Full disclosure, first off - after Ohio and Egypt today, I'm a bit wound up. So that may explain why a Good/Bad/Ugly crowing about "Visible Nipples!!!!OMG" set me off.
To be honest, all I could hear was Seth McFarlane's voice in my head singing "We saw your boobs!" That set my stomach off to enter a knot-tying competition.
Because, see, as women we deal constantly with the insane value society places on our breasts. They're "what makes us a woman" (no, they're not). Don't have breasts? Back of the line. Flat chested in Hollywood? Photoshop, baby. Just ask Keira Knightley. Oh, Angelina Jolie had a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery? POOR BRAD!
So we are very conscious that if we are in public, our breasts are near the top of the list of things for which we are being evaluated. Our society oversexualizes and objectifies breasts so much that women nursing in public, performing the function for which breasts exist, are chastised for being indecent. Because boobs! Sex! Nipples! THE CHILDREN!
So why is this article, ostensibly about fashion, giggling behind its hand and pointing (in the headline, no less), because NIPPLES. Guys, you can see them! Under her dress! She's not wearing a bra! She's not even trying to hide them. Screw talking about fashion, that's not as notable as nipples! Now THAT'S a headline.
It brings in clicks, to be sure. But it is also part of the problem.
It participates in the equation of a woman's value = hotness = tits. It buys into the gleeful pearl clutching, which inherently sexualizes breasts and giggles and points when they see them clearly defined. It adds to the mentality that sexy boobs are sexy, so if you are exposing them you are being sexual (which is, apparently, ok if you are looking young and hot, but not if you are breast feeding, because what were you thinking being sexual in public? Never mind that breast feeding isn't an inherently sexual act, move along with your woman parts.
It's a little thing, minor, trivial even. It's a headline. But in a space where we regularly examine the impact small actions have on a collective culture, this does not belong. Aren't we trying to be above this?