Right now, the world is a very complicated place. There are people claiming to be armed militia in a building in Oregon; there are threats of terrorism left and right; there is a deadly outbreak of microcephaly in Brazil. On top of this, there is still racism and sexism that permeate daily aspects of society.
The feminist movement is on that level of importance, as many members of our Staples community would agree. Many students have heard about the “Free the Nipple,” movement, and many have linked it back to feminism. However, it often doesn’t go further than that. Furthermore, many students are not taking the time to learn about the core purpose of “Free the Nipple” because, to them, there are more pressing issues in feminism itself.
In a world where women get paid $0.77 to every male dollar, in which some women are prohibited from getting an education, “freeing the nipple” doesn’t seem as important. Rather, many could say that the act of “freeing the nipple” distracts from what some may call the “real” and “relevant” issues that feminists are fighting for.
What’s unfortunate is the fact that the Free the Nipple movement, at its core, supports the ideals of feminism that many Staples students deem important. In their mission statement, the movement is described as, “an equality movement, and a mission to empower women across the world.”
It’s clear that the movement intends to send an important message about women’s empowerment. However, right now, what would empower women is equal pay and the chance to go to school, and that’s what people at Staples care about.
Even if it became legal for women to be topless in the same public places as men, many still would not take their tops off. It is considered socially unacceptable to do so, and changing a law, as history has shown us, has not necessarily changed the social norms.
While “Free the Nipple” is an important movement that stands for important things, it simply is not the most important movement when it comes to feminism, which is why the Staples population has not connected with it in the way has intended.