Anon / body image / May 2015: Women's Bodies

Free The Nipple

Whenever I see the words “Women’s Bodies” included within a sentence, I immediately think of a woman with curves, big boobs and hair that goes down to her shoulders in a bikini with a flat tummy. When I hear “Men’s Bodies”, I immediately think of a young man, no older than twenty, topless in his trunks with a six pack. This conditioned way of thinking may be partly because of a lot of advertisements in mainstream media are hyper sexualised. But why is it that women have to cover their nipples yet men don’t? Boob or pec, they’re still serving the same purpose.

This is something I have dealt with personally, at the age of around seven and I wanted to share my story with the readers of Zusterschap. I was with my two male cousins and friends of the family in Spain and we were on the beach riding bicycles. It was hot and so all four of the boys took off their shirts and carried on cycling. I was the second youngest out of the five and decided to do the same. As I was mid way through taking my top off (with no bikini top on underneath) my mum stopped to tell me that I couldn’t do it because I was a girl. She said that girls can’t take their top off and this made me feel upset and left out. I was hot but I had to go through discomfort all because I am a girl. I was left confused and I didn’t understand why I couldn’t just take my top off. It took me a while to figure out why but now when I think back on it, I still feel like I want to cry for the seven year old me. I was a skinny seven year old so there wasn’t anything there – I was as flat as the boys.

I fully understand why some women would feel uncomfortable showing their nipples and I would never make anybody feel bad for not wanting to either. However, I can’ t help but wonder why this is still an issue today in 2015. My frustration is with the sexist double standards media practice when it comes to nipples – women’s nipples are often censored and men’s are not.

From a young age we are taught not to reveal ourselves because boys may stare when really we should be teaching boys not to stare. Woman go through great lengths of discomfort all because society says so. You have to admit: it’s bullshit that women are often forced to cover their nipples all because they have breasts behind them.

What are your thoughts?

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One thought on “Free The Nipple

  1. What i find strange about societies attitude to female toplessness is that it seems as long as the small surface area of the breast is covered it’s not offensive but by just showing the nipple it is -It just doesn’t make any sense and seems society is unable to able to see this. Speaking from a UK perspective it would be interesting to see if a bill got put in front of parliament to make it legal for women to be topless in areas where it is deemed ok for men if it would pass? surely it would have to as i don’t see what case could be put against it and i also think if it was put before parliament most of society would actually be in favour. It’s like people are almost to afraid to come out and say actually female toplessness is fine because they think their peers won’t agree but in fact i suspect most would agree. In general society needs to be much more liberal with the human body to counter the imagery we see in the media and make people know what real bodies look like.


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