These Powerful #FreeTheNipple Photos Challenge the Way We Sexualize Women's Breasts


Women across Iceland took a powerful stand on social media last week by posting pictures of their breasts, using the #FreeTheNipple campaign to reclaim control of their bodies.

The movement, which aims to desexualize women's breasts by posting ordinary pictures of exposed nipples on social media, has been around for almost a year. But it gained national momentum last week after a 17-year-old, Adda Þóreyjardóttir Smáradóttir, received vicious backlash for posting a picture of her breasts. Her photograph was in direct response to a picture one of her male friends posted of himself without a shirt. The Independent translated her Icelandic Facebook post: "It was difficult and I had to delete the picture for a few minutes, but it was enough to start a revolution."

Rather than being greeted with enthusiasm, Smáradóttir received misogynistic threats. Outraged feminists, male and female alike, came to her defense by posting pictures of their nipples.

The movement: As reported by the Telegraph, the #FreeTheNipple campaign was inspired by a film of the same name, which exposes the double standard of outlawing women's unconcealed breasts in New York City while no such law applies to men. According to the movie's official website, "The film explores the contradictions in our media-dominated society, where acts of violence and killing are glorified, while images of a woman's body are censored by the [Federal Communications Commission] and the [Motion Picture Association of America]. What is more obscene: violence or a nipple?"

Using social media to make a change: The #FreeTheNipple campaign is part of a larger, inspiring trend. Increasingly, gender equality finds support through social media campaigns and people harnessing technology. In February, Mic highlighted online feminist movements from a crowdsourcing map that tracks sexual assault in Syria to forcing the Lululemon chairman to step down after suggesting larger women shouldn't wear their yoga pants. The wildly popular #EffYourBeautyStandards aims to diversify mainstream standards of beauty, with an Instagram account that has more than 116,000 followers.

We must keep ensuring the voices of gender equality stay louder than those of double-standard misogynists and Internet trolls. It's about time for a nipple mutiny.