Why are nipples so offensive?

It’s not news that the general public seems to have a problem with women’s nipples. We’ll never be able to forget the raucous that Janet Jackson‘s caused. And we never catch a glimpse on primetime TV, though it’s perfectly fine for men to strut around with no shirts or show off their bare asses.

Plenty of movies are censored to hide or remove nipples entirely. Like Showgirls, which features a lot of not very convincing digitally-added bras and pasties, just to prevent the film from having an NC-17 rating (because no one under 17 ever sees real, naked breasts, nipples and all!)

Last year, Diva magazine was even forced to censor the cover of their sex issue, because it apparently showed too much boob for distributors — and nipple wasn’t even included. It was actually a fairly tame photo for a lesbian magazine’s “super sexy issue.” But still, it was “too much.”

It’s examples like this that led to the newest project from New York-based photography duo Loreffrey. Their “Nipple Non Grata” series features shots of topless women whose nipples have been digitally removed in an effort to find out if censoring them does, in fact, desexualize the women.

On their website, Loreffrey asks:

By digitally removing a woman’s nipples, have we desexualized her? … Does nipple removal let us flirt with feminine sexuality without crossing the boundaries of ‘good taste’? What does this say about American culture? Does it reflect a certain type of hypocrisy? Does this approach further objectify women as plastic objects or playthings?

So, what do you think? A topless woman is still a topless woman, right? It’s not as if people don’t know what’s missing, if they don’t see it. A lot of people like to use children as an excuse for altering the natural, beautiful female body to make it “acceptable,” but it seems as though that would be more confusing to young, impressionable minds. Why not just explain things to kids from the beginning, as opposed to making such a normal body part seem so taboo?