Attitudes about nudity on film are changing thanks to #MeToo

In an effort to protect the rights of female actors, lawyers for actors have become more demanding when negotiating their clients’ nudity clauses.  This appears to be another impact of the #MeToo movement, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Because of this shift, felt it was time to look at the long transformation of attitudes about nudity in film and on television with UA Little Rock Assistant Professor Brandon Colvin.

Take a listen:

The use of nudity in film and on television has had a long transformation.

Colvin said “nudity” is often defined based on ratings by the Motion Picture Association of America, which describes nudity as exposed breasts or genitals.

He said the use of nudity depends on the situation.

“Some stories focus on certain aspects of sexuality or on aspects of the way people interact with their bodies. … In those cases, nudity is essential to capturing certain qualities of the human experience,” he said.

As far as being used to attract viewers, Colvin thinks this happened more in the past when nudity was harder to find.  The internet has made nudity more accessible to people around the world so it is not as enticing anymore. However, Colvin does think seeing celebrities nude could still attract viewers.

The amount of nudity has increased over time because studios recognized the public interest when American audiences saw imported European films partially for the nudity used, he said.

The increase is also a result of the MPAA changing their rating systems. The organization changed the X-rating to NC-17 to avoid giving audiences the impression that films with nude scenes were pornographic. This made it a little easier for these films to be put in theaters.

Colvin believes that nudity clauses have caused a shift in contracts because actors have to approve of nude scenes and the amount of nudity shown in them.  This usually causes actors to be paid more.  Colvin says this is where things could seem exploitative.

Now with more scrutiny over how female actors are being treated on the set, stories about how studios are handling nude scenes are starting to emerge.

The HBO show “Westworld” reportedly had a nudity clause for their extras that allowed producers to require they perform graphic sex acts, according to the New York Post.

Actress Amber Heard is suing the producer of the movie “London Fields” for keeping unauthorized sexual images of her for a “producer’s cut” version, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Heard also said that a body double was used in her place in additional nude scenes, another violation of her nudity clause.

Besides prohibiting nudity of minors, Colvin does not believe there are many laws against filming nudity. Those that are on the books are likely not enforced, he said.

Nudity on television and in films has changed a lot over time. Increased attention on the treatment of female actors in light of the #MeToo movement appears to be putting ore scrutiny on the topic for the future.


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