Last night was the VMAs and various news stories are circulating, including Nicki Minaj opening the show with Taylor Swift to reconcile their feud, Kanye West’s 12 minute long speech, and Justin Bieber crying. But Miley Cyrus’s left nipple has also attracted an areola of attention, as during an outfit change, there was a short flash of it on camera.
I’m reminded of the Amanda Palmer incident in 2013 where the Daily Mail wouldn’t report on her music, but made sure they wrote about her wardrobe malfunction with the classy headline Making a Boob of Herself! She had the last laugh though, delivering the best ever response to the article and highlighting the hypocrisy that no one makes a fuss whenever men expose their chests.
Miley’s nipple escapade has been reported a bit differently, with several sites such as Bustle mentioning that she is a supporter of #FreeTheNipple and it could have been intentional, with encouraging words at the end of the article.
However, The Mirror did use the word embarassing to describe her ‘nip slip’, which does bring her down unnecessarily.
As a past lover of controversy, it seems plausible that Miley was giving everyone a cheeky show.
So was it a free the nipple? Hard to tell, and does it really matter?
If Miley was freeing the nipple, surely the whole point is that it should be insignificant, that female nipples aren’t such a big deal and we should be allowed to get them out without making the news? Although conversely, publicity for the campaign can be positive. If it was on purpose, then it’s a shame it had to be censored out on some of the news reports. Nipples are even censored out of the trailer for the film about #FreeTheNipple.
So why are men’s nipples not looked at in the same way? Women’s breasts, and therefore nipples are widely considered way more sexual than men’s nipples. Women’s breasts are first and foremost for breastfeeding, but society is obsessed with them. Despite the fact that I do find men’s nipples incredibly sexy, they just don’t generally seem to provoke the same reaction.
I also find it strange how you’re not actually considered topless unless the nipples are out. You could wear the lowest cut top possible, but if the nips are hid then you’re not topless. I’ve seen Burlesque dancers who are happy to show their tits, but freak out when a tassel falls off. Some women don’t have nipples though due to medical reasons, so what makes them topless; is it simply when the furthest-out point of the breast is on show? The pinnacle of naughtiness?
The worst thing about the Miley coverage (or lack of) is some of the negative comments I’ve seen on Facebook such as ‘gross’, ‘hoe’, ‘flat chested’, ‘built like a 14 year old boy’. You may not like her, you may disagree with some of the things she has said e.g. about Nicki Minaj (which Nicki addressed live at the VMAs and Miley replied about how words get twisted in interviews), but if that’s the case, then write critically about it, insulting her body is way more embarrassing and disgusting than flashing a nipple.
Along with Miley’s nipple, it was also great to see Amber Rose’s anti slut shaming outfit, reclaiming the negative words used against her and other women. Yet Hollywood life completely missed the point – including it in their worst dressed list. I guess we still have some way to go.
In the meantime I’m going to dance round my room listening to Nicki, Miley, Taylor and Amber – possibly with my nipples out…