It is the probably the most popular topic of conversation post-Super Bowl. Not the game, not even the ads, but rather; the nipple. And, since that nipple was not only pierced but even further adorned with a stylized nipple shield, then what better place to discuss it than here on BME?
For those of you who, like me, have little to no interest in football (I watch the halftime shows and channel flip to see the ads) or are smart enough to simply leave your TVs turned off; here’s what happened. At the finale of the halftime show performance by Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake, Justin tore off part of Janet’s costume, completely exposing her right breast and pierced nipple with a starburst shield.
Did she plan it? Did they plan it? Did anyone else know it was going to happen? Do exposed nipples, or more so pierced ones, represent a danger? Does it even matter?
Whether it was planned or not, who knew beforehand, and if breasts are more or less offensive than the ongoing war coverage is completely irrelevant to my thoughts on the matter. I simply want to thank Janet and Justin for what may have been an unwitting boon to piercing and many people in general. That brief live flash of a pierced nipple, which is now forever recorded, enlarged, and enhanced all over the web and on TiVo units across the world was very likely the first or at least a significant episode for many of the younger viewers in the audience. It also occurred in an obviously sexual context via the choreography and song lyrics. Given all this, it is not unlikely that a great many people have been given a positive erotic association with pierced nipples and nipple shields. If there is one thing we have found from studies of our collective psyches over the years it is that it takes very little prodding at the right moments of development to create deep fetishes and influence personal preferences. Something that is conspicuously absent in most discussions of the “incident” is how the breast and nipple have become eroticized in our culture by being restricted from view, whereas in other parts of the world a topless woman is not noteworthy in the least for the sheer fact that her nipples are visible.
I’d even like to think that Janet and Justin realized the potential implications of showing her pierced nipple. The action of reaching over and grabbing the costume almost had to be entirely planned and intentional. Janet knew when she went out to perform that there was nothing under that piece of the costume that would tear away. Most people, in my experience of pierced nipples, do not wear shields all the time or even casually but rather only with some intent. But then again, who is to say she didn’t have something intimate planned for after the show? I would like to think that Janet, with Justin as a willing participant, decided the time was right for the American viewing public to see what their counterparts around the world had been enjoying for years now on TV — nipples. I’d even like to think that she thought of the younger developing viewers and that they should learn to celebrate the nipple rather than shun it. That she could show them how she had celebrated her own nipples with piercing and jewelry and convey to them some of the joy of that intimacy by proudly displaying it. But that’s all just needless pontificating on my part. What matters is that the nipple came out in all its pierced glory and millions beheld it.
Even if it doesn’t create legions of people who salivate, or otherwise produce moisture at the thought of nipple shields, it certainly has brought piercing into the spotlight once again. Janet, despite her family’s problems and predilections, is a beautiful, intelligent, and talented woman — you could do a lot worse for an example of who gets their nipples pierced.
It remains to be seen if people start rushing in to get their nipples pierced as a result of Janet’s exposure, but I am very pleased that one of the first live US prime time nipples to be aired on network TV was pierced. And so, I proudly say: