Florence Pugh revisited the controversy over her wearing a transparent pink Valentino dress that showed her nipples, elaborating to Jodie Turner-Smith about what the reaction really means for ELLE UK’s October issue. Pugh first spoke out against the body shaming in a July 2022 Instagram post shortly after she wore the dress to Valentino’s haute couture show. She shared that she has no fear of showing her body, and is more frightened by some people’s inability to see a female body as anything but sexual.
“I speak the way I do about my body because I’m not trying to hide the cellulite on my thigh or the squidge in between my arm and my boob: I would much rather lay it all out,” she began. “I think the scariest thing for me are the instances where people have been upset that I’ve shown ‘too much’ of myself. When everything went down with the Valentino pink dress a year ago, my nipples were on display through a piece of fabric, and it really wound people up. It’s the freedom that people are scared of; the fact I’m comfortable and happy. Keeping women down by commenting on their bodies has worked for a very long time. I think we’re in this swing now where lots of people are saying, ‘I don’t give a shit.’ Unfortunately, we’ve become so terrified of the human body that we can’t even look at my two little cute nipples behind fabric in a way that isn’t sexual. We need to keep reminding everybody that there is more than one reason for women’s bodies [to exist].”
Pugh noted the issue was more for men than women. “When I wore the [transparent] dresses, every woman I walked past would say, ‘You look like you’re having so much fun.’ And I was!” she said. “Women were drawn to the fact that I was completely happy. That’s been a massive aspect of my career and my life: accepting who I am, and not running away from it.”
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