About Time: We Freed the NippleBy Megan Weal
In the name of research, I decided to spend the morning sans bra. I didn’t feel as if there was anything overtly sexy about the extra little lumps pushing against my t-shirt, nor that they would be offensive to those around me. There were no tight tops, no wet t-shirt competitions, just a loose tank and a pair of carefree, unrestricted nipples. But by the end of the morning I was walking with my arms crossed over my chest.
Why was everyone staring at my breasts as if they were loaded missiles set to corrupt the free world? Why were my covered nipples being perused as a crime? They were standing to attention in front of the jury and they were guilty of inappropriate conduct.
It’s about time we decriminalised the female nipple.
Free the Nipple: The Campaign
Decriminalisation is the motive behind the celebrity endorsed campaign “Free The Nipple”. It all began in 2012 when Lina Esco took to the streets of New York to film her short movie “Free The Nipple”. The small production aimed to fight against the double-standard body-censor laws that females face in society. An attempt to stop hypocrisy between the genders.
The production of the movie gained unsurprising attention and a following was born. Protests began and the movie struggled through the laws and restrictions against the female nipple in the movie industry. The restrictions were everywhere.
But real momentum behind the campaign was aroused when celebrities faced the restrictions of social media big-timers, Instagram and Facebook. A-listers Rihanna, Scout Willis and Miley Cyrus have all been stopped from sharing their nipple-showing photos with the world. The images were censored and the message was delivered loud and clear: No female nipples allowed.
Of course it’s not just celebrities whose nipple photographs are being banned and erased; us regulars aren’t allowed to do it either. But it’s important that the future freedom of the nipple has been taken into the hands of two of the most powerful things in the 21st the celebrity. A match made in protest heaven.
Free the Nipple: Why Support It
It’s really about much more than a woman wanting to bare her breasts on the morning commute, it’s about principle now. The principle that a man can walk around topless in all 50 states in the US, but in 35 of those states if a woman walks the street topless it’s a criminal offence. And that’s unequal.
And if a woman posts a photograph of her exposed nipple on Facebook or Instagram it will swiftly deleted and the account blocked for indecent exposure. Of course, a bare chested man is welcome to grace the social media world with his nipples there for everyone to see.
It’s not about wanting to walk around in the buff; it’s about a woman being allowed to make the same decisions as her male equivalent. It’s about simple, uncomplicated equality in the 21st century; social media and century.
Free the Nipple: The Problem
Female nipples are a social taboo. You can sell guns on Instagram. You can share photographs and videos of violently bloody war crimes and killings. But, evidently, the female nipple is too much for the easily offended social media users, and a simple glance at a nipple would send the children of the population entire into a sexually-charged downward spiral into corruption. It’s baloney.
It would be flippant and unrealistic to brush over the differences between the male nipples and the female. Fundamentally, the female nipple is a source of sexual response. But that’s a social connotation and burden that has been unfairly placed upon the backs of females. We can’t stagnate ourselves in the backward restrictions that have been indented into society over numerous, long decades. The point isn’t the nipples – the point is equality.
Free the Nipple: The Impact
It’s significantly unlikely that, by passing a law allowing women to walk around topless, our streets will consequently be filled with uncovered boobs. I couldn’t fill a single hand counting the number of women I know who would do their groceries in the buff, or who would deliver an important presentation with her nipples pointing at her audience. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have the option.
It’s a campaign to make a woman’s body her own. To remove the attached stigma that a woman’s body as a “thing” that can be criminalised. And surely the impact of that swings much closer to a positive outcome than a negative one.
So, let’s remember that the fight isn’t for just a nipple. It isn’t a lackadaisical idea spawned from the big “f” word (we’re talking feminism here). It’s an attempt to give women the same power over their bodies that men have. You don’t have to bare your boobs to be equal – but we should fight for the right to do so.