Free The Nipple began with a single woman, Lina Esco, finally tiring of the double standard women’s bodies face daily, and then deciding to do something incredible about it. Now the phrase, “free the nipple,” transcends the awesome movie and has evolved into a phrase to live by.
Free The Nipple is more than just encouraging women to occasionally let their breasts breathe outside the constraints of bras. Rather, it’s about challenging the constant and oppressive censoring of women’s breasts in society, fashion, and media. This encompasses the simple concept of breastfeeding in public, all the way to walking around in public topless. If men can do it, why can’t we? Are we really that different? Hint, the answer is no.
Men’s and women’s breasts are essentially the same—both have adipose tissue, milk-secreting glands (yes, men can lactate), and nipples. Some humans have bigger or smaller breasts depending on genetics and body fat percentage. Both men and women can develop breast cancer, although men are 100 times less likely to get it compared to women. Some people bemoan the fact that their tatas are too large or small, and sometimes, with enough money, people will decide to change that situation. The similarity between men and women’s breasts is undeniable.
But, only women bemoan the sideboob struggle, or get worried about nipping at the beach. Only women have their nipples pixelated out, or covered in, magazines, tv, and movies. Only women have to ensure a blanket stays over their baby and nipples while breastfeeding, for fear of offending someone. Only women face laws that make it illegal for them to be topless in several locations across the United States.
Only women have their breasts oversexualized, while simultaneously being shamed if their tatas aren’t as perfect and symmetrical as those seen in porn. At their core, breasts are functional organs that allow women to provide their infants with complete nutrition. At face value, breasts are different-sized lumps of tissue that everyone has (except for those with mastectomies). Thus, in the situations where a woman’s breasts have attracted unwanted male attention, the men are at fault—not the women. The focus on it being women’s fault that men are attracted to their breasts, implies that men simply cannot control themselves when faced with women’s breasts and nipples. Which, as Liz Plank illuminates, is frankly preposterous.
On the other hand, fashion has been freeing the nipple for decades, such as with 1970s small boob queen Jane Birkin, or in the 1990s when Jennifer Aniston showing nip frequently in “Friends.” Fast-forward to the present day where one of the hottest fashion trends of the season is sheer everything, and celebrities are boldly stepping forward to support the Free The Nipple campaign. Caitlin Stasey even started a site called “Herself.” that encourages the expression and appreciation of the diverse female form, and also showcases the amazing stories behind each woman’s photo.
Finally, we have Free The Nipple to thank for being a viral topic that forces all of us in society to reevaluate our stance on women’s breasts—whether that be in fashion, on beaches, in our houses, or out strutting our stuff on the streets.
Yes, despite it being 2015, we have a very long way to go before women’s bodies are given the respect they deserve, regardless of the amount of clothing that they wear. Ultimately, we should tire of the cultural myth surrounding a basic, natural part of our biography, and by adopting this stance we actively push to overcome the stigma attached to it.
What are your thoughts on Free The Nipple? Let us know @litdarling. P.S. Send us any Free The Nipple pics—if you dare!
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