Best Responses To Adam Levine’s Nipple Controversy

Adam Levine's Nipple Controversy

Adam Levine took off his shirt during Maroon 5’s halftime Super Bowl performance and women are pointing out the obvious double standard. It wasn’t too long ago that Janet Jackson was ostracised for a wardrobe malfunction that exposed one of her breasts during her halftime performance with Justin Timberlake. The incident was so controversial that it was all anyone talked about for months and it’s safe to say that Jackson’s career suffered for it.

Levine intentionally exposed his nipples, and no one blinked an eye. The camera didn’t pan out to the crowd. No one slut shamed the singer or accused him of plotting to expose himself for publicity. It seems that only women have noticed just how hypocritical this is, and they’re doing everything they can to point it out to the public. These are the best responses to Adam Levine’s nipple controversy.

Nipple Outrage

When Nipplegate occurred, the FCC fined CBS a whopping $550K. Even though it was fought and overturned in court, the event caused the FCC to raise their fines for indecent exposure from $27K to $325K. MTV, who produced the halftime show, was also fired indefinitely from working the event. That explains why the Super Bowl halftime performances have been incredibly lame for the last decade or so.

Levine Should Get Grief

If the Super Bowl halftime show needs to be so conservative that they can’t handle an accidental nip-slip, then men should have to oblige as well. The same rules should apply. Jackson’s music was blacklisted, she was uninvited to the Grammys, she was forced to step away from a movie role, and that’s just the beginning. It’s safe to say that Levine won’t see even a glimpse of this kind of backlash.

Acceptable Nipples

After Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction, which was caused by Timberlake ripping part of her top off, he suffered no consequences. Timberlake’s career continued almost as if nothing happened, and it’s safe to assume that Levine will experience the same results. It is common knowledge that men’s nipples are acceptable, while women’s are not, an example of sexism that makes absolutely no sense.

Levine Compared To A Chipotle Bag

In addition to Levine’s nipples causing controversy over these last few days, his tattoos have also captured the attention of the internet. His ink is being compared to the back of a kids school notebook, the posters displaying tattoo options at a shop, and a Chipotle bag. That’s what happens when you take your shirt off in a desperate attempt to save a boring performance.

People Are Outraged

People are outraged that Levine seems to be facing no consequences for his actions, and this has brought up how male and female nipples are treated differently. This wasn’t always the case though. Male nipples were also sexualized until men protested in 1930 and four men were arrested for being shirtless on the beach at Coney Island. That was just the beginning of their rebellion though.

Inconsistent Rules

In order to break free of censorship, men with influence joined the protest. Journalist Kimberly Seals Allers wrote, “Then Hollywood icon Clark Gable stripped off his shirt in ‘It Happened One Night, marking the scandalous debut of a man’s uncensored nipples in American cinema.” This led to further protests where at one event in 1935, 42 topless men were arrested in Atlantic City. The following year it became legal for men to walk around New York without their shirts on, and their nipples haven’t been considered indecent ever since.

Jackson Has To Be Pissed

While Janet Jackson hasn’t commented on the incident just yet, you have to know that she’s pissed. Think of all the money she lost just because of a nipple. Now a man went a step further by showing both nipples and running around stage topless without consequence. The FCC hasn’t even mentioned the incident.

Levine’s Response

In response to the criticism, Levine posted a lengthy and frankly irrelevant Instagram post. It said:

When we accepted the responsibility to perform at the SBHTS, I took out my pen and just wrote. Some of the words that came to me in that moment eventually made their way onto the incredible lanterns that flew high and low tonight. We thank the universe for this historic opportunity to play on the world’s biggest stage. We thank our fans for making our dreams possible. And we thank our critics for always pushing us to do better. One Love. ❤️ And the list of words is…

Levine might as well posted a shirtless selfie and moved on. He had the chance to give women a voice on the subject and failed. Frankly, I’m not surprised as Maroon 5 chose to perform at the halftime show in spite of the NFL’s actions against Colin Kaepernick. There’s a difference between preferring to stay out of politics and deciding to say nothing when a political controversy surrounds you. It’s called chickening out.

Levine Is So Brave

Perhaps Levine’s decision to rip off his shirt mid-performance exposing his nipples was in protest of what happened to Jackson all those years ago! If that were the case, then he’s a hero! So brave! Strange how he would choose to avoid the subject following the media’s criticism then. Maybe he’s waiting to surprise us with a collaboration with her and Maroon 5! We won’t be holding our breath though.

One Positive Thing To Come From Levine’s Performance

The only good thing to come out of Marron 5’s halftime performance is the fact that we can now all enjoy the photos men are sharing with their own Levine-inspired temporary tattoos. At least I hope they’re temporary. And since Levine exposed his nipples, we can assume they are now banned from ever performing again, and we won’t have to suffer through another lackluster halftime show. By them anyway.

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Rose Burke

Freelance writer and art enthusiast, Rose Burke, often writes humorous essays inspired by awkward dating experiences and life’s cruel sense of humor. When she's not doing that, she's typically writing entertainment articles on women's issues, politics, feminism, and other trending topics her readers love. Her work has been published in The Southampton Review, The Conium Review, The Richest, The Independent, CINEMABLEND, and more. Author of the popular feminist blog series "Writings of the Satirical Feminista," Rose is currently focusing on a collection of humorous personal essays while she travels the world.


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