It’s 2022 — Florence Pugh’s Nipples Should Not Need An Explanation
This article is NSFW.
We’ll explain. This past weekend, she wore a floor-length, hot pink, sheer tulle Valentino gown to the designer’s fashion show in Rome, and looked quite honestly the definition of modern Hollywood glam with a side of female empowerment. The gown beautifully showed off her silhouette, a visible outline under the many layers of fluffed tulle, as well as, well, her nipples.
It is maybe one of the most divine gowns I’ve ever seen, a gown made for goddesses. But all that anyone seemed to care about were her “tiny t*ts”.
Though Pugh admitted she knew “that there was no way there wouldn’t be a commentary on it”, said what she wasn’t expecting to “witness is just how easy it is for men to totally destroy a woman’s body, publicly, proudly, for everyone to see” and honestly, neither were we.
In moments like these, we feel reluctantly dragged back into reality, forced to see that despite the incredible strides we’ve taken towards body positivity in mainstream media, there is still an imbalance between what is expected of women vs. men.
Pugh uploaded several pictures of herself in the dress, writing that she felt “magical”. After her comments section erupted with negativity, the Little Women star said she was “totally destroyed” by men talking about the size and shape of her body.
“It isn’t the first time and certainly won’t be the last time a woman will hear what’s wrong with her body by a crowd of strangers,” she wrote in a lengthy Instagram caption. “What’s worrying is just how vulgar some of you men can be.”
“Thankfully, I’ve come to terms with the intricacies of my body that make me, me. I’m happy with all of the ‘flaws’ that I couldn’t bear to look at when I was 14.
“So many of you wanted to aggressively let me know how disappointed you were by my ‘tiny tits’, or how I should be embarrassed by being so ‘flat chested’.”
“I’ve lived in my body for a long time. I’m fully aware of my breast size and am not scared of it.”
To me, as someone who now works as a curve model and is in the process of working through body shame, the issue is that just because a woman proudly flaunts her body, people feel as though they have a right to comment on it. That’s not to say you aren’t allowed to talk about something you see; talking about people’s fashion choices and how that makes you feel is all part of it. But why, when men see a woman being free with her body, do they have to take ownership of that and make it their own?
In my opinion, it comes down to power, control and insecurity. Men saw Pugh’s bare nipples and felt intimidated by their power, so their instinct was to be defensive.
I’ve also had personal experience with people like that; who feel the need to criticise my body due to their own experience with insecurity, whether that be within a gendered power dynamic or body shame of their own. To say something hurtful or negative “proves” they aren’t impacted by what they see; therefore showing that they are still in control.
Because let’s be honest: boobs are powerful. A women’s body is powerful. Every body is powerful, and those that can own theirs bare and with confidence have the most power of all.
“What’s more concerning is…. Why are you so scared of breasts? Small? Large? Left? Right? Only one? Maybe none? What. Is. So. Terrifying.” Pugh continues in her post.
“It makes me wonder what happened to you to be so content on being so loudly upset by the size of my boobs and body..? I’m very grateful that I grew up in a household with very strong, powerful, curvy women. We were raised to find power in the creases of our body.
“To be loud about being comfortable. It has always been my mission in this industry to say ‘f*ck it and f*ck that’ whenever anyone expects my body to morph into an opinion of what’s hot or sexually attractive. I wore that dress because I know.”
We need more voices like Pugh’s speaking their unfiltered thoughts on how harmful discourse like this is. There would be women reading those body-shaming comments, thinking to themselves “I could never wear a dress like that”, because they wouldn’t be able to stand up to the criticism levelled at Pugh. This is proof that it still happens; that the natural response to a confident woman’s body is still to criticise it, not celebrate it.
We have a long way to go, but the fact that this conversation is happening at all is the reason we keep fighting.