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The Nipple Issue

Carolann Iadarola isn’t sure she agrees with the fact that women’s nipples need to be covered. How do you feel about it? Read more from Carolann on her blog, Sassy Townhouse Living.


OK, you are asking yourself, is she kidding with this topic? Nope. I’m totally serious. I’m trying my best to understand why society looks upon women’s nipples as offensive. I understand the whole religious morality issue – that I get. Women were taught since early childhood that displaying your breasts openly is offensive, slutty, and down-right against societies mores. This belief system dates back thousands of years. We were taught this set of values… from men.

The Nipple Issue: nipples need to be covered

I know that we were taught through history to practice the value systems of the Victorian and Puritans, but they were not saints either. They dealt in their share of porn and sexual escapades, trust me. I guess what boggles my mind is how men’s nipples and breasts are perfectly acceptable to display openly and yet women’s breasts are not. It is also acceptable to display women’s breast as long as the nipple area is covered. Now, who the heck implemented these standards? They can display the “under-boob” shot, and the over-boob, but God forbid that nipple area shows!

We are constantly seeing nip-slips, primarily from celebrities who, I believe, do this on purpose. I’m not saying I’m going to run around topless – I just want to understand why women have a different set of rules. I can’t seem to wrap my head around the fact that it’s ok for men, and not for women. The fashion runway has displayed women’s breasts for years now. As long as it’s done on the runway, it’s fine. Although at times, these events still manage to make the news and/or TMZ coverage.

While shopping with my sisters one day, we went to the ladies room and there was a woman there breast-feeding her child. My first though was oh boy, do I really need to see this? I was almost offended at having to look at this most natural act of  a mother feeding her child. It was then I asked myself this question: Why are woman’s nipples so offensive? Why did I feel so uncomfortable walking in during the breast-feeding? Sometimes it seems breast-feeding in public is all anyone can talk about. I’m glad women are starting to speak up about this and doing what they were designed to do regardless of who is uncomfortable with it. I realized in that ladies room that it was the value system ingrained in us all – always cover your breasts. Bare-breasted women are treated as a slutty and pornographic.

I do believe this will never change. Yes, we have become a more openly accepting society and do “tolerate” more women displaying their breasts, but I think that at their core, men will always view women who display their breasts as sluts, porn stars, or somehow starving for attention.

Bottom line, I don’t like that men have a different set of sexual standards than women.

Is it a good thing, keeping this value system? You tell me. I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject.

Carolann Iadarola

Hi! I'm Carolann, the owner and author of Sassy Townhouse Living! I'm very passionate about DIY projects, cooking, baking, makeup tutorials, decor, design, writing articles, and technology reviews. My mission statement: Sharing The Best Of Everything! Instagram: sassytownhouseliving

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Jennifer Wolfe

Friday 6th of February 2015

Agree- it's so hard to teach our daughters to honor their bodies when the media and society is telling them that there is something wrong with them. I teach middle school and hate to think of the harm we can cause teens when they have no control of how their body is changing, and somehow are made to feel shame about it.


Friday 6th of February 2015

You raise and excellent point Jennifer! I believe we are moving towards a huge change in our value system if we are not already in it. Our youth today, with the advent of sexting, has really hit the curve! It's scary to think about for sure.

Angela Weight

Thursday 5th of February 2015

very well said, Carolann. And I couldn't agree more! Women have come a long way. This is just another bias we have to chop away at.


Friday 6th of February 2015

Agreed Angela! I wonder what the future will look like since all of our old standards are changing and dramatically!


Thursday 5th of February 2015

While reading this I thought about National Geographic and the photos of tribes I would see as a child growing up and back then it boggled my mind how they did not cover up and how they thought this was okay - so there's that to think about.


Friday 6th of February 2015

You bring up a very valid point Sue! Why should there be a difference in perception? We can have an entire conversation about that topic indeed! Thanks much for your insight. It really gave me something to think about for an upcoming article!

Mandy Carroll

Thursday 5th of February 2015

I agree, there is a standard for men and a standard for women. I had a thought when you said men breasts...I thought men do not have breasts, but they do. I guess the difference is in the shape and the reaction they have in men and yes women. I breastfed all my four sons. When in my home the other boys would see my breasts and so did my husband. In public I always covered up. And I thought about this...I see breasts as for private viewing. I admit, I get a bit uncomfortable when I see a woman's breast exposed. Not because I think it is bad...or sinful, but because I see it as private showing. Even if I had the most gorgeous breasts, I would only want my lover to see them. They are for their eyes. To be honest, when I see women exposing themselves like that I only think one sad they she has to seek acceptance, that she is okay by exposing herself to judgement. Those who are comfortable with their bodies and are not seeking reassurance from an outside source tend to leave it to the imagination. I also get uncomfortable when I see men in speedo's.... it is the same thing for me as a woman showing her breasts in some way. It tells me they are seeking acceptance or they are the stud, by showing you the package... Lets be honest..genitalia on either sex, up close is not attractive. It is what is done with those wonderful things that overrides all of that. Men without shirts is a bit uncomfortable to. But then seeing a woman in a running bra and shorts is uncomfortable to. I guess I am of the age of the mystique of it all. I like to have my lover know what I look like without these clothes. I let others imagine and not parade around showing everyone...Honestly, it is none of their business... Just my thoughts... Being modest is not a bad thing. I wonder why we feel the need to show everyone what we got...?


Friday 6th of February 2015

Hi Mandy, thank you for your insightful comment. I agree. Why do many folks feel the need to show it all? This very question caused me to wonder. Is it because of our puritanical values that have been intrenched in our teaching throughout history? What if we were taught from the get-go that nudity was perfectly natural and acceptable? Then I began to wonder, why men's breasts and not women's? You bring up very valid points. I'm the say way. I'm very private about these matters and only share them with my spouse. I always wonder if in the future, at the rate things are moving, if our entire value system will change dramatically. Really gives you something to think about!

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