#FreeTheNipple – Why Female Bodies Are Censored and Why This Movement Exists

By: Rawan Khalil and Hadeel Hatem

As women, we are told to cover up our bodies all the time. We’re taught that our bodies are solely for the one man that we have to end up with. We are told by our elders that a man would like us more if he sees us as a prize that he must earn, as an egg which he can only know it’s contents once he cracks the shell open. One of our body parts which we have been always told to cover, which we have been always told is important but not for anyone to see is: our breasts. The censorship goes a bit further even when it comes to our nipples. Miley Cyrus said it before it’s like people don’t have a problem with tits, but they have a problem with nipples.

The extent nipple censorship has gone to is to the point where it is deemed normal. Any Barbie doll around the world has full, yet smooth breasts with no nipples. Why is that? Why is it that children have to grow up with the idea that nipples are something abnormal to the extent which where it is drilled into everyone’s head that the human body has to be modified in toy form. Let me remind you, that the same child you’re censoring a Barbie doll’s nipples from used to suck their mum’s nipples for milk!


Another representation of nipple censorship is in mannequins, mannequins which are a representation of our body. Mannequins which are supposed to give us a slight idea of how the clothes are going to look when worn on the human body. However, sadly, the human body is deemed flawed by the fashion industry thus the choice to flatten it. It’s degrading and very disrespectful to our beautiful bodies, it’s as if they’re saying our bodies are going to be more perfect if we do not have nipples. This leads to another point, the fact that women put tape on their nipples to stop them popping through their clothes. They endure the pain of having to take off the tape from their nipples just to not be judged by the people around them!

The new trend of being braless in public has made most people go insane with how furious they were. Many female celebrities and other famous women have been shamed, because their nipples could be seen through their shirts. Many gossip sites and men have stated their harsh opinions on how women should cover up, yet drool and praise other women for wearing revealing outfits.

As everyone knows the Arab World is infamous for its rape rates especially when tourists visit and wear “immodest” clothing. There are many websites which post dress codes if you’re coming to for e.g Egypt which is shameful but we can’t say we’ve never seen that coming. #freethenipple movement would be a disaster here which is mostly why no one has protested or acknowledged it so far because either way you’re going to end up in jail.

And even though #freethenipple would be a rebellious and revolutionary movement to start in the Arab world as well as many other countries, we have to take on board not only the pros but also the cons. Always think about your safety first. Always check the rape and harassment rates in your area even if you haven’t heard or witnessed it there could always be someone who did.

Instead of going straight into going out shirtless and braless we should introduce the idea of #freethenipple slowly. First, by putting posters up and giving out brochures about the movement, then maybe having television advertisements. Next, we be by spreading information and watching documentaries about it (it could even be a fun lesson for school students), then by starting an organization that can support fully support the movement, then we can start protesting and going out braless/shirtless in public.

Introducing the idea that nipples are not a flaw would allow mothers to peacefully breastfeed their children without it being deemed uncomfortable by the people around her, without being uncomfortable in the middle of the people around her. It would also allow women to not feel pressured to wear bras to prevent their nipples from peeking through their clothes.

This movement is not just low-key asking for nudity, but it’s asking for freedom when it comes with our bodies, for body positivity, and it’s asking for no shame when it comes to our bodies!

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