breasts

Elizabeth's picture

The Trouble With Nipples

 "Nipple Tape" by Diana BlackwellThe tank top is a lovely apple green. I tried it on with a long matching over shirt, did my usual pantomime of chalk board writing to see if it was comfortable, scrutinized it to see if the over shirt hung in such a way as to avoid showing the contours of my nipples, visible through the tank top, was satisfied, and left the store.

I put it on one morning, paired with some new light grey jeans, and wore it to work. I got several compliments on the color and also a few glances that made me self-conscious. I ignored them as best I could. I did not try to wear the shirt again for a while. Some weeks later I put it on again. I stepped into the living room to ask my sweetheart Will what he thought. I turned this way and that, put my hands on my hips, brushing the overshirt aside as I do in class sometimes, took a few turns, and waited for his reaction: "It's a bit nipply." I took it off. I have not worn it to work since.

I don't want to wear my nipples to work. I don't want to deal with people looking, looking away, and looking back. I don't want to worry about whether they think I am a hippie or a slut. I wouldn't care if they thought the former but I would be afraid that if they thought the latter they would think it in the erotophobic, judgmental, shaming kind of way that I do so much to resist.

Several years ago I gave up on wearing bras. This was not a political move, at least not initially. It was about my own physical comfort. I have never found a bra that fits well, looks good under clothes, and feels comfortable for more than a couple hours. Since I have never been physically uncomfortable without a bra, I decided to forego them. At first I only went without on the weekends. It seemed too risky to go without at work. Then eventually I decided to go without there, as well. It was then that I encountered my nipple dilemma. I had always worn bras that had a bit of padding, and even my apparently steely nipples never showed underneath them. Without a bra, every top presents a challenge. Dark colors and patterns are the easiest. I often wear vests, jackets, or over shirts for extra coverage. Sometimes, as with my apple green combination, even an over shirt doesn't seem like enough. (I have a similar conflict with a light tan t-shirt and matching vest combination.)

Michael's picture

Don't put your daughter on the stage

Don't put your daughter on the stage, Mrs Worthington, wrote Noel Coward in 1947. Till the early twentieth actors, actresses and all things to do with theatre were considered unseemly as a career choice. Actors were often conflated with 'rogues', 'vagabonds' and 'loose women' as an underclass. The twentieth century saw a paradigm shift whereby  an acting career could bring fame and fortune, and  actresses and actors like Vanessa Redgrave and Ronald Reagan could enter politics without having their characters impugned. 

Elizabeth's picture

NYC spends $29,000 to arrest a topless woman

This from the AP (sent by Will who saw it on MSNBC and is always generous in sharing “can you believe this madness type stories.)

It seems that despite an appeals court ruling 15 years ago that determined women have the right to be shirtless anywhere men are allowed to be shirtless, the New York City police arrested a woman, Jill Coccaro, (now known as Phoenix Feeley) two years ago for “indecent exposure” when she walked topless in public.

She was held for 12 hours before she was released and told she would not be prosecuted. She claims that during that time she was treated roughly and also taken for a mental health exam.

So if you’re shirtless in public and you’re female you must be crazy?

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