Jul 062015 25 Responses

There is No Need to #FreeTheNipple

Do I really have to explain this? Sadly, in today’s culture the answer is yes. There is a difference between the nipples of a woman and the nipples of a man. It’s not sexist. Women are not being held back because of it. There is no great battle to fight in order to free the nipple.

In our society, men can walk around without a shirt while women should wear one. This is not disrespectful to women. Changing our societal norm to allow topless women to roam the streets will not liberate women.

The latest buzz on social media is a campaign labeled #FreeTheNipple. While Facebook and Instagram have appropriately censored photos showing bare-breasted women, a group is fighting back. Believing the censorship of female nipples is sexist and unnecessary, a group is encouraging users to photoshop male nipples on pictures of topless women. Their hope is to point out what they believe to be a hypocritical understanding that female nipples should be covered in public while male nipples can be freely seen. (See: What Your Husband Wants from You in Bed)

Their belief is that since we all have nipples, every nipple is the same. Why should one gender cover their nipples while the other is free to let theirs get a tan? They believe it is unfair and they want the social custom changed.

While it is true that everyone has nipples, it is not true that ever nipple is equal. As we all know, there is a difference between the female breast and the male breast. One is deeply connected with sexuality and attraction, the other is not.

Comedians know this. More than one comic has caricatured the average man as simply wanting “to have a beer and see a boob.” I’ve never heard a funny joke about a woman simply wanting to “have a pint and see a pec.”

Advertisers know this. While a ripped male body might sell products, the average male nipple cannot. However, even the most average woman can use her breasts to draw attention.

Children know this. If my 7-year-old accidentally sees his sister without her shirt on, he knows he has seen something he shouldn’t have. I haven’t told him it is wrong, he simply knows it. Hers aren’t like his and to see hers is a violation of her privacy. (See: Silas on the Sybil War, Col. Sanders, and Peeing Crooked)

Female breasts/nipples are not evil. They shouldn’t be the source of shame. They are a natural part of human life. Yet their normality doesn’t mean our culture’s tradition of covering them in public is wrong. It is right. It is a modest act which empowers a woman, enriches intimate relationships, and draws a clear boundary between our public and private lives.

Is it fair a man can go topless in public and a woman cannot? Maybe not. But it is life. I’ve never met a happily married couple who wishes the husband was not attracted to his wife’s breasts. Both husband and wife enjoy the attraction when expressed in a healthy way. If wearing a top in public is the downside to this aspect of healthy sexuality, it is worth it. (See: Top 5 Sex Posts of 2014)

I wonder if the #FreeTheNipple campaign might not reveal two problems within our society.

1. Some wrongly believe that admitting differences between the sexes communicates inequality. It does not. Men and women are equal, but we are different. We were created with different strengths. We were created in different ways. Our bodies are not the same. When we deny these differences, we do so at our own detriment. Moving toward a genderless society is not the answer to the decades of sexism many women have seen. Denying their intelligence, strength, wisdom, and beauty is not the way to make them equal with men.

2. While male and female nipples might be similar, male and female breasts are not. Maybe the #FreeTheNipple campaign is a result of our society exposing more breasts in public. Nipples might look the same, but breasts do not. However, it has become the norm to wear very revealing clothing in public. Instead of a #FreeTheNipple campaign, maybe we need to do a better job of concealing the breast in public.

As someone who regularly works with couples whose marriages are struggling, I can confidently say this: marriages would be strengthened if we put more clothes on in public and took more clothes off in private.

25 Responses to There is No Need to #FreeTheNipple
  1. […] Someone commented on one of my posts that I was “creating a rape culture” simply because... https://www.kevinathompson.com/political-correctness-what-donald-trump-doesnt-understand

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