Growing up in Idaho hardly ever exposed me to the overt hyperfemininity I found when I arrived in Moscow. At first, I was overwhelmed.
I felt embarrassed by the amount of cleavage I saw, from young and old alike. I stared in awe at women walking gracefully in stilettos on ice.
“How could they not be in pain?!”
I shook my head at crocheted shirts with only a bra, no camisole, underneath. My jaw dropped when I saw women without bras in the summer. I stared in envy at long legs exposed by “too short” skirts. I admired perfect makeup, Dior, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, and Chanel adorning the bodies of my students.
After a few months of viewing women’s bodies on display in videos, on the streets, and as go-go dancers, I became quite immune. No longer did I stare in shock. In fact, often I tuned it out.
But before I became immune to women on display, in the fall of 2008, DJ Smash’s “Волна” (“Volna” which means wave) blanketed the club scene.
The video showcases scantily clad women eating junk food in sexually provocative ways, and as one of the top pop songs in Moscow, it was viewable everywhere:
In clubs and bars.
On televisions and computers.
And even in malls and restaurants.
In short, it was in eye-shot of everyone at every age.
While there is nothing overtly sexual going on, the messages implicit in the women’s body language can be quite alarming to the sheltered eyes of someone who grew up in Conservative Land (aka Idaho). I knew if the video was plastered everywhere in the States, like it was in Moscow, parents and church leaders would go into hysterics.
Now, I occasionally listen to Russian pop for the dance beat or to get a kick out of what was popular in Moscow two years ago. My perception has changed, and I no longer think scantily clad women are that big of a deal.
A couple nights ago, while enjoying the eccentricity that is tektonik, I recalled Russian pop, flipped back to “Volna” and saw that YouTube had censored the video. On normal “safe” mode, this video is no longer viewable. Even a month ago, this was not true.
YouTube, in Korea anyway, has suddenly deemed the video unfit for eyes under the age of 19, stating, “In compliance with the Youth Protection Act, this video cannot be seen by a person under the age of 19 years.”
I googled “Youth Protection Act” and came up basically empty handed. This has got to be Korean censorship.
Regardless, young people should not watch a sexy woman in little more than a bathing suit eat an ice cream cone … or a hot dog … or a lollypop … or a hamburger…?
Maybe it’s the swinging hips that are offensive.
Or that the only Asian girl in the video makes eating with chopsticks sexy.
Or maybe it's just the word sexy that can be applied to the video.
I would love to hear impressions from “fresh”, “unadulterated” eyes.
I have gone from a culture that inundates the public with images like these, to one that is intent on sheltering the public from them.