A Response to Celia Walden’s “Free the Nipple campaign is everything I hate about Feminism”.

By @farida.d.author @indigolilyuk

Dear Celia Walden,

Do you know what "Free the Nipple" stands for? Or are you viewing the movement through your internalized male gaze?

Do you know that in 2018, a woman from Canada was fired from her job as a waitress for not wearing a bra as she was considered to be sexually enticing men? And that in 2009, women in Somalia were publicly whipped for wearing bras as they were considered to be sexually enticing men?

Do you notice that convenience stores sell magazines with topless women stacked on the covers, but women are still shamed about breastfeeding in public?

Do you notice how our world sexualizes female nipples, uses female nipples and nudity to sell products and services, but if a woman dares to wear her own nipples, she is slut shamed?

Do you know that the fight to "Free the Nipple" is not about posting topless pictures on social media, but about our rights to own and reclaim our bodies whether online or offline, at home, in the public space, and in the work space?

You bring up FGM as an example of a "real world" problem in comparison to freeing the nipple - but do you realize that FGM stems from the way we view women's bodies as sex objects, and that objects aren't expected to feel, enjoy, or own themselves?

You assert that you value more pressing feminist issues such as equal pay- yet do you realize that unequal pay (and sexual harassment in the work place), revolve around how a woman and her body are perceived?

You assert that you enjoy being wolf whistled at. Do you realize this statement comes from a privilege of existing safely in a female body, and that this is not the case for all women?

Do you realize all the issues you mention, such as domestic violence, spousal rape, sexual abuse by state forces, enforced child marriage and honour killings, are all prevalent because the bodies of girls and women are objectified and owned by men? In freeing our nipples, we plant the seed to reclaim our bodies and thus our rights to the "real world" problems you claim to support.

Celia, there is a reason why male nipples are not sexualized. Do you know that men fought and won the right to free their nipples 83 years ago in New York? Why can't women do the same today?

This fight is not merely about posting a topless selfie, and "Free the Nipple" is not simply for the reason of being able to be topless. It is about so much more than that. It is about women reclaiming their bodies, away from being sexualised, away from the male gaze. It is about removing outdated and misleading approaches to the female form and women’s bodies being seen in an equal way to that of a man. This fight is about desexualizing and reclaiming our bodies away from the male gaze and objectification.

If we create a neutral platform, where women are not judged or sexualised because of their bodies then each individual woman has the freedom to build herself in whatever way she chooses- whether via nudity or modesty. It is the woman’s intent behind her body that should determine how it is viewed. Our nudity does not automatically mean sexualization. We are reclaiming our bodies away from harassment and commanding the respect we deserve. This is what "Free the Nipple" stands for.

P.S. The fact that you wrote an entire article bashing a movement that provides the seeds to support "genuine injustices" you proudly claim to support, makes our heads loll forward onto our keyboards to spell this: tt1232!uweirh34 !1kjaeljrk.


Izzi (indigolilyuk) and Farida D. (@farida.d.author)