Warning: Kids, run! Do not read this post; it could get ugly. Really ugly. There will certainly be challenges ahead, if you continue reading and choose to ignore this sign. You know you hate the mixing of the following topics: Mom + Sex + Body Parts + Anything that might infer that I am anything other than the first topic. So run now and read something else. No doubt, there’s something else you’re supposed to be reading, so do it now. If you are: Not a kid, but prefer polite chat, or, if you are very conservative, or, you’re my father in law (who reads these), or, if you say “TMI” in conversation, or, if you are already scared (just reading this warning), don’t read any further. All others proceed cautiously. Scandalous stuff ahead. Wink, wink.
That said, I have to admit that the topic of nipples has been bugging me for ages. Great start right? If that was the opening of any book, you’d probably read on. I would. The reality however is that in the real world, the subject of nipples seems to have become very taboo, and I don’t really get it. More specifically, it’s not the topic that’s taboo but the appearance or acknowledgement of nipples. Period. Nipples, like panty lines seem to have disappeared from mainstream America. They do appear: In Hooter’s ads; or in movie/TV scenes where the main character is “loose,” a prostitute or of questionable moral character, occasionally on celebrities, and then they are generally referred to as “wardrobe malfunctions.” The message seems to be nipples are bad.
<–(If I looked like “Jenny from the block,” I’d probably be having wardrobe malfunctions all the time too.) I don’t get this. I don’t see why this has become such a big deal. At the Oscars this year, so many people were staring at Jennifer Lopez’s dress, not because it was spectacular and she looked like a million dollars in it, but because so many people were sure that they could see the shadow of one of her nipples. Seriously people? Shadow? Of a nipple? Wardrobe malfunctions (read this interesting Huffington Post article), like when Janet Jackson’s breast infamously slipped out of her outfit during the half time show at Superbowl 2004, cost the networks more than $500,000 in penalties. And ok, I get that it’s a family show and it was very blatantly exposed for a half of a second, but why is that worth a half million dollars in penalties? Unless you taped it, paused the show, and replayed slowly (making you a pervert), you didn’t see much. Who was hurt?
Since then, sponsors and powers that be have been so paranoid about a repeat of this, that for the past 8 years the Superbowl has allegedly chosen “safe” rock acts that don’t pose a nipple or body part threat. This year, upon inviting Madonna to perform, numerous clauses were written up that made clear what was allowed and not allowed… and who it would cost if something happened, contractually: Madonna. When M.I.A knowingly flashed a finger, there were outcries, but no where near the level of that errant breast and nipple. (Superbowl shows: Left, Janet Jackson-not k. Right, Steven Tyler and (I think) Britney Spears- Ok. Do you see the difference?)
I don’t get any of it. I too agree that there are things that should not be aired during the family hour, but when things like a wardrobe malfunction happen, why is it more serious than so many other things? Why are body parts: namely breasts, and most seriously the lowly nipple, such a big flipping deal? Years ago it was not a big deal to go braless; in college and when my kids were really young, I did it with little thought to propriety. Lots of women did and no one cared. If you were wearing a tank top, braless was not a criminal offense. Yet somehow, when my daughter was in middle school, she informed me that my bras were “disgusting,” because my nipples could still be seen. My daughter and I went back and forth on this for ages… I liked my bras at the time. They were comfortable and, I thought, flattering. All she cared about was the nipple issue. Finally I relented, and eventually, I too began to worry about this. No doubt, at 22, and having attended a very progressive, intellectual women’s college, Principessa would not care as much now. However, what kind of bra I wore, and what was showing, was a very big deal for a couple of years there. Enough so that I too became convinced that nothing should show, the nothing being something: nipples.
Hello? We have them. We’re women. For the record, Principessa, like her 2 brothers were happy to see them for the year+ they each nursed. (See, that’s one of the parts I warned you about kiddos) Sometimes, nipples just make themselves visible… and why should this be such a terribly big deal? So awful that stars are highlighted when they do show, and middle aged mom’s are worried that an outfit is wrong if there’s visible proof of the nipple’s existence. Today’s bras not only lift and support, they hide any evidence of this. Padded just so things are smooth, smooooth. No bull’s-eyes, no dots, just smooth, padded breasts.
While I’ve been writing ideas about this in my head (that’s what bloggers do: yes, we’re taking mental notes. Always.), for months, the topic has begun to show up everywhere. On the Big C (one of the best cable shows in a long time!), the character Sean goes on a million dollar rant about the disappearance of nipples in American. He struggles with mental illness and has no filters, so the stuff that comes out of his mouth is just brilliant at times, as he doesn’t worry about what anyone will think. So when yelling at a young couple, who seem a tad conservative, he hurls a host of accusations about them being anti-gay, possibly racist, and afraid of women’s nipples, going on to further discuss the vanishing nipple. I felt vindicated, as I snorted and laughed.
The sheer number of recent attacks on public figures, in the media, who may have shown some nipple, is amazing to me. However, on almost every channel, every page, you can look at full, round breasts, completely exposed up to but not including the nipples. Turn on Modern Family (which we love) and Gloria’s breasts are a separate character. Survivor, the NCIs, How I Met Your Mother… Hell, so many shows it’s pointless to list them! It seems to be fine to wear very breast revealing clothes… frankly, the point seems to be to show the breast… but spare nothing in covering the silly nipple. I would show the many products designed for this purpose, but then my post would lose it’s rating… because the silicone tape-on nipple covers (really, taping silicone over your nipple? Ouch!), are shown on the same page as heart shaped pasties.
Over time, I’ve become aware that this issue seems to be true almost everywhere in the States. I haven’t had a chance to do research in other countries, but here, nipples in a certain age range seem to be disappearing. So while more and more attention is given to the occasional nip sighting, women in the slightly older set, seem to be hiding them…or don’t have them? Is it like men’s leg hair: it just goes away with age? Or, have we all been commercially convinced that aging breasts are truly less desirable? Having recently been to Vegas, I found no shortage of breasts and nipples there. Lots of material, or a real shortage of it, depending on how you look at it. Yes, I was looking at them. I was actually taking pictures, and had helpers, who knew where my thoughts were going and helped scope out images. I can tell you one thing: breasts, not covered very well, and wardrobe malfunctions are the norm in Vegas, not something to hide. They get you into clubs for free. They get you free drinks. My friends and I looked downright old fashioned, Little House on the Prairie practically, compared to the chicas on The Strip. I noticed that lots of shop windows have mannequins with nipples showing, but I have little doubt that most of the women buying those clothes will go to great lengths, to hide theirs. (This ^^ sells clothes, to women who don’t want to show “those.”)
<– There it is: My 25 year old self, braless (with my in laws no less) and standing next to a Sugar Babies sign. Oh the horror! Not to mention the crazy ass, 80’s, Go-Go Girls wannabe haircut. I grew that “tail” for years!
Arrgh! Really? Really! While I’m not dying to run around braless anymore, I also have begun to wonder when, why and how I allowed myself to be bullied into thinking it was such a bad thing, such a slutty thing. Why did I take a 13 yr old girl’s opinion so seriously? What contributed to her thinking it was such a bid deal in the first place. I don’t remember ever really worrying about this stuff with my mom, and she was a pretty hip, modern, single gal. I understood that my mom had some sex appeal… even if I didn’t want to imagine what that might lead to. Now, if you have sex appeal as a mom, you run the risk of being a MILF. Mom= Not really a woman–> Certainly not a woman with nipples.
<– (Safe, no nipples, breast feeding icon.) To circumnavigate the potential assumptions that might be made by those reading my thoughts here… No, I’m not thinking about this all the time. No, I’m not looking to go braless or argue that it’s a sensible thing. Though I’d prefer to not have it be an issue, if I want to. I didn’t write this to be provocative. I just have thought a lot about this and the idea that the subject has become such a hot topic to sell magazines, or turn heads, puzzles me no end. If you Google “wardrobe,” it immediately feeds you “malfunction.” There are endless things written about how to hide your nipples under clothes, Dear Prudence letters about what’s appropriate, and even advice that one should hide their nipples in a swim suit (pad or layering, ladies… lest you risk looking naked under that swim suit!). There are wedding sites that address the potential humiliation a bride might face, if her nipples should show… though wearing a dress that plunges, or pushes up, is very fashionable. Amazingly, Facebook allows some pretty questionable topics and sites, but breastfeeding sites can not show nipples, and frowns on breast exposure… for breast feeding! Lots of women fought that, and now you see some exposure. You’ll find some images, but you’ll see an awful lot of icons instead. (Clearly, Sports Illustrated does not worry about nipples. Is this a whole bathing suit?)
No doubt, my blog views will go way up as more
perverts confused guys do searches for a different kind of breast, and find this instead. However, the topic’s been waiting to be discussed, in my long list of thoughts for posting. Real or imagined, the list is constantly re-adjusting to what’s on my mind in the moment. I suspect this topic will not go away any time soon. This stuff sells, and we love to judge. So, no doubt I’ll hear about this photo (wait, wait, it’s coming). Some background however, first. For our Oscars party this year, I wore a dress that I bought about 26 years ago, when I was 23. At the time, the fact that it was worn braless meant nothing to me. I’ve already established that I was a bit loose then. This year, when I slipped it on and realized my bra was completely showing, I nervously went braless and fretted about it before our guests arrived. Smart Guy, to his credit (and he gets it here), said, “it looks as good as it did then… so do they.” Yep, they. (Kids, if you read this far, you deserve that!) So, when I got photos from friends, of me accepting the Oscar my aunt and uncle sent us (Read Golden: Call Me Oscar), there it was: my own wardrobe malfunction!
I am bound to collect a certain amount of s^#t for posting this, in a sense asking y’all to stare at my breasts… but that’s the point. What’s the big deal? I don’t think I’ll be fined for this, though I may regret it later. (Ok, admittedly, I already do) It’s certainly a very bad photo of me… I was hamming it up, pretending to thank Jesus, and cry… I have little to gain here. But lots of friends that night told me I looked fine, not to worry, nothing was showing… and there it is: wardrobe malfunction! Sweet mother (not the blogger) 0f God; holy crapola! I’ve written this finally, and I’m leaving town for the weekend. I’m posting in the middle of the night, under cover of darkness, and slipping away, while you analyze the evidence. Now that I have this off my chest (you know I had to use that), I’m sure to sleep better. Until I read the comments…
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