Why, specifically, are *nipples* obscene? - Mothering Forums

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Old 04-04-2007, 01:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Any one have any clues or thoughts on this?

Why are nipples themselves, obscene. Considering we can see all kinds of deep cleavage of breasts, and how much breast shows really depends on the style of clothing and size of the breast, I don't really think that people think breasts are obscene. But NIPPLES are.

Remember that sienfeld episode where Elaine's nipples showed in her Christmas picture?

Why do all the bras these days completely obliterate the nipple. (they all have a slight layer of foam that completely erases all traces of the nipple). I realize that this is just the current "style" - ie in the seventies, women did show their nipples in those thin bras or went braless.

I'd really like to read some cultural exploration of what the disappearing nipple tells us about our society today, and women's place in it. And I do think this links about to why NIP is a hot topic today.

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Old 04-04-2007, 01:30 PM
 
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Yeah, it's kind of stupid, eh?

I think the logic of it is that becoz so much cleavage is shown often and it's still considered that the person is not naked, the *nipple* draws the line between naked and clothed. If you can't see her nipples, she is not naked.

OTOH men are free to show their nipples all the time, and the big thing is that "well they're just nipples. Not *breasts*."

Now that I think of it, that is completely screwed up!
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Old 04-04-2007, 01:31 PM
 
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The funny thing is that while you are breastfeeding there is no nipple being shown anyway.
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Old 04-04-2007, 01:32 PM
 
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The funny thing is that while you are breastfeeding there is no nipple being shown anyway.
Depends on the woman. My nipples are ENORMOUS, bigger than some people's breasts, and even with my 3 yr old nursing mine are still showing.
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Old 04-04-2007, 01:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Maybe this is my hang-up (but every hang-up comes from culture, doesn't it?)

I remember when I first started getting breasts, (well, breast buds) my mom told me I had to either get a bra or wear an undershirt to hide them.

Now, after 7 years of nursing, and 3 years of being weaned, my breasts have shrunk back to being a 36A. I'm quite proud of my slim figure, and I feel I have weathered the "pregnancy and nursing" years quite well. No stretch marks, no sagging.

BUT my nipples are really prominent, and there is no way I would not wear a bra. And the bras I wear are that foam-type - which makes my nipples disappear.

Even when I was pregnant - that was the think I was most conscious and embarrassed by - was my suddenly ever prominent nipples. The belly I could care less, but those nipples were embarassing, especially since I was working in the business world with mostly men.

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Old 04-04-2007, 02:17 PM
 
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I would assume that it actually has something to do with the function of the nipple and the nipple stim/ hormone connection.

Nipple stimulation causes an oxytocin release that touching the rest of the breast does not cause.

Oxtocin release helps with orgasn.

Milk comes out of the nipple.

I think it's the same with other directly sex or bodily fluid/function related body parts.

You can show your butt cheeks, but not your anus. You can wear a really skimpy bathing suit and show all of your skin- but don't show any part of the vulva, or the pubic hair.

Don't know if I am making any sense. The skin is not the issue. The functioning body parts are.

He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.  ~Albert Einstein
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Old 04-04-2007, 02:20 PM
 
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I can see wearing the thicker bra in a business setting. But I've been self concious about my nipples for years and in the last few, I've been getting over that a bit. I'm sick of wearing hot synthetic foam in 100+ degree summer weather and over heating. I'm sick of stiff, uncomfortable bras that make my boobs look freakishly like tennis balls under my shirt. They have the ability to mold the foam, why can't they make it a normal shape???? Gah.

So lately, it's one layer cotton bras for me. Nipple shmipple. I even showed up at the park braless one day last summer. I'm almost proud of them now in the way I am now proud of my breasts. I used to wear bras that enhanced my bust size, to hide that I am an A cup in between nurslings. I don't do that anymore, and I can see the day coming when I don't hide that yeah, there are actually nipples attached to the tips of my boobs, for crying out loud.


Thismama, what a concept! Male nipples are ok as long as there's no breast. Female breasts are ok as long as there's no nipple.

WTH??



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Nipple stimulation causes an oxytocin release that touching the rest of the breast does not cause.
hm, my body would disagree..
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Old 04-04-2007, 02:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Velcromom, I will try to follow your example.

I know I feel like a hypocrite. I'm trying to teach my daughters to love their *natural* body - believe it or not, even at age 9, my daughter sees her friends getting their hair streaked, nails painted, etc. She tried to wear fake plastic "kids" nails to school the other day, and I had to explain that these items, while they look "good" in her mind, actually will limit her movement and enjoyment of life. She did eventually realize that she couldn't do things with the nails on, and she threw them in the garbage.

My dd's dance competitively, and the big trend there is to have *hairpieces* (even for 5 year olds) because the moms find it too bothersome to curl their hair. I'm a holdout, and think my dd's real hair looks great, but I'm getting alot of pressure to *conform*.


Velcromom - I too am an "A" cup, and I'm wearing those bras to add a cup size. Not so much to have bigger boobs, but I think it makes me more proportional (hides the bit of gut flab, and bigger ass I have now). I should get over it and accept my new shape, I guess.


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Old 04-04-2007, 02:48 PM
 
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hm, my body would disagree..
For clarification-
Do you mean touching anywhere on your breast causes oxytocin release, or that nipple stimulation does not cause oxytocin release?

He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.  ~Albert Einstein
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Old 04-04-2007, 03:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Breathless Wonder View Post
For clarification-
Do you mean touching anywhere on your breast causes oxytocin release, or that nipple stimulation does not cause oxytocin release?
oh, I meant that as far as the response I perceive, my body can react positively (presuming oxytocin release here, by reactions) to breast touching w/o nipple touching. (been thru times when nipple touching is banned during early bfing, kwim?)


Hey Janice are we related, you sound like you are shaped a lot like me, lol. Except I get bigger thighs and no butt at all... Don't get me wrong I am not always out there totally carefree, I do still think about, oh, are my nipples showing too much, or whatever, I just answer the voice in my head differently now as in 'oh be quiet' instead of 'oops better put on my sweater'... still might feel a little self-concious - the whole acceptance thing is a process, ups and downs. And as much as I am learning to accept my stick-like figure, I do love the curves of pregnancy, I relish these months when I actually feel... round!!


One thing that still bugs me is that most clothes are made assuming about a C cup... stuff tends to hang off me unless it's petite sizing. I used to wear enough padding to bring me up to a C because of the proprotion thing, and strangely, the thought in my mind was, "Hm, this might look kinda fake because there is no nipple showing through all this foam!" Back to the nipple again!
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Old 04-04-2007, 05:56 PM
 
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Well, I am a bit bigger those most of the OPs. I am a 38D (my biggest probably a 38 DD or F), I assume when I stop nursing I will go back down to a 38 C. Nipples have always been something that we were suppose to hide or be embarrassed because it was 'cold' or whatever. I didn't have major issues really. But since I have started nursing my nipples are pretty visible most of the time, especially in cold weather and right after nursing.

When I was going to a computer school in a Raleigh, NC I use to wear tank tops with no bra or the little built in bras. My nipples didn't really show much. Then I got them pierced and one of the female teachers said that I need to either wear a bra or wear my sweat shirt the second I stepped out of my car. I was really self conscious from them on, I didn't realize it was SO obvious that I was pierced. I got a strapless bra and sore it every day.

I don't know why the nipple is so exotic that it has to be hid. I do see why it would feel appropriate in the business world or while working most jobs. You want to seem professional, even if that means conforming a bit. I have started wearing my sleep bra a LOT more in public, I wish I had one in black since the white looks funny with certain colors. I use to love the way an under wire made my breasts look round and perky, but after an hour it starts to hurt and I take it off in the car. I have gotten to a point were comfort is more important than looks. Even if my nipples makes an appearance.
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Old 04-04-2007, 05:58 PM
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I think we try to hide things that make us on par with men or more powerful. Taking away the nipple is like erasing the face.
Our nipples are the same as a man’s unless they are being used to nurture our species. In that case, they are more useful. And that threatens our society. Women being equal to men or having a unique ability that men can’t duplicate is not something our society can accept. To have that upset is to require reorganization. All of our culture is based on the MAN as the model (think of the healthcare system and how we screen for heart attacks).
Inertia rules. It is easier to sweep the dust under the carpet than to rebuild the house. That is why we push our nipples behind increasing layers of foam.
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Old 04-04-2007, 06:04 PM
 
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Yeah...this picture made me think of the same thing...and this topic reminded me of this picture:

http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u...re/lil-kim.jpg



PERSONALLY, I would consider her topless.
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Old 04-04-2007, 06:07 PM
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[quote=hunnybumm;7752872] Then I got them pierced and one of the female teachers said that I need to either wear a bra or wear my sweat shirt the second I stepped out of my car. I was really self conscious from them on, I didn't realize it was SO obvious that I was pierced. I got a strapless bra and sore it every day.

Can they do that? I am actually worried about that.

When I did wear - even a padded - bra, my nipples showed through. After getting one too many comments about the nipples or how I needed a bra that gave me more bulk or lift, I finally gave up. If I couldn't be good enough after spending 20 some odd dollars on really uncomfortable thick bras, then what's the use. Ironically, no comments since I've been braless (at least to my face).

But I don't know what would happen if somebody told me I had to wear a bra (or a certain number of layers) but didn't say the same thing to everybody.
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Old 04-04-2007, 06:28 PM
 
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Have y'all ever heard the term "sne" ? (rhymes with knee) I don't know if that is a actual "slang" term, or one my goofy husband made up. (Spontaneous Nipple Erection)

Nipples aren't obsene. They're just a very nice private part.
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Old 04-04-2007, 07:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes, I believe Lil Kim has several outfits like that...

It was probably seeing one of her "outfits" that really made me angry and rethink this whole NIP thing.

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Old 04-04-2007, 09:11 PM
 
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They are pointy and could poke someones eye out!



SEE!

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Old 04-04-2007, 10:57 PM
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I wonder if it isn't the fact that nipples will get erect when stimulated (whether by wind, cold, a caress, or a suckling baby). Maybe it reminds people of penises, and should be covered because of it.

I do think that the problem people have with NIP has nothing to do with seeing an exposed breast or even exposed nipple. The photo posted by Aliviasmom shows that. I think that people have a big problem with seeing a baby suckling on something that an ill-informed public sees as a purely sexual appendage. Something for men's entertainment. It isn't about exposure, it's about suckling.

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Old 04-05-2007, 12:55 AM
 
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I remember my mind going around in circles about this issue when there was a man who got breast implants in the news. He did it on a dare or bet or something. So, they showed his breasts on tv, but blurred out the nipple. I was like, WTF? That's the part that was there before he got the implants, now it's dirty because it has an buldge behind it? My mind can not find any logic in that.

I don't know why nipples are 'obscene'. Maybe it has to do with the fact that they get erect with sexual stimulation. Do men's nipples get erect? I've never noticed.
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Old 04-05-2007, 01:15 AM
 
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Then I got them pierced and one of the female teachers said that I need to either wear a bra or wear my sweat shirt the second I stepped out of my car. I was really self conscious from them on, I didn't realize it was SO obvious that I was pierced. I got a strapless bra and sore it every day.
Can they do that? I am actually worried about that.
Well considering that the dress code stated no tank tops, yeah. I was violating the dress code, so I should have been wearing the sweat shirt or other top regardless of my nipple ring status. I just think my nipple rings put this woman over the edge and she felt she had to say something. She did state, in the same conversation that tank tops were not allowed and that you could REALLY see my nipple rings under my shirt. Thankfully they kept the building at like 50 degrees, so I brought a sweat shirt anyways or I would freeze. But it was 100+ degrees out side and very humid so I would leave it in the class room. After she talked to me I just started smoking on the other side of the building, where I actually made a ton of friends. Turns out I was smoking on the teacher side where hardly anyone goes. LOL
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Old 04-05-2007, 01:37 AM
 
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Do men's nipples get erect?
Yes, male nipples do get erect just like female nipples do.

Kristina mom to A 1/12 J 11/05 D 4/08 and tiny dude in late April 2010
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Old 04-05-2007, 01:59 AM
 
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I think that people have a big problem with seeing a baby suckling on something that an ill-informed public sees as a purely sexual appendage. Something for men's entertainment. It isn't about exposure, it's about suckling.
Some people go beyond that, and have a problem with just knowing there is mouth-to-breast contact happening, whether they can see it or not.

Even understanding that, I fail to understand how we as nursing moms are expected to be responsible for soothing their discomfort, by covering or disappearing, when they've caused their discomfort themselves by thinking perverted thoughts about breastfeeding babies!!
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Old 04-05-2007, 08:41 PM
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Some people go beyond that, and have a problem with just knowing there is mouth-to-breast contact happening, whether they can see it or not.

Even understanding that, I fail to understand how we as nursing moms are expected to be responsible for soothing their discomfort, by covering or disappearing, when they've caused their discomfort themselves by thinking perverted thoughts about breastfeeding babies!!
To be sure! I certainly don't take any responsibility for anyone else's discomfort about feeding my baby! I'm not overly concerned about covering up, either. Not that the toddler would let me be discrete, even if I wanted to! I do find it interesting to try to get to the bottom of where these taboos come from, though. It helps me to combat the inconsistencies where I find them. Forewarned is forearmed and all that jazz.

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Old 04-05-2007, 08:45 PM
 
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My DH said he thinks the part of the breast that sexually arouses men is the nipple, and thats why he thinks people view it as obscene
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Old 04-06-2007, 01:26 PM
 
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i was just pondering this question this morning because DS has been going through a nipple fascination phase. he's noticed he has nipples - at first he asked me if they were moles, because they look more like some of my moles than my nipples. now he knows they are nipples, and i was telling him this morning that everyone has nipples... and then i had that moment... wondering why female breasts can be shown in all their glory except nipples, and men can show their nipples with no comment. :

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Old 04-06-2007, 01:39 PM
 
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My DW cannot go bare-nippled in our house or she will have two babies yelling for Milk... I wonder if all the unreasonable nipple fear evolved from the fact that she has to hide her nipples if she wants to get anything done besides nurse the babies After a while it becomes habit, then after a while it becomes normal, etc etc. I imagine cave women couldn't gather/wander very easily unless they could distract the kids from the milk long enough to pick up a berry.
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Old 04-06-2007, 02:04 PM
 
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Why do all the bras these days completely obliterate the nipple. (they all have a slight layer of foam that completely erases all traces of the nipple). I realize that this is just the current "style" - ie in the seventies, women did show their nipples in those thin bras or went braless.
This is something I'd like to learn to be more comfortable with as well. I have always been self-conscious about my nipples, but I never bought a bra that would obscure them until I started working at a mostly-male engineering firm. My office was right near the surveying department as well. Don't get me wrong - all those rough-and-tough surveyors were the most respectful and kind men I have ever met. But just being in that setting, I felt more comfortable with the molded bra.
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Old 04-06-2007, 02:11 PM
 
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My DW cannot go bare-nippled in our house or she will have two babies yelling for Milk... I wonder if all the unreasonable nipple fear evolved from the fact that she has to hide her nipples if she wants to get anything done besides nurse the babies After a while it becomes habit, then after a while it becomes normal, etc etc. I imagine cave women couldn't gather/wander very easily unless they could distract the kids from the milk long enough to pick up a berry.
I deal with the everyday, although my daughter is weaned for the past 3 months. If I do not have a shirt/bra on, she will have to grab them.
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Old 04-10-2007, 12:18 AM
 
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i am braless. even when sore and sensitive and pregnant. i am braless.
around any/everyone. i dont cross my arms, or put on a thicker lays of clothing as not to offend.
this is a good thread, questioning WHY.

i came to the realization when i was pregnant with DD that if someone looks at my nipples/areolas through my shirt, SO WHAT?! to me is just like them looking at my navel or my elbows or my knees through my clothing, just another body part. they happen to be a very wonderfully useful body part, buts till just a body part none the less. if they are offended then THEY can look away!

treehugger.gif )O( unschooling, witchy mum to Addy(7) and Niamh(4)
Living with an invisible chronic illness.
Fat and hairy. And happy with both *( o Y o )*
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Old 04-10-2007, 12:43 AM
 
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My DW cannot go bare-nippled in our house or she will have two babies yelling for Milk... I wonder if all the unreasonable nipple fear evolved from the fact that she has to hide her nipples if she wants to get anything done besides nurse the babies After a while it becomes habit, then after a while it becomes normal, etc etc. I imagine cave women couldn't gather/wander very easily unless they could distract the kids from the milk long enough to pick up a berry.
hehe
except in some parts of the world women always go topless and there children don't scream for milk, or if they do the women seem capaable of getting stuff done somehow since they still go topless

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