OK let’s review:
- As of today in the USA, it is currently viewed as an illegal act to expose oneself from the waist up in public in 35 states –if you are a woman.
- What’s more is the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) puts more censorship on the female body than an act of murder.
Wait, so men can roam about freely, with or without a shirt; but if women do this it’s considered a crime? And presently, the image of a nipple on television is considered more of an obscenity than an act of violence or aggression..?
By George! I think they’ve got it!
Ladies, ladies, keep your shirts on! No literally: keep your shirts on. Because even in places where toplessness has been legalized (like in New York City in 1992), women continue to be arrested for baring all. And in more conservative parts of the “Land of the Free,” an exposed nipple can send a woman to jail for up to three years.
Fortunately, there’s a movement picking up an incredible amount of attention known to some as the “Free The Nipple” campaign where supporters of the movement are working towards changing this blatant act of gender inequality in a radical way. They do this by taking to the streets topless and proud in an attempt to raise consciousness on the issue.
Upon my original introduction to the movement and its ambitions, my initial reactions were ones of cautionary concern. If it were to become legal for women to be barechested, our society is still in need of some serious improvements. For example, if a woman were to choose to go out sans shirt, wouldn’t that produce even more unwanted attention from strangers on the street? With all the cat-calling, street harassment, and victim blaming/shaming that goes on today, do we really need another excuse for creeps to objectify us in public settings, and judges to rule in the defendant’s favor when we speak out against rape?
When discussing these concerns with a close friend, she shared a very different, rather positive outlook on the situation. She pointed out that if the campaign were to succeed in its goals, it would constitute as a step in de-conditioning society to see the female body as something other than a thing that is only to be objectified. Eventually, she continued, after time and exposure the female (upper) body could achieve the same status as the male’s: something that is naturalized in public society, yet still sparks the same sense of allure and attraction when in a more private setting.
Lina Esco, founder of Free the Nipple, clarifies that the movement is not intended to advocate women being bare-chested at all times. Instead, it sets a goal to simply change public perception of women’s bodies and to highlight the blatant gender inequality in today’s day and age. It’s not about whether a woman should or should not; it is about whether she has the right to choose. It’s about sexual suppression in our culture, conditioning women of all ages that their bodies are shameful, and training men to objectify women by only using the female figure to sell products.
If that’s not enough of a reason to hop on the Free Nipple train here’s a list of 15 more for your enjoyment and education.
For more information on the movement, check out its official site here: http://www.freethenipple.com/