‘Is it important that women’s nipples are on television?’, my lover asked

gerda bleedJuly 24, 202207:00

My beloved wanted to draw pickles, pickles in a jar. “And then with something on it,” he said. “Just like that deer I drew the other day. With those antlers with eyes.’

We were sitting on a terrace, we had walked there early in the morning to celebrate that we finally had time to sit on a terrace again, even though my beloved would rather sit behind his drawing board, but if I rather wanted him to sit with me sat on a terrace, he did.

“Pickles with eyes,” I said.

“Yeah, just not with eyes, because I already had those by the antlers.”

“Mouths, noses?”

“It’s handy if they’re round,” he said, drumming on the tabletop with the fingers of his drawing hand.

‘Nipples perhaps?’, I suggested, because I had heard an interview on the radio that morning about the unveiling of the nipple vase in Design Museum Den Bosch.

A woman had asked people to have their nipples imprinted in plaster in a tent in the entrance hall of the museum she called the Nipple Tent, and with those imprints she had lined the outside of a vase. Many people had come to her call, after a while a nipple print stop had to be announced because the line was getting too long. Young and old, male and female and trans and nun were happy to have the shape of their nipples immortalized.

The woman had discovered that nipples could have many different shapes. There were also stories behind many nipples, about breasts that had been made larger or smaller, or even removed completely because they had a tumor or were in danger of developing them, or because the owner preferred to live as a person without breasts. This had given the project a meaning that she hadn’t thought about beforehand, because she usually only used her own body parts or those of friends for her art, and she already knew the stories of those.

The vase was a commentary on the spasm with which nipples are handled. Especially with female nipples, which are not allowed on television and are censored on social media, while bared male nipples don’t seem to be a problem for anyone.

‘Is it important for female nipples to be on television?’ my lover asked, taking his sketchbook for the road from his bag. “Would you like to show your nipples on television?”

“It’s about the difference,” I replied, beckoning a waitress to pay.

‘And what will happen to the vase later?’, the interviewer had asked on the radio. “Will there be flowers in it?”

The maker reacted with a laugh, perhaps slightly offended, and explained that the vase was an art object, that not every vase was intended as a utensil. In any case, not this one.

Who knows, when all taboos are broken in the future, people of all genders will eat pickles from the nipple vase without outerwear on television.