A No-Boobs Zone

Have you noticed lately that there’s no escape from boobs? Every other fashion editorial sneaks in a model’s boob, if not complete nudity. Is this the Terry Richardsonization of fashion photography, or just the continuing of The End Of Innocence brought about by the internet?

I like to see beautiful nudes, but sometimes I’m just not in the mood. Sometimes, I just want to see the clothes, or the make-up, or the photography in a fashion layout. I want to have a choice about seeing boobs.

I was saddened by a photo at Susie’s blog, showing an older gray-haired model who still had to show her boob. I guess this was a win for feminism or agism. For me, it was a reminder that boobs have become de rigueur in fashion. Everyone must be willing to expose their boobs.

I’ve probably posted photos with boobs in them but from now on, this will be a boob-free zone, unless the subject is specifically boobs.

A beautiful way to not see boobs is the handmade silver pasties above, by Leah Ball, who just got funding for her Pasties Project. Yay for Leah!

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39 Responses to A No-Boobs Zone

  1. tressie says:

    hmmm, yeah. I don’t count it as freedom to be boob-nekkid…because it feels like it is suddenly everywhere, for any woman, any age…to expose the boobs for exhibitionism…..unless you are breast-feeding and then The Real America doesn’t want to see boobs.

  2. dexter vandango says:

    We men live for a regular sighting of a boob, as they are to us a symbol of all that is good, nurturing, generous, comforting. The world would be a cold, arid and unfriendly place without them. The problem, of course, is when the body is offered as a come on for profit. Free boobs and free your boobs. When I see one (two is better) I smile and I sigh. When I see blood red painted fingernails I shudder.

  3. dexter vandango says:

    …and another thing.. we men are often accused by the fairer sex (Fair? The expression confused me as a boy as everything in our house was decided by my mother. My father was allowed diddly input..) we men are often accused by the fairer sex of being self-centered. But when you open a men’s magazine what do you see? Beautiful women. When you open a women’s magazine what do you see? Beautiful women. What’s up with that? If that isn’t self-centered I don’t know what is.. Balance your boobs with some pee pees..

  4. Elaine says:

    I find it unnecessary to have bare breasts in editorials.
    Statues, busts and paintings present the female body as something to be admired
    But when you’re getting a rail-thin model who’s body has barely hit puberty to bare her boobs, it just doesn’t equate respect to me. It doesn’t make me want to buy the clothes either.
    When fashion bloggers start posting photos 20 of themselves in the nude with mouths hanging open and wearing rad slashed tissue thin t-shirts and 10 pounds of chains, I’ll have to find a better time-waster than the internet.
    In the meantime, this amuses me greatly and I hope it will be for you too

  5. Lezzies says:

    Sister, this is a tough topic to take on and I commend you for it. I think the world of fashion is very different from the feminist battles of our personal, private lives and because of that, I lean towards agreeing with you. Breasts are becoming commercialized. However, if a woman chooses in either of those arenas to bear her breasts, then I say all the power to her. And that’s difficult to assess because I know it’s hard to determine what choices we are actually making, especially in the model world.

    I think one has to be careful with the way they word these arguments because you may end up finding strange bed fellows – like the ultra religious and conservative folks.

  6. Dru says:

    It’s not so much the boob-showage that bothers me so much as the fact that all the boobs on show are, well, tiny.
    I feel like the message transmitted by fashion specifically is, “show us your tits, but only tiny ones since anything over an A-cup is vulgar and gross irrespective of whether it grew naturally or not” (averted in the case of Lara Stone, a C-cup exception to this rule).

    It’s like high fashion teds to equate boobs with fat or something, to be avoided at all costs- one more reason why a lot of models who end up growing a bit curvy (and I mean curvy as in Victoria’s Secret models, not a euphemism for large/heavy/fat) end up doing cheesy lingerie (see: VS), swimwear (see: Sports Illustrated) and men’s-mag or ‘commercial’ work, in the 2000s unless they were Gisele they hardly ever got to do ‘fashion’ work in fashion mags aimed at women. I feel a bit like the LV and Prada shows (lots of clothed, somewhat pumped-up cleavage on display) are in many ways just a gimmick, which makes me sad. I mean, boobs are not just an accessory toted around by tacky WAGs- they’re a physical feature that all women have. Why the hate?

  7. Cricket9 says:

    In Europe boobs are everywhere – on the magazines’ covers and on the beaches, and not necessarily only the small ones. I wonder what are the statistics on implants – where are they implanted most? For most of my life I had no boobs and it was never a problem. It seems to be a major tragedy in America.
    I don’t have a issue with the gray-haired model’s boobs – I just wish she wouldn’t look so angry and pissed off. Her pinched mouth reminds me of my math teacher.

  8. Braindance says:

    I’m hearing you Cricket9, that ladies mouth is puckered up like a cats asshole.

  9. Joy D. says:

    I am not a hater of boobs but I think I see super model’s boobs more than my own at this point. haha, I find it funny that editorials love sticking a nip in every once and a while.
    If you asked me 5 years ago do boobs distract from the editorial I would say no but now it is a visual red flag for me.

  10. Ann says:

    Tressie makes a valid point. Bare boobs are no big deal until a lady attempts to breastfeed her baby in public. Then, people spaz out as though they have been assaulted in some way. Makes no sense to me.

  11. I think its often laziness on the stylists part. Its so much easier to create an ‘avant garde’ editorial with an underage and underfed model with her tits out. I occasionally also love nudes – particularly Inez and Vinoodh’s but as usual I massively agree with you Sister Wolf.

    I’m no prude but due to being desensitized to nudity via fashion, I didn’t realize how many people are uncomfortable with it until I was sat on the tube (or subway for American readers!) flicking through Vogue Paris when the woman next to me politely asked me to turn the page!

  12. firefly says:

    What do you mean freedom? I don’t think half of the models get to choose how they are shot. I think this is rather crude, because most of these editorials aren’t just artistic-it’s just sexual and for “shock value”.

    @dexter vandango: Most (I would guess) photographers are male, so I guess that would account for the content in photographs. But most men aren’t interested in fashion, so men’s magazines mostly offer eye candy. Women’s magazines are mostly dedicated to fashion/health, so more pictures of women are added. And please. Objectifying women isn’t helping anyone.

  13. @firefly – Perhaps things have changed, but when I worked in the business a model was always asked before doing a nude shoot, and not many good agents encouraged this as then she’d be known as the girl who does nudes. And there was a difference in rates, as nudes or even swimwear would pay more.

    Personally, I’m not big on lots of nude images in my fashion magazines, simply because I’d rather see the clothes. I even get annoyed when I can’t tell what a dress looks like in a spread.

  14. dexter vandango says:

    Firefly, with all respect. I was sort of asking if women’s magazines objectify women, too? And why blame the male photographers? Don’t the editors choose the photos to give their audience what it demands?

    I just think it’s a bit mystifying and rather sad that women seem to only want to look at other women. We men somehow integrate you better into our ideal world. If you go to an auto show you’ll see girls willingly sprawling on the hoods of sports cars in bikinis. Yes, silly, primitive and a bit sad. But still a sign of our aspirations. You are necessary and exciting to us.

    But is it a bit sadder that the only men welcome. integrated or visible at a women’s fashion show are men whose sexual orientation isn’t actually towards the women there???? Are they a herd of geldings in your great scheme of things..?

  15. dexter vandango says:

    ..er.. apologies for getting windy and off topic too often. This time I don’t think I was off topic as much as I tried to expand it too much. My point, I guess, is that the human body ought to be precious and sacred to us all, but that we exploit it, trivialize it, torture it, botox it, silicone enhance it. We all complain.. but we still do it when it suits our needs.

  16. Elena Abaroa says:

    The problem is not showing boobs, the problems is how they show boobs in the fashion industry, with which look and to whom they show them…Always they use a “men sexuality” perspective to show boobs and Im sick of it. Boobs are not just a sexual, or a provocative thing (for men this is the only meaning of boobs), they are for example, the origin of life; with the boobs women feed the children. They are a very important symbol of feminity, the problem is when the fashion industry converts them in a sexual-man thing.They try to be “modern” showing boobs but we are seeing boobs from the 60´s, all the time, this is not a new provocative thing for us… I like to see boobs but not in that perpective, I prefer the natural way 🙂

  17. theresa says:

    hmmm perhaps when im not broke I have an investment to make.

  18. David Duff says:

    If this becomes a ‘no boob site’ I’m outta here! Sorry, but shoes are just something I need to walk around in, however, I’ll plough through several posts on them just so long as you titilate me with an occasional boob. Look upon it as a social service to an old man!

  19. Alicia says:

    I like dexter vandango.

    I agree that all parts of all bodies should be seen as precious, but we (at least in Amurrica) tend to vilify the naked body which I don’t like. There is nothing wrong with nakedness! However the use of commercialized body parts (boobs especially) is what gets tiresome for me. I don’t need boobs to make me want to buy clothes.

    And YAY for Leah!

  20. dexter vandango says:

    Sir Dave, you prod the furies at your own peril.

    I just wish to note that despite the appearance of being boob fixated, when we men see a woman happily nursing her baby we are capable of getting a non-sexual glow of appreciation for its higher essence.

    But can’t we have multiple enjoyment on different occasions????

  21. I blame Carine Roitfeld and the whole sexy women in Paris Vogue thing although it does make for a good piece of research resulting in the wonderful ‘Fashioning the City’ by Agnes Rocamaro. Tres academic but very good. I would always rather see a garment than boobs purely because I’m not in the habit of shopping or acquiring them.

  22. drollgirl says:

    eeeeeee. the older woman showing boob was kind of weird. humph.

    i guess i have mixed feelings on the boob thing. we all have them. some look better than others. but seeing perfect ones out on display is lovely in theory, but it also gives some a complex. and seeing not-so-perfect ones may reflect reality, but might end up being rather painful for the model exposing herself as others mock her. ugh. not sure what is the right thing to do here, but i am sure as shit glad that i don’t have to expose mine to the world.

  23. Cricket9 says:

    Dexter, I’m willing to look at men- especially at visually pleasing ones; didn’t you see all the ooohing and aaahing over a male model’s picture a few posts ago? I’m just not going to buy “Playgirl” for that purpose, but more good looking men, can be nekkid, sure, why not?
    I also want to point out that pasties will not help with “not seeing the boobs” – just nipples. It’s bizarre why a boob sans nipple is OK. Nipples are evil, or something?
    Anyway, America has a very ambivalent relation with female body and boobs in particular; I was at an information session about breast cancer detection, it was surprising how many young women said that they never look at, or touch their breasts. Puritan heritage???

  24. Sister Wolf says:

    Cricket9 – Hahahaha! re your math teacher. About nipples: Yes, breasts without showing nipples are less blatantly sexual, that’s why you can wear a lowcut dress or a bikini top but you can’t go topless in public. In the US, anyway.

    I’m not against boobs! And I did breastfeed wherever I happened to be. But I want to see bare boobs or bare butts for that matter, in a context that I feel is appropriate. Just not a fashion layout.

  25. dexter vandango says:

    Does the following link solve the problem of integrating breasts with fashion?

  26. Sister Wolf says:

    dexter- Jesus, HAHAHAHA! No, it creates a whole new problem!

  27. K-Line says:

    I didn’t really focus on the breasts (maybe that’s shocking) with the woman in Susie’s post. I actually loved the way she posed – her general form. Maybe I am totally immune to the boobs. I just don’t notice them unless they’re obvs fake and 34G.

  28. TheShoeGirl says:

    Well, I just don’t see the big deal in showing a titty. As it’s already been stated, there are boobs all over mags in Europe and when I lived in Italy I actually went topless at a beach (after almost an hour of convincing myself and going from wearing a top to taking it off but covering my boobs with my hands, then slowly giving in millimeter by millimeter) only to realize that it was no big deal to any of the surrounding men.
    It was kind of liberating actually. How cliche, I know.
    Maybe if there was more titty in ads, etc there would be less sex crazed titty deprived men out there?? I dunno.


  29. Felicia says:

    i think shoegirl’s got it. I don’t get the big deal. everyone has boobs and i don’t think they’re particularly special or scandalous. i get tired of people acting like going topless is shameful or degrading. baring your breasts is not akin to baring your soul.

  30. Cricket9 says:

    Here is a link to an old article about boobs situation in Ontario:
    Dexter, I like the Solstice pictures – very creative use of body paint!

  31. erika says:

    I wonder too, are they selling boobs or clothes ?? Maybe it’s not a big deal in an art mag, but how does this help me dress. I can’t go to work topless or even braless. I consider myself liberated but also modest.

    I agree with Dexter, more pee pee…haha . and those pictures of naked biking, that looks painful. I ride a bike and I can’t even wrap my mind around these girls that apparently do it in heels but naked, no way, The bike seat, road bumps, the whole things seems like trouble.

  32. Eliza says:

    Something seems disingenuous about objectifying the male form to balance the objectification of women in men’s magazines. The message to women is “buy this garment or product to look like this” to make yourself more attractive to men, whereas the men see ad women to be obtained like any other purchase. (What a capitalist solution, she snarks.) The problem is not the image but the intent.

  33. dust says:

    I don’t who is the costumer for those boobs?

  34. dust says:

    Two days later, I need to correct myself, I meant to say:

    I don’t know who is the costumer…..

    Sorry, tired AND stupid…

  35. Elaine says:

    Days later, I stumbled upon this photo that ties in with the topic

  36. Aja says:

    Boobs don’t bother me. Guns bother me. Violence bothers me. Boobs, not so much . . .

  37. firefly says:

    @fashion herald: I don’t doubt your words, but is it just me or do more magazines have nude spreads now?

    @dexter vandango: Sorry for misinterpreting your post. I understand your point now. I think it is more of a difference of interests. Like you said, men incorporate women into things like car commercials. Women won’t be often found in the audience though. (Or not as many as men) The women will willingly look sexy on top of a car if they get paid for it. But for things like fashion shows, women don’t use men as sex objects as much. Also, it’s more female-dominated in a sense because not as much men are as interested in fashion. There are many great male designers, though, as well as photographers, stylists, etc. In either field, they cater to one sex or the other.
    I agree that the human body is important, but there will always be people who will be that it is not “good enough”.

  38. susie_bubble says:

    I’d like to add though that the woman in the lookbook image you linked to very willingly showed her boob and I think suggested it as well herself as the shoot was streetcasted and more like a artistic project rather than a client (brand/designer) demanding a model show her boobs…

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