Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Free the Nipple hits Iceland

I'm a naturist, not an exhibitionist.
So, if I were a woman, would I walk down the street in Iceland with these young women and bare my breasts in close-to-zero temperatures?
You bet I would.
They're not out there to shock the world, at least not in a negative sense. They may call themselves feminists, but what they want is just a logical progression from what has been happening in Europe for the past 60 years or so: after the bikini, women started going topless on Mediterranean beaches, then they brought that habit back to Western and Northern Europe. After all, if women can go sunbathe and swim topless on foreign beaches, why can't they do so in their home countries?
The wider acceptance of women's breasts as more than something to be watched by dubious men has gained ground, with breastfeeding and advertising and topless or naturist beaches spreading the idea that breasts are, well, breasts.
The newest movement has a feminist underground not seen since the 'Burn the Bra' calls of the 1960s. While not a follower of any rigid ideologies myself, I can see women have a point: if men can be 'topless' in certain situations, why can't women?
The Iceland event started with a feminist 17-year-old posting a close-up picture of a nipple, being criticized for it by men, and then coming back in a big way, with loads of Icelandic women and even a politician posting theirs.
While I'm not naive enough to believe that women with bare breasts will be walking around major cities in Europe any time soon, let alone in other continents, I think naturism can only benefit from the movement. Naturism is the acceptance of non-sexual nudity, be it male or female, be it young or old, be it thin or obese, every body can be free.
Free the Nipple activist and director Lina Esco was my Celebrity Naturist of the Year 2013, Scout Willis was my Celebrity Naturist of the Year 2014 (see below), and Adda Smaradottir is the subject of my first post on this blog for 2015, so the Free the Nipple Movement must be doing something right.
Unlike Femen, their actions are not designed as a negative statement to shock, but as a positive measure to allow women to be themselves, in real life and on social media which too often still treat women's bodies as porn.
Thanks to one 17-year-old in Iceland, March 26 will be come another date on the calendar, in addition to World Naturism Day and the World Naked Bike Ride. They day should be known as Free the Nipple Day, not just in cold Iceland, but all over the world.

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