An initiative of the National Women’s Council of Ireland



February 17, 2015 at 2:59

Sarah Gorry outlines how posting a picture of a female nipple showed her the double standards of portraying mens and women's bodies in public.


Coming home after a long wet miserable Wednesday I did what many women do, reached behind to unsnap my bra. 'Aaaaahhh' relief. Its that moment that just makes you feel you're home. Little did I know 48 hours later I would be slapped with a ban from facebook.
You see,  escaping from bra jail this day in particular got me thinking, 'why do I get up everyday and put an item of clothing on me that a) serves no real purpose? and b) actually causes me to feel sore and uncomfortable?'. Are we so conditioned by society as females to cover up our nipples when our male peers can show of as much nip and side moob as they wish?
I mention the male peers because the day I decided to give up my bra I had been greeted in my local shopping centre by a bunch of lads coming from the gym with v neck t-shirts down to their bellybuttons. Yes, that day while going for a sliced pan I ended up seeing 10 nipples while my nips were covered with padding and all sorts of layers and it made me realise society finds women's nipples far more offensive than men's. We can now go into our chemists and find nipple covers so if we are going braless with a certain outfit we can make sure are nipples are still under wraps.
I announced to my Facebook friends that I was officially giving up wearing a bra. I had had enough of the wire digging in, the twisted straps and the itchy clasp. I accompanied my announcement on my facebook page with what I thought was a very fitting picture. A male and female side by side, both topless. Both had text written on their chests in the photo. The male -'society says this is ok', the female -'society says this is not ok'. Perfectly summed up the point I was making. (The attached is not the original picture)
It was only up a couple of hours when I received a message from Facebook telling me someone on my 'friend' list had reported my picture for nudity and it was being reviewed by Facebook.
It really didn't take me long to figure out who the reporter was. I had a list of about 10 suspects out of roughly 200 people on my friends list. I easily outsmarted my prime suspect and made another nipple pic only visible to him, not one other person could see it, and sure enough 11 minutes later it was reported too. Just call me Miss Marple.
It wasn't until the next day, when I tried to access my Facebook profile, that I discovered I had been given a 24 hour ban for, in their words, 'violating their terms of nudity'
Wow. Who knew a woman's nipple could cause such chaos? David Beckham's image can fill up my newsfeed for days on end with only a pair of his tight fitting boxers on? Double standards completely.
To be a woman whose breast is seen as nothing more than something sexual is a hard fact to contemplate. The only difference I can see between my breast and a male's one is mine can feed my child. It seems in 2015 we are still miles away from having the gender equality we so rightly need.
I gathered a lot of support for #freethenip from my lady friends and a few male friends too, but it was so much more than a simple statement to me. Its about oppression, its about equality and most importantly its about a woman's choice if she wants to show her nipples off or not and frankly I dont think its anyone else's business.