26 posts tagged "Miley Cyrus"
Instagram Fears the Nipple: An Exclusive Interview with Anja Rubik About Getting Kicked Off the Social Platform, and Celebrating the Naked Body
Instagram doesn’t just fear the nipple—it’s terrified of it. This morning, Anja Rubik’s erotic magazine, 25, was kicked off the social media platform without warning. Why, you ask? 25 had posted an image or two that included partial female nudity. (One of said images may or may not have been a screen shot of yesterday’s Style.com homepage, which featured Rubik in Anthony Vaccarello’s transparent Fall ’14 finale look.) And that, apparently, was just not acceptable. “I think this whole thing is ridiculous,” Rubik told us by phone from Paris fashion week. “It’s like saying to the world that a woman’s body is offensive. You can’t show a nipple behind a sheer shirt?”
Yesterday, Style.com reported on Fall ’14′s nipple trend (which continued at Gareth Pugh). And while the judges are still out on whether this catwalk craze is a vehicle for female empowerment or objectification, we agree with Rubik that social media shouldn’t censor pictures that celebrate the body. “Like all forms of social media, Instagram is a form of a self-expression,” said Style.com social media editor Rachel Walgrove. “The digitally-driven have grown to accept it as an art form and prefer that companies not stifle their messages with their terms or censorship.”
What’s more is that there’s so much clothed vulgarity allowed on Instagram. Miley Cyrus can post a close-up of her derriere in a pair of white panties printed with a wagging tongue that reads “Bangers,” but Rubik can’t share a runway snap of her barely visible breasts? Pish posh. Here, in an exclusive interview, Rubik talks to Style.com about getting kicked off (and immediately relaunching on) Instagram, the dangers of censorship, and why there is no need to fear the nipple.
Instagram is obviously fearing the nipple, and they canceled your magazine’s account today because of it. How did you find out?
Well, [my colleague] who runs 25 magazine’s account called me and told me that it was down. We didn’t even get a warning. We know Instagram’s restrictions, and we’ve been very careful. So we started to think, What image could have triggered this? And actually, we think it was a screen shot of the Style.com homepage, where I’m wearing Anthony Vaccarello.
Stop. Are you serious?
Yes! And we loved [the image] because underneath, you guys wrote, “Don’t Fear the Nipple,” which is our slogan that originally came from an interview I did with Style.com, and it became our thing, and we did T-shirts around it. It’s all about empowering women and being comfortable with your body and your sexuality. Anyway, I guess that image triggered a lot of reports, which is why the account was closed.
Have you posted any other images that people might report?
Well, there was also an image I posted from French Vogue of a naked girl standing backward. You couldn’t see anything, but they took that down. And actually, this is the second time I’ve been thrown off Instagram. The first time was because a photographer friend of mine sent me a print with a beautiful note on it, and I posted a picture of it to say thank you, and they kicked me off for that without warning. It’s quite frustrating, especially because, when you look through Instagram, there are so many crude, vulgar images, which are apparently fine. But when you post a beautiful body of a naked woman, which is the most natural thing that can exist, then we have a problem. What’s the worst thing that will happen? Even if it’s children flipping through, why should they be offended by a breast? Especially if it’s photographed or shown in a very natural way that’s not vulgar.
It’s not like you’re posting porn.
No! Not at all!
So Instagram allows crass, clothed images but censors photographs that celebrate a woman’s nude body. What kind of message do you think that’s sending to the public?
I think it’s very strange. It makes us think that we should have some kind of complex about our bodies. It sends the message that our bodies are unnatural and not beautiful, and I think women need to fight this. Talking about sex and the naked body has become such a taboo, and that’s when people start having problems—when they can’t be open about it. We need to be proud of our bodies. We create all these really fake ideals of beauty nowadays with images of women that are physically altered, and women are trying to attain these insane, unrealistic ideals. But we show a natural woman naked and that’s an issue? I don’t understand it.
Do you hope that 25 can help make issues and discussions surrounding sex and the naked body less of a taboo?
Yes. I hope that is something that we’re doing through the magazine. We shoot all different women for 25—models and real women. Women shouldn’t feel like they need to hide their bodies. If you look at the sixties or the seventies, women were free and comfortable in their bodies. All this censorship can start to make women feel uncomfortable, and that’s a very big problem
Do you think that this fear of the female body is inherently American, or is it an international sentiment?
I feel that we see it much more in the States. In general, people in America tend to be a little bit more prude than in Europe. But I think it’s spreading, unfortunately. Europe is becoming more and more prude. And it’s ridiculous because when you turn on the TV—a reality show—you’re faced with so many vulgar images. That’s what should be censored and not allowed, in my opinion.
I see that 25 has relaunched with another Instagram account. Will you continue to try and push the envelope with the images you post?
We will. And if they kick us off, we’ll open another account. We’re here at fashion week [in Paris] and it’s an important event for fashion and women. So we thought we should open a new account to keep our readers updated going forward. But after fashion week, we’re going to have to decide how we approach this issue. I’m considering opening a private account so only our users can see the photos. Maybe that will solve the problem. I don’t know.
More generally, we have seen a lot of bare breasts on the runway for Fall ’14. Do you think this is a positive thing? And would you walk around in the Anthony Vaccarello finale look that you wore down the runway?
Yes! Of course. In the right place, why not? I would feel comfortable. I mean, I wouldn’t wear it on the street, but this whole nipple thing is insane. Didn’t people want Anne Hathaway to apologize because you could see the outline of her nipples in her Oscars dress? That’s crazy. That’s like apologizing for having a leg. Honestly. She wasn’t even showing the nipple! It was just peeking through the dress. Obviously there’s a nipple in there! Why do we care? That’s really awkward! We should be apologizing to her. There was nothing vulgar about that dress.
You said that you wouldn’t go braless in a completely sheer top when just walking down the street. Why not?
I think because the world, unfortunately, is not quite prepared for that. In Europe, I’d probably do it—in Italy or the south of France. But in other places, I think it would cause too much trouble.
Is there anything you’d like to say to Instagram or to members of the general public who fear the nipple?
They should wake up. We’re going backward—way backward. Instead of celebrating our bodies and moving forward and exploring our sensuality, we’re blocking all these things and making them shameful. And to the people who don’t like these images and report them on Instagram, just don’t follow us. It’s very simple. I don’t understand why they’re following us in the first place if they find our images so offensive. I’m not putting a gun to their heads.
Well, well, well. It looks like we have some exhibitionists turning out for Fall ’14. There’s always a nipple here or there come show season, but in the past month, we’ve seen a bevy of naked bosoms proudly on display. While Jeremy Scott and Libertine‘s Johnson Hartig both put bare-chested models in sheer shirts at their Fall shows, the fuss really began (as it so often does) at Marc Jacobs. In her runway debut, Kendall Jenner floated down the catwalk in a transparent, nipple-flaunting sweater and the Internet went wild. Next came Malaika Firth, who walked braless in a see-through jumper at Fendi. And yesterday, Anja Rubik closed Anthony Vaccarello in a skirt slit up to here and a black point d’esprit blouse that left nothing to the imagination. Coincidentally (or perhaps not), the model created a series of T-shirts that read, “Don’t Fear the Nipple” to celebrate the latest issue of her erotic magazine, 25, back in November.
To be honest, these brazen nipples wouldn’t be so newsworthy if they popped up in the Spring collections. On more than a few occasions, designers have sent sheer tops down the runway that clients will layer with a tank or playful brassiere. But something about these pieces suggests that they should be worn as shown. Not to mention, this is Fall/Winter 2014. Sure, we’ve seen fur (faux and real) chubbies and coats aplenty, but I’m not sure I’d want to brave the Polar Vortex 2.0 with an exposed chest—even if I were enveloped in a cozy topper.
“Oh, this is just some crazy catwalk trend,” they’ll say. “We’ll only see it in artsy editorials,” they’ll claim. False. Always ahead of the curve, Michelle Harper attended New York fashion week, during which the temperatures maxed out at a whopping 32 degrees, in a pink-skirted frock with a totally translucent bodice and not much else. Yes, this craze has hit the streets.
Not surprisingly, Fall’s nipples have been raising eyebrows. (To that point, Instagram was apparently deeply offended by Henry Holland’s Fall ’14 inspiration image—a vintage photo of a woman in a diaphanous white top and no bra—that we posted as part of our Split-Second Preview series. The platform removed the snap just hours after it went up.) And even I, a strong proponent of boundary-pushing attire, have to wonder, are these sheer shirts a celebration of female anatomy and feminine power, or are they examples of vulgarity and objectification? (It’s worth noting that all the brands mentioned above are designed by men—not necessarily straight men, but men nonetheless.) Did each designer watch Free the Nipple before editing his collection? Did Femen have a hand in this? Is everyone just pandering to Miley Cyrus? I suppose the message these looks sends really depends on how, and in what context, they’re worn. Speaking of which, come Fall ’14, are women actually going to ditch their bras, slip on a thin veil of chiffon, and flaunt their breasts with gusto? I guess we’ll have to wait until the clothes hit stores to find out.
Mention Los Angeles-based designer Brian Lichtenberg and two things come to mind. The first, of course, is his line of cheeky, logo-tweaked T-shirts, in which Hermès becomes Homiés, Celine transforms to Feline, and Balmain is swapped for Ballin’. Rihanna wears them. Miley Cyrus is a fan. And they’re sold at such highbrow retailers as Net-a-Porter, Colette, and Browns of London. For those with a slightly longer celeb-fashion memory, Lichtenberg is also a ready-to-wear designer known for some very high-voltage body-con dresses.
He let his ready-to-wear line go when the T-shirts picked up. “It’s a small team that I’m working with,” Lichtenberg explained. “It’s growing, but in the beginning, when it became all about the sweatshirts, the T-shirts, the beanies, the hoodies, it was like we really only had to focus on that or it wasn’t going to get made.” But this evening at The Hub at the Hudson Hotel, Lichtenberg relaunched his now-several-seasons-dormant luxury collection. “It was like, OK, I can keep doing this and not do any more dresses or leggings and just kind of be known as another L.A. sportswear designer,” Lichtenberg related from the couch in the Hudson’s lounge. “But I [wouldn't have been able to] live with myself. I want to do my dresses. I want to do the patchwork and the fun editorial moments. It’s in my blood.”
The collection, of which Lichtenberg gave us an exclusive preview, is a motocross-inspired compilation of mesh, spandex, and fishnet patched leggings; sexed-up bandage dresses; and lambskin leather drop pants (for both girls and guys). A fox fur taupe jacket and more than a few transparent lace and leather evening crop tops make it clear: This is not for a shy client.
The line—first inspired by a pair of vintage moto pants Lichtenberg found at a thrift store (“I love thrift shopping and I love just going to the Rose Bowl and shopping for ripped-up T-shirts,” he said)—is not without its tongue-in-cheek elements. A red-and-white men’s sweatshirt reads “Lichtenboro” in place of Marlboro, while a casual tee is printed with “Be Licked” as a stand-in for Bud Light. “It started with those pants, then it got me into the patchwork of the legs and doing the dresses and also kind of a white-trash element,” Lichtenberg said. “‘Be Licked’ is just a throwback to smoking and beer and all that kind of stuff.”
The designer hopes that fans of his T-shirts will embrace his ready-to-wear. It’s for somebody “who doesn’t take fashion too seriously, but loves to dress up,” Lichtenberg explained. “A free spirit.”