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Deputy Lifestyle Editor, Elizabeth Rosenberg, discusses how our nipples are a stepping stone to gender equality.

We all remember Rachel Green, right? Jennifenipplesr Aniston’s character in the hit sit-com ‘Friends’, [didn’t] go on a break with Ross Geller, flatmate of Monica, quite often had her nipples out? What happened to that glorious time? I seem to recall everyone being completely in love with Rachel Green’s ~aesthetic~ and her glorious nipples but nowadays nipples are no longer free. They are covered, they are shamed.

Some might be aware of the #FreeTheNipple movement, especially as RHUL have recently launched an Instagram account entitled ‘RHULANippleADay’ where you can show off your own fabulous nipples. The #FreeTheNipple movement, and RHUL’s insta, aims to show that female nipples are not entirely dissimilar from the male equivalent and that females should not have to cover themselves for fear of causing offence. They are, as Julia Roberts points out “just breasts” they are designed to help feed our young – not to be sexualised.

Men are the cause of this. Not all men, of course, but men nonetheless. It is the male gaze that sexualises women so that they cannot work out, sunbathe topless, or exhibit their work the same way as men can. RHUL’s Instagram account is completely anonymous and the nipples so zoomed into that you can barely tell which nipples belong to male or females. However, if we could tell the difference, would the account be treated differently? Would it be looked at for a laugh, a giggle and an exclamation of “look at them titties!” No doubt the university would have shut it down immediately if it had not been so tastefully done…with male nipples being used as well. More than likely the account would no longer exist had it just been female nipples.

Personally, I no longer wear a bra and if you see my nipples poking through my shirt on a cold day – I don’t think it should be something completely out of the ordinary or to be stared at. If men have the same size breasts as me would they wear a bra? I know some of these men and they certainly do not and I can see their nipples. The fight for equality is never-ending, it’s even constricting our nipples, let alone our pay-check.

So maybe, in our vintage issue, we should start making something vintage ourselves. Lets start making stigmatisation of our nipples a thing of the past. Let us take a tip out of Jennifer Aniston’s book and throw our bras away with gay abandon and, in 25 years or so, have someone write an article about how women used to cover up their nipples for fear of having them sexualised.

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