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.
Scout Willis baring all in the name of equality.
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.