In the U.S., Where the Female Nipple Is More Dangerous Than a Gun

Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez are back with  the long-awaited Sin City sequel, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. The films are both based on Miller’s graphic novels—with the graphic novels and films sharing distinct visual impacts on readers and viewers.

So it is fitting that the first released poster for the second film is visually provocative:

Eva Green in the Sin City poster banned by the MPAA. Photograph: Troublemaker Studios

As an unapologetic comic book and film nerd, I must admit that the first things I noticed about this poster were the gun, immediately, as well as the visual similarities (and differences) with the first film (the red nail polish and lipstick, her green eyes, the glistening diamond). In fact, the poster made me wonder if this film will maintain the striking mostly black-and-white look of the first.

But not the Motion Picture Association of America, as reported at The Guardian:

A poster for the upcoming Sin City sequel, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, has been banned by the Motion Picture Association of America for depicting its star, Eva Green, in a state of relative undress.

Green appears in the poster wearing a revealing thin gown – to use the powerfully erotic words of the censor board, the poster was banned “for nudity — curve of under breast and dark nipple/areola circle visible through sheer gown.”

It’s a fittingly controversial image for a film whose first installment became notorious for its ultraviolence.

Other than giving Scout Willis more fodder for her “free the nipple” campaign, this censoring of a film poster captures once again the baffling Puritanical streak in the U.S. that exists beside something between a dull ambivalence toward and a brutal bloodlust for violence—represented in our near fetish for guns.

There is brilliant and nuanced routine by George Carlin I first heard on his albums Class Clown and Occupation: Foole. As part of his classic seven words you can’t say on television (including the censoring of the word “tit,” which Carlin finds outrageous), Carlin muses about replacing the word “kill” with the word “f***” in memorable lines like “OK, Sheriff, we’re going to kill you now, but we’re going to kill you slow,” “Kill the ump,” or “You better watch out, Bob, you’re going to kill that engine”:

And here we are forty-odd years later in the U.S.—where no one ever has been killed by a nipple/areola, but where school and mass shootings are more common than in any other so-called civilized country—censoring film posters while states have moved since the Sandy Hook school shooting to relax, not restrict, gun ownership.

Perhaps there was a time when all other nations looked up to the U.S., wanted to be the U.S., maybe. But increasingly we are a people to be laughed at, not with because we are wont to have both our guns and the female nipple concealed.

If the U.S. were a Carlin comedy album, it’d have to be Nation: Fooles.

UPDATE 1: Appears Rihanna has failed to understand the right to a concealed weapon (and she has already been banned by Instagram!):

UPDATE 2: As I note here, “Apparently Eva Green’s thinly-veiled nipples are not only more dangerous than the gun she is holding in the new Sin City sequel, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, poster, but also more offensive than Jackman’s nipples (despite the violence and extended sequences of a topless Jackman, the film is rated PG-13 “for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence, some sexuality and language”).”

The Wolverine (2013)

UPDATE 3: Appears GQ offers a series of shots that sort of prove the point. Can you figure out what is taboo?

UPDATE 4: Bosom Baddies

In Memory: Sandy Hook Elementary, One Year After

I fear that we have become either callous or numb—either is a tragic consequence of mass shootings, even those at schools, becoming commonplace.

Here, I invite you to read from a group of pieces I wrote after and about the mass school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT, one year ago, December 14, 2012:

“They’re All Our Children” (AlterNet)

  • Alongside discussions of mental health and gun control, we must use the lessons of Sandy Hook to reframe the debate around education reform.

Remembering Sandy Hook: Protecting Guns, Sacrificing (Some) Children

Misreading the Right to Bear Arms (AlterNet)

  • Confronting gun ownership is an argument about violence — not about autonomy and freedom.

Protecting Guns, Sacrificing (Some) Children

Protecting Guns, Sacrificing (Some) Children

“In 2008, 2,947 children and teens died from guns in the United States and 2,793 died in 2009 for a total of 5,740,” details Protect Children Not Guns 2012 (Children’s Defense Fund), “—one child or teen every three hours, eight every day, 55 every week for two years” (p. 2).

Tragedy is often reserved for single catastrophic events, but cumulative loss is no less tragic, particularly when the lives of innocent children and teens are placed in the context of daily violence.

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