Janet Jackson’s Nip Slip And The History Of The Wardrobe Malfunction (NSFW-ish)

By lauren.duca@huffingtonpost.com (Lauren Duca)

Feb. 1 marks the 10th anniversary of Janet Jackson’s nipple. Well, the 47th anniversary of her nipple, but the 10th anniversary of the reveal of said nipple on a national stage — the Superbowl XXXVIII controversy that Jackson’s spokesperson Stephen Huvane described as “a malfunction of the wardrobe.”

While singing the line “gonna have you naked by the end of this song,” Justin Timberlake tore at Jackson’s bustier, supposedly intending to leave her red lace bra intact. A decade later, speculation remains as to whether or not the whole thing was intentional. The incident sparked a legal battle between CBS and the FCC (who thought the performance a basic disregard of “common decency“) that culminated with a fine of $550,000.

Clearly somebody had knowledge of it. Clearly it was something that was planned by someone,” Michael Powell, then FCC Chairman, said at the time. “She probably got what she was looking for.”

Although the case surrounding Jackson’s visible nipple didn’t quite make it to the supreme court, it certainly succeeded in penetrating our vernacular. The etymology of the phrase “wardrobe malfunction” can be traced directly to Huvane identifying the exposure as such. The Global Language Monitor named it as one of the top Hollywood-derived phrases and the Chambers Dictionary acknowledged the term in 2008.

By definition, Dictionary.com lists a “wardrobe malfunction” as “an embarrassing situation caused by the clothes a person is wearing.” But what about the wardrobe malfunction as a concept, as an accidental (or deliberate) means to obtain relevancy?

As was immediately the case with Jackson, nearly every “malfunction of the wardrobe” comes complete with a question of intent. One might reasonably argue that a well-executed nip slip is a quick way to obtain publicity with immediate, though fleeting attention. (See: Janet Jackson’s Google trends results’ peak in 2004 and almost complete disappearance shortly thereafter.)

In 2006, there was a series of particularly NSFW up-skirt photos of Lindsay Lohan that surfaced with alarming frequency. She failed to pair various skirts and dresses with underwear on Sept. 6, Sept. 12 and Nov. 8, amid various nip slips in April and throughout that summer, and what can only be called an “ass slip” at Nickelodeon’s Kids Choice Awards.

Similarly, Britney Spears had so many wardrobe malfunctions beginning in 2008 that haplessly revealing lady parts has been dubbed “pulling a Britney,” since she has had her “p—y hanging out” on and off stage.

To what extent does intent matter? Well, there is something somewhat disturbing about deliberately skipping out on panties only to do a faux split while exiting a limo. But whether someone means to show us their unmentionables is almost irrelevant when you consider the place of the wardrobe malfunction in celebrity culture. Really, the action has become so pervasive, that it extends beyond scandals and stunts, surpasses trend and simply becomes an anticipated aspect of being a lady in the …read more

Source: More Celeb News1

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