Free the Nipple demonstrates by baring breasts: Con

Cody Peterson

Free the Nipple was held on Aug. 23, 2015 for women to be able to go in public bare-chested like men. There are several reasons why women bare-chested in public could end up being problematic.

Assault cases is the biggest potential problem, more specifically sexual assault cases. Most protesters would say this is something that we deal with already. Correct. We do, and it’s already a high percentage.

1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men reported experiencing an attempted or completed rape at some time in their lives reports the Minnesota Department of Health. Their report goes on to say that some sources report 1 in 4 women. With this already happening women walking around bare-chested could make the numbers increase.

I agree with those saying males should control themselves, however the case is not all males do. Therefore this just tempting them to attack more women. This leading into the so-called fight for equality. Men and women have different rules and regulations to protect and keep people safe. Let’s say a woman gets accidently touched in public while she is shirtless in the breast area if she chose to take him to court then the man who touched her could potentially go to prison and have to register as a sex offender. If the man is the one accidentally touched in the nipple area, it’s much more likely that he wouldn’t win a lawsuit in court for sexual assault. Tradition is another reason to disagree with this protest. As far back as ancient Egypt females covered their nipples as it was considered a private or sacred part of the female body. We say females should respect their bodies all the time. I hear it walking down the street almost daily.

How is this campaign teaching women to respect their bodies by showing their nipples to the world? Let’s also be honest with ourselves, and I’m not trying to offend anyone here, but do you want to see your grandmother walking around with no shirt and no bra on? If not, then neither do I.

I have heard from many females of older generations that this is not okay, and it’s not teaching self respect in the slightest. Why is tradition important? We’ve abandoned them before.

The reason why is women fighting for equal rights won’t be taken as seriously if women are standing in a park protesting that they should not need to cover up. The most powerful of speakers in the women’s fight for equality were decently dressed, not walking around shirtless showing their breasts to the world. What is the difference between a female walking around shirtless and a stripper? There is a really a fine line in that category. Strippers may remove their clothes for money while women shirtless are doing it for free in a sense. What’s next? If we let this slide, then people will be allowed to go anywhere in public naked. If women’s breasts aren’t sexual then why should any part of the human body be seen as sexual?

3 Comments

  1. This is a really old article but the paper version was being handed out on campus today and I was astounded to read this opinion piece.

    Victim blaming (“I agree males should control themselves, however the case is not all males do. Therefore this is just tempting them to attack more women.”), placing the responsibility for attacks on the victim, is a concrete example of devaluing a person who has been attacked. But the first objection Mr. Peterson raised was based in his supposed concern for the safety of women is negated with this attitude.

    He then argues for traditional values of modesty, claiming that covering our bodies is the way we should be respecting them (“Tradition is another reason to disagree… We say females should respect their bodies all the time.”). We’re taught that revealing too much skin is a poor reflection of our character. This thinly veiled slut shaming is an attempt to regulate women’s bodies. Self respect is about having the confidence to do what feels right for you. And the way to show respect is not by insisting on controlling someone else. But patriarchy is all about controlling women’s bodies (and animals and nature).

    Peterson is then sure to throw a little ageism into the mix (“Let’s also be honest with ourselves, and I’m not trying to offend anyone here, but do you really want to see your grandmother walking around with no shirt and no bra on?”) He uses a single sentence to clearly imply older women’s bodies are disgusting. That he felt no need to defend this aspect of his argument highlights just how viciously aging women are treated in our culture. As a 36 year old woman who’s experienced a bit of aging, I can attest to the fear women fear as we age. That we’ll be regarded as disgusting unless we do everything possible to fight the ageing process and disguise or hide parts of us that no longer embody idolized youth. This one sentence was especially troubling to me as it so clearly and aggressively reveals Peterson’s privileged attitude.

    We need to challenge platitudes about respecting women when they’re coming from men who think they know what’s best for us

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