The most recent issue of mental_floss magazine has a top-ten list style article called A Timeline of TV Censorship. Just for fun, I thought I would highlight the female-related television "scandals," to demonstrate the trend of puritanical American discomfort with the female body. (I reprinted the captions right from the article, so you'll have to forgive the inane-ness of such titles as "Nipples by the Number".)
1952: Lucy Gets Knocked Up
Despite Lucille Ball’s pregnancy during an entire season of I Love Lucy, the actual word "pregnant" isn’t allowed on air. Instead, the show uses phrases that seem equally informative but (somehow) less fraught with sin, such as "with child," "having a baby," and "expecting."
1966: Censors Throw Down in Navel Wars
Mary Ann from Gilligan’s Island, Jeannie from I Dream of Jeannie, and Gidget are all barred from baring their navels. Actress Mariette Hartley receives the same treatment in a 1966 episode of Star Trek, but the show’s director, Gene Roddenberry, gets his revenge in 1973. He recasts Ms. Hartley in the pilot for his new show, Genesis II, and gives her two belly buttons.
2004: Nipples by the Number
We know it’s a little obvious to mention Janet Jackson’s "wardrobe malfunction" during Super Bowl XXXVIII, but it’s worth recapping a few stats:
» Amount of time the nipple spent on-air: 1.01 seconds (we actually timed it)
» FCC fines levied on CBS: $550,000
» Cost to NFL (in sponsor refunds): $10 million
» Ranking among 2004 Internet searchers: 1
» Ranking in TiVo’s "most rewound moments": 1
» Number of American complaints to the network: more than 500,000
» Number of Canadian complaints: about 50