The first hint I had that nipples were on the menu at the Oscars was a tweet that mentioned Anne Hathaway on the red carpet. And when I took a look at mentions of her nipples all over twitter, there was horror and ick! and giggling and jokes about the nipples getting to the red carpet before she did. And the comments were mainly from women – women who are smart and funny and together.
It was confusing because I think nipples are awesome. They can help out with weather forecasts. They are sexy. They are troopers if you choose to breastfeed. And most of all, they are a part of the human (and mammalian) body. Unless you’re Barbie – then they are too raunchy and must be removed and smoothed over.
I am sympathetic to nipple-phobia. When I was teaching high school, I always wore a heavily padded bra despite not needing support for my barely A’s. The one reason I wore lots of boob padding was to cover up my nipples. Because really, high school students don’t need more distractions – and yes: nipples are distracting. But on the red carpet? With plunging necklines and side-boob and sheer all over and lots of leg? Who cares about pointy, dart-lined nipples? Who cares that the person attached to those nipples had her evening of triumph (she won, right?) overshadowed by silliness about co-presenters getting poked in the eye by her nipples. (It could happen. More than one baby has been poked in the eye by a nipple. I read it on the Internet.)
Shortly after the Nipple Emergency on the Oscars red carpet, there was the Boobs song to open the show. This brought on angry tweets and blog posts about the sexism and poor taste in singing about women’s boobs. It was similar to the outrage when there was live mention of Michael Fassbender’s penis to Michael Fassbender’s face last year during a similar awards show. Oh wait. That wasn’t outrage; it was giggling. But penises are different, right? And also giggling about a member of the US Rowing Team is different. Because they are men and penises are symbols of power. So making jokes and pointing and laughing at a penis is okay. Who cares that there is a person attached to that symbol of power?
Hmmmm. I see her nipples! versus I saw your boobs! versus OMG! He sure looks excited to win!
All I’m hoping for is a little leeway for nipples, especially the erect ones. Basically, if people – real people – can be hurt and offended and scarred and made to feel “less than” (going back to graduate school with that one) by how we talk about their bodies, shouldn’t that apply to everyone? I don’t know – kind of a “lead by example” sort of thing? I guess I’m just a humorless, albeit perky, bundle of objections lately. And I really hate wearing a bra.
Need some low-key reading and relaxation this weekend? Head on over to the yeah write moonshine grid. It’s all good.