Gina Vaynshteyn
July 11, 2014 8:02 am

Regardless of how we feel about exposed nipples, the nipple movement is here to stay. Cara Delevingne, who comes from fashion royalty, created a pretty simple visual that depicts exactly why we shouldn’t be stigmatizing the female nipple: it has the exact same attributes as the male nipple.

With everything that has been going on with Scout Willis, the #freethenipple campaign, and the moral outcry over public breastfeeding, I think it’s important that we revisit the topic. So, let’s briefly catch-up: awhile back, Scout Willis documented her topless day in New York to challenge Instagram’s unfair policy about nipple exposure (say what you will, but if extreme violence is Instagram acceptable, then I don’t see why nipples shouldn’t be as well), Rihanna has been supporting the movement by wearing transparent designer dresses to ceremonies (one of her photos that featured her nipples via French magazine cover was booted off of Instagram), Lina Esco held a topless event in New York, and yesterday, Cara Delevingne posted this on her personal Instagram:

Would I personally expose my nipples? Probably not. However, I think if a woman feels like wearing a see-through top, feeding her child at the park, or posting a photo of her chest on a social platform, she should be able to. Because ultimately, the sexualized breast is a social construct, much like how bare shoulders or midriff were highly sexualized historically, but now are pretty tame versions of exposure. Nipples have been constructed as a social taboo, and the #freethenipple campaign is trying to show that women have had enough of this objectification. By unveiling nipples, women are reclaiming ownership of their own bodies.

Many of you had really good points when I wrote about Scout Willis. You claimed that as long as nipples are sexualized, they will be taboo, and that not joining the movement doesn’t make you any less of a feminist, so why are women so up in arms about this topic? To answer those very valid arguments: yes, nipples are sexualized because we as a culture have specifically sexualized them. However, this movement is a loud one, and it has to be loud to make a difference. Ideally, years from now, the male and female nipple will be treated equally. The other issue as to whether you’re feminist or not a feminist is a topic that irks me in general; I don’t like when feminism turns into the Feminist Olympics.  I don’t think you are more or less of feminist just because you think your nipples should be covered. It’s your body, it’s your choice.

But the nipple movement matters nonetheless. We shouldn’t feel weird about going topless, and if we’re going to keep continuing to view the female body as more perverse than the male body, then we’ve got issues. Women should be able to exist as entities other than sexualized beings, and if we go topless, this act shouldn’t be viewed as sexually engaging. Because if a man goes topless, I doubt the first thing we would think is, “oh he wants sex.” THAT kind of thinking is so deeply ingrained in our minds, that of course exposing nipples feels weird to some of us! The problem, as The Atlantic states, is that “laws incidentally support a larger mentality of objectifying women.” So, that’s where #freethenipple comes in. That’s why it’s important.

 Images via , via

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