By Blaise Easton
Division 2, News Writing
Bylined Opinion Article
About 75 years ago it was illegal in all 50 states for men to be shirtless on a beach; even bare ankles used to be considered illegal for women. Now we look back at that and laugh.
According to nudity and public indecency laws in America, New York, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, Ohio and Texas are the select handful of states that have legalized toplessness for both men and women. In less tolerant places like Louisiana, an exposed nipple can take a woman to jail for up to three years and cost $2,500 in fines.
The “Free the Nipple” campaign has the goal in mind of equality by challenge double standards one protest, film, and t-shirt at a time. The campaign is empowering women across the world, to take a stand against female oppression and censorship.
Social media sites fuel the fire of the campaign supporters when photos of female nipples with non-sexual intention, such as breastfeeding, are banned. You can pay to see women in movies or at a strip club but the moment a woman owns her own body, it is shameful. The digital cry for gender equality has increased dramatically, especially after the release of the film “Free the Nipple” in 2014. (Watch it on Netflix!)
Protesters across the country walk topless with slogans such as “It’s not about seeing boobs! Free the boobies! They are boobs, not bombs!,” to get their point across. But some are skeptical of the campaign and wonder if maybe it is working against itself. There is concern that images shared by the campaign could be defeating gender equality by encouraging women to be objectified. But if showing our boobs pave the road to equality by getting people’s attention, then unstrap my push-up and let me be objectified.
The normalization of the female nipple will take time. I know I am not comfortable with walking side by side with my topless grandma, but that is only because I have grown up with the idea that my breasts are a symbol of sexuality and should not be flaunted. We are shielded from it, and it is because of that that curiosity is peaked. I too have been brainwashed by the double standard that female nipples are completely different. But if I take a step back and let go of what I am told is right, there is no difference. My hope for the campaign is to open minds to the idea of change, and to the realization that not everything we are forced to do is right.
We are the flappers of our time, and we can open minds one boob at a time.