Skip to main content

Sure, you can show plenty of breast in ads, clothing, the internet and so on. But there is a forbidden territory in this display, and it is baffling to me. Kindly explain.

At the age of eighty, I have had a natural curiosity to learn, study, and understand. But even after all these years, there is one thing that still baffles me, and it involves a discussion of women’s breasts. In particular, one part of the breast, in which even the word suggests pornography. The word: nipple.

In America, sexuality is pervasive. It dominates virtually all our ads for a wide range of products. It is seen in movies. It is the chatter of talk shows. And “showing skin” is everywhere on the internet. But there is a limit, apparently, to the skin you can show. The top of the breast: OK. The sides: OK. The décolletage: OK. But the nipples: no way!

This is not a new phenomenon either. As a young teenager in the Twin Cities of Minnesota, there was a lively burlesque theater that we would occasionally visit (I guess they were pretty lenient on age prohibitions back then). And among the bubble dancers, fan dancers, and other titillating acts, the ladies showed it all – except their nipples. They used what were called “pasties” to cover that one square inch of their breast. Why? Tell me.

Which reminds me of the very old joke: there was a burlesque theater in the neighborhood of a youn teenager. Naturally his father cautioned him regularly: “Never, never,  never go into that theater – you will see things you should not see.” Naturally, that was a clear invitation for the kid to go into the theater. And in fact he did see things he should not see. He saw his father.

Anyway, what is it about the nipple that makes it taboo? It is a natural and essential part of human reproduction, and certainly existed eons before Gerber and various baby formulas. Many societies have no such hang-up. In Africa, it is common (or at least was common) to see scantily clad women without anything at all covering their breasts. And today, many societies still allow women to come to the beach topless. Some societies even allow total nudity.  But in America, such behavior appears to be forbidden. Apparently the nipple is…well “pornographic” in some perverse way.

Americans it seems are very convoluted in their sexual habits. Women intensely study ways to increase their sexuality, their attractiveness, their allure and so on, and many do it by exposing as much breast as is allowable. And that permits plenty. But get to the nipple and it’s no go. It would seem to me that by exposing the nipple, there would be greater attraction and allure? Well, maybe not.

At any rate, if anyone can explain this inconsistency to me, I am ready to listen. Till then, as Bob Hope would sing: “Thanks for the mammary”.

Originally posted to myles spicer on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 11:06 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site