely, ponder the prevailing proclivity towards a “reductio-ad-absurdum” in female fashion trends, with ultra-generous cleavage exposure and liberal thigh-lines patently available for all to witness. Or ask why the calendar girl enterprises flourish with so much open enthusiasm from the naked female protagonists?

Contemporary artwork also seems to allow for plenty of ‘scant’ as far as clothing coverage is concerned, with several mass-nudity pieces having been energetically and willingly realised in recent years.

The essence of film persuasion is more about creative escapism and literary licence than the precise realism of “societal mores”.

It will thus include a degree of nudity appropriate to artistic integrity. The human body, male or female, is cool. Masculinism is not chauvinism, nor sexual satire sexism.

Jim Cosgrove


Co Waterford


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