September 25, 2019
Despite all the rhetoric about encouraging and defending women’s equality, having a nipple showing through a blouse is apparently still considered a cardinal sin.
The most recent apparent offender is Ivanka Trump, one of America’s leading women. Despite her expensive outfit, which was admired by critics, there were two points that raised attention while she was at the UN to hear her father’s speech. Outraged nipple-phobes quipped and sniggered that either she was in an extremely cold room, or she had a major “wardrobe malfunction” by forgetting her bra.
It seems that, despite the feminist revival in this post-#MeToo culture, women are still being judged for their appearance. It doesn’t matter what is in their heads. All that matters are their headlights.
Ironically, a few days earlier, prosecutors in Fort Collins, Colorado, decided to give up on trying to force women to cover their nipples. According to the news website, The Hill, “A Colorado city this week formally removed a public ordinance from its code that banned women from going topless in public, months after an appeals court ruled such a law constituted discrimination against women. Fort Collins, Colo., decided it wouldn’t appeal a February ruling from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld a previous federal judge’s ruling that the ban was derived from ‘negative stereotypes depicting women’s breasts, but not men’s breasts, as sex objects,’ the court wrote in its decision.”
In another story in the Coloradoan, it explains that, “The City Council on Tuesday agreed to remove references to the 2015 policy from Fort Collins’ public nudity code. Language barring women and girls over age 10 from exposing their breasts in public will officially disappear from city code Sept. 17. But the ban has been unenforceable since February 2017, when a district court judge ruled it violated the 14th Amendment because it applied only to women.”
We have seen lately how divided the US has become. Here is another divide: those who want to free the nipple and breast from sexuality, and thereby free women from the oppression of breast obsession; and those who want the breasts safely caged in a bra, making the breasts nippleless, motionless, and, apparently, harmless.
Of course, one of the sources of the anti-Ivanka nipple story is a Russian news service, Sputniknews.com. The Russians are clearly not happy merely interfering with US elections. They now want to create an uproar over Ivanka’s nipples. If the Democrats can now tie President Trump to Ivanka’s nipples, we could have another White House scandal, which will probably be called, “Nipple-Gate”.
There are actually two main points to this story.
The first point is that we as a culture have not evolved past sexist attitudes towards women. So long as we regard women’s breasts as objects for the viewing pleasure of others, we will be objectifying women, which alienates women from their own bodies.
The second point is that women of the caliber and public presence of Ivanka Trump are willing to show the world that they have nipples.
We are led to believe that Ivanka suffered a “wardrobe malfunction”, implying that she would never want her nipples showing. Personally, I find it difficult to believe that a woman who dresses as well as Ivanka and who is clearly aware of her appearance would accidentally forget her bra, or inadvertently allow her nipples to show. My guess is that Ivanka knew her nipples would show, and was proud of her decision to be bra-free.
Many celebrities are now bra-free, and it’s not for feminist reasons. They have heard about the link between breast cancer and bras. While nipple-phobic women cannot imagine freeing themselves from the constriction and discomfort of bras for cultural reasons, millions of women are now bra-free, and loving the experience of health and freedom it provides compared to wearing a bra. Here is an article about the bra-cancer link from the personal physician of many celebrities, including Gwyneth Paltrow.
Indeed, according to many studies from around the world, bras are a leading cause of breast cancer. Bras are designed to change breast shape, and this applies constant pressure to the delicate breast tissue, including the nipples. This interferes with lymphatic circulation in the breasts. Lymph fluid accumulates, resulting in chronic lymphedema of the breasts, and causing pain, cysts, and the progressive toxification of the breast tissue. Over time, this leads to cancer.
We are the first researchers to examine directly the bra-cancer link, which we did with our 1991-93 US Bra and Breast Cancer Study. While doctors had known about the bra-cancer link since the 1930’s, the issue was ignored until our work, which we got published in our book, Dressed to Kill: The Link Between Breast Cancer and Bras, now updated for 2018. Since our research, there have been dozens of studies confirming our results, and new bras designed to be less constrictive and harmful to the breasts.
The fact is that bra-free women have about the same risk of breast cancer as men, while the tighter and longer the bra is worn the higher the risk rises, to over 100 times higher for a 24/7 bra user compared to a bra-free woman.
We have also been conducting an ongoing International Bra-Free Study, which has shown amazing recovery from breast disease and other health problems by eliminating the bra. See my recent article, Bras Cause More Than Breast Cancer: Preliminary Results from the International Bra-Free Study.
Does Ivanka Trump know about the bra-cancer link? She probably does. Did she deliberately decide to be bra-free to attend the UN speech by her father, in order to show her support for the bra-cancer link? Probably not. And given the negative reaction to her clothing choice sans bra, it would be no help to her dad to publicly address this issue.
On the other hand, President Trump probably knows about Ivanka’s bra avoidance choice. And we all can see images of First Lady Melania Trump’s bra-free breasts on the Internet. Donald Trump says he loves and respects women. With the First Lady and his daughter supporting bra-freedom, perhaps Donald Trump will be the first US President to sign an Executive Order putting warning labels on bras. That would certainly help end the breast cancer epidemic.
But don’t expect nipples to get much attention this election cycle, unless the Russians have their way in creating Nipple-Gate. Of course, in Russia it’s so cold that even men’s nipples show it.
Maybe we should make men with big nipples wear bras? This is another form of equality. Instead of elevating women to the political rights status of men by freeing women’s nipples, why not simply make men wear bras, too? Both sexes can be equally oppressed. On the other hand, most men would not put up with the discomfort of bras. Women are trained with training bras to accept the discomfort. Men don’t get this training. So getting men to feel they need to wear bras would take some new cultural tricks to shame them the way we shame women into bras.
In the meantime, kudos to Ivanka, who is clearly pointing the way to a more healthy and equal future.
Bio: Sydney Ross Singer and Soma Grismaijer are medical anthropologists and directors of the Institute for the Study of Culturogenic Disease.