14 Genuinely Awesome Times We Saw An Actress’s Boobs [NSFW]

In last week’s Oscar broadcast, Seth McFarlane executed a monumentally disturbing “We Saw Your Boobs” montage which completely tore apart everything we as women hold dear about boobs. His inclusion of rape scenes, post-sexual-assault doctor visits and stolen private photographs as triumphant moments in the Showing of Boobs was a despicable example of the pervasiveness of rape culture and the perpetual public ignorance of it. That was seriously fucked up.

We feel like this would be a good moment to reclaim the Showing of Boobs. As queer women, we feel uniquely qualified to perform this task. See, nobody on the internet knows what they’re talking about w/r/t boobs. Quick google searches for “best topless scenes” turn up predictable lists delighting over scenes designed specifically to titilate straight men (one list of “best topless scenes” included Schindler’s List, if you can believe it) and screaming in agony over scenes that don’t fit into the list-makers narrow definition of beauty, such as scenes in which women over the age of 50 dare to bare. We wanted to celebrate really kickass, empowering or super-sexy topless scenes, with an inevitable bias towards the queer scenes.

A note on the nudity in this post: Because we have this fantasy of people giving us money to advertise things on our website, we usually stick to a “no-nudity” rule on everything, but honestly placing little cartoon hearts over everybody’s nipples for this post started to feel silly and sex-negative because like, who says nipples need to be censored? THE PATRIARCHY? In a post about showing boobs, we shouldn’t be censoring boobs. Anyhow, we’re still maintaining the fantasy of getting advertisers one day, so this will probs be the only time we show you any nip. I don’t know it just happened. Lick it up, laides, lick it up.

In the past, we have celebrated ten movies we watched for the brief nudity. Today we celebrate something similar. You can share your favorite topless situations in the comments!

14 Great Moments In Boobery

1. Cheryl Dunye in Watermelon Woman

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After the release of her first feature film, The Watermelon Woman, lesbian director/actress/writer told The Advocate that “it doesn’t bother me to be naked on-camera. I’m buck naked in all my videos too.” That’s the spirit! Also, she plays a lesbian video artist determined to find out about the black actresses ignored by Hollywood history, so there’s absolutely nothing not awesome about this situation.

2. Angelina Jolie in Gia

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One day in the future, lesbian historians will look back on this moment as one of our early accurate representations of how shit goes down between lesbian lovers — you know, like when the girl tries to sneak out in the morning to return to her boyfriend and then somebody’s in the hallway with their top off! There are lots of glorious moments for Angelina Jolie’s breasts in this fantastic film, which made so many of us gay.

3. Diane Keaton in Something’s Gotta Give

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This slapsticky scene has made its way onto far too many “worst topless scenes” lists, therefore cementing its inclusion here. HOW DARE A 57-YEAR-OLD WOMAN SHOW US HER BREASTS? Because she’s fucking awesome, that’s why.

4. Jenny Shimizu, Angelina Jolie and Heddy Burress in Foxfire

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The tattoo scene is the epitome of something I thought I would never ever have: lots of girls, toplessness, tattoos, being dangerous. Like it scared the fuck out of me and made me so sad for my boring life, but I loved it obvs. NOW LOOK AT US. Tattoos, boobs, friends in weird cities.

5. Mia Kirshner in the opening credits of The L Word

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Goddess bless Mia Kirshner and her fantastic breasts, which for reasons unbeknownst to us but for which we are eternally grateful, showed up in the opening credits fully naked every single week. She usually got naked in the actual episode as well, which was a nice bonus.

6. Sahara Knite w/Esme Bianco, Game Of Thrones

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Most of the time on Game of Thrones, people are slicing each other’s heads off with knives! But sometimes there are 4-minute lesbian sex scenes, like this one starring Indian actress Sahara Knite, The UK’s only Muslim porn star! How about that for a cameo?

7. Sara Rue in Gypsy 83

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In the 90’s/early 00’s we were pretty much willing to watch anything that claimed to be both “indie” and regarding “coming of age.” Plus it won a bunch of gay film festival prizes because Sara Rue’s bestie in the movie is gay. They’re both goths who flee Sandusky in search of Stevie Nicks. Oh and also, boobs.

8. Lynn Chen and Michelle Krusiec in Saving Face

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This movie, one of the best lesbian films of all time, features the most tender and lovely sex scene between its titular characters.

9. Lynn Whitfield in The Josephine Baker Story

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Josephine Baker’s boobs are pretty famous, and although our memories of this 1991 HBO film are dim, and we’re pretty sure it failed to properly convey Josephine Baker’s bravery, tenacity and *COUGH* queerness, still, it’s Lynn Whitfield as Josephine Baker, you know? In fact, Whitfield snagged a NAACP Image Award, a Golden Globe nomination and an Emmy nomination for her portrayal of Josephine Baker in this flick.

10. Lena Dunham in Girls

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There’s plenty to find problematic in Girls, but Lena Dunham’s consistent nudity isn’t one of them. Do you remember the moment when you realized this was the first time you’d seen somebody with an im”perfectly” proportioned body having sex on television? She’s completely comfortable in her own skin and her lovers are, too, and the fact that as the writer/director, she’s doing it all on her own terms, makes it especially awesome.

11. Kristen Stewart in On the Road

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We haven’t actually seen this movie yet, but definitely wanted to, and now absolutely plan to.

12. Salma Hayek and Karine Plantadit-Bageot in Frida

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Salma Hayek’s always been a confident exhibitor of her fantastic rack, and her turn as bisexual artist Frida Kahlo was no exception. We’re especially fond of the love scene between Frida and Josephine Baker, played by Alvin Ailey dancer and Broadway actress Karine Plantadit-Bageot. So I guess we got Josephine Baker in this top ten two ways, so to speak. Fun fact: Julie Taymor, who directed Frida, also directed Plantadit-Bageot in The Lion King on Broadway!

13. Mary Louise Parker in Weeds

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Mary Louise Parker 4ever.

14. Erin Daniels, Leisha Hailey, Alexandra Hedison, Rachel Shelley, Lauren Holloman, Mia Kirshner, Rose Rollins, Barbara Kottmeier, Karina Lombard, Katherine Moennig, Anne Ramsay, Sarah Shahi, Lauren Lee Smith, Lynda Boyd, Kate French, Angela Gots, Gina Holden, Sandrine Holt, Shay Kingston, Kristanna Loken, Alberta Mayne, Mei Melancon, Sarah Shahi, Audra Ricketts and Alicia Leigh Willis on The L Word

Great-Moments-in-Nudity

Hey look, we relate: every time we see a hot lesbian, we too want to take our shirts off, too.

Riese is a Jewish lesbian and the 37-year-old CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker, low-key power lesbian and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 2604 articles for us.

73 Comments

  1. I know it’s pretty straight scene, but Original Sin(make sure it’s the directors cut cause that scene is longer in there) has a great nude scene of Angelina, thought it gets kind of ruined by Banderas. On the flip side, the commentary is funny as hell, cause the director is like he is brave man Banderas doing this sex scene with Angelina. My friend and I were like brave? Dude fricking lucky!

  2. Shout out to all the other ladies with very large breasts who may have felt a little left out! I think we probably get enough attention to not need to be glorified on this list, but BBWs and ladies with Ds plus…Get out there and keep showing your beautiful bodies. Someday even in films. And it will be awesome, and more lists will be made, and there will be love for all the breasts!

    PS This is a wonderful list (No sarcasm. I like all of these pictures, they made me have feelings, and were relevant to my interests!)

  3. This list reminds me of the time I found the sex scene in Black Swan, watched it, turned the movie off, never watched the rest of the movie.

    Also, no Bound? I saw that movie on tv a year or so after it came out (so age 12?) and was like, welp, guess I’m gay.

  4. Okay, now I’m gonna have to think about my favourite boob moments, thanks for putting that in my head! (no, really!)..on a related, although non celebrity note, my first nickname at school was ‘boobies’ on account that mine appeared before the other girls in my year. Yeah, I reallt enjoyed that name!

  5. It is a shame that a website like Autostraddle that writes articles about how people objectifying women…patriarchy yada yada yada…. then goes ahead and put’s out a post like this. When Afterellen goes ahead and call Seth Mcfarlane a sexist about the lyrics to his song about women’s boob’s and here we are–this is sexism. Also, if you have any respect for these women, you wouldn’t have done this. As a young queer this is THE wrong kind of message you are sending to the other young queers.

    • I think this post is more about celebrating female bodies and the idea of being comfortable in your own skin than it is objectifying. I think sometimes it’s ok to look and admire. These women chose to show their breasts in these acting roles and that makes it art really doesn’t it?

      Boobs, boobs, they all have lovely boobs.

    • i hate it when people comment without reading the introduction
      please also take a time out to contact the amazing queer filmmakers on this list and tell them to put their shirts on

    • Objectification: “HEY CHECK OUT THE KNOCKERS ON THAT PIECE OF ASS!! I’D TAP THAT.”

      Appreciation: “This is a beautiful woman who is so sexy and confident with her body that she chooses to use nudity to express and develop her character through the art medium of film.”

      Please rehash your Feminism 101 notes.

      • Note how the first statement (Objectification) does not even acknowledge the humanity of the subject, being a woman who has chosen to partake in nudity, while the second (Appreciation) starts by humanizing the subject with a follow-up explaining why the admiration is expressed and the importance of the subject’s actions.

    • To love my body and celebrate the fact that it’s fucking amazing to be a woman of any shape/colour/race ? Gosh…What a horrible message to send!

      Also, I love when patriarchy becomes ” yadda yadda yadda”…Missing the mark on all occasions it seems.

    • I think the replies to this are pretty harsh, you guys. Not that I entirely agree, but she has a fuckin point. If the essence of reducing actresses’ entire careers to the moments when they showed their boobs is objectifying, then making a “response” to that insult of ‘Here’s moments where actresses showed their boobs and it isn’t offensive this time b/c we said so b/c it’s us posting it” isn’t much of a response. No, they’re not from assault scenes, but if I understood the outcry correctly that wasn’t the only point of why many people found it offensive. You can add a disclaimer that this is when women were ~owning it~ and being ~empowered~ but c’mon, it’s existing in the same system.

      • There seems to be fine lines between slut-shaming and objectification and appreciation. When is a compliment or admiration appropriate and removed from a patriarchal expectation of female sexuality and nudity?

        • Why should enjoying the erotic attributes of the human body automatically be considered degrading? That isn’t systematic, it’s part of being human. Whether your a man/woman or somewhere in between, whether you desire the male or female body or both; it’s the attitude that makes the difference between appreciation or degradation.
          I don’t say objectification because I’m not sure if that entirely a bad thing. If you define objectification as reducing someone to object it is, but if you define as focusing on a persons objective quality be it sex appeal or smarts-it might not be. When you try to dress yourself up for what you hope will be a hot date, that’s trying to be a sex object in a way. We’d just prefer not to be known only for sex appeal all the time and this is more of a problem for woman. But there should be no shame in admitting you like to look.
          The only thing systematic about the Male Gaze is it leaves our range of visual pleasure very narrow. I don’t deny that it exists, but even Laura Mulvey later admitted that her original essay introducing the concept was limited. The two problem I have with it are a) it assumes all men only find certain female body types attractive based on the repeat images they receive and b) that woman (gay woman especially) play no role in shaping these images.
          What I’ve long wonder is just how different are gay woman’s view from straight men’s about the how the female body is made sexy? Is there that much difference at all? Are woman more likely to embrace a wider range of body types? Articles like this are good start at deconstructing media images and revel how who we are affects are response.

          • I completely agree. Also, I don’t actually think there are fine lines; it just seems that a lot of people conflate all three concepts as one and the same under the Bane of Patriarchy.

            (Believe me, I know. I got into a fight about sexism and objectification with a fellow feminist because I said that Lea Michele has a nice ass.)

  6. I’d just like to say that this is one of the best things I’ve ever seen on this site…boobs can be awesome; community and solidarity make them even more awesome. Fuck the patriarchal gaze and goddess bless Autostraddle!

  7. McFarlane wasn’t just trying to embarrass actresses or shame their bodies, he was making a statement about the way our society sees women’s bodies. By adding in the rape/sexual assault he was commenting that people will objectify women’s bodies no matter what the message in the movie was trying to convey. Women’s bodies are so stigmatized that even if something terrifying is happening, the first thing that registers is BOOBS. He’s a comedian who is large on social commentary. Maybe his delivery method was obscure, but he didn’t do it just for kicks. He had a platform, and he used it. Effectively, in my opinion.

    • That’s a lot of reaching and assumption. He sang a “We saw your boobs” song, and those were pretty much the only lyrics. I don’t think it was as bad as people have taken it, BUT this new narrative that he was ‘calling out’ sexism and making a satirical point is just stupid.

    • There was indication that he had a point to make. It seemed like he just wanted desperately to sound cute like-“if I admit to being total offensive, than I’m really just making fun of myself right?” Hee Hee.
      Lenny Bruce (while not unknown for objecting women in his monologs), did a much better job of satirizing the way our society commodifies woman bodies back in the 60s:

  8. I forgot about that movie about Josephine Baker. My old boss liked to insist on playing it whenever anyone stopped by. I frequently wanted to comment on her lack of heterosexuality. I never did, but I was tempted.

    The first time I saw Frida I watched the scene where she hooked up with Josephine Baker more times than I care to admit.

  9. One of my favorite boob scenes is the scene in the pond in _Sirens_. Boobs are so beautiful.

    Thank you for this collection of positive breast images. And thank you especially for Diane Keaton. As a woman in my 50’s, I’m really sick of the pervasive notion that I don’t belong in an article like this because nobody wants to look at women my age naked.

      • Aww, thank you, Lindsay. It’s nice to read that. More often people seem repulsed by idea of a woman in her 50’s (and above) naked. I particularly hate those cartoons about older women’s boobs hanging down to their knees. We don’t all look like that! And even if some of us do, that kind of mockery is needlessly cruel.

  10. The Frida film is gorgeous because of its visual style, but I kind of find the queerness in the film a little troubling. It’s like, there is no genuine love between the women, they just seem like exotic curiositys to make the film sell to all the straight men. I like the film a lot, I just find the potrayal of her lesbian affairs in the film a little trivial

    • I think the movie was trying to convey that she never had a lasting love affair with anyone (man or woman) besides Diego. Even there it was more a mutual love between friends with similar desires about art and sex than anything romantic. If a straight man can go through woman like underwear, why no a bi-sexual woman. Still, I see why that can be troubling as bisexuals are often stereotyped as highly promiscuous. Even when where seeing an accurate portrayal of real persons life, it can be awkward sensing a stereotype reinforced.

      • This is true – actually I think that’s what bothers me the most. That the bisexuality part is just a matter of her promisciousness. It’s just a little stereotypical. But it’s a gorgeous film apart from that.

        • Frida came out at the same times as 3 other films focused on bisexual women (Iris, Possession, I forget the third) and all 4 of them focused the story on the woman’s deep emotion relationship with a man and reduced her relationships with women to minimal screen time focused solely on sex.

          For all I know that’s an accurate depiction of Frida’s sexuality, but it’s pretty telling that bi women only get big screen representation when their sexual lives follow (or can be edited to follow) one particular narrative.

          Neither Frida nor Iris is really a biopic, but stories that focus on Frida & Diego’s relationship and Iris Murdoch & John Bayley’s relationship, and leave almost everything else out. The recent Nina Simone film, which focused entirely on a romantic relationship with her manager even though he was gay in real life, is another example of how much women’s biopics portray even very accomplished women’s lives as revolving around men.

  11. Are we just going to ignore the 9th pic of that L Word collage thing? I mean, It’s just KateShane smiling at some boobs.
    It’s basically the most accurate reaction picture ever to boobs.

    Just try to think about boobs and then not make that same face.

    boobs.

  12. Maybe this is just nitpicking, but the #14 lists practically everyone on The L-Word but noticed there is no JBeals.

    I can’t remember, but did we ever see Bette Porter’s boobs?

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