A few weeks ago, I wrote a post applauding Rihanna for being fearless enough to pose topless on a magazine cover. For me, it was a lesson in being open about one’s sexuality and appreciation of their body. Unfortunately, I downplayed an important aspect of that magazine cover: it was a European publication. America, despite its progressive image, is still afraid of the female nipple and the controversy surrounding Rihanna’s CFDA Fashion Awards gown is a glaring example. To us, mammaries serve one purpose: sexual pleasure. Consequently, women have to keep them covered unless it is time to knock boots. Men are able to walk around shirtless, even if their boobs are larger than mine, because the patriarchy says the cis male’s anatomy isn’t an offensive one. Meanwhile, if women get hot we have to suck it up because even though the boob sweat struggle is real, we could get arrested for attempting to enjoy the same freedom as men. We’re not even safe on the internet because Instagram and Facebook are quick to snatch down a picture of a nude breast but misogynist imagery typically goes unchecked. Even when our breasts are covered, societal norms dictate women have to wear a bra because our already covered nipples are still unacceptable. Not to mention, I gotta protect my cha chas from gravity because a boob is only a good boob if it is perpetually perky but that’s a whole ‘nother blog post.
Breasts can’t even serve their intended purpose without causing a ruckus. My random obsession with mommy blogs has hipped me to how much shit women get for breast-feeding in public without a covering. I’ve heard people make wild suggestions like women need to feed their babies in restrooms and there have been instances of women being kicked out of a space for uncovered feeding. This is a mere side-effect of the sexualization of the breast.
Some people are also claiming that Rihanna’s exposed breasts are a sign of the times. Most of the people making that argument have a revisionist view of history or just don’t know what they’re talking about. Long before Rihanna’s mama was even born, Josephine Baker was rocking bare boobies and sparkles across the world. La Baker was also a war hero and anti-racism activist as well as being a performer because, contrary to popular belief, showing off your assets doesn’t make you a bad person or role model. Rih Rih is no Josephine Baker but she shouldn’t judged because she let her girls come out to play on occasion. Judge her for the content of her character or discography, not her choice of wardrobe.
Oh and by the way, a breast will not scar a child for life. I saw one before I was in middle school e and I survived. Everyone will be exposed to breasts at some point whether they’re being fed by one, growing their own or playing with them. Seeing Rihanna’s or anyone else’s breasts shouldn’t be a big deal. After all, it’s just a titty.