body image · bras

Freeing the Nipple One T-Shirt at a Time (or Hairy Man Nipples For Equality)

mannipsWhen I was 9 I had a pretty summer dress that my mum bought for me to take on holidays. It was a little sheer and covered in brightly coloured daisies. I loved it. One day a friend of the family scolded my mum for letting me wear it because you could vaguely make out the shape of my nipples. Similar things happened throughout my teenage years. I remember going to my first Blue Light Disco (a police coordinated and supervised event for Melbourne youth) and taping bandaids over my nipples so that no one could see them through my top. I remember buying shirts a few sizes two big so that no one could make out the prepubescent shape of my chest – nipples slightly protruding, big enough to make me uncomfortable, but certainly too small for a bra.

These experiences are common for many women in Western cultures. We are told to cover up, to be ashamed (of our sexuality, of our bodies), and to protect our value and purity…to, among other things, cover up our nipples. Strikingly though, we are simultaneously told not to be prudes, not to be frigid, to embrace our sexuality, to let our hair down, to have fun, to give it up…and sometimes to flaunt our damn nipples!

Like so many things that shape the female experience we are caught in a double bind where playing by the rules of a male dominated framework means that we just can’t win!

But this is nothing new. Feminists have been saying this for years.   So, why rehash old arguments? Why are we still trying to burn our bras when we all know what the message is? The fact of the matter is that we don’t all know it. With new generations coming through and movements like this , and this , it is important that we continue to promote and reaffirm the message of equality.

The Free the Nipple movement is one way to do this. The movement was started by filmmaker and activist, Lina Esco. Her aim was to raise awareness of the double standards and hypocrisy regarding the censorship and sexualisation of nipples that is present in American culture and law (on the one hand, men’s nipples–fleshy, often wrinkly, located on the chest–are permissible to expose, and on the other, women’s nipples–fleshy, often wrinkly, located on the chest–are not). Esco’s ultimate aim is to promote the decriminalisation, and normalisation of publically exposed female nipples. She says ”Women should be able to do what they want with their bodies. In some states, women can get jailed or fined for being topless… “Free the nipple” is simply about having the choice’’ (See Should we free the nipple?).

On the surface the Free the Nipple movement is a light-hearted, fun message (because nipples really are fun, aren’t they?) that invites new audiences into a deeper and important discussion about feminism and equality. This is why I will wear my big hairy man nipples shirt proudly on campus this week, and why I will discuss with my students the importance of equality, respect and, of course, nipples.

For more nipple goodness see Sam B’s post Padded Sports Bras and Nipple Phobia?

Nanette Ryan is a PhD candidate in Philosophy at Georgetown University. She is primarily interested in moral and political philosophy, epistemology, and their intersection. When not philosophizing, she enjoys working out, traveling, eating good food, and wearing t-shirts with nipples on them.      


body image · link round up

Fit is a Feminist Issue, Link Round Up #32

This is where we share stuff we can’t share on Facebook page for fear of being kicked out! Read why here. Usually the posts are about body image, sometimes there’s nudity but we’re all adults here. Right?

Why does a fitness blog even care about body image? You can read about that here.

On Fat Women in Photography: To celebrate the Adipositivity Project’s 8th bday, naked fat women joined Patience and Fortitude for an afternoon. Jealous? I know I am! I’ve watched the video and flipped through the thumbnails, and I’m giddy. I’m hoping one of these pics will end up in the 2016 calendar.

Swimsuits for all unretouched: Sometimes it seems that wherever we look, there’s some sort of advertisement telling us that we need to change. We should be embarrassed by our stretch marks, our body hair, our cellulite, our wobbly bits; our non-photoshopped, unique, authentic selves need to be altered before we’re “beach-body ready.” From snake-oil products that claim to “fix” any imperfection we can imagine, to in-your-face ads that play on our deepest insecurities, it’s easy to be bombarded by body negativity. In an effort to help combat the shame, Swimsuits For All has teamed up with model Denise Bidot to create an unretouched video empowering women to be #NotSorry about their bodies this summer.

#FreetheNipple Activist Lina Esco And Liz Plank Asked Men On The Street About Nipples, And The Answers Are Facepalm-Worthy — VIDEO: “Have you ever noticed how female nipples are constantly being censored by the media? Liz Plank of Mic’s Flip the Script has taken note of this trend and did some investigating about why women’s nipples are so taboo. After all, isn’t it unfair that men’s nipples can be put on display without anyone so much as batting an eye, while in some places, women could be arrested for doing the exact same thing — even if it’s perfectly legal for women to be topless there?”



body image · link round up

Fit is a Feminist Issue, Link Round Up #31

This is where we share stuff we can’t share on Facebook page for fear of being kicked out! Read why here. Usually the posts are about body image, sometimes there’s nudity but we’re all adults here. Right?

Why does a fitness blog even care about body image? You can read about that here.

Forget Brazilian waxes. A new spate of services is taking personal grooming to the next level

The last time I went for a facial, my aesthetician told me that I wasn’t exfoliating enough. She recommended I use a sugar-and-salt scrub two to three times a week and follow it with a deep moisturizing lotion. She also said I would benefit from a clarifying mask. When she was done, she told me to avoid taking a hot shower and exercising for the rest of the day. I emerged from the treatment room feeling a bit sore, tender to the touch and walking a little funny. Did I mention the facial was performed on my vagina?

Dubbed the vajacial and inspired by its popularity in cities like New York and San Francisco, the treatment is now available at Fuzz Wax Bar’s three locations in Toronto. In a nutshell, it’s a revitalization treatment performed 10 or more days after a bikini wax and is intended to beautify the area. With the deftness normally reserved for dental surgery, an aesthetician tackles the delicate skin with a cleanser, exfoliant, tweezers and a needle (to poke out the ingrowns) before applying the mask. And for the finale, a high-frequency electrical wand is smoothed over the area to treat deep-rooted ingrown hairs and to prevent breakouts.

Also in the UK: Vagina Facials Or ‘Vagacials’ Are The Latest Beauty Trend Sweeping The UK

A new craze promising to give women “the vagina of a 25-year-old” is currently all the rage in Britain. Developed by dating guru and “vagacial pioneer” Lisa Palmer, these vagina facials reportedly give ladyparts back their youthful glow using a combination of steam treatments and applying a mixture of coconut oil, egg whites and vitamins.

15 Subtle But Shocking Photoshopped Images of Already Beautiful Celebrities

Flip through any magazine, and you’ll see gorgeous women gracing every page. These celebrities are so beautiful and perfect, you can hardly believe they’re real.

It’s no secret that they’ve had some help to look the way they do — lighting, teams of makeup artists and hair stylists, and of course the fabulous clothes — but it can still set regular women up for unrealistic expectations.

But even with all that help, someone at the top always thinks the images of these women still need to be altered within an inch of their lives. Enter Photoshop…


Last week the death of burlesque legend Blaze Starr reminded us all of a far cheekier era of stripper—an anachronistic kind of T and A, with a little more glam and giggle to it than today’s Las Vegas-style bottle service strip clubs. It’s easy to crystallize someone like Starr in our memory as a young bombshell, taking it all off for roaring crowds, scandalizing politics with the Governor of Louisiana (and probably JFK, too), but we should always remember—there is life after pasties! For her book Legends The Living Art Of Risque, French photographer Marie Baronnet captures the fabulous ladies of mid-century burlesque in all their mature glory.

These women are going topless, but it’s for a very good reason! [Uncensored]

Women’s Right To Go Topless In Public Has Become More Critical Than Ever, So Let’s #FreeTheNipple

The Free The Nipple movement has come a long way since the December 2014 release of Lina Esco’s film Free the Nipple, and with summer just beginning, men and women around the world are increasingly supporting it. Free The Nipple demands women’s rights to the same social privileges accorded to men, fighting specifically for women’s right to go topless in public. Public toplessness is explicitly illegal for women in only three out of 50 states, yet across the country, women can face jail time and large fines. For fighting this injustice, Free The Nipple has become a feminist essential as it protests a culture bent on sexualizing women’s bodies without their consent and also empowers women with the long-denied bodily autonomy that men have enjoyed for decades now. This summer, with Free The Nipple protests rising both in frequency and in the media’s attention, the movement has become more critical than ever.

On Thursday, the Association of Libertarian Feminists (ALF) launched a petition against Facebook’s censorship of the female nipple, directly addressed to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The ALF posted a link to an article covering a recent Free The Nipple gathering in Iceland on its page; the post was removed for violating Facebook’s community guidelines regarding nudity. The ALF created the petition to protest the policies that saw their post removed. “Facebook is exercising a double standard, allowing photos of topless men but censoring artful or political expressions of female bodies,” the petition overview stated on its page.

weight lifting

Sweden banned from international lifting competitions due to giving women lifters a choice about shirts

A Facebook follower (you do know we have a very active Facebook page, right?) just sent us this message: “Did you see that the International Powerlifting Federation threatened to ban Sweden from competing internationally because Sweden gave their female lifters the choice between wearing a T-shirt or not (IPF rules state that females must wear a tshirt, men don’t have to)”

Has anyone heard anything about this? Is there anything about it online?

We’ve written before about the injustice involved in different clothing rules for male and female athletes (see, for example, Skirting the issue: women’s boxing and enforced femininity) and about the right of women to go without tops (see The Tata Top, Normalized Bodies, and Feminism0.

This sounds like one more example of that. Surely it’s up to athletes what to wear?

There’s some discussion on Powerlifting Australia’s Facebook page.

They have a status update which reads, “In regards to recent discussion over the suspension of Sweden, the issue was not gender or equality or lack thereof but rather that Sweden had introduced a rule change that was contrary to IPF regulations. The IPF has made it clear that member nations could not unilaterally change the rules of competition. And further the issue has since been resolved.”

I get there are procedural issues here. But how has it been resolved? And why are the rules different for men and women in the first place? Curious bloggers want to know.

I also don’t know very much about the issue and I’m wondering if you do. Is there any online coverage of this debate in the powerlifting community?

Let us know in the comments or drop us a line if you have more news. (Use the “contact us” link on the blog.)


body image · link round up

Fit is a Feminist Issue, Link Round Up #11

Link Love, drawn in sandThis is where we share stuff we can’t share on Facebook page for fear of being kicked out! Read why here.

Usually the posts are about body image. Why? Because those are the posts that usually have bare body bits in the image attached to them.

Unconventional beauty represented

Is there a mold that fits every person that tells if he or she is beautiful or not?

Thank God there isn’t, although we have somehow taken it upon ourselves to judge people under false and pretentious standards, to measure the heights and widths of other people’s bodies; impose value upon their skin tone and clothing style.

For once, we’d like you to take a breather and explore the “other beauty” that exists above societal norms. These nine women have taken their insecurities and turned them into their biggest virtues, inspiring other people to feel comfortable in their own skin.

Be inspired!

Watch the Trailer for the Free the Nipple Movie

 Question: What’s a more unstoppable force than a hundred drunk Santas on a Santacon rampage of your local pubs?

Answer: A shirtless #FreetheNipple team of women in hot pink beanies tearing through New York to reclaim the power of their bodies.

The women fighting to desexualize nipples in Free the Nipple aren’t Instagram celebrities so if you’re here for it, even you can join the battle. It’s garnered big support, and now the cause is going to be big screen-amplified. In the trailer, it’s hard to take the leaders that seriously, but countless women are marshaled to the cause, which is the high point for the movement.

Watch it and just try not to get fired up by the music and the toplessness.

The video is here:

We can’t embed it in the blog post because images of naked breasts might show up on Facebook. The horror!

25 Women Pushing The Limits Of Street Art Around The World

Earlier this month, The Atlantic’s Kriston Capps proposed a curious question: What if Banksy is a woman? In his following analysis, Capps went as far to claim that the cheeky British street artist is “probably” a she, chastising the public for assuming that such a dominant pop cultural force is a man.

Of course, the hypothesis is interesting — we’re certainly supportive of publications pointing out the the lack of diversity in art worlds, one of them being street art. However, Capps claim was based on little real evidence, a factor Animal NY’s Bucky Turco was quick to discuss. Nonetheless, the original essay spawned more than a few speculative treatises: see this one, this one, this one and this one.

We’ve commented on the Banksy hysteria before. Yes, the anonymous graffiti master is probably the most well-known figure in street art — there was “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” and now there’s “Banksy Does New York,” documenting his month-long NYC residence in 2013. But the endless fascination with this one character can sometimes overshadow the rest of the identifiable artists making waves in their medium.

When The Guardian proclaimed Bambi the female Banksy, we responded by highlighting 10 other female street artists worthy of the moniker. Now that Capps has opened the door to more serious talk of women in street art, we’re extending our list. Behold, 24 real women pushing the limits of street art around the globe.


shin shin street art
Shin Shin + Elbow-toe
artista street art
Artista, London, UK:!outdoor/cy5v