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Here in the United States, there’s a movement for just about any issue close to your heart. What a country!

There are movements to reduce plastic waste in our oceans by banning plastic straws. There are movements to protect bees. There’s even a movement for movements, through the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders.


But did you know there’s a global movement to “Free The Nipple?” Oh yes, there is.


Apparently the movement was started in part by actress/model/activist /film director Lina Esco, who created and starred in her own film called “Free The Nipple” released in 2014. You can watch the trailer here (spoiler alert: no nipples actually appear) where the film is described as a “spirited satire.”

Nonetheless, the film inspired an actual movement of supporters who argue since men can freely bare their nipples in public, why can’t women?


The movement made some headlines in 2016 when three women were ticketed over Memorial Day weekend on a New Hampshire beach for going topless. One of the women was practicing yoga; the other two were sunbathing.

Some of the other beachgoers complained (“You call THAT downward facing dog?” J/K) and a police officer asked them to please cover up. After the women refused, they were arrested.


A subsequent legal motion to dismiss the case was denied. The women then took their case to the New Hampshire Supreme Court which upheld the conviction, ruling that the local ordinance barring the display of female nipples in public did not violate the Constitution’s equal protection clause.


Now the three women, Heidi Lilley, Kia Sinclair and Ginger Pierro, have filed a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court appealing the State’s ruling, arguing, according to the Washington Times,  that the ordinance is inherently discriminatory on the basis of gender.

Lilley has said  “It’s not an issue if a man takes off his shirt. Why should it be an issue if a woman takes off her shirt?”


Hmm. Thoughts?


After the film’s initial release, a raft of female celebrities jumped on the bandwagon, including Rhianna, Bruce Willis’ daughter Scout, Cara Delevingne, Lena Dunham, and Miley Cyrus, of course.


Rhianna was famously banned by Instagram after she posted an image of a magazine cover showing her topless. Instagram had her remove the pictures immediately, and not long after, Rhianna deleted her account altogether.


The 22-year-old Willis showed her solidarity with Rhianna by walking around New York City topless and posting pictures to her Twitter account.


Will Smith’s daughter, Willow, caused a bit of a stir when she also posted a photo in support of the movement when she was just 14 years old.

While the petition to the Supreme Court may be giving the nipple campaign more…exposure… the movement does seem to have lost some steam. Most of its celebrity endorsement petered out in 2015 or so.


And given the rise of the #MeToo movement, not to mention Jeffrey Epstein’s sordid practices, does it not make sense to give this sort of thing a rest?

Perhaps the founder of the movement herself has had second thoughts. Buried in her IMDb biography is the factoid that “Free The Nipple” creator Lina Esco was one of 87 women who accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment. 


So, this is a tricky one indeed. What do you think? Should women still fight to “Free The Nipple?”


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