For as long as the human form has been glorified in art, nudity has been more than a little controversial. No matter how progressive our society has become, there is still loads of room for improvement when it comes to treatment of the female body, which is alternately publicly exploited and banished from view. This reality is confusing and outrageous to many women, including Melina DiMarco, who is addressing this bizarre dichotomy with the launch of Nood, an app that "covers your ladyparts" with "body positive" stickers. Before you think it's a modesty-based app, get all images of fig leaves out of your mind; Nood covers up actual nipples with illustrations of nipples, subverting the idea of what is and isn't being censored.
The Philly-raised DiMarco laughs when she thinks about how ironic it is that she spent her childhood in Catholic school. "I think it's always funny when I talk to my parents about the work I do because they're like, 'We sent you to Catholic school! I don't understand!'"
The idea for Nood has always been in the back of DiMarco's mind since she graduated from the Pratt Institute in 2014. A majority of the work that went into her senior thesis was "making people feel more comfortable with saying the word vagina." During her time out in the real world post-grad, DiMarco was fortunate enough to link up with THINX and star in a variety of their period-proof underwear campaigns. "They made me just feel that everything I was thinking and internalizing was normal," she says. "I was like, 'Oh great, everyone is talking about their vagina so confidently. I love this.'"
This past summer, DiMarco sat down to develop the app and attempt to make Nood a tangible reality. The app isn't just for nipples either—Nood allows ladies to cover their "vag," "bits," "marks," and "perks," with a variety of colorful icons ranging from pastel pinks to rich browns and a range of textures for all the hair follicles.
Nood is so much more than an app, though. DiMarco believes that it's a movement where she can provide women with a safe space to display their bodies on their own terms. But that's not how the tech world sees it. Unfortunately, Nood has been rejected by both the Apple App Store and Google Play because it was labeled as "objectionable material." (You can sign the petition to get Nood in the app store here.)
Learn more about the inner workings of the app from the creator herself in our interview with DiMarco below.