But Do We All Want to See Your Boobs? #freethenipple (NSFW)

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scoutwillis.JPG
Scout Willis baring all in the name of equality.
When I first read about Scout Willis (Bruce Willis and Demi Moore's daughter) posting topless pictures of herself in an effort to shame Instagram's no-nakedness policy, I skimmed and then moved on. Apparently, Willis was aligning her mission due to recent efforts by Instagram that pulled images of Rihanna with similarly exposed lady parts off the site. I assumed this was just a passing fad, but I seem to be wrong.

Little did I know that much of this was started by a film, Free the Nipple, that describes itself as an "equality movement" and "a mission to empower women across the world." Because women across the world are oppressed -- which they certainly are -- pushing for equality through nakedness will help. Presumably. The film mentions that it is illegal in 35 states to be topless, which includes breastfeeding. (I am not quite sure where the filmmakers get this number from, since according to the NCSL, 46 states plus the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands have laws that "specifically allow women to breastfeed in any public or private location." Perhaps this law implies that you must have cover on or one of those backwards cape things, it doesn't say specifically.)

But I digress. This "movement" seems to have titillated others (such a poor pun, I know) into letting it all hang out in the name of gender rights and is now like...a thing. Just last week, model Cara Delevigne joined the movement, along with British model/actress Suki Waterhouse, among other people whom you may or may not know.

As with many movements lacking strong leaders, it's tough to say what they want. The point the film and it supporters seem to be making is why is it okay for men to walk around without shirts and not women? Why are women's bodies still being sexualized while men's are not? If we are okay with letting men walk around shirtless and not women, then we must also be okay with uneven pay scales between the genders, men affecting women's reproductive rights and all the other things that women have been fighting for. This is what I am gathering from the #freethenipple movement, although it's hard to say for sure. I don't know what they are hoping to gain, save exposure for these and other feminist agendas.

I'll say this right off the bat. This is a tough itch to scratch and I am a bit confused by my own feelings. I wanted to hash this out with a tried-and-true feminist, one who just happens not to have boobs such as I, and that person is Jef With One F. Jef is outspoken on this blog on his feelings about women's rights, and I assumed he might have some interesting thoughts. Naturally, he does.

AK: To start on this #freethenipple movement, had you heard of it before I brought it to your attention? Either way, what was your initial reaction?

Jef With One F: Honestly? Sadness and exasperation. You remember the whole bra-burning thing? No, of course you don't because it never really happened. There wasn't this widespread movement of women setting their underwear on fire. It was just a one-time thing where some demonstrators threw a few garments in a trashcan labeled instruments of torture.

The myth endures because, you know, boobs. Sweet, bouncy freedom, and also because it lets men paint women as stupid and emotional and not in control of their own bodies. This whole #freethenipple thing seems like that shtick on steroids.

AK: So, I will freely admit I am less than jazzed about this "movement," if you can call it one. As I mentioned above, I am not sure where they get their facts in terms of breastfeeding in public, which I personally do. It's fine. I have not had anyone call me out on it, but I do put a blanket over my body while it's going on. I don't really see why that is such a cause for alarm. I don't want my boobs hanging out for the world to see, and I doubt anyone at Antidote does, either, but that doesn't stop me from feeding my child, with a cover.

Jef With One F: Breastfeeding is important and it should be protected by law. My wife had to fight with her job not to to be relegated to the public bathroom to pump her breast milk, and yeah, she fed our daughter in public with a blanket covering her. There are people who absolutely do lose their minds when they see public breastfeeding, but there are also people that yell at Muslim women in head scarves in Starbucks. Just ignore them and eventually they'll go away.

AK: I understand this is a part of the ideas that freenipple wants to spread. It's not so much the why can't we, it's the why don't we. We live in a country that finds the naked breast a sexualized body part. And not every country does.

In a few of the articles I read, France was mentioned as a land of freedom that embraces the naked female form. First, it goes without saying that France has a very different culture than the United States. Their entire existence and approach to everyday living is vastly opposed to ours, and that includes a lot of cheese and striped shirts. Regardless, the U.S. is not France, and vice versa. Plus, it is not as if women are walking around the Louvre in the buff. They have topless beaches, which have been waning in popularity.

There are many other countries where women walk around with it all hanging out, such as remote parts of Africa, but I tend to doubt the freenipple feminists would want to trade our freedoms for theirs. Ehh?

Jef With One F: The Unites States actually has a proud history of making breasts obscene. Before Western white people started mucking about in Japan, women went topless there all the time. But when their government started trying to sell the country as civilized to the Western world, they outlawed public nudity and things got...weird. That's how hung up we are on the subject. We actually ruin other countries that aren't.

AK: Interesting, and that ties into another point that may seem unpopular in this day and age of social media back-patting. It's all good and swell that Scout Willis and Rihanna want to show off their boobs; they are no doubt lovely. But, and forgive me for being blunt, I don't want to see most women's breasts. And I don't want them to see mine. No Dove commercial can make me look at a breast and think empowerment and self-assurance. Sorry to be the one to say it. Your breasts don't look like British model Cara Delevigne's. That's why they are models, because they have unreal body features. Am I wrong?

Jef With One F: I think it comes back to the idea that breasts exist for sexual selection instead of for, you know, just being a body part. I do find it a little convenient that all the names in this movement are young, pretty girls with impeccable bodies. A feminist movement that only empowers goddesses isn't much of a movement, is it?Trailer probably NSFW

AK: The movement cites the inequality of men being able to bare all while women cannot. I will say the same thing for shirtless men as I did for women; most of you dudes out there should keep your tops on -- especially you, that guy in yoga who I always end up behind.

I see the point of it being a double standard, men can, women can't; perhaps the movement, then, should be for everyone to cover up? Would this include television and film, where women are much more exposed than men? Are men upset that their junks are so taboo on screen? Again, that contradiction is a slant against women.

Jef With One F: There's no denying it's a double standard. Looking at it logically, there is no difference between men's and women's nipples. As for the junk-on-screen argument... it's funny. I've seen way more penises in TV and movies than I've seen labia or vulva in non-porn. Only Gina McKee in The Borgias comes to mind. I'm not sure what the significance of that is.

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55 comments
Veronica Carr
Veronica Carr

There's nothing wrong with my body that I should have to hide it

Kris Maier
Kris Maier

Yeah, fat deposits are sexy. Other fat deposits— not so much!

Kris Maier
Kris Maier

I agree...u want bare breast all the time, do it at home/move to a nudist resort

Sivært Død
Sivært Død

With all of the problems we face on a daily basis in the USA.... this is an issue.... Its pathetic and nothing less.

Staci Marks
Staci Marks

It's legal technical for any woman to go nude till she bends over ..oh must cover niples

David Vazquez
David Vazquez

It's ironic that this was filmed in NYC; it's legal for a woman to be topless here.

Robert Slovacek
Robert Slovacek

oh, and, yes, I'd like to see her boobage. Why not? It's not like it's a pointy issue or anything...

Jim Rassinier
Jim Rassinier

I'm all for making it a law that names don't end with one F.

Robert Slovacek
Robert Slovacek

Nothing wrong with anyone going nekkid. It just gets boring.

Robert Slovacek
Robert Slovacek

Yes, to wanting to see every womans boobs; No to "should we care?"

Staci Marks
Staci Marks

STOP..THIS CHick is pretty...right...don't get mad....if she was 50 years older YOU STILL WANNA SEE THEM BOOBS...POINT..YOU MIGHT BE RON WHITE. ..LOL\U0001f628

Sandra Santos
Sandra Santos

No, i really don't want to see that. Cleavage is just enough to keep the mind wondering. I mean really what's next going commando, totally pantless? Give me a break.... Leave somethings to the imagination!

Katricia Lang
Katricia Lang

Yes! You might not want to see my face that doesn't mean I should wear a paper bag over my head!

Sarah Schellenberg
Sarah Schellenberg

When the question starts, 'should females have the freedom...', the answer is yes. If it starts 'should people...', that's a better question.

Katrina Velvet
Katrina Velvet

Sure, if girls want to deal with even creepier looks from random guys this time with a hard-on and fapping while you pass by. We don't have enough mature ppl in the world to be able to support something like this. (Hehe support. Get it?). Immaturity. See what I'm saying? Lol. No but really. Boobies have become too sexualized to let ourselves go back in time to when it was just normal and natural beings.

dyionisiac
dyionisiac

Here's the fundamental deal.

1) Just because something isn't the MOST important thing doesn't mean it's pointless.

2) The over sexualization of women's bodies IS a problem, and normailzing our laws and behaviors between the genders is an aspect of ending that.

3) Breasts are secondary sex characteristics, not genitals.  If they need to be hidden then men need to be forced to shave and wear turtle necks, because beards and pronounced Adam's apples are also secondary sex characteristics.

4) What other people want or do not want to see should not justify an imbalance between genders.  Either shirts for everyone or choice for everyone.

Melissa Huckabay
Melissa Huckabay

A breast and a penis aren't the same thing. One is used specifically for sex and reproduction. The other's true purpose is to feed a child.

Melissa Huckabay
Melissa Huckabay

I'm a little frustrated at the quick dismissal of the breastfeeding in public issue. "Just use a cover"--that only works if you have a placid baby who doesn't fight the cover. Mine fights with it and pulls it off. And discrimination related to breastfeeding happens more often than these writers would like to believe. I'm not quite sure about the overall point of this movement, but the concerns about breastfeeding in public are, in my opinion, valid.

John Dull
John Dull

Back to feeding. There was a young mom breast feeding @ breakfast the other day. I noticed her the same way I'd notice a cool t-shirt. But that's me. There are too many hung-up folks out there for topless go go by w/o problems.

Kim Harrison
Kim Harrison

Yes, free the nipple, because the fetishization of women's bodies needs to stop.

Eliseo Ramos
Eliseo Ramos

I support the pursuit of happiness and equality for all human beings. Doing it in a genuinely effective way is just as important to the cause as the cause itself. This just seems counterproductive.

O'Rourke Chris
O'Rourke Chris

And what would be next... men walking around with their nut sacks exposed. This is not Europe. I don't care to see any of it.

Hannah McClure
Hannah McClure

UHMMM, I don't always want to see moobs, but that don't mean I'm protected. #freethenipple

Casey Buhrer
Casey Buhrer

Put your damn titties away and fight for your rights in a way that will get you taken seriously. And last I checked the only mothers that ever got problems in public for breast feeding weren't covered. I'd say that's more protecting from creeps that are looking at you as a sexual object because boobs are sexualized, and always will be. If you want to start a movement of gender equality, start teaching your little girls about politics instead of picking yourself and other women apart in front of them.

Veronica Carr
Veronica Carr

it's a chest. there is literally nothing scandalous about fat deposits on the chest unless of course you consider that women are seen as objects to be dominated and owned by men. then it's bad if you show too much chest to too many people or to the wrong people. the chest IS NOT a genital or sexual organ. it's just fat. get over it.

Leslie Morrow Loeser
Leslie Morrow Loeser

Yes Ray I understand what the article is about I was just making a point that if people can't handle breastfeeding mother's then they surely can't handle a chick walking around topless for no reason! You've missed the point but that's OK!

Rachel Holmes
Rachel Holmes

support, what's more beautiful? embellish the world ladies!!!!

Sarah Hirsch
Sarah Hirsch

Sarah Neese, thanks for the ad hominem angle. I've got a girl-shaped chest (somewhere between a b and a c cup). I've also jogged without a bra before. For me, it's not the end of the world. A bit jiggly, but not painful. I usually wear a sports bra, but that doesn't have any bearing on whether or not women's bodies should be seen as shocking just for existing.

Sarah Hirsch
Sarah Hirsch

Haha, yeah, because gender equality is soooo shocking. And really, this has nothing to do with equality and everything to do with whether or not people find individuals attractive enough to be seen. Really good looking ladies don't need to have equality, either, because they're better than that. AMIRITE?

Sarah Neese
Sarah Neese

Sarah either has a man shaped chest or has never jogged without proper support. OUCH?

Sarah Hirsch
Sarah Hirsch

If you're on Galveston Island, then this is probably a normal everyday occurence.

Sarah Hirsch
Sarah Hirsch

This article sounds like a tired conversation between two people who aren't quite scandalized by the subject matter, but still look down upon women and their bodies. (Sorry, guys, but that's what you sound like.) It's not about whether people want to see other people's boobs. It's about people seeing women's breasts as shocking in the first place. This video is probably NSFW (nonsexualized display of woman boobs, trigger warning for sexual assault, harrassment), but it does a good job of turning the tables and showing what everyday run-o-the-mill sexual inequality would look like if guys were treated like girls. It's also French, which is significant because the author mentions how free and appreciative of the female form the French are supposed to be. If only. This is a problem everywhere. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4UWxlVvT1A

Ray Hadfield
Ray Hadfield

Try this....a woman in HEB in a Bikini...turn heads sure...,illegal no....so how about a man.. in a speedo in HEB....speedo/Bikini bottom..any difference...??? or would you ladies stare..???

Ray Hadfield
Ray Hadfield

Breast are for feeding babies...yes....a penis is for making babies...you want 'em hanging out at Burger King..????

Ray Hadfield
Ray Hadfield

The article is not about breast-feeding women....just those that want the shock value of being totally topless....never seen a woman feeding a baby in public totally topless,have you....??

Sarah Hirsch
Sarah Hirsch

Men can already jog around the city without their shirts and nobody freaks out. I don't see how speedos are analogous.

Peyton Hill
Peyton Hill

The only reason a woman's chest is taboo is because our culture and media have sexualized it. There should no issue with a woman being topless in a place where it's perfectly okay for man. A restaurant, probably not. A beach, why not.

Virgil Dunn
Virgil Dunn

See Hadfield's reply as the epitome of what you're talking about.

Ray Hadfield
Ray Hadfield

I guess men of all shapes need to go shopping in speedo's..lets see how the ladies like it then......lol!

Ray Hadfield
Ray Hadfield

No,we don't. 50 percent of these women that like to shock need to keep their tops on..the really good looking ladies don't need to show off like this.

Ray Hadfield
Ray Hadfield

Pointless..?? strange choice of words for this post...lol~

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