‘Free the nipple’ discussion digs deep



This cupcake was decorated by a participant of the Feminist Action League’s Free the Nipple discussion that was held Tuesday, Sept. 20, in the State College Room of the Maucker Union. FAL meets Tuesdays at 8 p.m. to discuss ongoing feminist issues


Should women be allowed to bare their chest in public?

That was the topic of a discussion on Tuesday held by the Feminist Action League (FAL). FAL meets weekly to promote the rights of women.

Many participants said they did not feel comfortable being quoted or identified in the newspaper, citing the fact that the discussion was denoted as a “safe space.”

“It was really enlightening to learn about the different restrictions and also social media policies[. . .]I just got more awareness of this specific event,” said Ryan Frank, freshman music education major who was in attendance.

At the discussion, participants spoke of taking action as extreme as being arrested  for public nudity or simply walking around without a bra under a shirt.

Indecent exposure laws in some states such as New York, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire and Texas allow women to be topless in public, and there are even areas where nude beaches are legal.

FAL said these states are not the only places in the world that allow women to be topless. Several other countries view topless women as completely normal.

FAL discussed UNI’s Student Conduct Code regarding public nudity exposure.

“Public exposure: deliberately and/or publicly exposing one’s intimate body parts, public urination/defecation, and/or public sex acts,” reads UNI’s Student Conduct Code.

The league then wanted to discuss why the female breast is considered an intimate body part when it is not technically a reproductive organ.

With social media playing such a large role in day-to-day life, the “Free the Nipple” movement has gone viral.

The group drew attention to the singer and songwriter, Miley Cyrus; the singer has made her advocacy for “Free the Nipple” very apparent online and during some of her performances.

The league discussed whether Cyrus was standing up for women’s rights or if she was only posting pictures of her breasts for more followers. One point that many in the league agreed upon was because Cyrus is famous and her opinion spreads through millions of people, she is advocating for free the nipple regardless if she is trying to or not.

The league also discussed mothers posting pictures of themselves breastfeeding their children online, which has drawn up some controversy. The argument in favor was that in this day and age, people post pictures of their food online and that is all the mother is doing. They discussed that some people who disagree with this may believe that the mothers are only posting these pictures for attention, however, the feminist action league believes that they are simply advocating for women’s rights.

Freeing the nipple is a very controversial argument, but Frank advises others to keep an open mind.

“Stay really open to the idea of feminism because in every movement there are radical people,” Frank said. “But that shouldn’t be a reflection on the entire idea as a whole. Erase any stigma you have about feminism because if you educate yourself on it, you’re going to realize it is not what the general public make [feminism] out to be.”

The feminist action league meets every Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. to discuss current feminist issues, where both men and women are welcome.

“Feminist Action League exists to promote gender equality, intersectionality with multiple identities, and awareness of gender and sex related issues while advocating for policy changes at UNI.” said Brenna Wolfe, treasurer of the Feminist