Is Partial Nudity Acceptable In 2015?

When it comes to igniting the magazine subscribing-sector of the United States on an issue, nothing does so better than the topic of female nudity. The year being 2015, such displays of skin are not only allowed, they're expected, which is why Miranda Kerr's skin-baring Harper's Bazaar shoot shouldn't come as a shock. However, recent public outcry against nudity begs the question: Will readers find Kerr's photo spread artistic or offensive?

Compared to Rihanna's infamous, transparent CFDA gown and Jaime Alexander's heartstopping Azzaro number at the 2013 Thor premiere, Kerr's sartorial experiments are downright prim. In addition to sporting a plunging Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci bodysuit and a bikini-esque Balmain jumpsuit with sultry cutouts, Kerr posed for one image in a J.W. Anderson hat—and no top. The image's caption reads, "With this hat, who needs a shirt?" Who indeed? The publication is no Love Magazine or W, either of which would take no issue in photographing Kerr wearing quite a bit less, but 2015 already appears to possess an odd polarity between media adherents with Victorian values and those who wish to see top models sashaying about in bikinis. The year is already booked solid with undoubtably polarizing media phenomena — 50 Shades of Grey, anyone? — and where the public lands in terms of opinion is anyone's guess.

One such unexpected source of recent public outcry resulted from chanteuse Rita Ora's decision to sport a plunging tuxedo on BBC's The One Show. According to reports, approximately 400 irate viewers protested the cleavage-baring look, resulting in a public apology from the network to its fans. Intriguingly, when Olivia Wilde modeled a similar look on the red carpet in 2013, the look earned her the respect of fashion critics and fans alike. Considering that Kerr sports both cleavage-highlighting looks like Ora and Wilde's and a topless look in the issue, Bazaar may receive its fair share of controversy for the daring shoot.

Is there a cultural shift to blame for the derision against those who choose to bare all, or will the self-appointed sartorial critics of 2015 favor chest-liberating on the streets or even in offices? Kerr's February issue of Harper's Bazaar hits newsstands in a matter of weeks, and will no doubt give the fashion industry an indication of the public's opinion on nudity in 2015.