Scout Willis, daughter of Demi Moore and Bruce Willis, made headlines after she used Instagram and Twitter as platforms for social protest. Scout Willis’ social cause? The female nipple needs to liberated, just as the male nipple was in the 1930’s, Willis says. Inquisitr previously reported that Scout Willis broke Instagram’s terms of service when Scout uploaded an image of a jacket that had a photograph of two topless women on it. Scout’s Twitter-protest was in response to her Instagram account being suspended.
On Twitter, Willis tweeted photographic documentation of herself walking around New York City entirely topless. In NYC, it’s fully legal for women to walk public streets exposing their nipples. Last spring, according to the New York Times, NYC police were issued a reminder that if they happened upon women with exposed breasts, they were not to arrest them, because being topless in NYC is totally legal. Many states have laws allowing women to be topless, according to GoTopless.org. Still, municipalities within these states often have ordinances forbidding women from walking around public topless. GoTopless spokesperson, Rachel Jessee said, “Just as men fought a century ago for the right to go bare-chested in public, we have to fight now to change the puritan values that make people go wild when they see, or even think they see, a woman’s nipple.”
Willis explained herself fully on Monday in a post onXO Jane. Scout explained that she understood that she was defying Instagram’s terms of service, but Willis says it was deliberate social disobedience. Willis explained that to change social norms, some people are going to have to break rules. Scout explains that breaking the rules can transform a society:
“In the 1930s, men’s nipples were just as provocative, shameful, and taboo as women’s are now, and men were protesting in much the same way. In 1930, four men went topless to Coney Island and were arrested. In 1935, a flash mob of topless men descended upon Atlantic City, 42 of whom were arrested. Men fought and they were heard, changing not only laws but social consciousness.”
Scout Willis believes that positive social changes would extend much further than mere gender equality. Scout stands behind the “Free the Nipple” campaign. “Free The Nipple” is a campaign which, according to Huffington Post, was born in NYC when film-maker Lina Esco was filming a movie by the same name. As she filmed Free the Nipple, her art inspired a cultural war as women invaded the streets to demand to be allowed to walk topless. Lina asked, “Why can you sell guns on Instagram, but yet they will suspend your account for posting the most natural part of a woman’s body?”
Scout emphasized that beyond equality, freeing the nipples, frees the woman. Scout asked:
Why can’t a mother proudly breastfeed her child in public without feeling sexualized? Why is a 17-year-old girl being asked to leave her own prom because a group of fathers find her too provocative? Why should I feel overly exposed because I choose not to wear a bra?
— FREE THE NIPPLE (@freethenipple) May 19, 2014
Scout says that removing nipple taboo would encourage public breastfeeding and the health and social impacts of that would be enormous. Willis says that slut shaming stems from a “puritanical” view of what is appropriate. Activists say slut shaming encourages a misogynist rape-culture in the United States. Willis believes that freeing the nipples will encourage “body positivity.” Activists argue that if more real breasts were visible, young men and women would see natural human breasts instead of always seeing photo-edited, unattainable nudity which leads to self loathing in young women. Scout is joined by other celebrities like songstress Rihanna who recently deleted her Instagram account in protest and then showed up an awards ceremony in a see-through dress.
According to 4 News, Instagram fired back at Scout Willis’ protest stating, “We aspire to respect people’s right to share content of personal importance, whether those are photos of a sculpture like Michelangelo’s David or family photos of a child breastfeeding.” Meanwhile MTV (other), of Viacom International, edited the photo of Scout Willis while making an apparent public statement of support of Scout and the “Free the Nipple” campaign: