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Brighton Journal | 21st January 2020

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Why The Free The Nipple Movement This Weekend Is Important

Why The Free The Nipple Movement This Weekend Is Important
Hannah Midgley

This weekend, on Saturday the 19th of August, Brighton is hosting a Free The Nipple rally along the seafront.

The Free The Nipple movement began with a woman in NYC who made a documentary in 2012 about gender equality and female empowerment. She drew attention to the double standards between men and women, specifically that of exposing ones body. A man can walk freely shirtless, whereas a women may be subject to ridicule, violence and even arrest if she did the same.

It highlights how attitudes towards women’s bodies and sexualities are often very confusing and there is no way to get it right. If you want to be respected you are encouraged to cover up. Women can’t breastfeed in public but images of women with big breasts and ‘conventionally beautiful’ bodies are seen all over mainstream media, a perfect example of this is page 3. There is the stark contrast between being sexually free and being branded a slut and the glamorisation of women’s bodies as the objects of male desire.

The rally isn’t just about nipples, it is about all of these other issues within the umbrella of gender inequality. The event organisers say that it is time for us to protest in the face of oppression, reclaim ownership of our bodies, love them no matter their shape, colour or size and to be in solidarity with each other.

Feminism is about men and women being equal and is not a movement about women hating men. It is something which should be supported by all, as no person should be shamed into hating their body or have their sexuality denied.

This weekend everyone can unite and agree that the world needs more equality. You do not have to be topless to attend but women who want to ‘free the nipple’ are safe to do so.

It is a family friendly event but organisers are stressing their code of conduct in order to make it safe for everyone. See what they wrote below:

  • Do not take photos of any lone person without asking them.
  • If someone thinks they were in your photo or video and they don’t want to be – be respectful and resolve the matter calmly.
  • If someone sets a boundary – such as saying no to a request or asking to be left alone – respect that boundary.
  • If someone makes you feel uncomfortable – calmly let them know and ask for support from an organiser if you need to.
  • Please be mindful that vulnerable people including children are sharing your space.
  • Please keep all discourse friendly and peaceful at all times.
  • Please treat the public with courtesy.
  • Red armband = I do not want my face in a photo or in a video.
  • White armband = I am an official photographer, videographer, face painter or rally team member.

To find out more about the movement and the event on Saturday visit their site here.

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