Navel Gazing: The First Female Belly Button Ever Seen On TV



In 1959, Marilyn Monroe turned heads as the bombshell in Some Like It Hot. In the film, the blonde idol wore a slinky, sheer black and nude cocktail dress that flashed a good amount of skin, but not her belly button. The crew covered up the actress with a piece of fabric, but that didn’t satisfy the National Legion of Decency, which promptly condemned the film. Meanwhile, on the small screen, censors were far more strict. The National Association of Broadcasters’ Code of Practices prohibited the display of a woman’s navel. Shows had to be creative if they wanted to air scenes that would show a woman's bare stomach. For example, Barbara Eden’s outfit in I Dream of Jeannie showed her bare stomach, so the production staff used fabric and skin-colored makeup to cover her bellybutton. Tina Louise — Ginger on Gilligan’s Island — was a pro at casually draping her arm over her midriff to hide her belly button. It was actually Cher who became the first actress to show her belly button on TV in 1973. After that, the entertainment industry finally agreed to do away with the belly button ban.