Nipple for numbers

Nipples (there will be some below, so NSFW and such)

In June of 2014 Facebook censored them, much to huge international press coverage, the obvious sexist and feminist rants did their course. Instagram isn’t too fond of them (female) parading around the joint, but the humble Tumblr (thanks Marissa Meyer) is still pretty ‘loose’ on the nipple (and every other appendage) appearing, bar the NSFW quote to warn before letting loose.

The internet set the nipple free, for much of the 2000’s, until of course social media reigned that in, and it lived behind pornography over 18 sign ins, and the dark web, but let’s not forget where it all started.

The humble magazine, Hustler, PlayBoy and more locally relevant Scope, that launched in the late 1960’s, running up until 1996, with a grand circulation (measured number of copies sold) of around 250 000! That’s close to Cosmo magazine at the height of its glory here in SA. Not bad at all. This is how it’s always been, if you want to see nipple, you have to purchase one of these Men’s entertainment magazines from the CNA (top shelf, wrapped in plastic), roll it up and head on home … enjoy!

Slowly this was adopted in the lifestyle magazine arena, as the old adage goes, ‘Sex sells’. Take a look at the cover of any international magazine title, and “The best sex you’ll ever have, or Ten ways to give the best Blowjob” makes sure to attract the eye when sauntering down the queue at Woolies. So the lines have gotten blurred, and of course, we’re all getting a little more comfortable with less and less clothing, to the point of the ladies (and gents) having to bear all but the bottom bits. This all for under R40, and without having to hide the magazine when you enter the parents home. My goodness you can leave the Cosmo, or MarieClaire naked issue on the coffee table at the doctor’s office without anyone batting a pink-eye-infested eyelid.

Now I’m no prude, I’m definitely of the more liberal, and really couldn’t give two hoots about where you get your fill of nipple, but I recently got a little surprise when paging through my complimentary (I work in media so get free magazines monthly) copy of Men’s Health.

MH - Nov 2015

I was thumbing through the latest issue, and BAM, there centerspread (waves to the scope) is a beautiful model, with her breasts all out, and might I add it seemed a rather cold shoot day, so nipple was rife. (See image below).

Before we carry on here, I want to state, I have NO issue with the naked female form, in magazine or otherwise, and this is no way a burning pitchfork issue about gender, or about seeing women naked. I would feel the same about a man sporting his wedding tackle in the MH as the nipple of 2015.

What irks me here is how the line has slowly crept past scantily clad, to “can you actually see her nipple under that bra” to “my God is that her vulva through that thong?”.

Now, we’ve just lost all the coverage and gone full nipple. Facebook and Instagram would have your ass banned Men’s Health … like Rihanna has many times over exposing her breasts on her own Instagram profile. HER OWN BREASTS.

I’m not quite sure what the point of full blown nudity in my Men’s Health is, I have one guess, and that’s ‘nipples for numbers’. I’m talking about sales, the fundamental of the print industry. It sure as hell isn’t 2012, because ya know, the internet, social media and smartphones. It’s a tough time for them right now, the figures have shown the Men’s Health circulation stabilize slightly in the last 2 quarters, but everyone and their cousin knows that content now lives on the web, and if I see another “6 ways to great abs” article

5 ways to keep your Circ up?
5 ways to keep your Circ up?

I’m going to show my own nipple to the nearest street vendor. There are very few (read nearly no) magazines racking up an increase in circulation of their printed content. Web, absolutely, printed … no.

So I ask the question to MH… do you guys really need to go down to that “low”? I mean that with utmost respect to the female form, but where do you draw the line? I went back a year in issues to check if I maybe missed some previous nipple (not something I can say I do every night), and even in the SEX issue, and another Kink feature, there was no nipple to speak of. It was borderline. Hell, in some issues the see-through lace bra showed no nipple under it, and it actually looked weird…has this woman had a horrible nipple removing accident in her kitchen?

Here’s my issue … where does it end, and who draws the line? The editor clearly isn’t too phased at some nipple showing now, hell maybe it’ll intrigue someone actually buying another copy next month for some more, and maybe we’ll show more? Do we do full frontal? Do we airbrush her Brazilian or make her cross her legs? I can’t see this ending well for the lovely model ladies who think they’re going in for a simple bikini shoot and before they know it have a fireman at the door and a bottle of lube in each hand. (excuse my hyperbole)

Sure it’ll continue, and my little rant won’t change anything. I’m blatantly aware I can open my internet browser and find millions of naked men and women at the click of a button, but I don’t expect (should I?) them in my Men’s Health. Bikini – it’s not 1920 people, lingerie – of course, an arm over both breasts in a sensual black and white shoot – sure that’s classy … but then the line shifts.

I’d love to hear your views, I’m sure most folks are super excited that their MH didn’t only feature the 6 ways to drop that stubborn belly fat, but also got some unexpected nipple in the process, but maybe others see my point.

Here’s to #MHNipple

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