free the nipple goes viral and we dissect the backlash

After we broke a story on Iceland #freeingthenipple en masse yesterday, we look at the misogynistic trolls, dissect the backlash and post the most inspiring followups.

by Tish Weinstock
27 March 2015, 3:25pm

Yesterday we posted a news piece about Iceland's online campaign to end cyber bullying and empower women the world over, all in the name of free nipples. The internet broke, our proverbial nipple freed, and happiness filled the office. A triumph at last! Or so we thought…

No sooner had we posted it, a swarm of tit trolls gathered and a battle of misogynistic comments ensued. More shockingly, the girl whose picture we used to illustrate our post received a torrent of abuse, so much so that we had to take it down. All of which begs the question: WTF is wrong with everyone?

Judging by the comments and critiques, there seems to be a lot of confusion concerning the form and function of the female nipple, and why it seems to make grown men cry. So we thought we'd take a minute to clear a few things up. Spoiler alert!

To the guys who tweeted at us saying it's ok to gaze at nipples, and the breasts they're attached to, in a sexual way because it's ''biology, man, we're just built that way", thank you kindly for your contribution, you really opened our eyes. But what about the bare-breasted women from indigenous tribes? You don't see a bunch of male shamans ogling at them while they knock one out during a rain dance, do you? The sexualization of body parts - other than those that play a direct role in sexual reproduction - is totally arbitrary. In Victorian times it was women's ankles that got men all of a flutter. However, thanks to evolution and (shock horror!) mass exposure to the female ankle, men of the world can now sleep at night.

To the girl who asked, "when was the last time seeing a mans (sic) nipple gave you lady wood? Was it NEVER?" and all those of the belief that it's ok for men to expose their nipples because they're, like, totally not sexy, whereas women's are. Wrong again! Up until the mid 30s, it was illegal for men to flash their nips in public, because society deemed them too risqué, and, ultimately, too sexy for their shirt. However, in 1936, all this changed. Fighting for their right to #freethenipple, a group of topless guys from Coney Island got themselves arrested when they took to the beach one sunny afternoon. However, justice prevailed, and, from that moment on, men were given the legal right to get their tits out for the lads, all over the world. Gentlemen, your nipples have enjoyed freedom since the 30s; why not let women's enjoy theirs?

Finally, for all those who criticize the campaign and all that it stands for because how can repressed nipples compare to the atrocities that are happening across the world, from FGM to the Boko Haram crisis? What exactly are you doing to address these atrocities? At least these bare breasted ladies are standing up for what they believe in, which is more than can be said for those anonymous trolls who hide behind screens, their virtual erections growing with each like they receive.

To settle this matter once and for all: the sooner we win the legal right to free nipples, the quicker people will get used to seeing them, and the less illicit they become. Got it? And when even an Icelandic MP feels like she can #freethenipple, then surely that's the kind of society we should be aiming for?

Read our original coverage here.

Last night Soko joined in too, staging a #freethenipple stage invasion at her sold out London gig.

Read our Free the Nipple think piece.

Read our think piece on how celebrities embraced nudity.


Free the Nipple