Rachel Grate
November 21, 2014 9:32 am

Ever wondered why men can go shirtless in public and women can’t? So has Lina Esco, the director of the new movie Free the Nipple. IFC Pictures—which called the dramatized chronicle of the ‘Free the Nipple’ movement a “spirited satire”—just released a new trailer this week.

The movie tracks two women who decide that they have what it takes to change the laws of this country — in the form of legalizing women to go topless. Despite struggling to make rent, they manage to gather groups of women together across the U.S. to run through the streets.

The scenes were shot in New York, where it’s technically legal for women to go topless. However, once they started filming, a cop intervened saying they couldn’t shoot because it looked like they were filming porn.

That instance alone proves why the film has the potential to be powerful. Women’s breasts are sexualized to the point that breastfeeding in public is often shamed, when such an act should not be considered sexual or obscene. It’s also about equal rights, and a symbolic statement about the different privileges women and men are afforded.

The movement had a major social media moment when activist Scout Willis made a topless statement on Instagram earlier this year. In a piece for XO Jane she wrote: “What I’m arguing for is a woman’s right to choose how she represents her body—and to make that choice based on personal desire and not a fear of how people will react to her or how society will judge her. No woman should be made to feel ashamed of her body.”

Esco echoed those sentiments in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, saying “there’s a power in women when they go topless and they own their bodies and they don’t see any shame in it.”

It may be a little too chilly to go to the movies bare-breasted when the film is released, but you can still support the #freethenipple movement in theaters on December 12.

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