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free

The Free The Nipple campaign T shirt

The much ado about nipples these days is quite disturbing for me. Maybe I was pulled out of my comfort zone. Not by the sight of all those nipples appearing on the internet, in the news and social media, for I have seen female nipples by the thousands, maybe by the hundreds of thousands, in my life, and I never thought anything of it except that they looked nice. To get excited I fortunately need something more than fat and glands with a nipple on top, a physical trait that doesn’t look very dissimilar to the construction men tend to carry themselves on their chests.

But the whole free-the-nipple action took me out of my comfort zone because I had never given any thought about the physical discrimination inflicted on women by society for their somehow larger breasts. I always saw breasts as being a natural part of every human being, them being often swollen a bit more in the case of women, but still, nothing out of the ordinary as I grew up in Africa where people regard breasts as a female trait with a primary function to feed babies. Later as a kid on I played on the European beaches where women went topless, and during my pilot’s career I often found myself relaxing next to half naked flight attendants getting a tan on a Caribbean beach. The sight of breasts never meant that much to me as long as there was no sexual allusion in play.

caea delevingne

Topmodel Cara Delevingne protests against the discrimination

So I am rather ashamed I gave no more thought to the subject. I know, I am a male and I never was confronted with limitations imposed by some groups in society as they tend to do with women. So yes, I can only encourage women to fight for their rights. And yes, I am ashamed that they have to fight for those rights, for it seems to me as a natural thing that the same rules apply to both men and women.

What really caused me a lot of irritation during the biggest part of my life was the sexualization of nudity. When people tend to confuse someone being naked with someone wanting to have sex. Or do they get upset because the sight of nudity causes a sexual urge within themselves? What is offensive about a natural human body? We were born naked, our ancestors long ago roamed the earth naked, and it feels liberating to be naked, even if it is only in our own private space and for our eyes only.

Some folks pretend they are Christian, or Muslim, or whatever, and from this background they condemn nudity. I can only ask them that if their god created us like we are, are his creations then so hideous they have to be permanently hidden by clothes? Would it not be truly grateful toward their god to revere the gift god created in all its splendor?

scout-willis

Scout Willis walks topless in the streets of NY to protest against Instagram policy

Others say that children should be protected from nudity. Have you ever seen a child reacting against the sight of nudity out of itself? Are there not similarities between the teaching of racism and the teaching of primness to our children? A child will never make a difference between color or race if not told, neither will a kid express any opinion on nudity without influence from parents, friends or society. So prudishness is not a natural given, it is a thought imposed by grown ups and society in general. If people behave like female breasts, penises and vaginas are not okay to display and to be seen, then kids will follow these thoughts and grow up this way. If children see naked people around behaving in a normal, friendly, non-sexual way as is done in nudist camps, then they will think nothing of it and be perfectly at ease with their own nudity.

movie free the nipple

From the movie “Free the Nipple”

For this is a real disease of our society. We cannot be who we are, we have to be someone else or we do not really belong. We do have to dress following certain codes called ‘fashion’, women have to paint their faces with make-up, people have to abide by the strict rules of bodyweight and shape, etc.. Even the way a woman trims or shaves her pubic hair, which is usually kept invisible for third parties, is influenced by dictates of the era we’re living in. There is nothing wrong with someone nicely dressed, with beautiful make-up that emphasise beautiful eyes or eye lashes or lips, just as there is nothing wrong with a woman not being made up and not dressed to seduce every passer-by.

Why can’t every one be free? Why can’t someone post a family picture of her/his family on nude vacation on social media? Who are the perverts? Those who are naked in family between like-minded people thinking nothing wrong of it, or the people sexualizing the whole thing and trying to ban this out of fear of getting aroused? Is everyone that is naked having sex or even thinking about it just like the prudish seem to insinuate? Why this whole taboo about penises when half of the world’s population pendulates one? Why this whole cover-up of vaginas knowing at some point we all crawled out of one, having been blessed with the biggest wonder in the universe: birth?

Try me! - Erika

Try me! – Erika ©yannbastiaans

Maybe that is why I never gave much thought about breasts and nipples, I was too busy getting irritated by the narrow-mindedness of society about dicks and pussies. I was already one step ahead, one bridge too far, or better: one bridge further.

Just love yourself, respect and love your body, for it is a wonderful gift from nature (or your god) that should be adored and honored. And there is nothing to be ashamed of, you share the same bodily specifics with at least 3.5 billion people of your gender. Do you still have the illusion you are so physically unique to the point you should be ashamed of it?

Take care, yann ❤️