NSFW: Soko and Iceland Join the Nipple Freedom
Female censorship is something that society has been accustomed to since forever. The vilification of breasts has always been an important topic of conversation, even since before the women’s liberation movement of the 60s, when bras were donned an unnecessary and repressive clothing element. In 2012 New York was shaken with news of the East Village Topless Woman – a mythical and fervent creature who was spreading the feminist fact that female toplessness is actually legal; a fact that many people, including several policemen, had no idea about.
Since then the Internet has changed drastically with the incredibly forceful campaign #freethenipple, which prompted support from both women and men and a myriad of celebrities. Petra Collins, Miley Cyrus, and Scout Willis were amongst many famous females who were all censored on Instagram for sharing breasts, the latter of which revolted against the prudish/sexist policy in the most bad ass manner: walking around the city while airing out her boobs. What a way to give the middle finger.
The movement has grown exponentially, with one of the main activists Lina Esco directing and acting in this year’s raved about film titled – what else? – Free the Nipple. The film staged guerilla topless protests and spread the movement farther than it has already gone, raising more awareness to the oppression that our lady bits are subjected to both in the Internet and in real life.
In fact, yesterday a new wave of #FreeTheNipple rallying sparked in Iceland after a girl was cyber bullied by a sexist troll for her decision to post a topless photo of herself on Twitter as a support for gender equality. Both of their tweets have since been deleted, but the incident incited hundreds of women to share their own breast photos as support, including Björt Olafsdóttir, a member of parliament of the Bright Future party, who tweeted: "This one here is for feeding babies. Shove that up your patriarchy." Students also deemed March 26th as “no bra day,” which was extremely fitting as last night Soko (who sat down with us recently to discuss music and gender) inspired her own nipple celebration at her concert in London’s 100 Club.
After pulling up her biggest fan onstage, Soko took of his shirt and asked more people to follow suit, asking, “Where are all the feminists in this fucking city?! Show me some fucking titties!” Not surprisingly the feminists abounded, and the stage was swarmed with girls who proceeded to bare it all, with Soko following suit before breaking into her song I Thought I Was An Alien and playing the best, most empowering concert ever.
What’s great about the #freethenipple movement is that is proposes so many important conversational aspects. It makes everyone question through anger why the sexualization of women (particularly as composed by men, like Sports Illustrated or Maxim) is fine to boast but when a woman shares media of herself breast feeding somehow it’s pornographic and disturbing. It raises the question of what makes male nipples so different to female nipples, and why ours are taboo and ban-able. Most importantly it creates camaraderie and support between females, presenting a strong front of control, decision, and independence. Freeing the nipple is not just about being able to show our breasts, it’s about being able to be a woman and being able to decide what being a woman means to each one of us.