It was a rainy Spring Break this past week, which ended up meaning extended TV time here and there for the kiddos. We all got to see and hear the commercial below MANY times:
Gotta deconstruct this a little: We don’t know if Banana Kid is dancing in front of a mirror, a window, or maybe even a webcam. At one point, he removes his peel and swings it over his head, like a stripper. When Banana Kid turns around, you can see banana buttocks, just in case you missed that the peel is his clothing.
So I’ve already used the words “stripper” and “webcam” to describe a commercial on kid-friendly Cartoon Network. But the whole thing is, it’s innocent fun that even Banana Dad decides to get in on (though without removing his peel). There can be a very strong sense of empowerment from dancing naked in a celebration of body acceptance. The problem is that when Banana Kid realizes that Dad is dancing behind him, he throws the peel at him and says “Get outta here!” Then he looks a little chagrined: is it because his Dad saw him dancing, or maybe because he realized that he yelled at his Dad and threw his peel at him for no good reason? Or both, or something else? Unfortunately, that sense of empowerment through rhythmic nude movement is yet one more aspect of nudity that society shames and relegates to pornography, and that nudists and naturists must continue the struggle to reclaim.
You may remain unconvinced as to the meaning or intent of the banana dance clip, or my interpretation of it. Would I like the commercial more if the whole banana family, along with their apple, kiwi, and grapefruit neighbors, casually removed their peels and danced and swam and had a picnic? Sure. Nonetheless, this catchy and subtly subversive commercial has actually promoted a nude-friendly message, at least in our home. Two family members of different age brackets, and not counting yours truly, have been inspired to imitate the Banana Kid’s nude exuberance while “na – na”-ing the song and swinging clothes overhead. That’s just one household–and a nude-friendly one at that–but still, can you imagine the dance-appeal effect all across the country?