Topless Modelling Exposed

  • Amy Bebbington

Topless modelling is a reality in the industry yet the connotations and niche is completely different in relation to men and women. Female models are considered a part of the glamour industry when exposing their chest whereas male individuals are captured topless for various types of commercial modelling.

The contrast is significant to how men and women are perceived in the eyes of the media yet is this correct?

Should a man expose his toned chest for a swimwear or underwear campaign yet a women must wear a bikini top or bra to be deemed acceptable?

Breasts are after all a fundamental part of the female figure yet are treated as sexual identity and therefore, should be hidden in a shameful, embarrassed way.

Let’s discuss further….


A popular campaign #FreetheNipple is supported by well known celebrities and high profile models such as Cara Delevingne and Liv Tyler. It is an equality movement and a mission to empower women across the world. In USA, it is illegal for a woman to be topless in 35 states, which shockingly includes breastfeeding. A natural expression of femininity and feeding your child could land women in jail. Their fight for equality for both men and women includes the representation in the eyes of the media and therefore, topless modelling.

Why is the female form shunned and exploited in a way that deems a topless model as provocative and seductive whereas a topless male model is praised and the ‘norm’ in society? Are male models negatively criticised and disrespected by their peers and professionals? Typically no, whereas a woman is usually deemed promiscuous when carrying out the same action.


High fashion magazines such as Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar do present topless women in an artistic way that is classed as acceptable. The topless poses are presented in a way that does not exploit the women and are not ogled at by the male gender. Usually, the women have smaller breasts, which are fully exposed or a pose is strategically positioned to suggest nudity yet is not fully revealed. An arm or two will cover breasts or the model will lay on her front or in some occasions the female was fully exposed as when Lara Stone reveals all. However, the approach is very different to glamour or adult modelling, which is more suggestive and seductive rather than a celebration of the female form.

An interesting point is how social media views topless models depending on the gender. Facebook and Instagram remove and block images of topless women if the full breast is shown yet a man’s chest will not gain the same reaction. Is this rule balanced and fair? Are viewers shocked by the the female form? Will these images offend the public if presented in this way? 

What are your thoughts on topless models? Do you support the #FreetheNipple campaign or is openly showing the complete female form offensive, sexual and inappropriate? Should male and female models be treated as equal? 

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