Miley Cyrus’ distorted Free The Nipple foray

Miley Cyrus' distorted Free The Nipple foray

Miley Cyrus’ distorted Free The Nipple foray

Women are fighting for equality in the realm of breasts.

Why cannot a woman’s breasts and nipples be seen in public the way a man’s breasts and nipples can, asks The Free The Nipple campaign, which boasts a full-length feature film. The campaign refers to itself as movement to empower women against “female oppression and censorship.”

“There’s still so many laws against women’s bodies but barely any against men,” says movement founder Lina Esco. Various celebrities are supporting the campaign such as Rihanna, Liv Tyler, Lena Dunham, Scout Willis (she instigated a topless protest on the streets of New York in 2014) and Miley Cyrus.

However, Miley Cyrus did not protest topless on the streets.

Instead, she chose to superimpose her childhood face on the topless bodies of adult women!

Why did Miley Cyrus Photoshop child faces on women’s bodies? What is her message?
Cyrus is trying to say that we see children’s nipples as non-sexual – acceptable for all to view – and therefore we should also view adult women’s nipples as non-sexual.  However, one cannot change or transform social and cultural meanings overnight nor by instantly adding children’s faces over a woman’s topless body, for all that achieves is to force people to see the images as child porn and not as an attempt to make actual cultural changes.

Miley Cyrus posts Photoshopped photos in support of Free The Nipple

The above assumes that Cyrus’ intentions are pure and not motivated by the narcissistic need for more attention or the desperate attempt to give depth and meaning to a celebrity who is ironically and hypocritically known only for her sexuality and sexual provocativeness.

With a lack of experience, insight or wisdom, Cyrus fails to understand that you cannot effect change using the existing meaning of images – people will only see what they have been culturally taught to see i.e. women’s breasts are sexual and placing a child’s face on a topless woman’s body makes people see children as sexual.

Has Miley Cyrus and her manipulating of photos of topless adult women with child’s faces gone too far?
The attempt to de-sexualize the female nipple and create equality simply backfires when you superimpose a child’s face on a fully developed woman’s naked or topless body; it actually sexualizes the innocent child.

What do you think of Free The Nipple campaign?
This is a hypocritical and self-defeating movement: some of the very same people promoting the de-sexualization of the female nipple actually profit off the sexualization of it and the female body. Who would Miley Cyrus be if she were not playing into the sexual stereotypes she claims she is trying to eradicate?  And how is she trying to eradicate them? By juxtaposing and mixing images and photos of children with topless, sexually developed women. It fails other than to provoke yet more attention with few, if any meaningful results or change.

It is entirely true that many countries in Europe and even Australia are not as obsessed with the female nipple as America generally is. In other words, these other countries still view female breasts and nipples as sexually enticing but not as taboo in the way that female breasts and nipples are perceived in the US. I am not aware of any huge fines being imposed on Australian TV stations for wardrobe malfunctions (a la Janet Jackson) which accidentally exposed a female nipple.

A photo shared on Miley Cyrus’ Instagram account

Topless bathing is common on beaches in Europe in Summertime, some beaches in Australia, and it was quite common when I lived in The Gambia, West Africa. There, women sunbathe topless by the pool in hotels and resorts. Of course, they were European women and not locals or other women from the continent of Africa.

The only way to de-sexualize the female breast is to change morality and religion (religion and law determine or define our morality.) Also, Miley Cyrus and the Free The Nipple movement are ultimately trying to de-sexualize the female breast the way it is de-sexualized in primitive cultures. However, that can only happen if, as with primitive cultures, the female body is de-sexualized and that will never occur in a society where marketing, media and advertising are driven and depend greatly on the sexualization of the female and her body!

Finally, and ironically, while women are campaigning to “Free The Nipple”, to allow and grant women the right to be topless in public places in the US, the only time I witnessed rebellion and criticism of topless women on beaches was by other women! Yes, when I held management positions in hotels and resorts in various countries, American women would complain that there were other women bathing topless by the pool or on the beach. I explained that women were free to do so by law; these women were angry, jealous and threatened by the topless women – they were threatened by the nipple!

Patrick Wanis PhD
Human Behavior Expert

What do you think of the Free The Nipple campaign?
Post your comments below.

Read more  Miley Cyrus takes heat for ‘Free The Nipple’ Instagram posts

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    Jennifer Rodriguez says:

    Patrick,
    A very good article indeed! Thank you for exposing the hypocrisy of a lot of these female celebrities in supporting the “Free the Nipple” campaign. The saddest part of the objectification of the female body is the way a lot of women have (freely) participated and even profited from it. These female celebrities have no problem with objectifying themselves and then go around “supporting” a campaign that is trying to deobjectify the female body. We need to ask ourselves “why?”. Even worse, on a less grand scale, in everyday life, as you well observed while working as a hotel manager, so many women objectify themselves and then spend time criticizing and objectifying other women. We could say that perhaps they didn’t know better but come on! Many women today are educated enough and if they can’t see the hypocrisy of what they are participating in, then they are just defending the status quo and contributing to the oppression of all women everywhere.

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