Friday FREAK OUT! Nipplegate

Tsk Tsk! The New Yorker recently got in trouble with Facebook because one of their cartoons supposedly did not fit the Sex and Nudity guidelines, resulting in the temporary ban of the New Yorker’s entire Facebook page.

What was so offensive? Two dots, representing female nipple bulges.

I understand the need to have guidelines (enter teachable moment about boundaries!), especially for a social media platform where users can certainly misuse the site; however, this “infraction” should hardly warrant banning the entire page. It’s a good thing that Facebook reversed its decision and reinstated the page, but what does this ‘freak out’ say about our culture?
• Dots are nipples, and you can tell the difference between a male dot (OK) and a female dot (NOT OK)
• Cartoons are the same as real-life depictions
• There’s something about female nipple bulges that makes them in appropriate

I can’t help but draw the parrallel to my recent blog post about Olympic Boobs & Boners, where I highlighted that body-part freak outs could be contributing to problems with self-image and acceptance of our bodies. I mean, what do women do to conceal the presence of their nipples? Strategies range from band-aids to $34 silicone nipsticks (They hide nipples completely, yet feel natural). Are nipples so offensive that we need to go to such lengths to hide/deny their existence?

This recurring issue of body-part-media-freak-outs is also very relevant to US culture, and yet Europeans would not have bat their eyes at some cartoon dots representing female nipple bulges. Or many other regions, for that matter!

In the end, these issues present outstanding platforms for discussion in an educational setting, and I believe it is essential for those discussions to happen in order for us to process the freak-outs that might have us all in a huff about our own nipples.

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