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| By Wellvyl Media Editorial

Nipples - everyone is born with a set of these. But we do not treat all nipples equally. All ladies must keep theirs under wraps as to not corrupt the fabric of social morality. As a woman who loves to sport triangle bikini tops, it is fascinating to think that the mere the 6” area of a spandex triangle is the only thing that prevents me from committing public indecency.

Happen to have a nip slip in that triangle bikini top? You should be ashamed of yourself! Don’t you have any sense of decency?! Don’t you have any respect for yourself?! How obscene! There are children here!

Damn, I’m sorry that the way God designed my body is so offensive. Absurd? Without a doubt. Blame the Creator of the Cosmos, not me.  

Though we are all born with nipples & live in a country that has exponentially moved closer to acknowledging gender equality, the exposure of the female nipple still garners disproportionately reactionary sentiments.

genderless nipples


For filmmaker Lisa Esco, “bare female nipples in the public forum are a symbol of true equality between the sexes.  It is a statement of empowered ownership  unbound by our previous conditioned Puritanical confinements and rigidity.”

During pre-production in 2012 of her documentary, “Free the Nipple”, Lina Esco created the ‘topfreedom’ campaign bearing the same epithet.  The campaign emphasizes the social acceptance of allowing men to appear topless in public, yet our society considers it lewd or indecent for women to do the same. This difference, Esco feels, is an unjust treatment of women. The campaign argues it should be legally and culturally acceptable for women to bare their nipples in public.

Released in 2104, Esco’s film is a documentary of herself running naked through the streets of New York City. During filming, Esco posted teaser clips on social media platforms donning the hashtag #freethenipple. However, Facebook removed her video clips for “violating its guidelines. Yet, #freethenipple fervor only intensified as celebrities like Rhianna, Miley Cyrus, and Chelsea Handler spoke out or bared all in support for the initiative.   

“This is what we had to do in order to pave the way for equality to be talked about,” Esco articulates. “There is no way the wheels would be turning unless something was going to spark it, something controversial”.

According to their mission, Free the Nipple is a global campaign of change, focused on equality, empowerment, and freedom for “all human beings”. Esco’s brainchild is not solely dedicated to nipple liberation. It has become a voice for gender equality that utilizes all forms of modern media to effect change on various social issues and injustices. Resounding urgency emanates from their webpage, “We believe that all human beings are created equal. We believe the time for change is now. We believe that together, through one unified voice, we can affect change globally”.    

A naked human body is not in and of itself pornographic or scandalous. We all have one. The human anatomy is just a part of nature as is all mammals. Breasts are not the problem. Breasts are “controversial” because of our culture’s unhealthy repression of nudity. When a society represses something, it is not offered respect. A society that deems any part of one gender’s body as “lewd” or as a “threat to public decency” is a society that has yet to evolve its consciousness.

Furthermore, equality is the acceptance of diversity. To regard with equal vision is to honor and welcome all uniquenesses. Gender equality is not seeing both genders as the same, as if there are no differences between them. Quite the antithesis. Gender equality is about giving equal respect to all others regardless of their differences.

My hope is that the conversation Free the Nipple has started will encourage not just the acceptance but appreciation of the diversity of breasts. When we can accept breasts out in the open, we will see more breasts and become aware that breasts are infinite in variety, size, shape, & color. Finally, we will come to understand that there is no such thing as “perfect breasts”.  All breasts are equal in their distinctiveness and thus all deserve to be treated with dignity. Our own social wellness begins when we can have equipoise in our ability to respect and embrace the differences of others as well as love the uniqueness of our own selves.


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