I am feeling a strange sense of deja vu. Over a year ago I wrote a piece for the Huffington Post entitled, Those Bad Breasts. It was a story of news program that included a live self-breast exam in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Needless to say, a woman's breasts - even within the context of a medical piece - were deemed offensive, especially by parents.
So here we are, back again, to debate whether or not it's acceptable for our children to see breasts - oh wait, we're not even talking about breasts, we're talking about cleavage. To be specific, we're talking about Katy Perry's cleavage and whether or not Elmo should be dancing next to it.
Yesterday, Sesame Street decided to pull their premiere musical number with Katy because of the comments they received after a clip had been released.
This morning I showed my son (who is five) the clip. I asked him why people might be upset with the video. He shrugged and said, "probably because of here," and pointed to skin below his neck. "Her breasts, I think. Even though you don't see them."
"That's right," I told him. "How do you feel about seeing part of her breasts?"
"I don't care about it. It's just a body part," he replied. "And even if I see it, I don't care about it."
He's right. It's a body part. And it's not like viewers saw nipple or areolae, viewers saw cleavage.
To parents who are concerned about their children: Guess what? They've seen breasts before. They only react when you react. They only develop a complex when you give it to them.
To the parent who commented on the video and said he was concerned that his son would get an erection from the video: Guess what? He's gotten erections before and not because of anything deliberately sexual. He got them in utero. He gets them in the morning. And he might get them watching Katy Perry or he might just get them from watching Cookie Monster. Cleavage has nothing to do with it.
Sesame Street has pulled a musical number with a celebrity once before: Chris Brown, Rihanna's abusive boyfriend. It pains me to think that the curves of a woman's body are as problematic as an abusive partner. It's detestable. We owe it to our children to do better.
In the end, for me, my only problem with Katy's dress is that it's ugly.
(This is cross-posted on DodsonandRoss.com)
Follow Dr. Logan Levkoff on Twitter: www.twitter.com/LoganLevkoff