As Charli XCX famously put it: “Boob Clap the sound from my bra the beat goes on and on and on.”
Or maybe that was the alternative version….anyway.
Today we’re talking boobs. Breasts. Melons. Flumjunkers (don’t ask who contributed that one, but he was a he and over 45). Hooters. Knockers. Cups. Jugs. Fleshy organs. And any other cringey name that skates around what they really are- weird. Is it just me finding it completely absurd that women (and men that shop at Jacamo) are given the anatomy version of marshmallows that hibernate on chests in order to feed offspring, be deleted from Instagram and have our ‘Girl Score’- sadly, this is an actual thing- increased the further down the alphabet your bra size goes? This system doesn’t seem very fair. Let’s discuss our boobylicious (I am in physical pain for writing that but we must suffer for crappy puns) existence:
#FreeTheNipple is a campaign created by Lina Esco a few years ago, with a coinciding film about the inequality of censorship between shirtless men and women. It’s a movement that I believe is a vital step for women to regain their sexuality and finally own their bodies, a movement backed by Cara Delevigne, Miley Cyrus, Rihanna, Tove Lo and Rumer Willis, despite many of these women being demonised by the media for supporting it. Miley Cyrus, to name one example, is hated for her regular toplessness- but why doesn’t society hate Zac Efron for the same thing? Hey, wasn’t Chord Overstreet naked for most of Glee season 2? Free the Nipple uses literal equality to remove objectification of breasts which will in turn reduce cleavage connotations and their taboo nature.
But for some women, this seems like the problem. They don’t want to normalise boobs as they look at them like their ‘secret weapon’ (I wouldn’t know I don’t have any) and, to an extent, I understand why you’d want to keep something that the media glamorises a private affair, but at the same time this sexual nature is degrading their actual purpose. Women are being banned from breastfeeding in public places because ‘How dare you use your boobs for the way they were intended!’ How can something that you choose to watch most nights on PornHub suddenly be an unsightly invasion of your privacy during the day? Our society treats boobs as if they are some kind of hidden treasure, the eighth and ninth wonders of the world, so they remain unseen.
Until the only time we actually see them exposed- on the cover of Nuts, page 3 or in previously mentioned porn. Does this not send out a subliminal message that boobs are created for this purpose? Like, if you only ever saw my bank balance on payday you’d assume I was rich? Or if you only ever saw Kanye West being a numpty, you’d assume that he was a numpty all the time, right? I feel like the same thing is happening with boobs: the only time they aren’t censored is in a sexual context, therefore we now think of them as a ‘sexual part’ when really is there any difference between them and a wrist? Or a foot? In fact, feet are sexualised but we don’t ban them (although I wish we would eugh feet).
What society needs- I like to think of myself saying this sat on some concrete steps outside an important government building with a megaphone and some fingerless gloves- is some real flumjunkers and this is where Laura Dodsworth comes in. The amazingly talented photographer created a coffee table book called ‘Bare Reality’ in order to normalise boobs and accept them from what they are (simply a part of the body); her book contains photos of 100 women topless- including Laura, who I’ve decided is feminist goals- with their boob story beside it. From cancer survivors to a Buddhist nun (!?) to girls just a few years older than me, the book is full of real women that you find yourself relating to- see how long it takes you before you say ‘those look like mine!’ I was lucky enough to attend an insightful talk she did at Brighton Dome in March where she discussed the challenges she faced to get her art published because, despite being unedited and genuine images, it was seen as too inappropriate and even now her work is being sold, it regularly gets banned on Facebook and Instagram. Crazy. (However they can’t be banned from my blog so a big thank you to Ms Dodsworth for the images, read more about her stunning project here: http://www.barereality.net/)
Really crazy. Unexplainably so. We live in a world where people paid more attention to Angelina Jolie’s nipples than her solutions for refugees in Syria.
But not this:
How do we ever think we’re going to get social equality if we don’t tackle the most obvious inequalities between the sexes? Comment below to share your thoughts on censorship, boobs and everything inbetween (just to clarify: inbetween topics not your boobs).
5 thoughts on “Boob Clap”
I think that is what makes the book brilliant in that it shows ordinary women. I see what you are saying about the celebrities continuing to perpetuate a glamorous spin on the movement, but at the same time I find it crucial that such big stars are involved in the movement. It’s a great thing to have such famous people using their platform for a good cause
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Isn’t the book awesome! Such a great concept and so overdue. I’m also really grateful that celebrities are willing to risk their reputations to support the campaign, it’s such a shame they are demonised by the media especially when the inequality is so literal. Thank you for reading and commenting!
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I meant to say, NO suggestive pose
I agree with your post but I do have an issue with the way that the free the nipple campaign is run, as well as the fact that it is majorly endorsed by women who are frequently topless anyway. I think back to documentaries of African and Native tribes I watched in middle/high school with men and women naked or only covering their genitals, and not many people in my class looked at them in a sexual manner (except the few immature idots). I think the message the women you mentioned above are trying to get out is good, but their delivery leaves a lot to be desired. Why not come on with no make-up, bedhead or a suggestive pose. If you want breasts to not be viewed sexually, remove the sexed up look. When I see a guy walking a topless (yup that’s what I call it), I would honestly rather him put on a shirt, but he isn’t posing or acting like he just got on a GQ set. I think it would make for a much better impact if regular everyday women were doing this (honestly not many people are going to react to a VS Model, actress going shirtless seen they already have, many times. Also, why is a man’s genitals considered more x-rated than a females. If the world is to be fair and equal than both the Male and Female body has to be viewed equally nipples and genitals included.
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I love watching videos of tribes where the women are topless, it gives me hope that the same casual nature could actually work here. If I’m honest a lot of the FreeTheNipple campaign I’ve seen has been done very genuinely. The other day there were photos of Miley Cyrus just chilling in the sea topless, women with images of boobs on tshirts and the creator of the campaign made a film about it where undressing is a really second nature thing. I think we’re getting there but there will always be some anomalies that want their boobs to be kept ‘sexual’ and I guess that’s why they pose seductively? Who knows. As for the genital thing maybe that could be the theme for another blog post, I’d have to get researching. Thanks for the comment!
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