The Oppenheimer star wore the transparent dress to the label’s haute couture show in Rome last July. She received a slew of derogatory messages from people commenting on her breasts and nipples.
At the time, Pugh responded to the “vulgar” backlash in an Instagram post. “What’s been interesting to watch and witness is just how easy it is for men to totally destroy a woman’s body, publicly, proudly, for everyone to see,” she wrote.
In a new interview with Elle, Pugh, who has been named the current winner of the magazine’s “style icon” award, spoke candidly about how her body has been the subject of scrutiny.
“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 said.
“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 the with Valentino pink dress a year ago, my nipples were on display through a piece of fabric, and it really wound people up.”
The Don’t Worry Darling star continued: “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.”
The actor believed that there is a “swing” taking place among public opinion, with more people having a “I don’t give a s***” attitude, she said.
“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,” Pugh added. “We need to keep reminding everybody that there is more than one reason for women’s bodies [to exist].”
In her Instagram post addressing the controversy over her nipples at the time, Pugh wrote: “I’ve lived in my body for a long time. I’m fully aware of my breast size and I am not scared of it. What’s more concerning is… Why are you so scared of breasts? Small? Large? Left? Right? Only one? Maybe none? What. Is. So. Terrifying.”
She reflected on the reaction in a Vogue interview in January, saying: “I’ve never been scared of what’s underneath the fabric. If I’m happy in it, then I’m gonna wear it. Of course, I don’t want to offend people, but I think my point is: how can my nipples offend you that much?”
Elsewhere in her latest interview, Pugh also said that women were far more complimentary of her wearing sheer dresses than men.
“When I wore the [sheer] 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.”