My Son Blinked

Do we need protection from Janet Jackson's breast?

By Dena Burroughs
Published on LatinoLA: February 3, 2004

My Son Blinked

Janet Jackson showed us her breast. Or rather, Justin T. showed us Janet's breast. Either way, since the breast-isode, I have hardly heard of anything else.

Right after 'hello' on the phone, on the first line of e-mails, on forums, from coworkers and friends? same scandalized sounding question: "so? did you see Janet?s boob?" And I don?t need to tell you about the media.

Isn't it unbelievable that a body part the size of an orange can create such commotion?

"What is the big deal!" one of my friends said, "we are so puritanical in this country!" "It's just a breast!" said another; "We see wayyyyyy worse things on TV on any given day!"

They were hilarious, my friends, and I jumped on their bandwagon. "It was only 'on the air' about three seconds anyhow", I remember telling someone, "Whoever blinked, missed it".

And truly, it was 'on the air' [no pun intended] a very short time, and agreed, I see plenty of breasts on TV and at the movies on a regular basis. Often enough that it didn't really seem like any big deal?

Until? I picked up my son from his dad?s on Monday evening. After spending the weekend away, the first thing he asked was "Mom, did you watch the Superbowl?".

I just KNEW the question coming up next, and for the first time, I didn't find it so funny. The last person I wanted to hear talk about Janet Jackson's breast was my 13-year-old.

I know? "Kids see worse things at school these days", "Kids see worse than that on the Internet". Well, not my son, not when I can help it. As his mother, it is my responsibility to provide him with more valuable food for thought than a forty-year old woman's glands.

It dawned on me that this sort of thing is 'cool' and 'ok' only when we don't have to personalize it. But think about it this way, what if I?d walk topless around the house and in front of my 13-year-old? Is anybody calling Social Services yet? How many of my female friends would be willing to come over and flash a breast out in front of him? Surely, most people would consider both actions horrendous parenting choices.

I wonder what would happen if I offered to show one of my breasts to the nephew, the little brother, or the sister of one of my 'Janet-stunt-was-great' friends? How many would go for it?

Was it really that different on Sunday? A woman, through the TV screens, came into our living rooms and showed her metal clad breast to every one of the kids watching the game, at five in the afternoon. Is it really OK? Would anyone have allowed it had Janet been there in person?

Of course I understand the factors. Not all kids would be affected the same. A two-year-old for example, wouldn't 'mind' Ms. Jackson's breast the same way my 13-year-old would. And again, it is true that it happened so fast that all you had to do was blink to miss it.

But, I now better understand the uproar. Perhaps some Puritanism is still left over from the Mayflower, but most likely the noise is coming from people like me: Mothers, fathers, responsible family members, who in our own, even if na?ve way, want to protect our children for as long as we find it possible. And THAT is really OK.

At the end, all that my son asked was whether I'd seen a commercial, ?the one with a talking monkey? he said. It turned out to be a Budweiser commercial, which incidentally I'm supposed to keep my son away from for another eight years.


There was good news for my sensitivity filled motherly soul though ?. My son had, apparently,? blinked!

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