Sunday, 27 July 2014

some hesistant social justice: #freethenipple

photo credit: tumblr

In its typically charming passive aggressive style, a revolution has been brewing over the last few days on twitter, in the form of the hashtag #freethenipple. Women across the globe are popularising the statement with an accompanying picture of themselves, looking fabulous whilst ditching their bras. Just harmless selfies, right?

Of course some people don't think so; they are outraged; disgusted; frightened. And who can blame them? There is a ridiculous hypocrisy surrounding the topic of women's chests. Nobody flinches when a topless model is on the front of five consecutive covers on magazine shelves, but in any other situation an exposed nipple can cause confusion and uproar.

This occurrence is undoubtedly a product of modern (westernised) culture. We are internalised with the belief that breasts are something to be thought of sexually, when their real purpose is, duh, to produce milk for offspring. Men and women alike have become blind to this reality.

When we are provided with images of breasts in a non-sexual situation, our brains cannot make sense of it. In one of my school lessons we were given a lesson on breast cancer; as the diagrams were shown on the board I noticed the barely repressed sniggers. Mothers who breastfeed in public are whispered about, sometimes even quietly asked to stop; shamed into bottle feeding.

I suppose what I'm trying to say is although #freethenipple might seem inconsequential to you, or just a bunch of attention seeking girls. In my eyes, this is a big step towards destroying our inbuilt hypocrisy and the de-sexualisation of women's breasts. Girls shouldn't have to tell guys off for eyeing up their cleavage, but at the same time be afraid for anyone to see them topless. Mothers should have the freedom to raise their child however they wish. With the breaking of the taboo surrounding breasts, we could be one step closer to catching breast cancer in its tracks.

After all, it's just a nipple. What's the big deal?

(PS. Sorry for the break between my first and second post! I wanted to make my updates regular but due to some personal circumstances my absence has been longer than I anticipated. I'll try my hardest to put my next post up sooner and start up a routine!)

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