Last night’s Grammy Awards drew as much attention for what didn’t happen as they did for the actual winners and performers. There were no “wardrobe malfunctions” or, in all honesty, any truly racy outfits. Most, if not all, of those involved toed the line and adhered to the now infamous CBS Memorandum on what would and wouldn’t be acceptable attire not only for those involved with the show, but for audience members who may appear on TV as well.
Below is the pertinent part of the memo; I’ve inserted a few comments and grammatical corrections in red.
CBS Program Practices advises that all talent appearing on camera please adhere to Network policy concerning wardrobe.
Please be sure that buttocks and female breasts are adequately covered. Thong type costumes are problematic. Please avoid exposing bare fleshy under curves of the buttocks and buttock crack. Bare sides or under curvature of the breasts is (are) also problematic. Please avoid sheer see-through clothing that could possibly expose female breast nipples (but female elbow nipples are fine). Please be sure the genital region is adequately covered so that there is no visible “puffy” bare skin exposure. … OBSCENITY OR PARTIALLY SEEN OBSCENITY ON WARDROBE IS UNACCEPTABLE FOR BROADCAST. This as well, pertains to audience members that (who) appear on camera. Finally, The Network requests that any organized cause visibly spelled out on talent’s wardrobe be avoided. This would include lapel pins or any other form of accessory.
Who writes this stuff? Did CBS convene a focus group of alleged perverts and ask them what they watch for at the Grammy Awards and then ban those things? Focus group member: “I love that bare, fleshy under curve of the buttocks” or “Can’t get enough of that breast under curvature” . CBS executive: “Ban under curve and curvature of both breasts and buttocks.”
To be honest I still don’t get why the original “wardrobe malfunction” caused such a stir. For maybe four nano-seconds Janet Jackson’s breast, complete with decorative star-shaped nipple-cover, was exposed. Given the strength of the gun culture among conservative Americans she should have just waved a couple of six-shooters and said she was the Sheriff!