As a woman living in the United States, I enjoy many liberties women in other nations do not. I am allowed the right to vote, the right to drive a car and the right to speak my mind.
However, there is one thing I’m not allowed to do, one thing deemed so heinous by the courts of law in this nation that could land me spot in jail: expose my nipples.
The nipple, for those of you who don’t know, is the small bit of flesh at the tip of a breast, comprised of a bundle of nerve endings. It’s not an AK-47.
Both men and women alike have them, but laws have deemed the women’s nipple such a threat to society that a woman can be arrested for exposing it. According to lawinfo.com, in the state of Arizona, a woman can be arrested for exposing even the area around her nipple known as the areola.
I, as a 20-year-old college student, should be able to go to the beach, or go on a hike, and be as free as my male counterparts. However, because of capitalist America, my breasts have been demonized and capitalized into something to not only be feared but celebrated at the same time.
Why is this? Why in 2017 is there still these archaic laws in place?
Well, based upon the name of the charge, “public indecency”, it would seem that much of the United States still has a blush brought to their cheek when the thought of a woman’s nude body comes to mind, not much unlike our Puritan founders.
Despite the chagrin that the people of this country appear to have, Market Watch estimates that the porn industry will be worth $1 billion by the year 2025, just under the estimated net worth of the entire NFL.
So we’re okay seeing women’s breasts on a computer screen but not in public?
And here in the problem lies: the hyper-sexualization of women.
Women have been made objects for centuries, whether that be the image of a motherly, caring figure, or now a slab of meat, the disassociation of women by forcing them into a mold to meet societies needs has been detrimental to the progress of women.
If both men and women have nipples, which biologically speaking is the same nipple, then why is it deemed societally acceptable for men to go topless in public but not women? Because women are sexual objects and men are a matter of fact.
The male physique has been the subject of masterpieces from the statue David to the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, deemed something to admire and celebrate.
Women’s physique has been deemed something of a sin, as Eve tempted Adam with the apple and her nudity, thus began the downfall of women-kind. At one time the argument was made that it was for the women’s well-being, protecting her from the savagery of men (which is a whole other argument), but what is the excuse today?
Are we still accepting that men have no impulse control and are “trying to protect women” or are we trying to control them?
Some may say that women should remain covered, that they shouldn’t simply be flinging their breasts around, but these laws do not only apply to women looking to air out on a hot summer’s day. This law also applies to breastfeeding mothers.
A women who is trying to give her child sustenance and life, who does not feel comfortable balancing herself on the lip of an unsanitary public toilet just to feed her child, can go to jail.
Is the act of feeding a chid sexual? If your answer is yes, Chris Hansen from Dateline NBC’s “To Catch a Predator” would like to speak to you.
Are we really subjecting women to jail time for being women? In 2017? Yes.
Several cities across the country have made moves to allow women to go topless in public, but there has yet to be a unanimous support through the nation.
As an American, most would consider themselves champions of women’s rights. Supporters of women and their freedoms.
But with October being breast cancer awareness month, the irony of our situation becomes unavoidable. Billions of dollars are made every year off of “pink merchandise”, promising funds be donated to either Susan B. Komen or other cancer research centers to help fight breast cancer.
How can you be a champion of fighting breast cancer if you’re willing to allow women to be put in jail for those same “boobies” you’re trying to desperately to save with your $3.99 purchase of a keychain?
One in eight women will develop invasive breast cancer in their lifetime, according to breastcancer.org. All eight of those women have the potential to go to jail for their breasts.
So let’s be real here, whose boobies are we really trying to save?