Taylor Swift will grace the front page of GQ magazine in a bikini, for the first time ever. The singer and songwriter has kept her belly button mostly hidden from sight and shrouded in mystery, and this latest photo shoot is no exception. Only the edges of her black bikini are visible as they peek out from under her nude-colored cover-up dress. Her belly button remains out of sight, out of mind.
Swift’s navel is one of the few surviving mysteries among female celebrities, as many have been stripping down in the name of feminism. Recently, Naomi Campbell posted a topless photo of herself, to protest Instagram’s nudity policy, but the photo sharing app quickly removed it. Campbell isn’t the only one. Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Genevieve Morton and supermodel Chrissie Teigen have both been pushing Instagram’s limits with varied success.
Last week, Amber Rose hosted a SlutWalk in Los Angeles, where women were encouraged to dress scantily and parade themselves in the name of equality. Some women went topless or held signs that objected to the notion that women encourage sexual attention when dressed in revealing clothing.
Their actions make sense in the context of modern feminism, which emphasizes that women are equal to men in every way. If a man can show some nipple in public, so can a woman. If men aren’t expected to shave their armpits, neither should it be expected of women. But what do these equalities really gain aside from hairy pits and exposed breasts?
Swift’s decision to cover up in the age of #freethenipple seems to undercut many of the cries of the modern feminist. While she may remain unable to post nipple pics to Instagram, Swift has managed to be quite successful in the music industry. She’s won seven Grammys and is the only female artist to have two albums that sold a million copies within the first week.
The decision to cover up is a powerful one. Swift’s music is good. People will listen to it regardless of how much clothing Swift decides to take off, and she knows that.
“I don’t like showing my belly button,” she said last year. “When you start showing your belly button then you’re really committing to the midriff thing. I only partially commit to the midriff thing—you’re only seeing lower rib cage.”
When her navel does make an appearance, everyone loses their freaking minds. Earlier this year, her decision to show off some midriff in a photo with a fan turned into a meme that took over the Internet for about two days. It’s clear she knows how to use feminine mystique to her advantage, a skill few modern women seem to posses.