Poli-tits

The Free the Nipple campaign is about equalising tits. But why has it become about de-sexualising boobs altogether? Why do feminists encourage Vogue to be littered with little cupcake tits, and yet laud the ban on the taut, sexed-up boobs of Page 3? Why are some boobs celebrated and other boobs chastised? Surely, this isn’t freedom at all.

Our boobs have become a battle ground. On one team is the Page 3 model – shiny, erotic and, essentially, working class. She represents powerful female sexuality. She straddles the words beneath her, using her body as she wants. But, people thought that images of her body were too readily available. Too tempting to be on the kitchen table. Too unworthy to sit next door to the weather forecast. People thought that this wasn’t feminism at all – this was fake-tanned, pumped up sexuality. So instead, she was banned and nipples have become a class issue. We dismiss these women as being ditzy and trashy because they embrace their bodies in a sexual way, in a way that is rarely used by ‘respectable’ feminists. We have instantly reserved freeing the nipple for the middle classes. On the other team is the Vogue model. She is high culture. Her tits are part of her art. And it is images of her that are used to promote the Free the Nipple message that says we should de-sex her nipples and treat them no differently to men’s.

  
The Good, The Bad and The Kruger

But the problem with this message is that her nipples are different to men’s, simply because they’re attached to boobs. And boobs are great – they jiggle and they wobble, they’re nourishing and plentiful and bouncing and buxom. They’re perfect for lying your head on when you’re crying and for warming your hands when the heating’s broken. Boobs are earthy, natural and, most importantly, biologically different to men’s. Free the Nipple shouldn’t be about nullifying the ‘sex’ bit of our boobs, it should be about claiming power over everything they do. Just as we are free to decide whether our hands lay bricks or write books or paint paintings, we should be free to choose what we do with our boobs. Free the Nipple should be about saying – these are mine. I own these boobs and I can make them maternal or sexy or boyish or even irrelevant.

De-sexing boobs in a campaign has the same effect as prohibiting Page 3 – it restricts the way that women are allowed to use their bodies and limits the messages they are allowed to send with them, and this is what’s dangerous. By telling women to de-sex their tits, we’re silencing the ones that want to be curvy and racy. It’s 2017, and we’re still telling women where to put them. This revolution is not just about freeing the nipple, but about freedom of the nipple. We need to stop telling women what to do with their bodies and start creating a space where all nipples have the freedom to be in or out or sexy or not. The point of this campaign is about ownership. The point is that whether pert, shiny, big or small, they’re all yours and you can use them how you want.

Words by: Megan