A long time ago, wardrobes did not malfunction very often. They were designed not to. But these days, you rarely get through the week without a salubrious glimpse of the naughty nip. Young Kristen Stewart’s … errr …. stage appearance is but the latest example.
The surprising thing is that this is still news. After all, we have been aware for quite some time now that females actually have this particular body part. Usually, two of them, though I once heard that Ann Boleyn had a third one. We even know what they look like, in general terms. If there was any doubt, one need only explore the internet to sample thousands upon thousands of them!
But despite this, the public still gets agitated about a nip appearance in the real world. It is like seeing a vampire stroll down Park Avenue enjoying the mid-day sun. It is not supposed to happen! It violates the laws of nature! But why? Well … as a young stud muffin, I thought it was because the mere glimpse of a nipple was dangerous to man and beast! A female needed only to reveal this heavy weapon and I would be reduced to a bowl of quivering jello. It was only later that I began to realize that the excitement was in seeing a breach of standards. Seeing what is not supposed to be seen.
So when did toplessness achieve such a powerful taboo status? It turns out that It is by and large a holdover from Queen Victoria. England buttoned up before (for example under Cromwell) but it was Victoria who set the standards that are still only gradually loosening up.
Thank the Lord that some Victorian standards have disappeared – like taboo against women wearing trousers. This quote gives you the idea (from the above link)
It is difficult now to understand (and very easy to laugh at) the horror with which women wearing trousers were once viewed. There is the comical 1920s story of Mrs Aubrey Le Blond, the first president of the Women’s Alpine Club, who, climbing in Switzerland, left her skirt by mistake up the Zinalrothorn. She made the decision to climb the mountain a second time to retrieve it rather than return to Zermatt in trousers.
BTW, Ms Aubrey Le Blond was a remarkable woman! Here you can learn more about her exploits. I would not have believed females wearing trousers was scandalous, but my dear old dad confided once that he found the sight of ladies ankles to be rather stimulating. Ankles? Now I get it. They were not supposed to be exposed!
So in an odd way, we thrive on the standards that we take pleasure in violating. And what will happen if the taboo against toplessness is forgotten? Would we all be reduced then to a less sensual existence? I think not. There is always another standard to be breached … errr … if done in the proper way, of course!