Tracking the "nip slips" and other wardrobe malfunctions of stars like Tina Fey has become a major focus for the entertainment media, as well as a means for lower-tier celebrities to get more media attention.
The fleeting glimpse of a nipple or flash of a pubic region may often be more intentional than accidental. If not, why would someone like Britney Spears or Paris Hilton emerge from a limousine in front of waiting paparazzi wearing a micro-miniskirt and no underwear? Why would rapper Nicki Minaj appear on the Ellen DeGeneres show wearing a short Moschino jacket with only the top button fastened and nothing else to cover her less-than-diminutive bosom?
Minaj is a practiced nip slipper, of course, having let her wardrobe slide on "Good Morning America." And wardrobe is the key word here. The wardrobes in these circumstances are not really malfunctioning, they are simply not designed to perform functions that defy the laws of physics.
The most noted nip slip in recent weeks came at the Emmy Awards. When Tina Fey went onstage to accept the award for Best Comedy Writing, the top of her low-cut gown drifted to the right and all of America went into shock.
Well, maybe not. As is the case with most nip slips, it went unnoticed by the average viewer – but not by entertainment bloggers who seem to have a keen eye for this thing.
Fey did not plan her malfunction, I am sure – she hardly needs additional notoriety – but she used it to her advantage. During appearances on Jimmy Fallon's late-night talk show and on "Saturday Night Live," as well as in a couple of promos for "SNL," Fey made her errant nipple a device for some excellent, self-deprecating humor that endeared her to us even more.
At the Academy Awards earlier this year, the titillating buzz was all about how Gwyneth Paltrow's gown was styled in a way to show quite clearly that she was not wearing panties. "What would we see if her dress went west while her body went east?" the celeb watchers clucked and giggled. Welcome to middle school.
The problem could be resolved if the women of the entertainment world would just follow their grandmothers' advice and dress modestly. But what fun would that be? When they are out on the town or in line for awards, celebrities are expected to be sexy and daring, not dress like soccer moms at a book group.
Still, it does seem just a bit weird that entertainment shows and websites are so obsessed. It must be hard work scouring all those photos and hours of videos to find fleeting views of starlets and singers with their naughty bits ever so slightly exposed.
Maybe they hire 14-year-old boys to do the research, although it is hard to imagine any 14-year-old boy as fixated on all of this as the ogling nip slip aficionados at places like TMZ.
I guess, just like the celebrities, they know what their audience wants -- and it ain't sensible undies.