Breasts, Penis, Vagina – my introduction to TV in the UK

Posted on June 4, 2009 by yankeebean

yankeebeanI’ll never forget it…

Why?

Because I was 16, I had just moved to England, I was watching tv WITH MY PARENTS and we saw a commercial for a series of documentaries called ‘Breasts, Penis, Vagina’.

BREASTS, PENIS, VAGINA?!?  It was 8 o’clock at night!!

If you’re uncomfortable reading about it, just think how uncomfortable 16-year-old-yankeebean was LIVING it.

But it gets worse!

This particular commercial was being broadcast right before the beginning of the first in the series.  You guessed it, ‘Breasts’.

So what did we do?  Change the channel?  Nooooo.  Turn of the TV and play some cards?  Nononononono…

We watched it…   WATCHED IT!  With my parents!!!!!

*****end drama*****

I guess looking back on it, it wasn’t so bad… and it was really interesting, too.  A genuine and honest look at a bunch of different women’s breasts.  Not a hint of raunch, nothing skeezy… just breasts.  And it seems like the perfect introduction to the difference between tv in England and America.

A series like that wouldn’t have even been breathed on by tv channels in America – nudity is not to be tolerated (except by HBO.)  But in England, they’ll happily play it on prime time television.  Loud and proud, baby!  I really appreciate how nudity can be handled here without being labeled as evil or wrong – what’s so evil about boobs?

Knowing what I know now – leave it to Channel 4 to run ‘Breasts, Penis, Vagina’… ha!

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What Others Are Saying

  1. Pingback: British TV: Penises. Penises everywhere. And balls. | She's Not From Yorkshire

  2. Steve Shawcross August 27, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    Channel 4 has a reputation for being an “edgy” channel, often pushing the boundaries– part of its remit as a public-service broadcaster.

    I think the ‘worst’ was a channel Five programme called A Girl’s Guide To 21st Century Sex, as graphic as it got… especially with the “ladies’ parts”, as Cissy & Ada would say. Although it was educational as well, so they could justify such graphic material on a public-service broadcaster.

    And you certainly don’t want to be eating an Aero bar, when Kim & Aggy are cleaning out a grubby toilet!

  3. FriskyTurtle August 27, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    Embarrassing Bodies! OMG, yes! I have to say though there is NOTHING better than a watching a perfectly proper British woman trying to be delicate about describing her “messy bottom” problem. On television, no less! I imagined the she was furiously sipping a cup of tea while on her side, bum aimed at the camera. Never seen a show like it.

    • yankeebean August 27, 2009 at 9:47 pm

      Hahahahah!! Messy bottom… you just couldn’t make this stuff up. When I’m at the Doctor is one of the times when I feel openly relieved to be American. Legs-in-stirrups and english-reserve can’t mix well, surely…

      Oh, and Steve – you TOTALLY outed yourself for watch the A Girl’s Guide to 21st Century Sex… :)

  4. peacefulyorkshire June 10, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    How bout when channel 4 did their “Embarrassing Bodies” series? How about that one while you are eating dinner. Uck!!

    —Millymollymandy, good one… hehe ;)

  5. pacificyorkshirebird June 10, 2009 at 5:58 am

    Ditto everything you said. It was so shocking at first until I relaxed and realized things would never be so neutral and open on American tv.

  6. Millymollymandy June 9, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    > Caught the tail end! Way to go Chris!

  7. Chris June 9, 2009 at 6:38 am

    Waaay back, probably the late 1970s, I was watching a Brit film on US TV with parents. This guy walks into his bathroom and we see him … apply deodorant! I was shocked, *shocked*! This kind of thing is just not shown on TV!

    Fast-forward: last year on Canadian TV there was a sex series with one episode discussing the how-to’s of anal sex (presented by a woman, and I think it was aimed at all orientations, though I was just channel surfing and caught the tail end of it). Only mild surprise, and more glad than anything to see education & discussion.

    My, how times have changed, but American TV still seems to want to protect us from learning that the human body is normal and not naughty. Maybe doing so preserves its revenue-generating titillation factor? I dunno.

  8. Bethany June 6, 2009 at 12:08 am

    You forgot to mention Skinemax- oops I mean Cinemax! Lol, though they only do nasty stuff later at night.
    Worst experience I ever had was watching Atonement in theatres with my dad- and seeing “CUNT” flash onto the screen!
    Awkward lol. I don’t cme from a shy or reserved family- we grew up with only my dad and brother in the house so… my mom and us four daughters kinda ruled the roost. My husband always says that he married into a weird family… but parents, you gotta draw a line somewhere ya know? Lol, and that was mine. Ew ew ew. So now I try to research and movies or tv shows better before I agree to watch em with either parent :-)

  9. Cinda June 5, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    Mixed on this, I have an 11 year old daughter and I am not sure I want her to be exposed to that in such a big way although we have over time have already had some of those conversations. Maybe it’s just the sentimental thing about keeping your kids, kids as long as you can but agree that they should not be sheltered…I would have to watch first then maybe let my daughter see. I thought it was funny how open the English were about sex and nudity from newspapers to TV, never did I expect they would be so open…it didn’t match the intensely conservative expressions on their faces…lol.

  10. Michelloui June 4, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    I remember when I first moved over here and my parents came to visit and we turned on the TV one Saturday night to see Eurotrash. Anyone remember that? OMG. It was like watching a car crash: compulsive, but frightening. Not sure how many details I can go into on this blog so I’ll play it safe and leave it to your imagination–way, way, way worse than breasts!

    But back to the original idea. Now that I have been here a while I actually find the openness refreshing. No I wasn’t raised in a naturist household!

  11. notfromaroundhere June 4, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    One of my first trips here they were having a plastic surgery show on after the news, and showed both a breast augmentation and a vaginal reconstruction in all their gory detail. I was in total shock. And yes, train wreck style, I watched it. (embarrassed to admit)

  12. Christiana June 4, 2009 at 8:11 pm

    oh my gosh, that sounds soooo awkward! My “also former us expat in England” friend and I were discussing this very topic this morning! Not to mention page 3 girls, what’s up with that!?

  13. Janett June 4, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    Hi ladies, I’m a new follower of your blog and just wanted to say I absolutely adore it. I’m an american expat, currently living in Valencia, Spain (with hopes of moving to England one day) and I can honestly say that it’s exactly the same way here in Spain.

    Every other night, one of the prime time channels plays a documentary about anything and everything sex related around 10-11 pm. The content is a bit more graphic, to the extent of what Americans would call “hardcore porn”, but the show is not presented in a sleezy, raunchy manner.. it discusses people’s stories, their experiments, new sex toys, etc. None of that girls-gone-wild vibe.

    According to my father-in-law, who is also an expat here with us, he saw a documentary the other night on poop. No, really.. poop.

    Gotta love Europeans for that.

  14. yankeebean June 7, 2009 at 11:38 am

    This reminds me of when I watched the Director’s cut of Y Tu Mama Tambien with my Mom and Dad. My Mom was tutting and sighing the whole time in disgust… I was bright red pretty much the entire time.

    Looking back I think ‘WHY didn’t I just leave the room??’… oh well, if it doesn’t kill you, right? :)

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