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Nipple and Dimed

"The center of the Boob is the source of its power. It is so powerful in fact that society does not permit its public display for fear of widespread anarchy, and mass headsplosions."

Though media can safely display much of the female breast, and every part of the male breast, female nipplesnote  almost guarantee an R rating from the MPAA. They might cost you $550,000 if you show them at halftime during the Super Bowl. The sight of it is so Harmful to Minors that you must click a release to see it on the Internet. The United States Supreme Court upheld an ordinance requiring strippers to cover it under a pastie.

What exposure counts as indecent is a product of a society's mindset more than any underlying human cause. Different cultures certainly have different nudity taboos, and one sometimes gets the feeling in the United States that other countries are laughing at the prudery behind our backs. This works the other way round as well; in the western world, a woman can show her legs without legal problems, but in some other cultures this is as taboo as the nipple is for the US.

When it comes to prepubescent girls, it's a bit complicated. On one hand, since the breasts aren't present and child anatomy is androgynous, topless little girls can be considered non-sexual. On the other hand, since the female nipple is so sexualized, the practice of covering the female nipple from infancy onward will be in play and it can be considered child pornography to show a female child with an exposed chest. Needless to say, cultures vary on this view.

For some strange reason, males seem to be completely exempt from this, despite the lack of significant biological difference between the two genders. (Maybe it's the extra fat deposits on the female chest? ...Nah, it's probably a Double Standard.)

See also: Thong of Shielding, Godiva Hair and Barbie Doll Anatomy.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Miss Mune-Mune from Abenobashi Mahou Shoutengai is all over this trope. Several times, one more revealing than the other.
  • The original Japanese OP for Brain Powerd is all about this, although the series contains very little nudity.
  • Anko in Naruto wears a fishnet top. Apparently she has no nipples.
    • In the anime and games it's clear she wears an under shirt.
    • In certain versions of the manga (which varies from country to country) had nipples for nudity. Heck when Naruto uses his Sexy-No-Jutsu, he turns into a fully naked gender-bended version of himself.
      • Considering Jiraiya wore something similar that clinked as it was removed, it's more likely she wears chainmail.
  • Same deal for Mahou Sensei Negima!. Due to the incredible amounts of Clothing Damage, this has practically become one of Ken Akamatsu's stylistic signatures. Although he has an excuse, as the magazine that published Negima wouldn't allow nipples to be shown. They're okay now, but it would be weird if everybody suddenly gained nipples halfway through the manga.
  • As though celebrating its move to a magazine with presumably laxer censorship guidelines, the first chapter of Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force has nipple shots of new character Lily. Note that the supplementary manga for previous seasons, which were released in another magazine, used Barbie Doll Anatomy all the way. And nipples appear again in later chapters.
  • In Dragon Ball, men who don't look too alien have nipples. Early in the series, Bulma's nipples were reveals a few times (when Yamcha was accidently peeping her in the bath, and when Kuririn/Krilin flashed her boobs).
  • Rumiko Takahashi has no qualms against displaying nipples on most female characters in her series, prominently Ranma ½ . It's her male characters that inexplicably don't have nipples.
  • Hevn-san from Get Backers is a curious case—when she wears a shirt that covers most of her breasts (okay, part of) her nipples are clearly outlined under the cloth...yet when she wears more revealing shirts, the part of her breasts where the nipples were before are now somehow blank.
    • The mangaka's notes mention that he was allowed to get away with drawing exposed boobs so long as he didn't include nipples.
  • Himari from Omamori Himari manages to show nipple before the fifth chapter is over. Then again, you'd expect no less from that series.
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex gets rather creative when it comes to not showing nipples, to the point where one begins to wonder if the Major even has them. For example. (borders on NSFW.) Confoundedly, they'll show pretty much everything else, and nipples on androids are A-OK.
    • That's because Motoko is a living character in the show. The nipples shown during the construction of androids is ok because they are not animated yet. Think of it like old Greek art sculptures. They don't move or aren't moving yet, so society has no problem with showing it.
    • They really stretch the limits in the show, sometimes. In one episode you see a crook being questioned watching porn while answering the questions; you see the reflection of the screen on his sunglasses, which just barely avoids showing the entire act, and does show the female actor's nipples. But since the it's just a vague reflection, it's still OK.
  • Ikki Tousen, being a fairly deep retelling of Romance of the Three Kingdoms masquerading as softcore porn, dips into this all the time.
  • Mahoromatic has no objections to showing female nipples. They're shown at least once every 3 chapters, and in every episode. The series has a LOT of Clothing Damage, so much that in some cases the only thing left on the girl is an almost non-existent scrap of cloth covering the vagina.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion always resorted to using Barbie Doll Anatomy. End Of Evangelion was the first instance of a nipple drawn, on Rei no less - it was a horror film not intended for minors. The Rebuild series however, don't shy away from the matter anymore (since it's shown in theaters): in the two films that came out so far, Rei flashed us no less than four times and even Asuka got a few frames of accidental exposure.
    • Asuka was exposed as well in End of Evangelion when Shinji shook her too hard, but it was offset by the fact that she was comatose.
    • The manga version, on the other hand, had nipples drawn on nude female characters from the start.
  • To Love-Ru has these in every single episode (in the uncensored version).
  • Kanokon's OVA and Omakes
  • The final battle of the second Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann film decided to show Yoko and Nia's breasts uncensored in several shots from the Tengen Toppa Ganmen sequence onwards; amusingly, Yoko's clothing (minimal though it was) seems to completely disappear just for the sequence. Considering how badass and Hot-Blooded the sequence is, you'd be forgiven for not noticing them.
  • A couple of episodes in the 80's series of Doraemon show Shizuka taking a bath naked with no use of Barbie Doll Anatomy. There's absolutely nothing else sexual about the scenes (starting with the fact that Shizuka is an elementary schooler), but regardless, the remake series added in Censor Steam.
  • The main character of Pretty Face is male, but has to assume a female identity. One chapter revolves around his acquisition of fake breasts. When the fakes are first shown, they're completely uncensored and the nipples are drawn. However, as soon as the (again, male) hero puts them on, they're magically censored and remain such for the rest of the chapter. Apparently, anything resembling a woman's nipples is verboten.
  • In the sex scenes of Kasei Yakyoku, female nipples are clearly shown. Specially obvious in the third OAV, when Taka and Sara spend a whole night of sex and we clearly see the naked Sara's nipples. When she puts on a robe and keeps it open after they do the deed, there are shots when she's a little more covered and others when she isn't; there's even a close-up of her left nipple as Taka buries his face on her breasts.
  • Queen's Blade generally has no shame about nipple exposure (getting attacked often leads to the fighters' tops coming off, just for starters), but then there are also times where they go out of the way to avoid it for some reason. Melona, for instance, toys with Godiva Hair by having her hair morph into hands which generally keep her nipples covered, or are used for her acidic lactation attacks. Pirate Queen Lilliana from Rebellion has tiny starfish on her nipples that only come off in a bath scene. And Menace generally just has Underboobs with her short metal necklace, but the DVD release of one of the ending themes actually has her nipples visible every time she takes a step.
  • Golgo 13 has always gotten away with exposed nipples.
  • None of the male characters of the Kyo Ani series Free! have nipples. This is made blatantly obvious since every episode involves the boys stripping half naked (for the sake of swimming! Or track! Or... or something!).
  • Averted in Tiger & Bunny. Whenever Barnaby or Kotetsu is shown shirtless they do in fact have nipples; in a fairly realistic portrayal, no extra attention is given to this fact.
  • You see nipples everywhere in High School D×D, but no genitals.
  • Centaur no Nayami shows nipples regardless of the age.
  • In Fairy Tail, male characters have nipples. The female characters do not (even though these non-existent nipples are still sometimes covered up by steam or hair). One exception, though, is the fifth OVA where Flare gives Lucy a nipple twister in an Imagine Spot. You still don't see Lucy's nipples, but it's quite obvious from the way Flare's holding her that it is a nipple twister.
  • Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie is famous for showing of Chun-Li's nipples during her Shower Scene.
  • Claymore involves Eldritch Abomination women with nipples. Fan Disservice.
  • Elfen Lied is famous for its nudity, Moe and Gorn elements.
  • Elfen Lied's Spiritual Successor Gokukoku No Brynhildr averts this in the manga by censoring nipples. The DVD and Blu-ray version of the anime plays it straight.
  • Rosario + Vampire once has an originally male Doppelgänger masquerade as the extremely well-endowed Kurumu, and he flashes Tsukune and the readers in mid-battle. Though in the American release the Doppelgänger inexplicably acquires a bra.

    Comic Books 
  • Raven Hex, sister of the title character in Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose usually goes topless except for a pair of pasties with a long spike protruding from each one. She, and occasionally other similarly-dressed characters, still appears on the cover of the book from time to time, because, hey, her nipples are covered. (Another character, Boo Cat, actually appears on the cover entirely naked sometimes, but the jack-o-lantern pattern of her fur/skin (guess where the "pupils" are!) makes it not-entirely-obvious that she's naked to someone unfamiliar with the book.)
    • Also in "Tarot," the vampire Licorice Dust is often shown wearing live spiders as pasties.
  • Empowered is technically ecchi, but we never see her nipples, thanks to Godiva Hair and other tropes. Ninjette wears shuriken pasties.
  • Danish comic Valhalla generally does not shy away from showing female nipples, though sometimes it goes into Scenery Censor territory. Freya in particular switches back and forth between the two — she gets a few nude scenes in the comic, where she'll on some pages cover up with Modesty Towels or Modesty Bedsheets, and in others proudly display her naked breasts to the reader — to the point that you can't help but wonder whether she's trying to make some kind of statement about this trope.
  • Dark Horse's Aliens: Colonial Marines is a glaring example of this trope. Strategically placed shadows, comically gravity-defying sheets, and other such Austin-Powerisms were used all to avoid showing the female nipple - even during gratuitous sex scenes. It was even jokingly mentioned by a fan in the letters column in a early issue - "It would seem in the future no one has nipples?"
  • Black Canary was the first DC heroine to have her nipples exposed on panel in The Longbow Hunters but this apparently got a pass since she was being tortured at the time and was therefore not intended to be titillating.

    Film 
  • Referenced in the Eddie Murphy film Boomerang where a perfume commercial (featuring a character played by Grace Jones) is being edited and the main characters go to great lengths to figure out whether a shot of her bare chest features a nipple. Eddie Murphy's character insists it's just a shadow. Eventually, the editor does a close-up and declares "It's a nipple, 'cause I'm drooling".
  • Scrooged had a Solid Gold Dancer in the Show Within a Show live Christmas special, whose areolas were "just barely" visible over her neckline— "And these guys are really looking!"
  • Bram Stoker's Dracula has Dracula's brides topless when they molest Keanu...err...Jonathan Harker. But they get tops on in the broadcast TV version. It is also noticeable that there are five major female characters in this movie, the three brides, Lucy, and Mina. Of these, only Mina doesn't have a topless scene (she does have a transparent nightgown scene, though), incidentally, the only one played by an American actress.
  • Avatar covers nipples most of the time with necklaces and hunting paraphernalia, but a glimpse of blue nipple can be seen occasionally when the necklaces are moving around. It walked away with a PG-13/12A due to them being not sexualised but just there, as with African tribeswomen.
  • The first TV screenings of the war film Zulu cheerfully screened the film in its entirety, including the mass wedding sequence near the start where several hundred Zulu warriors dance their way into wedlock with a line of several hundred very exuberantly bouncy Zulu maidens. On the hitherto mentioned African tribeswomen principle, this protracted scene of southern African pulchritude was always left in, regardless of the time of day of screening, throughout the 1970's, 1980's, and 1990's. Yet in the early 2000's, all this abruptly changed and British TV adopted a strictly censored version with all the bouncy toplessness left out. There was no clear reason given for this change of mind on the part of the broadcasters, and it was noticeable that later graphic scenes depicting mass slaughter of Zulu warriors under concentrated British riflepower were left in.
    • Similar revisionism on the part of the ITV network saw edits to the nudge-nudge double-entendre-laden movie Carry On Camping. The film opens with sex-starved leery Sid James and Bernard Bresslaw taking their girlfriends to the screening of one of those 1950's nudist movies. Their intent is to soften the girls up to visiting a nudist camp. For most of the period 1975 - 2010, TV screenings of this film shrugged and allowed the extracts from the nudist film to be broadcast uncensored, on the grounds that this is about as sexually arousing as a cup of cold tea. But in December 2013, ITV abruptly censored out these extracts, leaving the early part of the film somewhat lopsided. You see the character reaction, but not what they are reacting to. When approached to explain, ITV explained that as a family network, they had obligations to a family audience. They did not explain why previously they had let the scenes stand, and felt no such obligation then... (The scene where Barbara Windsor's bikini top flies off and a nipple is briefly exposed was allowed to stand, though).
  • Double subversion in Mallrats. Brodie talks T.S. into visiting Ivannah the topless fortune teller for obvious reasons. She duly disrobes, revealing a very conspicuous third nipple which utterly disgusts Brodie while T.S. becomes fascinated with her fortune-telling abilities—complete with lingering close-ups of her unusual "fortune." After they leave, she reveals the third nipple as fake and pulls it off.
  • Monty Python's Life of Brian played with this nicely when showing Judith the morning after, with her appealing body unclothed except for strands of Bible Hair (Godiva Hair as worn by Eve) neatly covering her nipples while her shrubbery is fully exposed. (This is seconds after Male Frontal Nudity.)
  • Monty Python's The Meaning of Life has a scene where a man is chased to his death-specifically, run off a cliff-by a horde of attractive women wearing nothing but boxing helmets, footwear, and g-strings. Granted, the narrator warns you within the first minute that there's "lots of tits and ass", so... well, they warned us...
  • In the X-Men films, Rebecca Romijn and Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique have either no nipples or they are covered by their natural "scales".
  • The Iron Lady received a PG-13 rating from the MPAA despite a brief clip of topless women in the form of Stock Footage.
  • The nude swimming scene in Oblivion (2013), showing off pretty much everything they could of Andrea Riseborough and still have a PG-13 rating - including light shining through her thigh gap.
  • A Fine Mess. We see the top of Claudia (Maria Conchita Alonso)'s breasts and the side of her right breast on top of Spence (Ted Danson) but nothing more.
  • Lina Esco's documentary Free The Nipple tackles this trope head-on.
  • there is even a brief moment of toplessness in the third Star Wars movie: one of the dancing girls performing for Jabba the Hutt shimmies a bit too vigorously and her top is dislodged. This was not noticed in the edit.

    Literature 
  • Lampshaded in Kitty Goes to Washington, where a female werewolf is forced to stay in a cage on live television during the night of a full moon. She gets an FCC fine for the few frames between fully clothed human and fully furred wolf while trying to save her t-shirt.
    • She's in almost as much trouble over this, as her kidnappers are for having kidnapped her... which sounds about right for this trope.
  • Played with in Philip K. Dick's The Zap Gun: It's mentioned that in the future society, family-friendly media may freely display naked female breasts (and even animate them in titillating ways), as long as no more than one breast is visible at a time.
  • Fritz Leiber has taken the mickey out of this in several stories, where women may fully expose their breasts without attracting comment, but failure to wear sufficiently concealing face masks attracts verbal abuse, police brutality and legal sanction.

    Live Action TV 
  • Angel: Nina was always nude after reverting from werewolf to human.
  • One scene in one episode of Good Luck Charlie shows Charlie totally shirtless and wearing a "shirt diaper." Since she is toddler, she gets off with a G or Y rating.
    • However, Amy occasionally provided some serious Parent Service, due to wearing bras that weren't padded well enough to prevent this trope. What's really amazing is that it happened frequently. Surprisingly, no Executive Meddling occurred, and the Moral Guardians never complained.
  • Roots and Shaka Zulu featured African women walking around top-free in a completely desexualized atmosphere. They were also made in 1977 and 1986, respectively. Roots followed the National Geographic Nudity rule that women in Africa could be shown topless, but the same women brought to America as slaves had to be shown clothed.
  • In its first episode, Mad Men features a stripper, who ends up taking her bra off — to reveal pastie-clad breasts.
  • In a particularly Squicky subversion, the second-season episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, "Slaves of Las Vegas," goes to great lengths to position a naked female body just so, so that her limbs cover her bits appropriately when she's found buried in a sandbox. Then, when it's time for the autopsy, no attempt is made to hide her nipples or derriere, and then the show one-ups itself by doing a TMI Cam into the breast via the nipple to show the saline implants.
    • This episode was broadcast on free-to-air television in Singapore completely uncut. If you know how strict Singapore is about things like this (Playboy magazine and its website are banned), then that's especially shocking.
  • Related: Jeannie from I Dream of Jeannie didn't have a navel, or more accurately, featured a pastie-clad navel. Apparently, navels were pornographic back then.
    • Only Barbara Eden's was pornographic. A scene set on the beach shows dozens of young ladies in two-piece bathing suits, navels exposed; Barbara Eden wears a much less revealing one-piece.
    • Given the context this may have been a way to emphasize her "magical-ness". As a genie, it would stand to reason that she wouldn't have a navel - having never seen the inside of a womb.
    • Jeannie had seen the inside of a womb because she wasn't born a genie. Still, she might have lost her navel when she was turned into a genie(for refusing to marry a Jinn).
    • Star Trek: The Original Series had this problem come up as well. When they finally removed the restriction Roddenberry made a Green-Skinned Space Babe with two belly buttons as a response.
  • Parodied in Arrested Development, when Kitty flashes Michael to make a point, and a censor cloud comes up over her nipples. Then Tobias flashes Michael because...he's Tobias...and the same censor cloud comes up.
  • This is one of the various topics that Bill Maher was talking about when he was defending France from the likes of Conservative American Politicians. When Bill was going over the good parts about what France has over America (let alone in general) he mentions on Nude Beaches are much more accepted in France than in the US and in his words "Because they are not a nation of 6 year olds who scream and giggle at pee pee parts!"
  • On an episode of Heroes, Claire is "killed" and wakes up naked on the autopsy table. They have no problem showing her opened ribcage with all her internal organs on display, but as soon as she puts herself back together, cue the camera cutaway until she puts on the Modesty Bedsheet. Hayden Panettiere was underage at the time of filming.
  • The National Geographic Channel was criticized for this with their show "Taboo". When covering non-European cultures where nudity was socially acceptable, women were shown nude. However, white women were always censored, even in contexts and societies where female nudity was not a taboo, such as public beaches in certain European nations, European media, and nudist colonies.
  • The Benny Hill Show randomly show female nudity in typically a now you see it/now you don't fashion.
  • While it doesn't top Heroes for sheer Squick, Sanctuary is more audaciously spineless, if you'll pardon the oxymoron. It's apparently not okay to show nipples on mermaids, but it's okay to show the shredded bodies of hundreds of said mermaids. While they aren't exactly mammals that actually just makes it worse.
  • The Scenery Clause is blatantly illustrated in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It was pushing the limits in later seasons to have fully clothed risque situations and a Modesty Bedsheet a quarter inch thick in the later seasons, but three years earlier and they're allowed to have a life-sized, full-color, three-dimensional wall hanging in the Magic Box of the top quarter of a woman, goddess, or demoness with visibly erect nipples, which at points takes up the entire screen for multiple seconds.
  • When Monty Python's Flying Circus was first broadcast on ABC, the cast sued to have it run without changes. ABC removed the nude scenes, among other controversial items. The courts said "not this time," but granted that in all future broadcasts, the cast would have creative control.
  • Nip/Tuck has a couple of rather bizarre examples. In one episode, a male reporter is trying to understand what breasts are like (related to his wife having breast cancer), and he is shown with a set of female breasts, but apparently since they're attached to a male head, it's ok to show them. In another episode, a woman is trying to become a human Barbie, and wants her nipples removed, and her breasts are only shown after the nipples are gone.
  • Humorously, British gardening show Ground Force garnered a huge cult following among people with no interest in gardening because its star, red-haired Earth Mother Charlotte "Charlie" Dimmock steadfastly refused to wear a bra, as she thought it was uncomfortable. Week after week she gardened in a thin t-shirt often with a loose sloppy neck, which made her presentation style rather compelling in the rain or cold conditions. Her cameraman soon learned the optimum angles to screen her from, and an educative time was had by all.
  • Long-running British science documentary show Tomorrows World tried to predict future applications for cutting-edge science and technology. It ran for twenty-odd years and possibly thousands of inventions, and the most anyone can remember about the science is that it successfully predicted sat-nav fifteen years ahead of time. Well, maybe that and presenter Judith Hann's nipples while she was explaining some scientific advance, whilst standing in a rather cold swimming pool..... for a fourteen year old boy at seven on a Thursday evening, this was like bonus time. Way back in the 1970's, Judith could out-Dimmock Charlie...
  • Blue Peter presenter Anthea Turner once did a feature about training with Great Britain's high-diving hopefuls. Anthea allegedly has a reputation for being difficult and rather perfectionist with backroom staff such as cameramen and sound recorders. On this day, the cameramen took delight in filming her from unflattering angles, such as climbing the ladder to the dive platform in a one-piece bathing costume that was rucking up around her nethers in the classic "camel-toe". She was also filmed shivering in the cold with both visibly erect nipples making a very obvious point about the air temperature.
  • On Parks and Recreation this trope is Invoked by Leslie. When Jerry paints a picture of a topless female centaur (with Leslie's face) to put in a museum, a local Christian group is outraged and wants to burn it. Leslie gets Jerry to paint a male topless centaur and gloats that nobody would be offended by that.
  • ITV's relatively short-lived answer to the BBC's Blue Peter was called Magpie. This magazine show for kids screened around 4:30 twice a week and was co-presented by Susan Stranks, another resolute non-bra-wearer with temperature sensitive nipples and thin tops. Young lads and their fathers, if present, were suitably entranced.
  • On Star Trek: The Original Series, costume designer William Ware Theiss became highly creative at wrapping women's chests vertically, horizontally, and diagonally, but lamented that NBC would not let them show the underside of the female breast. He speculated that they thought a fungus grew there.
  • An episode of Frasier has Niles going into raptures about a fuzzy, ill-defined photograph that he thinks is a picture of Daphne Moon's breast and nipple. Niles' fantasies grow and swell out of proportion... until it is revealed that Daphne was in fact trying to take a holiday shot of his father Martin Crane, and accidently switched on the zoom function. The nipple is in fact that of Martin. Niles' father. It is strongly implied Niles has been having active sexual fantasies over the photo...
  • Charmed: Part of Phoebe's nipple actually made it on the air in the episode "Sight Unseen". In a scene at the club, the dress she's wearing fails to cover her up and part of the nipple is visible.
  • In American reality TV game show Survivor, some fairly strenuous physical competition takes place among women dressed in bikini tops or skimpy shirts. On occasion breasts and nipples have been exposed. As this is American TV, such wardrobe malfunctions are visually bleeped out by blurring or pixillating the screen. This is even done on versions sold to Europe, much to the perplexity of local viewers. Especially when the womens' arses are also visually bleeped out, despite the fact they are clearly wearing bikini bottoms. This appears to be prudery taken to a ridiculous extreme.
    • It is also noticeble about Survivor that during a game involving women contestants bobbing for items in a tub full of gloopy brown mud, several bikini tops were dislodged exposing breasts and nipples. But since the women involved were by then slathered from head to waist in a coating of mud, the bared breasts were not visually bleeped out and left in full uncensored camera view.

    Magazines 
  • Loaded depended on candid photo-shots of C, B, and very occasionally A-list celebrities. In an age where the Internet was only beginning to become widely adopted, it popularised the genre known as "nip-slips" and "downblouses", accidental unposed shots of celebrities accidentally baring a bit more flesh than they thought. Even in a posed shot and even if the subject had stipulated "no nudity", they were not above printing any shots from the shoot where a nipple might have escaped. A famous front cover showed celebrity Ulrika Johnnson in what was apparently just a standard cleavage shot: close examination revealed a nipple had escaped and was peeping above the top of her blouse. This was no error or oversight - and added to the mag's notoriety.
    • Note that Loaded is a British magazine, and nipples do not count as "nudity" in Britain. Magazines like Loaded and newspapers featuring Page Three Stunnas are not "top shelf" material; that classification is reserved for such as Playboy and Penthouse which show actual minge.

    Music 
  • The cover art of Daniel Lanois's album For the Beauty of Wynona is a work by photographer Jan Saudek, showing a naked woman holding a knife. It proved too strong for American tastes, so a big "American Edition" — in a much larger typeface than the artist's name and the title — is overlaid on the cover.
  • The left half of the cover of the 1966 album Exotic Music of the Belly Dancer contains a close-up shot of a near-naked female torso, complete with a necklace and tassled pasties.

    Music Videos 
  • REM's 'Pop Song 89' music video features three pairs of nipples: those of singer Michael Stipe and those of two female dancers (a third dancer appears to be wearing pasties). This is probably an attempt at subverting the Double Standard. Significantly, Stipe becomes a backing dancer himself at the end of the video, while the women take turns in the foreground.
    • And when the Moral Guardians complained, R.E.M. stuck black bars over every set of nipples in the video, saying that a nipple was a nipple and they got rid of all of them.
  • Duran Duran's "Girls on Film". 'Nuff said
  • The video for Radiohead's single "Paranoid Android" featured cartoon nipples which had to be covered up for US release. The band seemed confused that the censors balked at the cartoon nudity but had no trouble at all with the scene in which a man accidentally cuts his own limbs off.
  • Britney Spears released two versions of the video for Gimme More, while both have glimpses of her painted on pastie covered nipples the "uncensored" version shows slightly more.
  • The Russian band Tatu also made two versions of the video for their song beliy plaschik. The censored version is quite PG although in the uncensored version there are many topless shots of the then pregnant Yulia and full nudity from Lena.
  • Liars music video for Plaster Casts of Everything has two versions. The uncensored version featuring full frontal nudity of the female kind, and the censored version where the breasts are still shown but the nipples have been removed and the genitals pixelized
  • "Who's Your Daddy," by Benny Benassi, comes in two versions. The censored version is a series of exploitation film parodies centered around sexy women. The Uncensored version is similar, but pretty much has various tits on full display for the duration.
  • Sabrina's "Summertime Love" that top will NOT come off.

    Pinball 
  • Zig-Zagged in Arkon Automaten's Sexy Girl conversion kit for Bally's Playboy pinball machine; it replaced the original game's Playmates with female nudes, some of whom revealed everything but their nipples, and others going completely topless.
  • Xenon features a nude and topless red-skinned woman on the playfield, but she has no visible nipples.
  • The merwomen of Barracora have exposed breasts but no visible nipples.
  • Averted in Viper, as the naked Fembot has faint (but visible) chrome areolas.
  • Played straight with the backglass art for Iron Maiden, where the only things keeping the woman acceptable are two metal pasties over her nipples.
  • It is possible to avert this in Stern Pinball's Playboy, as the game includes clothed, topless, or fully nude photos of Real Life Playboy playmates for operators to install onto the playfield elements. The operator can also set the game to display or omit topless images on the display.
  • The American release of Zaccaria's Farfalla covered up the butterfly fairy's see-through robe with a modest red-and-green short dress.

     Professional Wrestling 

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Warhammer 40,000, Slaanesh Daemonette figures used to have nipples, but out of all the GRIMDARK in the setting, this detail was considered a little too mature. Come on, it's the god of squick; if anything, they should have shitting dicknipples!
    • The Slaaneshi mount figure still has exposed breasts with nipples (six, in fact), and the Forge World Keeper of Secrets has exposed breasts with (pierced) nipples as well.
    • Oddly enough, the far more human-like Dark Elf Morathi miniature has prominent bare breasts.
  • In the Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 Monster Manual, there's a dichotomy: The harpy and the dryad are alien enough to be shown topless with nipples, but the nymph is inexplicably shown with some sort of covering.
  • The cheescake art in Malifaux sometimes reaches ridiculous levels of this trope. Perdita Ortega's top is low-cut to the point that even a large areola would be fully exposed on a real breast.
  • The annual Euro Militaire expo and competition awards medals for excellence and achievement in a wide range of modelling topics - standard military, civilian, sci-fi and fantasy models and figures. The one form of figure modelling and painting specifically prohibited in the entry rules is "glamour" - nude, semi-nude or provocatively posed female figures. which is interesting, as the sponsoring publication, Military Modelling magazine, can always be relied on to advertise these models for sale in its back pages.

    Video Games 
  • Bethesda Softworks found themselves in the middle of a minor controversy when a fan-made mod was released for The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, which removed the default underwear tops for female characters and revealed their blurry but anatomically correct upper bodies. Probably in response to this, Bethesda has delayed the release of modding tools for Fallout 3 until after the holiday buying season (which is far from making the game impossible to mod, which is why it's known that, yes, they also removed the "details" from the female body texture.)
    • And on the subject of Bethesda games, it seems they tried a little too hard to avert this in Fallout 3: The base character models had both briefs and a white T-shirt for both sexes. One may notice if you take the armor (consisting mostly of scrap metal and leather straps) off a female raider, she's actually wearing more on her upper half now than she was "fully clothed".
      • Leading to a rather strange situation where you demand a slave give you his clothes, amounting to a jock strap and leather bands attached to a ring and he is annoyed with the PC, even though he leaves wearing more clothing than he was before.
    • Daggerfall, on the other hand, had no problems with showing nipples (pixellated though they may be, it being a 1996 game). Of course, the game also included a (short) IKEA Erotica sex scene in one of its books...
    • In Skyrim, statues of Dibella (the goddess of art, beauty and sexuality) are nude, with visible nipples and an artfully draped cloth covering the lower region. This one probably got a pass from the ESRB, as it's artistic nudity In-Universe.
  • The statues in Wizards and Warriors for the PC were topless but had nippleless breasts. However, the lake nymphs (who looked like female satyrs) and mermaids had completely exposed breasts, and these breasts had realistic nipples. Also the female vampyres had such breasts, but they wore a top made out of a black see-through fabric. It's possible that it went under the radar because the game was frustratingly buggy, making it impossible for the censors to reach the point where these characters appear.
  • The Grand Theft Auto games include strip clubs with dancers who never expose anything "indecent". This in a game depicting a wide variety of destructive and violent acts.
  • In Saints Row 2 you can go streaking causing mosaics to show up on your crotch (and breasts if you're female). Since everything else in the game is so over the top, it's probably intentional.
    • Not just on you. Sometimes you can see NPC's streaking through the streets. The same Mosaics show up on them, even as they go cartwheeling through the air after you ran them over.
    • All the same is true for Saints Row: The Third, and it's obvious that the developers weren't happy about it. They rebelled by allowing you to wear pasties that you can color to look just like nipples.
    • Oddly enough in Saints Row IV, while having the Boss be nude anywhere else in the game does also result in naughty parts being covered by mosaics, BUT... in Johnny Gat's rescue mission, however, you can go into the Game Withina Game mission completely naked and not be covered in mosaics.. but you'll be presented with Barbie Doll Anatomy instead.
  • The Witcher in three of five chapters has an NPC you can interact with (and even have sex) that is completely naked, but predictably she is censored in the US release of the game. The official site now has a "Director's Cut" patch that removes all censorship added to the North American release, restoring nipples to NPC (and monster) character models and "sex cards".
  • In the Shadow Hearts: Covenant manual, the puppet Gepetto uses in one page of the manual is wearing a shirt light enough so that you can see her nipples. The game was rated T for partial nudity in the US, but this probably isn't the reason.
    • There is one outfit for the puppet in the Japanese version that cannot be obtained through normal means in the U.S. that has this costume, presumably because of the above. (Midway basically wrecked the wine cellar dungeon in order to get rid of the sidequest needed to get it.)
  • In Duke Nukem 3D, you could walk up to the strippers, give them some cash, and they'd flash you, revealing extremely pixelated pasties.
  • In Giants: Citizen Kabuto, the sea reaper Delphi was initially rendered topless with visible nipples in the European release. In a (failed) bid to avoid the M rating from the ESRB, several design changes, including giving Delphi a bikini top, were done in the US version. However, gamers found out that simply deleting a specific file from the game's installation folder removed her top.
  • God of War was the first mainstream American video game to avert this trope.
  • An odd aversion occurs in, of all places, a licensed NES game called Castlequest. The faeries in this game are not only completely naked, but have visible nipples. Keep in mind this was at a time when Nintendo was very much into their draconic censorship policies. It's rarely mentioned, however, partly because 8-bit nipples aren't really that detailed, and partly because Castlequest was a really bad game.
  • Heavy Rain features a female playable character whom the player can have take a shower. Not only are her breasts on full view, but so is her backside; the only thing denied a viewing is her crotch. Though a man taking a shower in the game's very first scene also obeys these rules, too.
    • Later in the game, she is made to striptease at gunpoint. A trophy is awarded if you can get her out of the situation without showing nipples.
  • Dragon Age: Origins plays this straight, and similar to Fallout 3 above, actually covers up some characters more when their clothes are off; Morrigan's default outfit comes with the works; Absolute Cleavage, Underboobs and Sideboob, but when her clothes are off during romance scenes, she has a bra on that covers more than her robes do. Desire demons appear with metal bikinis that cover only their nipples, and the Lady of the Forest has strategically placed hair. However, it seems to follow the same mindset that dungeons and dragons does; going beyond Fan Disservice, the broodmother's breasts are fully exposed. All eight of them.
  • In the arcade game Gauntlet Legends there was an easter egg; if you used the blue Valkyrie with the player initials NUD and passcode 069, your character would be nude with black censorbars covering the naughty bits.
  • Parasite Eve featured a Big Bad who had nipples during gameplay, but in the higher-definition FMV sequences she reverted to Barbie Doll Anatomy.
  • In The Sims 2, if the censor blur is removed without any other mods installed the women don't have nipples, however men do. Of course this has been corrected in various game mods.
  • The Sorceress Adel was topless in Final Fantasy VIII, but they could get away with this in that her chest was completely flat, like a man's chest. Could be considered a rare worksafe female version of Walking Shirtless Scene.
    • The trope has also been played straight a few times. Notably, Ultimecia's Absolute Cleavage and more importantly, Siren is completely naked but strategically placed feather hide her nipples and crotch... though the crotch ones look exactly like pubes.
    • There's a more blatant aversion of this trope as Ultimecia's final form showcases completely her breasts, including her nipples. Then again in this case, you probably don't really want to see them.
  • L.A. Noire has full frontal female nudity. Of course, all of the nude women are corpses at the time.
  • Diablo had several female corpses that were completely stripped. The Succubi, who became increasingly frequent enemies towards the end were wearing little more besides thongs, and showed quite a few detail. This was mainly averted in the second game, where the corpses had Barbie doll anatomy, and all female enemies were wearing bikinis at least, with the one exception of Andariel, who while having her chest exposed, wore pasties with chains attached to them.
  • Iskai in Albion have four breasts. Many females wear diagonal bras at most that leave two of them exposed. All details are visible, on all sprites and cutscenes.
  • Mandragora contains at least two head-and-upper-torso depictions of female NPCs clad only in Godiva Hair.
  • Jack in Mass Effect 2 wears nothing on her upper body except for a rope... bra... thing. One that only covers the nipples, really. It is possible to imagine that she'd need to wear something to prevent uncomfortable bouncing, but a rope bra? One would imagine that very uncomfortable and not quite functional for that purpose.
    • Most of the sex scenes in Mass Effect 3 feature the male (human) characters in their boxer shorts and all the women wear the same set of Black Bra And Panties. Samantha Traynor even keeps her underwear on when taking a shower! The only exception here is Liara, though you don't actually get see anything; partly because of the camera angles and subdued lighting, and partly because they simply didn't put nipples on her nude model.
  • BloodRayne's eponymous leading lady's costume covers up all the important parts - however, the shape of her erect nipples is still rendered under the leather corset, so it begs for topless fan mods. The modders were happy to oblige.
  • In the Shin Megami Tensei franchise, Kazuma Kaneko's hand drawn demon designs often display their nipples when topless —whether female or not, or whether human or not. Older sprite based games lacked the detail to show this, but all polygonal models and modern sprite games go with featureless breasts. The Compendium in the Persona games still shows the fully detailed Kaneko artwork, however. One of the more notable examples is Diana, who is wearing armor made out of breasts. It's more gross than sexy.
  • Averted in Nier, where close inspection reveals that Kainé's nipples are just visible through the slits in her nightie.
  • Done liberally in the Senran Kagura series. Anytime the series comes close to fully exposing a character's chest, it will apply Scenery Censor appropriately (and the few times it doesn't, nothing is seen anyway). This trope is only made more obvious by the fact that, despite wearing outfits that (generally, depending on the character) cover their chests effectively, some characters' nipples can still be seen through them.note 

    Webcomics 

    Web Original 
  • This ''Onion'' article satirizes the whole Janet Jackson thing and the question raised here beautifully.
  • Loreffrey Photography studios explores this in Nipple Non Grata, a series of photos of topless women with their nipples photoshopped out.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Æon Flux shorts featured on Liquid Television and in the 30-minute episodes alike, male nipples are twisted, suckled and toyed with in other sexual manners but it was Aeon's Stripperiffic costume that was the most problematic there.
  • The PG-13 Triplettes de Belleville featured an animated version of Josephine Baker, a black entertainer in the 1920s whose costume consisted of little more than a skirt made of bananas.
  • In an episode of Ren and Stimpy where they switch places with a couple of babies. The Faceless parents fall for the Paper-Thin Disguise and eventually take a bath with them. The mother's whole boob is visible in several shots during the bathtub scene.
  • Danish Childrens cartoon series Thomas & Tim had the pervert member of the titular duo grope a topless mermaid, with nipples fully visible, in one episode. There was a comment from a concerned parent on this episode in a newspaper during a later rerun, but the issue was about the mermaid not rejecting said groping any more forcefully than slapping the guy's hand away and expressing mild annoyance with his actions, not anything about how dangerous it is for the kiddies to see nipples. The series was intended for kids aged 4 and up, and aired following Sesame Street and similiar shows. Denmark is cool.
  • The female centaurs in Fantasia are shown bathing bare breasted, although they have no nipples. The flower necklaces they wear often don't help either.
    • The "Night on Bald Mountain" sequence has several split-second shots of harpies with visible nipples. It's interesting to note that when footage of this segment was used in the Disneyland show Fantasmic!, it was carefully edited so as to avoid showing the harpies.
  • In the Seth MacFarlane's Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy, they do a brief joke on the TV Show Entourage. This trope is basically the punchline.
  • The creators of South Park decided that showing breasts on TV is ok, as long as they aren't attached to a womans body. The result was the Heavy Metal parody Major Boobage, where literally EVERYTHING was made of breasts or had breasts on it with no censoring. Except, of course, the Hot Chick.
    • Subverted if the "woman" in question is an undeveloped child, as evidenced by Wendy Testaburger's uncensored breast implant surgery in "Bebe's Boobs Destroy Society".
  • Batman: The Animated Series was drawn in a style designed by Bruce Timm, who is heavily influenced by 50s pin-up art. Even when the nipples of his female characters are not fully visible under their clothing, their breasts still come to a peak. This is notably toned down in the later DCAU entrants, when compared to Timm's usual comic book cover and interior illustraions.
  • A second or two of the top of Callie's nipples in one episode of Ugly Americans (appropriately lampshaded, of course).
  • One episode of Metalocalypse shows the band watching what is obviously porn but there's a bar covering up the woman's nipples so it's awwright.
  • In an episode of The Venture Bros., The Monarch, his wife, and henchmen break into the Venture compound. Dr. Mrs. The Monarch was striking a sexy pose on Brock's bed in anticipation of him walking in on her. One of her nipples is briefly visible as she adjusts her outfit.

    Real Life 
  • Lil Kim's infamous "dress" for the 1999 MTV Music Awards, which exposed all of her breast except for a small nipple covering to keep it legal.
  • When showing the results of plastic surgery on a transexual woman on a medical show, the before shots were masculine nipples uncensored, but following breast augmentation the feminine nipples were censored. They showed much of the swell of breast and the only part censored was the nipples which hadn't actually changed. That we had already seen.
  • Pasties are breast coverings that work only as nipple censors.
  • Very strange example. Andrej Pejic is a male model with a very androgynous, feminine appearance. He is often photographed in female clothes, styled as a woman. One time, he appeared on the cover of a magazine, styled as a woman, in which he is shown opening his shirt as though he is baring his breasts ... which, of course, are totally absent. Nevertheless, Barnes & Noble actually refused to display the magazine publicly, and ordered it to either change its cover or agree to be sold in a paper bag, on the grounds that the picture was too reminiscent of a topless woman. Needless to say, B&N has no trouble displaying topless men that are obviously masculine ...
  • Go to Las Vegas and collect those escort calling cards they hand out on the Strip. Most feature pictures of completely nude prostitutes staring provocatively at the camera while posing in a highly suggestive fashion, perhaps with one or two "friends" — yet their nipples and other unmentionable parts are always covered by little stars or starbursts. Really, Vegas?
    • Possibly justified, as those cards might easily find their ways into the hands of a child, which would then get the escort agency brought on charges for "corrupting a minor".
      • That doesn't justify it at all actually, since to a kid a couple of stars over the naughty bits will not make it less confusing/corrupting.
    • They could still in many cases be prosecuted under truth in advertising, copyright, and defamation laws. Many of those cards feature photos of British glamour models illegally copied from British magazines such as Magazine/Loaded or Front in the expectation that Americans won't recognise them. A particularly notorious example was this pic featuring Lucy Pinder, Natasha Marley and Katie Downes - none of whom are prostitutes, and all of whom take great offence at the suggestion - which resulted in Lucy Pinder's management taking legal action against the Vegas operation concerned.
  • The only part of British broadcast television that retains American-level sensibilities concerning female nudity is the advertising industry. This makes British TV advertising more prudish and conservative in comparison to Germany or France or Spain, but makes it more pragmatic for the advertisers, who can run American TV adverts for shared products with no or little post-production needed. This leads to two notable things:
    1. Adverts for bath or shower products, where a comparable European advert would just cheerfully show everything from the start, are tortuously and severely edited to avoid any hint of female nipples or pubic hair. There is a suspicion that editors compete among themselves to see who can get away with revealing the most bared flesh possible without exposing the two taboo areas - thus making some adverts even more erotically charged than before, which defeats the object.
    2. On the one occasion where an advertiser tried to screen a shower advert in which the woman bared a single nipple (and then only after the watershed) howls of protest about "indecency" caused them to withdraw the advert. This even though the TV programme to either side of the commercial break, after nine pm, would have been likely to show more naked flesh in a sexualised context.
    • Bottoms are allowed, however, but even this caused protest from Moral Guardians.
  • 17-year-old Olivia Hussey was forbidden to attend the premiere of Romeo and Juliet (1968) wherein she played the female lead, because of the nude scene. That's right, she was judged too young to see her own nipples on screen. The same scene shows Romeo's bare butt too... which of course she saw anyways while they were filming.
  • Due to Denmark's general policy about nudity, it's allowed to show female nipples on TV, even the news. Beaches also have no problems about women walking topless with bare breasts.
    • There was a tiny controversy that sparked with waterparks. Women were not allowed to go and swim in the pools at the waterpark if they weren't wearing something to cover their breasts. They protested by going to waterparks without tops.
  • Facebook strongly disapproves of female nipples, but also gets very unhappy about breastfeeding, too. Of course, video clips of violence, images of abused women and (best of all) a guy being beheaded are absolutely fine. Their censorship policies are allegedly changing.
  • Averted in New-York http://www.firstpost.com/world/not-breaking-the-law-women-can-go-topless-in-new-york-797059.html
    • It's averted in most states, though many places still (illegally) penalize women who try to exercise their right to go topless. However there are a lot of cities that have been allowing it for many years. In Columbus, Ohio, where the police stopped trying to control it in 1998, after being successfully sued by some women who'd been arrested for indecent exposure after going topless in the gay pride parade a few years earlier. Anyone who has been to the annual community festival (Comfest) has probably seen countless barechested women (or women with their chests and breasts painted) enjoying themselves in Goodale Park.
  • In the middle 1980's, British Newspapers and TV went into a feeding frenzy of prurience concerning a strapless blue ballgown that Princess Diana wore to a diplomatic reception. The gown had exposed an awful lot of the former Miss Spencer's decollétage, and ITV's flagship news show News At Ten devoted a long slot to debating whether or not it had slipped down far enough to expose a royal nipple (the right one). After frequent replays and slow-motion close-ups, NaT decided it was just a piece of the gown's decorative edging causing a shadow that seemed like an exposed nipple.
Naked ApronPartial Nudity Tropes'Not Wearing Pants" Dream
Neutral FemaleDouble StandardPolitically Incorrect Hero
Never a Self-Made WomanGender and Sexuality TropesNo Biological Sex
Narrative Profanity FilterCensorship TropesNobody Can Die
National Geographic NudityNudity TropesNo Nudity Taboo
New York City CopsImageSource/PhotographyNixon Mask
Next Thing They KnewSex TropesNocturnal Emission
Nice Job Breaking It, HerodJust for PunNitro Express

alternative title(s): Nippled And Dimed
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