Film and Family

Ep. 26 - The Necessities or Not of Nudity (Part 1)

January 15, 2021
Film and Family
Ep. 26 - The Necessities or Not of Nudity (Part 1)
Chapters
Film and Family
Ep. 26 - The Necessities or Not of Nudity (Part 1)
Jan 15, 2021

We talk about censorship, nudity, sexual content, pornography, how the things we consume affect us and exercising the freedom to choose if you want to watch these things or not.

Studies Cited:

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/erotic-art/#ModAesProEroArt


Donnerstein, Edward, and L. Berkowitz. “Victim Reactions in Aggressive Erotic Films As a Factor in Violence against Women.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1981, pp. 710–24.

Donnerstein, Edward, and N. Malamuth. “Pornography: Its Consequences on the Observer.” In Sexual Dynamics of Anti-social Behavior, edited by L. B. Schlesinger. Springfield, Ill.: Charles C. Thomas, (in press).

This podcast is owned and sponsored by Invisible Mansion Pictures. For more resources, visit us at: www.invisiblemansion.com

Show Notes Transcript

We talk about censorship, nudity, sexual content, pornography, how the things we consume affect us and exercising the freedom to choose if you want to watch these things or not.

Studies Cited:

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/erotic-art/#ModAesProEroArt


Donnerstein, Edward, and L. Berkowitz. “Victim Reactions in Aggressive Erotic Films As a Factor in Violence against Women.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1981, pp. 710–24.

Donnerstein, Edward, and N. Malamuth. “Pornography: Its Consequences on the Observer.” In Sexual Dynamics of Anti-social Behavior, edited by L. B. Schlesinger. Springfield, Ill.: Charles C. Thomas, (in press).

This podcast is owned and sponsored by Invisible Mansion Pictures. For more resources, visit us at: www.invisiblemansion.com

Ep.26 - The Necessities or Not of Nudity-Part 1

Kent Thalman: [00:00:00] [00:00:00]Hi, I'm Kent 

[00:00:08] Anna Thalman: [00:00:08] and I'm Anna. 

[00:00:09] Kent Thalman: [00:00:09] And this is film and family. If you are a filmmaker and you're ready to take your relationship with yourself and your film career to the next level, you're in the right place. Hit subscribe to never miss an episode.

[00:00:20] Anna Thalman: [00:00:20] Let's jump right in.

[00:00:21]Kent Thalman: [00:00:21] All right. Well, we're jumping right into a topic today that, might surprise you based on the title. But we want to address it. It is something that some people I think have given a lot of thought. I think a lot of people have maybe not ever thought about this or the topic itself might be confusing in terms of why are we even talking about it? Like, why bring this up? I really think that there are some people that. would generally be confused about this? because I think that, typically [00:01:00] in more secular circles, and I don't say that in like a derogatory way, like those secular people, I'm just saying, I have, and even in a lot of, non-secular circles, the paradigm might be, there's stuff. That's for kids and there's stuff. That's no good for kids. And once you're grown up. Stuff is stuff, you know, 

[00:01:19] Anna Thalman: [00:01:19] Anything goes

[00:01:20] Kent Thalman: [00:01:20] anything goes, yeah, like you just, you watch stuff and you take it in stride as a grownup person. And that's all there is to it. either you're ready to see something or you're not right. 

[00:01:32] Anna Thalman: [00:01:32] Yeah. I think that this ties really nicely into, something we like to talk about a lot with media is having a healthy well-rounded media diet. And I don't know if we've actually talked about that on the podcast yet or not, but, it is something we converse a lot about and I think this fits nicely into that category of. As we're making decisions about what to watch. I think for a lot of us, this is a decision we have to make and an [00:02:00] increasingly frequent one. Are we going to watch films with certain content in them? Where are we going to draw the line when we're making certain films? And some people might not even ask that question, but, it is something that they're engaging with and that's increasingly frequent in our media diet. So I think it's worth considering, where it fits in. What value it has or not. and just see what we can discuss. and this is not like, We're definitely not pretending to be experts on this or anything, but we do want to open the discussion 

[00:02:32] Kent Thalman: [00:02:32] and we've done some pretty heavy research in preparation for both pulling a lot of audience questions, on Facebook and also, doing some articles. Mostly we'll be referring to one from Stanford. but this, topic, what we're exploring is sort of the role of, nudity. As well as sexual content or whatever you want to call it and depictions of sexuality or sexual content in film [00:03:00] and also pornography or erotic art or erotica, and where that, where those lines are drawn. And what, how do you define these things? and also how do you decide what you're going to engage in or not engage in as, not only in everyone's case viewers, but in. The listeners of this podcasts case for the most part, usually as practitioners In this medium filmmakers, right? So something to keep in mind is that some of us, once again, might have this paradigm of , well, you're a grown up. So anything goes, and you might watch everything you might watch. You know, you'll watch a clockwork orange, you'll watch Showgirls, you'll watch some people have sort of a neutral position, even on things, as far as pornography, just, they just call it adult entertainment. Whereas. Others on the other side of the extreme might be, so conservative and devout in their media consumption, even though they are practitioners, they might have been raised believing that if it's not good for kids, it's not good for adults, or they [00:04:00] might be raised believing if it bears a certain MP AA rating, then they will not watch it after. A certain point maybe rated r films is where they draw the line. They won't watch rated r films. so I think those are like the two poles of this discussion, maybe I guess, of that, opinion poll like spectrum. And it's probably more complex than that. I think it is. That's probably why my opinion is have neither of those extreme sides. We'll discuss our opinions later, but that's not really the purpose of this podcast. It's to educate ourselves. So that we can feel like, first of all, we're just better educated. That's always a good thing. And Whatever decisions we're making anywhere on that spectrum, we feel like we're making it from a place of knowledge and we have an opinion that we can really back up. And so we want to explore some of the literature, some of the thoughts and ideas behind this whole topic, so that as you consider what to watch as you consider what to make and what you're going to ask actors and actors to do or not, [00:05:00] is coming from a place of thoughtfulness, that you're trying to be. Ethically minded, at the very least, and, make sure that we're doing what's really best for ourselves, our families, our relationships, our, coworkers in the industry. So that's mainly the reason we want to talk about it. We want to make sure that we're all being intelligent and protecting each other and, being wise.

[00:05:21] Anna Thalman: [00:05:21] Yeah and was, kind of a Testament to the importance of bringing up this discussion and keeping it as an ongoing discussion. When we, for fun, posted some questions about this on Facebook to see what kind of response we would get. And we don't usually do that with the podcast, but we did get a lot of response and a lot of lengthy responses. People have a lot of thoughts about this topic, and there's not really black and white lines that people were drawing about it. They. had a lot to say, to try to explain what they think or what they feel. And, it feels very uncertain sometimes. So I just think it's worth talking about [00:06:00] it is also a sensitive subject. Some people didn't feel comfortable talking about it. but I just want that to be something normal, that we are able to discuss that we're able to be open. About. 

[00:06:11]Kent Thalman: [00:06:11] Yeah. and I didn't witness too much in terms of people drawing hard lines, but I do think that we got a pretty good breadth to the point where there were definitely people who were maybe all the way on that one side of they don't watch certain things based on the rating. Like I won't watch anything that's rated R ever or anything with any nudity ever. And I saw people who were maybe like, I believe in decriminalizing sex work between consensual adults and stuff like that, like sort of the, the far other side. And, I think that a lot of people are somewhere in the middle, but for the most part, I really believe in athesis and antithesis and that there can be a synthesis like what is the principle higher principle to all of this. And so let's explore it a little bit that the first thing we want to talk about is censorship. censorship is I guess if I could define that in my mind, is sort of cutting things [00:07:00] out of literature or society or the public conversation, for any reason. and that might be in this case, nudity or certain sexual behaviors or acts, censorship might include, cutting out any sort of topics of conversation or, Things that could be harmful or treasonous, which is definitely very relevant right now in the media, given the current events of the capital terrorists sort of stuff that's going on and the blocking of Donald Trump's Twitter account. but so why is dangerous, Dan? Sorry. Why is censorship dangerous and why might it be, and why might it be a good thing? 

[00:07:38] Anna Thalman: [00:07:38] Yeah, the question is. should we censor ourselves in what we watch or should we not? And it, and if so, why? And if, not, why not? just in general approaching censorship.

[00:07:49]Kent Thalman: [00:07:49] Yeah. And I think in general, the danger everyone's afraid of with censorship is that it will limit free speech, which that there's danger there. [00:08:00] And, It will leverage power in the hands of a small group of people. whoever it is, that's controlling, what are you allowed to say? And what are you not allowed to say? They can start to control the conversation and sort of limit thought. But I think the virtues, I mean, Anna, what do you think some of the virtues of censorship might be? 

[00:08:18] Anna Thalman: [00:08:18] Well, I think that 

[00:08:20] Kent Thalman: [00:08:20] Or why would we sensor something? 

[00:08:22]Anna Thalman: [00:08:22] I mean, I don't think it's very helpful to say it's dangerous like that anything is dangerous to us and that we need to be afraid of it. I don't wanna sensor things for that reason because I don't believe that anything that we hear or see or, any circumstances in our life can really, I don't think it's really helpful for us to S to fear them so much. But I do think it is valuable to have censorship in all areas of our lives. Like just deciding in this information age where we're bombarded with news and social media and information [00:09:00] everywhere, and just people trying to get our attention. I try to limit what I feed my brain. In all areas, if it's leading to anxiety or if it's helping me be more prepared, I can kind of feel if it's not helpful. And I try to use my brain consciously, like, be very careful about what I input into my mind just as I am with my diet and what I put into my body. I know it all has an effect on me. And so I just want to be thoughtful about, that and not just. On the one hand, like I'm not unopened to trying new foods or like, going to someone's house and seeing how they eat or try and understand new things. On the other hand, I do want to be thoughtful about what I choose 

[00:09:47]Kent Thalman: [00:09:47] and like, for example, you might say, I mean we're practicing personal censorship, I think would be really bad thing if the United States government or any government. decided no one in our country is allowed to eat sugar. [00:10:00] I think we could all agree that less sugars is healthier, but I, I would consider a law generally. Like that would be very dangerous, but it sounds like what you're expressing is, but on a personal level, I might say. Well, I'm just not gonna buy sugar. I'm not going to have that sugar in my house. Like I'm exercising personal censorship to a degree. So as a media practitioner and consumer, there might be things that you say, for the sake of my own mental health and my own sort of self-regulation and the way that I'm trying to help myself grow the most. There are certain things that I'm deciding to sensor out of my media, but I'm not necessarily wanting to impose that on other people. So I think personal censorship is certainly. Nothing that I would say should be bad. that those are just people making decisions. Right. We want to protect that freedom of decision-making among 

[00:10:46] Anna Thalman: [00:10:46] Well and we, we all do this to a degree. We censor ourselves. We don't say everything we're thinking. Right. So we're all censoring. 

[00:10:53] Kent Thalman: [00:10:53] Some people do,

[00:10:55] Anna Thalman: [00:10:55] I guess, maybe. 

[00:10:56] Kent Thalman: [00:10:56] I probably do

[00:10:57] Anna Thalman: [00:10:57] But, um, I think that we all sensor to [00:11:00] a degree what we are focusing on and what we are. Choosing to say so, yeah, it's pretty natural. 

[00:11:06] Kent Thalman: [00:11:06] Yeah. No matter what we do, we are deciding what we're consuming and what we're not consuming. but we might do that more passively or intentionally, and I'm always in favor of doing things intentionally so that we're trying to be, thoughtful and smart about the decisions we make in our lives and not just letting the world sort of happen to us and, and whatever. So, on a global level or on a maybe litigious level or, on a level of would we ever legislate any degree of censorship? we've talked about the dangers of that, but I also think that there might be value in an occasional censorship. first of all, some people have thought that it was. Expedient to censor Donald Trump because of what he was saying as inciting violence or organizing violence. I'm not gonna share my opinion on that. That's not the point of this podcast, but I'm just giving that as an example. that that is something that a lot of people have actually felt very, good about, in terms of media, I believe [00:12:00] that, we should censor certain things like pornography from, The access of children. And I think that there's probably more efforts that should be done in that regard. But the reason is, is that we want to protect innocent people from being exposed to something that is. Physiologically and psychologically damaging. 

[00:12:16] Anna Thalman: [00:12:16] Well but Also I think we want to protect freedom that is at the core of everything and 

[00:12:22] Kent Thalman: [00:12:22] including, yeah, like limiting censorship

[00:12:23] Anna Thalman: [00:12:23] we want to protect our freedom and we, we just don't do it to the extent where it infringes on somebody else's freedom. And so, we have laws against indecent exposure and that's because if I want to make the choice to not view those things, Then I need to be able to have the freedom to make that choice. And if. Other people, if there's no censorship and there's no laws against, flashing people or whatever, then I don't actually have that option. I don't have that freedom to practice what I believe. 

[00:12:54] Kent Thalman: [00:12:54] Right.

[00:12:54] Anna Thalman: [00:12:54] And so I think it goes both ways, like 

[00:12:56] Kent Thalman: [00:12:56] or To teach your family, that stuff on your own terms. 

[00:12:58] Anna Thalman: [00:12:58] Yeah. And so [00:13:00] I, I actually do think it's very difficult in today's day and age for especially young people to navigate the internet or social media without being exposed to pornography and potentially damaging. Things that lead to, you know, there's all sorts of ways.

[00:13:16] Kent Thalman: [00:13:16] Well, it's sexual miseducation, worse. It's just the psychological impacts and potential addictive behaviors that could be a result of a minor viewing stuff that they're absolutely not ready to see, or that they don't have any context for understanding.

[00:13:29] Anna Thalman: [00:13:29] Even myself as like someone who doesn't want to see that, I can't always avoid it. Like it. I feel like it's very difficult for me to choose to avoid certain things because they just pop up everywhere. And so I do think it would be nice to protect the freedom to. Have that those values, if people want to have them and be able to choose, like, do I want to see this content or not?

[00:13:52] Kent Thalman: [00:13:52] Sure. Sure. So there's like degrees of censorship there that there are perspectives that could be for it. And I don't think those [00:14:00] perspectives should be shut down. That would be censorship wouldn't it. And, um, and I think that sometimes there are a lot of people I've sensed have such strong opinions about anti-censorship and probably, rightly so. That they say we should not sensor because that limits freedom of speech and it limits personal freedoms. But I also think that if we don't censor anything that could also lead to a limitation of freedoms, as Anna just explained, and so

[00:14:23] Anna Thalman: [00:14:23] and there is a difference between freedom of speech using language to communicate and, behavior or. portrayals of things. 

[00:14:32] Kent Thalman: [00:14:32] Yeah. Hmmm

[00:14:33] Anna Thalman: [00:14:33] I do think it's different. 

[00:14:34] Kent Thalman: [00:14:34] It's a fine line maybe 

[00:14:35] Anna Thalman: [00:14:35] because I'm, I have no problem at all talking about these topics. I think 

[00:14:39]Kent Thalman: [00:14:39] anything that's mentionable is manageable. 

[00:14:41] Anna Thalman: [00:14:41] Yeah. I think it's very good to talk about this stuff and have this discussion, but I don't know that it's always very good to, use art to talk about it in some of the ways that. People do, but we'll get into that. There's actually a huge history of philosophers who have studied and these exact topics and, [00:15:00] contributed to this conversation over the history of time. Long before film was ever a thing, Kent mentioned one particular study that I read recently, which was very interesting. It's a Stanford study it's called, erotic art. I can't remember the exact title. Let me scroll to the top. It's a very long article, so 

[00:15:23] Kent Thalman: [00:15:23] we'll try and link it to

[00:15:24] Anna Thalman: [00:15:24] Yeah it's just called erotic art. 

[00:15:26] Kent Thalman: [00:15:26] Yeah, it's in the Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy. Is that right?. So we'll link this into the show notes so that you can, if you'd like, you can read the whole thing, but at least if we don't list the paragraphs or explain every single person's name or the philosopher or whatever, or if we make any mistakes, you can go ahead and read it there. we'll try and do our very best to be accurate, but we've read it and, uh, Or Anna's read it, if I'm going to have full honesty here. I should be really honest. 

[00:15:55] Anna Thalman: [00:15:55] I've read some parts of it to you. 

[00:15:56] Kent Thalman: [00:15:56] She's read a lot of it to me. This is kind of how our marriage [00:16:00] works is she reads stuff and tells me everything and then I read stuff

[00:16:03] Anna Thalman: [00:16:03] and then you remember it better than I do somehow.

[00:16:05] Kent Thalman: [00:16:05] Don't tell her anything

[00:16:07]Anna Thalman: [00:16:07] anyway, I thought this provided a really nice kind of history and. overall synopsis of some of the varying opinions that have been expressed on these topics. And it seems the most philosophers fall into one or one of two camps, which is either that they believe that there is an absolute wall or difference between aesthetic pleasure. The pleasure of, Emmanuel cont defines it really well. And this was in the 17 hundreds and he, Described it as a pleasure. That's a disinterested pleasure. It's not, it's like the difference between admiring a tree versus desiring its fruits. So the disinterested pleasure is the joy of just looking at something and not wanting to have it or possess it.

[00:16:56] Kent Thalman: [00:16:56] And that's beautiful and I'm happy just looking at it. Like [00:17:00] it's a pleasure just to experience sort of that visual medium. Whereas, 

[00:17:05] Anna Thalman: [00:17:05] and then the other option is kind of a assentual pleasure, which is, a pleasure we experience through the senses. It's not unique to us as humans, animals experience these as well, 

[00:17:17] Kent Thalman: [00:17:17] more of a Pavlovian response.

[00:17:18] Anna Thalman: [00:17:18] They can experience appetite, they can desire fruit and food and reproductive. they have a reproductive drive and so. There are those philosophers that say that those two are inseparable and kind of 

[00:17:31] Kent Thalman: [00:17:31] in that example, it's like, you'd see the apples and be like, man, I'm really hungry. And you almost experienced hunger pain or you experience salvation, or like, I really want to eat that Apple is way different than experiencing the disinterested aesthetic pleasure of the tree itself.

[00:17:45] Anna Thalman: [00:17:45] Admiring the form

[00:17:45] Kent Thalman: [00:17:45] And it's form and yeah. 

[00:17:48] Anna Thalman: [00:17:48] So that's that's one camp is that those are different that they distract from each other. That, there is sort of this idea that one is higher than the other, a higher art or a [00:18:00] higher, cognitive pleasure that is advanced above the animal kingdom. 

[00:18:04] Kent Thalman: [00:18:04] And that was kind of ahead of its time because I mean, we knew, we understand now there's a prefrontal cortex part of the brain that would be engaged in the former example and an amygdala sort of emotional. Part of the brain that would be engaged in the latter example. So that's the, that's the cont camp? 

[00:18:20]Anna Thalman: [00:18:20] I mean, he's one of a few major philosophers. 

[00:18:23] Kent Thalman: [00:18:23] We should call it the cont camp, 

[00:18:24] Anna Thalman: [00:18:24] that camp, And then you've got this other camp of philosophers who believe that they can co-exist, that they can exist at the same time. And often that they're the exact same thing that it's just pleasure is pleasure. And beauty is beauty and there's no need to differentiate between the two. So that's something that kind of summarizes the two, camps over time. What are you thinking? 

[00:18:51] Kent Thalman: [00:18:51] Well, I'm just thinking in my mind, the question is why not differentiate or distinguish if it is possible to [00:19:00] scientifically make a case for that distinguishing sort of taxonomy? Like why not classify? Because it's a useful classification. It helps us describe and think about it. If you just say, Oh, it's all the same. to me, it's like saying like, Oh, well, pretty much everyone. South of the Mexican border looks the same. It's kind of a racist thing to say. Right? Like, and yet we all experienced that when we go and experience For culture, people coming to United States for the first time, say all white people look the same, not everyone says that, but some people experience that. And some people experienced that in Asia. They go, wow, everyone looks the same. But when you start to get to know the nuances of the people, you can appreciate the differences. And that's valuable, right? I feel the same here. I'm like, why wouldn't you just appreciate the differences? We have a scientific base for being able to understand those differences. And I don't think it really serves us to just, that seems, I guess lazy to me, 

[00:19:55] Anna Thalman: [00:19:55] I think that the reason 

[00:19:57]Kent Thalman: [00:19:57] but I might be missing some of their finer [00:20:00] arguments. 

[00:20:00] Anna Thalman: [00:20:00] Yeah. I mean, I kind of agree with you. I tend to side with the. Cont camp. I do think that there's a difference and we, I believe strongly in the higher and the lower brain.

[00:20:10] Kent Thalman: [00:20:10] Whether you think one is better or the other it's at least you have something to compare? 

[00:20:13] Anna Thalman: [00:20:13] Regardless Yeah. Of What, the value that they each offer? I think both are valuable by the way, but, in their own way, I do think they're distinct and different and. I think that those who would like to just say that they're one in the same and there is no difference are doing so in defense of this idea, that one is higher than the other. so Shaftsbury is another philosopher. He wrote characteristics of men, manners opinions, times it was kind of a big work in the early 17 hundreds as well. And he. Basically said that beauty is one of rational and refined contemplation, far removed from the crude pleasures that we receive through our senses. And so they're sort of degrading the [00:21:00] sensual pleasure. And I think that those who really appreciate that pleasure didn't want to differentiate because they see it as valuable and they want to. value both

[00:21:09] Kent Thalman: [00:21:09] Yeah, well, and when we say we can differentiate them, that doesn't mean that we're classifying one as good and the other as evil or one is valuable and the other is worthless. because it's not my opinion that we should be like, Oh, well, anything that does appeal to the five senses is evil. I mean, I guess if you think tasty food is evil, then maybe that's something you would believe, but I don't think that's true. And I also don't think that's true for. The human body. I don't think the human body's evil. I don't think that the arousal reflects or the sexual drive or the sexual experience or sexual pleasure for that matter are evil. I don't think Christianity espouses that those things are evil. and I don't think that there are very many world religions that think that that is evil. Although they have varying opinions and degrees of. Where those fit in life, you know, [00:22:00] and, um, sort of varying degrees of limitations surrounding those pleasures. and there are some that are, I'm not going to go through and try and explain, but I'm sure I know that there are some religions that are, are maybe a little more, like, that's just kind of a mortality, only thing that we should really control, but 

[00:22:18] Anna Thalman: [00:22:18] yeah. personally, I love having five senses. I love having a body and engaging those five senses and ways that bring me joy at the same time. I can see how using it in art. Is sometimes kind of like a cheap trick. It's almost like a jump scare where like, you know, that your body's natural reaction is to jump. If you suddenly say something really loud or whatever, and that doesn't require much skill, like to produce that it's a little bit of a, kind of a cheaper form to me. but at the same time, like, it doesn't mean I don't like my senses. It's just. How are you using them? 

[00:22:56] Kent Thalman: [00:22:56] Are you Assaulting my senses, or are you engaging my [00:23:00] higher.

[00:23:00] Anna Thalman: [00:23:00] Right. Whereas like, Shaftsbury kind of says like sensual joys based on appetite self-interest he says, it's what we have in common with animals, but he actually calls them brutes, not animals. So I do feel like he has a very negative, connotation to that sensual sensual joy or pleasure. 

[00:23:18] Kent Thalman: [00:23:18] Yeah. So it's, it's an interesting, it's an interesting line. And so well, let's just keep exploring the topic in general. What we're truly, really trying to get. At is, get to a place where we can start to really dig into this topic of, nudity and sexuality as portrayed in films specifically. So, how do you wanna jump into that? 

[00:23:39] Anna Thalman: [00:23:39] Well, I think it'd be good to talk about both. Like when might nudity be useful, necessary, innocent, in film or in real life. And when wouldn't it be. And when might it be damaging, just kind of look at both sides and make a case for each. 

[00:23:54] Kent Thalman: [00:23:54] And, you know, and let's, let me just start this by saying, this is obviously subjective to a degree. And I [00:24:00] feel like, I think to a degree, I guess I have some strong opinions on it, but I think it's subjective to a degree. I think a lot of people say, Oh, it's just up to anybody's subjective. Decision-making. I guess my problem with starting the conversation there and just saying, well, it's, everybody's own choice is that first of all, that's obvious. It's not like anyone's going to be forced to watch or not watch anything. So yeah, if you want to go look at hardcore pornography, it's really your choice. If you want to never ever see anything with any degree of nudity ever, that's also your choice. The latter example might be harder. but it's possible. So. That said, I just don't think that it serves us to say, well, it's, everybody's personal choice because we want to engage in this conversation so that you can actually, make more intelligent decisions. Meaning are there actual potential risks of exposing yourself to certain types of content or your family, or, Your audience, if you're the one making the film or [00:25:00] are there potential ramifications of asking certain actors to do certain things? And so I think we should weigh all of those things and say, what's going to create the best stories, the highest, most edifying art, the best experience for our audience members and the best experience for ourselves, because we are the only people we can make decisions for. And so. As we decide what we're going to consume and engage in. I just think it's worth having the conversation as opposed to just saying, Oh, and everyone can decide what they're going to decide. It's like, yeah. Okay. 

[00:25:31] Anna Thalman: [00:25:31] Well it's not completely subjective. I honestly very strongly believe that everything that we consume through our senses, whether it be food or visual or whatever, does have an effect on us of some kind. And it's like people who might, smoke and say it doesn't affect me. Or like my grandpa smoked his whole life and never got lung cancer. And there are people like that who there's no really obvious effect, but we [00:26:00] know through scientific study and, and knowledge that we have now that smoking does have an effect on the body, no matter who you are, it's not so subjective of like, well, it doesn't affect me, but it affects some people. It affects everybody to a degree And then how that manifests itself

[00:26:18] Kent Thalman: [00:26:18] Is a gamble

[00:26:19]Anna Thalman: [00:26:19] is a gamble. Yeah. You don't really know how it's going to be for you. 

[00:26:22] Kent Thalman: [00:26:22] But But You're not getting out of it without, you know, I mean, smoking is going to change the color of your lungs, like period, whether it kills you at 98 or at 60, theres an inarguable, is that a word, indisputable, effect that it's going to have on your body? And frankly, they're doing a lot of studies that show that the same is true for media. there's a little nuance to those arguments. And once again, I don't think we're going to advocate for it. You have to do what we tell you, obviously you don't. but we just want to share some perspectives on that and get into some of the details of what are the effects of media, particularly portrayals of nudity in what contexts, and also [00:27:00] definitely, sexual content. So, so yeah, let's jump into that. 

[00:27:04] Anna Thalman: [00:27:04] Yeah. And I'd like to start by saying, I definitely think there are times when it is necessary and helpful. For example, if it's instructional, which is not really art as much, but it is if you're training to be a doctor and you have to learn to do heart surgery and you have to learn how to do an incision on somebody or whatever kind of surgery, you're going to see anatomy. You need to understand the human body. And I think that there are times of. Necessity necessity where the nudity is because of a value of human life. it's somebody's life on the line. You're giving birth, you're saving somebody's life through a medical procedure, or you're taking care of somebody who can't take care of their own body, like someone who's elderly or a brand new baby. I think there are definitely instances where nudity exists and it's not. A problem. 

[00:27:58] Kent Thalman: [00:27:58] Yeah. And I [00:28:00] think that one of the potential bad effects, right. of being afraid or scared of, or, sort of hiding all nudity, in an almost overly conservative fashion is that it can create this. especially in developing minds, young children, even if they're raised in that sort of environment, they might be, might create body shame with their own bodies. they might have a hard time adjusting to appropriate adult romantic relationships in the future. and they might, just have an issue in just general relationships based on these sort of paradigms of body shame and, This idea that it's evil or bad, that, the human body is somehow bad, which I think, from my perspective as a Christian person, I think that the human body is good. I think it's a masterpiece and it's a profound work of art in and of itself. And so there can be that extreme. and we should value. the [00:29:00] beauty of our own bodies, I think, and we should also value the human life in general. 

[00:29:06] Anna Thalman: [00:29:06] So in my mind, that's necessity like that is a necessity. For the value of the body and human life, like you just said, and for nudity to exist, there are times when it is necessary and it is natural. 

[00:29:19] Kent Thalman: [00:29:19] And I, I wanna clarify that. Not just that it exists for it to exist, but for us to confront it and make it a part of our lives and take care of babies and bathe children and, save people's lives and whatever. So yeah, it's, it's not, I mean, the existence, it's not really 

[00:29:36] Anna Thalman: [00:29:36] stating the obvious. 

[00:29:37] Kent Thalman: [00:29:37] You can't, you can't make it not exist. It's it's, it's, you know, like that we are personally engaging in, in seeing people's bodies. That aren't our own, yeah, obvious maybe, but it's a good place to start.

[00:29:49] Anna Thalman: [00:29:49] I'll just point that out. But I also think that there are plenty of times when it's not necessary. 

[00:29:55] Kent Thalman: [00:29:55] It's an interesting question. so I feel like [00:30:00] this whole thing is we really, really protect the arts in our society. Speaking specifically about American culture. We are very careful about the first amendment. We want to keep sort of a freedom of expression and speech. we really want to protect artist's abilities to make whatever they want. I think there's a lot of good in that. but at the same time, we're not asking about, is it legal, we're asking, is it necessary? So is it necessary to tell the story? Is it necessary? Like, do we need to, at any point actually refer or revert to, fully, unclothed reference to the human body. I would argue in very few cases, if ever, is it absolutely necessary to communicate the plot or narrative of a story that you know, it's not necessary that we show either nudity or sexual content. [00:31:00] But that's sort of a no point because art itself isn't necessarily necessary. Does that make sense? 

[00:31:05] Anna Thalman: [00:31:05] yeah

[00:31:05] Kent Thalman: [00:31:05] So, I'm not

[00:31:06]Anna Thalman: [00:31:06] but it might be made necessary to a particular storyline, but then again, like the showing of it is completely unnecessary because you can make something completely clean just depending on where you point the camera 

[00:31:20] Kent Thalman: [00:31:20] or yeah and I want to protect.

[00:31:21]Anna Thalman: [00:31:21] Or otherwise, 

[00:31:22] Kent Thalman: [00:31:22] you know, the word clean, meaning without nudity or sexual content, but clean is sort of a subjective term, but so I just wanted to point that out, but if that is the case, why would we revert to it? , what is the purpose of reverting to the use of nudity in, film or showing the sexual content? Because we know that like, There's a gazillion infinite, there's an infinite number of ways to tell any given story and you can do it however you want. And you could have someone recap it in dialogue. Oh my gosh. Did you see that when that person's clothes all fell off? It's like, yeah, you didn't even show it on camera, but the character just says it or whatever. seems like a really weird [00:32:00] movie. Don't go see that movie. If that's, something that's been written before, I'm not screenwriting. but While it's not necessary. I also want to ask the opposite question. Why would it be necessary to eliminate it? Why wouldn't we put it in there if we can, or, is there a time when we think it would be valuable, like to protect that potential option, what do you think 

[00:32:24] Anna Thalman: [00:32:24] valuable to protect

[00:32:25] Kent Thalman: [00:32:25] the option to be able to use, nudity or sexuality in its literal portrayal on, screen visually.

[00:32:33]Anna Thalman: [00:32:33] I can't think of any personally, but I know there it sells people like it for that reason. A lot of times I don't think sex in films is trying to educate. I think a lot of times it gets thrown in there because the producers request it even, or the channel expects it. 

[00:32:54] Kent Thalman: [00:32:54] That's definitely the case with like game of Thrones and Westworld and stuff. especially these limited series that are like, 

[00:33:00] [00:33:00] Anna Thalman: [00:33:00] yeah, the producers have straight up, come out and said, yeah, I'm going to represent the perv in the audience. I want to see more naked people. Right? Like that. 

[00:33:08] Kent Thalman: [00:33:08] A lot of people have heard, heard that. And I think it would be naive to think that that doesn't exist. It totally exists. And to say that that kind of intentionally sexualized content, I frankly think would be naive to say it would, first of all, be naive to say that people aren't doing that for just purely financial reasons. And second of all, I think it's doubly naive to say that it wouldn't have any effect even on an adult. now I'm not saying that anyone that it should be made illegal, I'm not suggesting that it should be, That we should force anyone to not be able to make it or watch it. But I'm saying it's the same as the sugar thing. In my opinion, why would you consume intentionally sexualized media that has been designed to, engage your lower brain located in the amygdala section of your brain? to kind of stir up feelings that release dopamine and that become addictive behaviourally [00:34:00] on the other hand, Are there examples of non sexualized portrayals of nudity in art cinema specifically, where maybe it is trying to educate not necessarily about sex itself, although maybe, but also just about relationships in general. I think of movies like EDA is an example of one where it shows a sex scene that, that scene wasn't all about sex. That scene was about EDA and it was about, And there was actually little if any nudity in that scene at all. and it, wasn't trying to paint a picture of, most sexual content, in my opinion, especially in Hollywood miseducates, it gives us this paradigm of. Oh, this is what a sexual encounter is like, or this is kind of what sexuality should be like. And usually it's, it's pretty false. I think most sex therapists would actually probably agree with me that a lot of these problems come from the media and our expectations built around that from not just young ages, but even in our adulthood, we say, clearly people are experiencing [00:35:00] this and it's actually not clearly the case. but. Are there portrayals like that, that you would feel are actually productive for viewers specifically? 

[00:35:12]Anna Thalman: [00:35:12] I mean, some of my favorite movies have content that I edit out and they're still valuable in the message that they're saying about it. There's a big difference in my mind between, making a film about sexuality and making a film that portrays sexuality. to varying degrees. I think that it's good to talk about it. I think it's good to provide lots of perspectives about it. Lots of representation of like, I think. It's pretty stereotypical. A lot of times we see the exact same body types, the exact same kind of relationship. It's usually not a marital relationship. It's usually kind of a 

[00:35:51] Kent Thalman: [00:35:51] statistically that is the case

[00:35:52] Anna Thalman: [00:35:52] a novelty, um, encountered, 

[00:35:54] Kent Thalman: [00:35:54] It's almost always a first encounter or it's always shown by non-married people. And the reason that i think that's a problem is that I [00:36:00] think actually most sex is happening between married people. And you could fight me on that, but I think married people have a lot more sex than unmarried people trying to. go out and find someone who will be willing to, sort of one night stand with them or whatever. 

[00:36:14] Anna Thalman: [00:36:14] Yeah. Yeah. I think a lot more satisfying as well, because there's actually a relationship there, but

[00:36:18] Kent Thalman: [00:36:18] well That opinion aside, I'm saying statistically speaking in real life, married people have a lot more sex than non-married people in my, well, depending on the marriage, but I think in general and in movie life, Most of those sexual portrayals are shown by unmarried people. And they're shown as these very heightened, almost, in pornography we've heard compared to food commercials or vice versa. We've heard food commercials being compared to pornography. Is this like transcendent. Sensual Experience that will change your life. As soon as you take a bite into that hamburger, and then you go to burger King, you eat that thing you saw in the commercial and it's like, yeah, this is food.

[00:36:52] Anna Thalman: [00:36:52] And Then I feel kinda sick after

[00:36:54] Kent Thalman: [00:36:54] Then you feel a little bad. And, uh, it's kind of like this pornography gives you this unrealistic [00:37:00] promise of what it's like to actually be in a sexual relationship, 

[00:37:03] Anna Thalman: [00:37:03] which makes the actual experience kind of disappointing or can. And also it's false because you know, you see those commercials and they're. They're not real. You see this bowl of cereal that looks so delicious, and it's actually a bowl of glue with some cereal sprinkled in, or like it's, it's, um, concentrated, 

[00:37:22] Kent Thalman: [00:37:22] it's appealing to your sight and sound in order to give you this sort of, it isn't, food commercials are not appealing to that higher brain. They're not like, wow, look at the beauty of that bowl of cereal. It's. appealing to your lower brain to trigger this sort of dopamine release associated with the consumption of food. It's sort of an animal, appeal. 

[00:37:43] Anna Thalman: [00:37:43] So it is designed to sell and it's nothing else. 

[00:37:46] Kent Thalman: [00:37:46] And there definitely is. Sexual Content like that. But I want to go back to my question is, is there a portrayal of sex? Not just a movie addressing the topic, which can totally avoid literal portrayals of it. And by literal, I mean, [00:38:00] like. Narratively literal, not necessarily actual acts done by actors, but portrayals of those things, either nudity or sexual content that would be artistic or educational or valuable in nature that actually are appealing to the higher brain on an aesthetic artistic level.

[00:38:21]Anna Thalman: [00:38:21] I feel like you're wanting to find an example, but I don't know of any, I. I think there's films that deal with the subject matter in a very intelligent way, but otherwise I think most of the time there is some degree of just like satisfying the lower brain. Yeah. 

[00:38:39] Kent Thalman: [00:38:39] I think one movie that addresses somewhat the subject matter, not deeply, it, it has more to do with marriage, but, but it addresses the topic of sexuality. and how that relates to love is the Joe writes 2012, Anna Karenina. However, I also think that that movie goes. And it strays into moments of sort of that [00:39:00] visual appeal to like in, in an attempt to sort of show the character psychological and sexual experience, they sort of rope the audience into that sexual animal sided. I'm not articulating this very well, 

[00:39:16] Anna Thalman: [00:39:16] I do think it indulges 

[00:39:18] Kent Thalman: [00:39:18] It indulges and shifts into that lower brain 

[00:39:19] Anna Thalman: [00:39:19] And distracts personally, for me, I watch it edited and I think it's much better that way 

[00:39:24] Kent Thalman: [00:39:24] right. And when you engage that far into the sexuality, I actually think that it shuts off that higher brain. some of that depends on the viewer, but I do believe that it shuts off the higher brain for most people. It's very hard to, it's like trying to eat a steak and ignoring the taste of it. And maybe a poor example, but, I just think that it, for most audience members who are humans and have like bodies that respond to visual cues, that's going to be a hard thing to focus on. but I think that for me, honestly, there have been films that are clearly not trying to sexualize and I don't feel like. [00:40:00] Like, the movie is making any attempt to appeal to that side of me. the one example and the reason there's only one example is because Anna and I don't actually watch a lot of this kind of stuff. the one example I can think of is the movie EDA, where, based on my first and only viewing of that film, I felt like they were portraying sexuality in a really thoughtful way. and I didn't feel like it was done in a way that was like, Oh, now we're going to get into this like high tension sexual situation. And then it's going to result in this sort of fulfillment and whatever. It actually felt like a much more human, thoughtful approach. Now, if I had shot the movie, which I didn't, so who cares, I wouldn't have done it that way. the exact way that they did it, but I want to extend this conversation one step further. So I think something that Anna and I are really interested in, Is, let's say it's possible for the viewer to be able to watch the movie and have that experience. For example, on EDA that I had, is it possible for us to have two [00:41:00] actors engaging in that really frankly, beautiful film EDA is worth a watch. and if you don't want to see that, watch it edited, but it's worth watching either way. Is it possible for your actors to engage in that and maintain that higher brain and not experience the physiological and emotional effects of acting things out. Now, I realize that there are lots of different ways that those things can happen on set. people could be nearly fully clothed under a blanket. Nudity could be shot in ways that isn't real, right. Like shoulders up for insinuated or implied nudity. and certain people could be dismissed from set. There's all sorts of efforts that we go through to try and potentially in Hollywood or filmmaking. I shouldn't say not Hollywood because that's very limiting term. make this a comfortable. Even ethical experience for actors, but I still think it's very worth, considering what are we doing to protect actors and their families [00:42:00] and crew members and, and their families, from not just being in an uncomfortable situation, because I think discomfort is something that's over feared. It's not about discomfort. It's about the health of their minds and their relationships. And. I think there are going to be people who have maybe heated opinions on this. I don't really care what anyone's opinion is. I just want to bring it up and think about it. So I want to move the conversation there, whether or not you believe that there is an example of nudity or sexual content that could appeal to the higher brain. Is there an example of actors engaging in all of these things that would not have any effect on them or is it possible that it would have an effect on them and maybe a negative effect on their families or their personal relationships? 

[00:42:42] Anna Thalman: [00:42:42] Yeah. I don't think it's any secret that Hollywood is not known for strong families. Like that's, it's very statistically rare to find anyone married for very long in Hollywood 

[00:42:54] Kent Thalman: [00:42:54] certainly. Yeah. One marriage that lasts an entire lifetime, or I guess before either of them die. [00:43:00] To death, do thee part sort of thing yeah. Super frankly. It's very rare. You can cite exceptions. That's fine. They exist,

[00:43:08] Anna Thalman: [00:43:08] they do exist

[00:43:08] Kent Thalman: [00:43:08] but it's rare. It's, less common in Hollywood, 

[00:43:11] Anna Thalman: [00:43:11] and typically the exceptions, they're a little different, for varying reasons in their approach. But, uh, I think that correlation does not. Is not the same as causation, but it is, it is my opinion that these things are not helpful, for families like to be put in that situation. And even, even though they should be consenting, right. And we've definitely seen people who are, are not 

[00:43:39] Kent Thalman: [00:43:39] right I mean

[00:43:40] Anna Thalman: [00:43:40] exactly, but there are definitely are people who agree to a role and they consent to. do what it says, but I think a lot of that comes from these underlying beliefs that you have to, to make it in this industry. And that's the only way. So it's not really a choice unless you just choose not to do it. 

[00:43:55] Kent Thalman: [00:43:55] and I think there'd be actors and actresses that would say, well, I didn't feel that. And I decided to [00:44:00] on my own, and they're going to own that decision and they should, I think, whatever decision you make, you should own it. But I think there are a lot of people who probably, at least in the back of their minds are saying, Well, I would prefer not to do this, but I've got to do it because I've got to make it in this industry. And if I become the guy known for not, being willing to do that, I'm going to get, pushed out onto the margins of this industry and not be able to get roles. And, I think Jim Caviezel had a very similar experience to that, that he, you know, if there was a love scene, he was like, listen, you're going to shoot this like shoulders up and I'm gonna wear shorts and we're not going to take the scene into a certain point. And we're just going to do whatever we have to, to make it really safe. And I'm going to have blunt conversations with the actress I'm working against about my, my marriage and eventually people were like, It seems like they thought he was really hard to work with. And so he kind of didn't have the same fate that people like Brad Pitt had in that he's not really relevant actor anymore. And on the other side, there are people who have gone all the way and done all sorts [00:45:00] of scenes and all sorts of movies and all sorts of circumstances and felt very pushed and forced into it. Especially under the hands of such. Or the likes of Harvey Weinstein and other people that have luckily been sort of ousted. The hashtag me too movement was, so productive in so many ways. and yet I still think we would be naive to think that this isn't still happening, that there aren't social pressures. I'm not talking about women seduced in hotel rooms because they want to become actresses. I'm talking about men and women being. Socially pressured and cornered into certain activities on set in order to land roles and to work in the industry where the grand majority of people in the acting industry are making less than minimum wage. so yeah, I think if they don't want to do it to say, Oh, they're consenting adults is I think there's some naivitay there. yeah. I mean, there. Verbally consenting, but I think there's a lot of social pressure. So I just want to stand up and kind of [00:46:00] represent like I would, frankly, never do that. and I don't think that anyone who would be unwilling to do that, I'm not an actor by the way, anyone who'd be unwilling to do that should not be limited in, their opportunities in the industry. That's my opinion on that. 

[00:46:14] Anna Thalman: [00:46:14] Yeah. I think another thing worth considering is also just the addictive. Quality of pornography. I think what we define as pornography, it, kind of varies from person to person where they draw that line and what they define it as often, pornography is violent or, it has like gender imbalances. There's certain things that get pegged. As pornography for those things. And there are plenty of studies that show the damage of pornography and looking at pornography. one of the ones that I just read researching for this topic was a study done at UCLA. And, [00:47:00] in this study, they. Talked about entertaining, the idea of raping someone. And basically it was a study on the effects of pornography and they found that viewing sexual and especially sexual and violent imagery increases viewers aggression, especially towards women and that it would lessen the sensitivity around rape and that, it led to a lot of men having fantasies of aggressive rape. Whether they would actually do it or not depended mostly on if they thought they could get away with it. So they did this study and they asked men at UCLA, if they were sure that they could not be caught, would they entertain the possibility of raping a woman and 51% of them said that they would, 

[00:47:48]Kent Thalman: [00:47:48] after what circumstances?

[00:47:51] Anna Thalman: [00:47:51] What do you mean? 

[00:47:52] Kent Thalman: [00:47:52] It's 51% of them. Were these people that were viewing pornography or not viewing pornography or it's just men in general. 

[00:47:58] Anna Thalman: [00:47:58] I mean, it was a study on [00:48:00] pornography, so I'm guessing it was students who had entertained. I don't know if it really says right here. 

[00:48:06] Kent Thalman: [00:48:06] Well, we should, dig into that a little deeper because I, I I'm like if it's just 51% of men in general, what does that say about pornography? Hopefully that's not just a study of men. 

[00:48:15] Anna Thalman: [00:48:15] No, it was in a study on the effects of pornography. 

[00:48:18] Kent Thalman: [00:48:18] And so I'm assuming, those were people that had either recently, as part of the study have been exposed to pornography or admitted to making that part of their daily sort of, or I guess regular routine, but, We'll dig into that. And if we can find it before the end of the episode, we'll, chime in and clarify that, or we'll include the study in the show notes. 

[00:48:34] Anna Thalman: [00:48:34] I think I might just do that. There's a lot of studies that could include here. Then 

[00:48:37] Kent Thalman: [00:48:37] there's a bunch 

[00:48:38] Anna Thalman: [00:48:38] you could dive in deeper. If you wanted to. They've shown how, viewing pornography leads to it's just completely directly correlated with more sexual deviance. and young people and just basically it leads to the acting out of these things in some form or another in their lives. 

[00:48:55] Kent Thalman: [00:48:55] And the point of that is, to say that visual sexual [00:49:00] representation, especially in sort of, just the visual representation of sexual acts between people and consuming that in a way that, Appeals to that.

[00:49:13] Amygdala Based lower brain, increases the desire for that thing in real life. That is a sort of a hunger a drive. Right. And so if that's something that, we don't want to increase in our own personal lives, then we, I guess we have to, be careful about that. But. It also seems like why wouldn't that also be the effect of, sort of acting in a role that requires, being naked and simulating sort of a sexual act like, 

[00:49:44] Anna Thalman: [00:49:44] well and I think some people want to delineate and say, well, is this a sexual portrayal that is not violent. That is loving. That is, portraying something desirable a little bit more. 

[00:49:54]Kent Thalman: [00:49:54] That might be a valid delineation in terms of like degrees of effect, I [00:50:00] would say. 

[00:50:00] Anna Thalman: [00:50:00] but It also demonstrates that these studies demonstrate that what we see does alter our brain just as what we eat does alter our physical body and, often in negative ways, and it takes special reconditioning therapies to eliminate a lot of these, deviations that start happening and without outside help. Self-control becomes pretty ineffective, I think at a certain point.

[00:50:25] Kent Thalman: [00:50:25] That's the definition of an addiciton. 

[00:50:26] Anna Thalman: [00:50:26] Yeah. That freedom has been lost to make that choice. You've given it up and I think that's the biggest reason not to, because I'm all for empowerment, you know? And, maintaining your freedom

[00:50:38] Kent Thalman: [00:50:38] and I really agree with that. And I think the, what I want to clarify here is that we're not advocating. That actors should or shouldn't do something or should, or shouldn't be allowed to do something. We're not telling anyone what to do. We're not telling you on what to watch or not watch. We're trying to say once again, I'm just going to reiterate this because I think sometimes people get angry around this topic. And I just want to open this back up and say, [00:51:00] first of all, these are our personal opinions. And second of all, there are some studies here that are free, pretty factual, and you can separate our opinions from the studies. We're going to link them in the show notes. So read the studies yourself. Read the philosophers yourself, philosophers aren't necessarily scientists, right? There's a difference, and make your own decisions there, but be aware that the science shows that there are real effects. And I think that while I won't say that you should or shouldn't watch certain things, I will say you should make these decisions intelligently with as much context and information as you can. So definitely take the time to be thoughtful and wise about. What kind of a life do you want to live? What kind of a person you want to become and does this stuff have an effect on who you become? I think it's naive once again to say that what we read, what we watch, what we listened to has absolutely no effect on who we are because, I personally just don't believe that. does it completely define who we are? I don't think so, but I think it has an effect. And so we want to be [00:52:00] wise, it's like a diet, right?