South East High School

Opinion: #FreeTheNipple– end double standards regarding the censorship of female breasts

Men and women, although not exactly same, carry similarities. Both have a brain, heart, and breasts. One difference, however, is one sex is allowed to expose their breasts, and the other isn’t.

Some argue breasts on women are revolting and vulgar with their breast tissue, areola, and nipple, but don’t acknowledge breasts on men also have those.

Many also argue showing breasts on women is immodest, but men expose their chests all the time, while women are arrested. Breasts on men and women are anatomically the same.

Another common argument is women have sex organs on their chests, and men don’t walk around with their pants off, but fail to realize breasts on women are not sex organs, but secondary sex characteristics. Just like lips, facial hair and Adam’s apples, breasts are secondary sex characteristics. If secondary sex characteristics bother people, and want them covered, they can shove their heads in paper bags.

The “Free the Nipple” campaign helps end the sexualization of breasts on women. Free the Nipple is “a film, an equality movement, and a mission to empower women across the world.”

The campaign stands against female oppression and censorship, both in the United States and around the globe. On the campaign’s official website, it states, “Today, in the USA it is effectively ILLEGAL for a woman to be topless, breastfeeding included, in 35 states. In less tolerant places like Louisiana, [the police] can take a woman to jail for up to three years and cost $2,500 in fines [for an exposed nipple]. Even in New York City, which legalized public “toplessness” in 1992, NYPD continues to arrest women.” Free the Nipple works to “change these inequalities through film, social media, and a grassroots campaign.”

“Free the Nipple” was started by activist and filmmaker Lina Esco, and focuses on the double standards regarding female breast censorship. Although its primary focus is to decriminalize breasts on women, it goes beyond that.

Free the Nipple is not just about going topless. It’s about gender equality, and the freedom of choice. If a woman wants to take off her shirt, she should. If she wants to keep her shirt on, she should, but not because it’s illegal to go topless.

Free the Nipple is about making it as safe to be topless for a woman, as it is for a man. It’s about destroying double standards regarding the bodies of the women who will not stand to be told what to do with their body. It’s about ending victim-blaming, and slut-shaming. In instances of rape, the victim is often blamed because of what they wore or what they didn’t wear, and labeled a “slut”, or other demeaning names.

Free the Nipple is about ending that.

We are the underprivileged, underserved, gender. We are the gender who get stuck talking to counselors who ask, “Well, what were you wearing?” We are the gender who is surviving by using our bodies, and even then we’re deemed awful.

Free the Nipple is about normalizing breasts on women and reducing their association with sex. Free the Nipple will not only end hyper-sexualization of the bodies of women and young girls, but will also help more men see women as people instead of sexual objects. More men will respect women and their choices.

More women will feel safer, and breasts will finally be seen for their primary purpose: feeding infants.

“It is illegal for women to go topless in most cities, yet you can buy a magazine of a woman without her top on at any 7-11 store. So you can sell breasts, but you cannot wear breasts, in America,” states feminist author Violet Rose.

Many argue exposing female breasts will distract men and they’ll stare. That’s as sexist as it is offensive. Placing a woman in the position where she’s nothing but something to stare at, is not only dehumanizing, but also objectifying. If men stare, they are the problem, not the woman who is trying to be comfortable in her own skin and fighting for the destruction of double standards regarding her body.

Another argument is “it will lead to more rape”. This argument is a result of slut-shaming and victim-blaming. It was created to make the victim feel as if their whole traumatizing experience was their fault. What someone wears doesn’t cause rape.

What causes rape are rapists.

Most say they don’t want to look at the bare chests of women, but they don’t have to look. They’re not being forced to stare. There’s doing it willingly. Many believe it’s inappropriate for children, but they began life feeding on breasts, and only see a woman’s breasts as shameful because they were conditioned to think that.

Many say there are more important issues to deal with than walking around topless, but 80 years ago, men fought the same battle to make it acceptable to expose one’s chest in public, during the Great Depression.

A woman’s body is not for anyone else.

If she wants to cover it up, she should feel free and safe to do so. If she wants to expose it, she should feel free and safe to do so. What she chooses to do doesn’t indicate the amount of self-respect she has, but indicates her personal preferences and choices.

None of those choices and preferences is anyone else’s business or concern.

If a woman walks around topless, she is conveying that it is her body, and no one else’s. She is, along with the rest of us, demanding we change our society into one where our bodies are not seen as abominations, or public property, but as normal, because that’s what they are.