Wednesday, March 9, 2016

My Nipples Don't Need Your Help

So I had another "I totally feel 40" moment earlier. I woke up this morning to an Instagram message from some chick. She was apparently one of the many women you run into on social media these days that claim to be feminists fighting for social justice and all that. Her account was one of those "free the nipple" deals. She was actually messaging me to request a submission. You know, so I can do my part to fight for women's equality.

Why she approached me of all people, I don't know. I have a profile picture up on Instagram and I will very, very occasionally post a selfie or something. But none of the photos I post are the type of thing that should lead anyone to believe I wouldn't mind showing a bunch of perfect strangers my tits. I use Instagram primarily to post pictures of the foods Seth and I cook. All I can figure is that this person took one look at me, saw that I was "alternative" looking (unnatural hair color with black clothes), and mistook me for someone a lot younger or more progressive than I actually am. It sure wouldn't be the first time. Whatever the reasons, I was honestly kind of offended, but not for the reasons most people would probably think. 

I was offended because I don't see how a strange woman approaching me out of nowhere to ask me for nude pictures in support of some cause is any different from a strange man wanting to see my tits so he can get off to them. Both of those scenarios involve someone making assumptions about me as a person (probably based on how I look). Both scenarios reduce my nude body to an object that can and should be offered up for other people's use. Worst of all, both scenarios subtly imply that letting other people look at my body, use images of it for their own purposes, or show those images to hundreds of other strangers shouldn't be a big deal to me.

Don't get me wrong. I don't have a problem with nudity or think the human body is anything other than completely beautiful (male bodies, as well as female). I would even say that I think society needs to be less uptight about nudity and sex in general. But I also believe that there's a time and a place for nudity. That time isn't "all the time" and that place isn't "everywhere". It's never OK to approach perfect strangers and ask to see their nude bodies. I get that lots of women don't mind taking a ton of selfies or posting nudes online for other people to look at, but I'm not "lots of women".

I don't actually support the "free the nipple" cause, nor do I support public breastfeeding for that matter. However, I don't expect the rest of the world to conform to my personal set of standards. For instance, it's legal for women to breastfeed in public, so the fact that I feel breastfeeding is too private and personal to be done in public is irrelevant. If I don't want to see it or be around it, it's on me to find someplace else to be without saying anything to the person or attempting to make them feel bad about what they're doing. I believe in "live and let live"... but that means I expect other people to respect the possibility that my values might be different from theirs as well. 

If you believe in "free the nipple" and want people to get involved, you use your own space to publicly request that involvement. You don't scour a major social network for people you think look alternative or goth, assume that they'll be down to whip their tits out because of it, and then direct message them about something so personal. That's nothing short of rude. So no. I won't be freeing my nipples for anyone but myself, my partner, or my doctor to see. Call me old fashioned, but I don't consider modesty to be a prison in the first place. It's a shame that so many young people do.