Nipping point: How pierced nipples went mainstream
More girls than ever are getting their nips pierced. Why?
Five years ago they’d have been considered dark and unheard of.
Now it feels like everyone from the quiet girl in your seminar to your gran’s mate has probably got a nipple or two pierced.
For many, the mere sight of a needle is enough to make their stomach flip and a bit of sick come up.
You were probably one of the people at school who’d have to take five on a crash mat after injections, and have a custard cream and a cuddle from the school nurse.
But now you’re at uni, where the pierced nipple has become an emblem of cool.
It’s ballsy and brave, and now you’re dosing up on Kalms, literally putting your nipples in the hands of a stranger and trying your level best not to pass out as a cold metal bar is threaded through one of the most sensitive parts of your body.
It seems like a lot of money, pain and effort to go through for something very few people are ever going to see.
But the pierced nipple has now become the ultimate badge of “no fucks given”, it exudes a level of body confidence which couldn’t be considered anything less than very cool.
“To me it’s just the same as any other piercing. I had my ears, nose, and belly done so why not this?” said Kara Sanga, a Politics first-year who had her nipple pierced with a friend last summer.
And while you might not get your tit out across the dinner table, there’s a delicious pleasure in knowing your new body adornment is something your parents would be so passionately against. Not only do you think it looks good, but it also doubles as a passive aggressive two fingers to them.
Unlike your other rebellious teenage decisions, you can be smug in the knowledge they’ll probably never find out.
“I’ve seen a huge surge in nipple piercings, now it’s one of the most common piercings I perform” said piercing artist Lisa Whitehead, from The Owl and The Pussycat in Sheffield.
“When I first started piercing it was really only ‘alternative’ girls coming in to get them.
“Today it’s young girls from all walks of life, guys and even the odd older lady who’s feeling rebellious.
“The stigma has 100% changed.”
It isn’t like when you got your tongue done during your emo stage in Year 8, or your belly done to look a little more J-Lo circa 2004. The pierced nipple is something you do for you.
Not necessarily to look a certain way or channel a certain vibe as is often the case with other piercings, but to have some thing pretty much no one else has to know about, unless you choose to tell them. It seems to hold a lot more for people.
It’s your little secret, and it comes with a certain amount of pride, not to mention the appreciative nod’s from your mates when they found out about it. “Omg wow did it hurt?” “Can I touch it?” “Its sooooo cool” they say, as you drunkenly offer them a sneak peak at pre drinks.
There’s a time when most of us would have pictured the nipple piercing as something reserved for heavily tattooed men who wear long leather coats and play a lot of World of Worldcraft, but not anymore.
Nipples are having their day. They’re no longer resigned to being crammed in a nude BHS bra and spoken about in hushed tones. It’s 2015 and you can do what you want with them; pierce them, whip them out on the beach, and dress them up in whatever you want.
You might think the pierced nipple looks amazing, or equally you might find it completely repellent.
Regardless of what you think of its aesthetic value, it’s more than this: the pierced nipple is part of a growing movement of people owning their bodies, and essentially doing what the fuck they want with them, for no one other than themselves. It can only be a positive thing.