Let’s Play the Obscene Nipple Game!

By Kendra Holliday | April 7, 2020

Can you guess which nipples are allowed to be seen in public, posted on facebook, and are socially acceptable? Which nipples are to be feared and reviled? Which nipples should be jailed and punished by law? You be the judge! (All photos are from Wikimedia Commons unless otherwise noted).

Tip: Here is the definition of the word “obscene”:

1.offensive to morality or decency; indecent; depraved.
2.causing uncontrolled sexual desire.
3.abominable; disgusting; repulsive.

Here we go! First, let’s warm up with some very SFW (Safe For Work) pics of human mammals:

This is a woman from Afghanistan. Is this obscene?

This is a Victorian woman and man. Is this obscene?

This is a statue. Is this obscene?

Here is a painting of me by Elaine Swanger. Is this obscene? If I want to post it on facebook, do I need to crop the bottom?

This is a baby. Never mind the shoes. Is this obscene?

Here are some indigenous women. Is this obscene?

How about non-human mammals? Here is a female dog. Is this obscene?

Here is a cow. Is this obscene?

Back to people. Here is a man on the beach. Is this obscene?

Here is a woman’s back. Is this obscene? What if she turns around?

Here is a woman who has had one breast surgically removed. Is this partially obscene, or completely obscene?

Here is a breastfeeding baby. Is this obscene?

Here is Buck Angel, a man who was born a woman. (Photo from Buck Angel Entertainment). Is this obscene?

Here is a Burning Man with a hairy chest. Is this obscene?

Here is a Burning woman. Is this obscene?

Here is a male biker. Is this obscene?

Here is a woman doing a backbend. Is this obscene?

Here is a woman wearing pasties. Is this obscene?

Here are Before & After photos of David Wraith (provided by David Wraith). Is this obscene?

Here is a pic of me (photo by David Wraith). Is this obscene? I posted a cropped version on facebook, but David could post the photos above without a problem.

Be sure to check out my feature on Phoenix Feeley, a woman who won a boob-related lawsuit in New York but is currently fighting for Topless Equality in New Jersey. Same woman, different states, different rules. Why are female breasts so feared? I ask her that and more, so stay tuned and stay topless!

(See also: The World is a Better Place Because of My Breasts!)



Rob 2012-01-04 07:52:00

Only the male biker was obscene. Extremely obscene.


    Nebet 2012-01-12 17:21:57

    And why is that?


Algernon 2012-01-04 09:08:42

NONE of them. It is all so asinine. I posted a beautiful photograph of my toddler that showed considerably less than any of this, nothing in fact, and was screamed at by a crowd of thousands to remove it because it **might** be construed as “obscene.” It is one of the weirdest episodes of my life and a year and a half later I’m not over it.


Hardin Reddy 2012-01-04 10:49:22

What an excellent post. I’m especially offended by people who claim breastfeeding is obscene.


    The Nerd 2012-01-04 18:55:25

    Agreed! Everyone else gets to eat in public. Babies shouldn’t be the exception.


lizz luck 2012-01-04 10:49:35

I agree that none of these images are obscene. I also think that someone could say that they are all obscene. It’s a matter of perspective. And it’s an unfortunate fact that the majority of America (I was going to say the Western world, but really it’s just conservative Americans who have this problem), and especially those who say what is and what isn’t obscene are conservative, patriarchal , and intolerant of others’ beliefs and opinions.

I have a liberal arts education and an MA in Art History, so the majority of these images don’t bother me. I also grew up in an extremely conservative Catholic home (my mother listens to Rush Limbaugh religiously, ugh), and it’s really hard to throw off some of those “nurtured” traits that my conservative parents drilled into me. The image that bothers me on a personal level is the one of the woman in the pasties. Not because she’s wearing pasties, but because of her attitude in the picture (to me it oozes insincerity). This is my personal opinion, this bothers me, emphasis on “ME”. I respect her personal right to post something like this, and I also have the sense to not look at things that bother me. Unfortunately, the majority of people don’t have that amount of common sense, or respect for others.

Though this doesn’t mean that things can’t change. A century ago it was deemed obscene to show too much ankle or wrist, so what’s to say that a century from now it might be possible for every woman in the nation to go legally topless.


Isabella 2012-01-04 11:22:24

that beach one looks way too much like tom cruise. that’s obscene.


Serafina 2012-01-04 12:54:47

Obscenity like beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and the religious Reich that is not so right. We blogged about it too at http://www.spiritualbdsm.com/:heart:


David Wraith 2012-01-04 14:15:13

We need to make something happen in this town for National Go Topless Day.


    Kendra 2012-01-04 17:42:50

    I had to hold back last year, but not this year, baby! I am down, tune in tomorrow for more details!


      Justin 2012-01-04 19:08:33

      Oh yes! Let’s force this crazy city to grapple* with this issue once it warms up a little. Lovely photo montage there TBK! 😉

      *and by “grapple” I mean fondle.


    emkatred 2012-01-04 18:33:45

    Yes, please. I’m in.


emkatred 2012-01-04 18:35:52

Also, thanks for posting this. I’ve been wrestling pretty hard with whether to post some of my nude photos on my blog. Because on the one hand, they’re nude, on the other hand, they’re awesome, and in my invisible third hand, I don’t want to lose my job, and in my invisible fourth hand? My desire to buck society and do what I want.

Since, you know, nudity isn’t wrong, unethical, or obscene in any way whatsoever.

Ugh. Struggles.


Donald 2012-01-04 20:25:43

Kendra Holliday, that is sexy pic and no it not obscene at all, but people seems to thinks so…….being nude is normal……


himself 2012-01-05 07:24:58

Kendra, talk to the folks at gotopless.org. Their web site does not mention St. Louis, and it should, I think. The primary purpose of any demonstration is to generate publicity; the demonstration is useless without it.


gil_married4me 2012-01-05 09:58:29

do I need a bra?


ActivateThePlatforms 2012-01-07 21:04:37

Great article. I would love to run this past my friends at work; anything that helps to illustrate the sheer sillyness of the concept of obscenity as applied to nakedness is worthwhile.


swedishskier 2012-01-12 02:13:32

I just like this series of photos. I think breastfeeding pictures are absolutely beautiful. I can’t even think what I find to actually be obscene anymore. I still find some things revolting, but not so much obscene.


Devysciple 2012-01-12 10:18:36

I only found one picture fitting the definition of obscene: The women from Afghanistan in her burqa; I personally find that one offensive to morality or decency, since nowhere in the world should a women feel the need to, or worse, be forced to wear such an abomination. Unfortunately, this is the exact opposite from what the burqa is intended for.


in bed with married 2012-01-18 15:20:44

damn, this is so completely amazing. here via matthew stillman who clearly has excellent taste in blogs.



Blacksilk 2012-05-09 22:15:53

Just came across this post and I love it. I have no problem with any of these photos and I think it’s a great post for demonstrating what obscenity means in society, what it should mean and why. Love it!


Shine 2012-05-17 23:09:00

Dude, David, that pic is so hot.


WD 2012-05-22 19:14:01

Nothing obscene here folks, move along, move along.
WD. Is this obscene, 8===> ?


Scott 2013-05-17 16:24:23

You are The BeautifulKind.


Sarah 2013-05-21 20:26:37

My toddler has a 3rd nipple, should I be preparing her for wearing a pastie over it when she is old enough for a bikini? Or does it not count because it is more like a birth mark and not in the usual place for a human nipple?


wayne 2013-08-22 21:26:39

You are hot….and delicious


Dan 2014-03-16 08:11:24

In my beach town, Santa Cruz, CA, if you are in line for a movie and the guy in front of you is smoking, and the gal behind you is topless, and the cops are coming to arrest somebody–who? The smoker of course. We passed a law in this town to prohibit smoking in line for a movie. But the Naked Man of Berkeley, RIP, came here to get arrested and couldn’t. Biker dudes with helmets (on heads) have ridden through here naked trying to get arrested. No luck. You can’t be lewd in our town but nude is fine. Come on down. You look beautiful.


Ashly 2014-03-17 06:27:59

There is nothing obsene with your photos. The biggest problems are all these “do gooders” with there head stuck up there arses! The thing is these law makers who ban these things what is there adgender in there heads. I live in europa and here is not so up tight about alot of things as in the us. Keep up you great fight to try and get folks to enjoy there and others bodys.


Ashly 2014-03-17 11:00:19

Sorry, the first foto is obsene. To me it shows how male ignarance is apressing the poor women of these lands


Kath 2014-03-22 21:16:48

The only thing I find obscene about this entire post are the people who fat shame the guy on the motorbike.


EricB 2019-06-09 19:37:47

The only reason why female breasts are so feared is because they are more convincing than manipulative male rhethorics. Church leaders must have decided to do something about it maybe even before the middle ages.

So their nerdy successors of today programmed the filter accordingly. Hence, the burning woman, the biker, maybe the pastied lady and your beautifully wide open black dress hit the filter. Two of the pictures might get out upon review but the prettier ones would remain censored. People might even buy more mainstream porn because of the filter.

I’d be more worried that the baby once they are grown might want to have their photo removed because it’s private, but can’t as by then, it has spread out all over the internet. That one is a consent issue for the next generation to figure out.

Also, if women were allowed to show their breasts, people are probably afraid that other more intimate body parts might soon be allowed to be shown publicly. In short: they are afraid of a new wave of uncontrolled nudism. But isn’t a nude potential predator also an exposed one who couldn’t do his criminal business anymore because he is exposed? With this last guess, I might be a little too naive for the latter subject matter, though. What do you think?


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