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‘Free the Nipple’ hasn’t a thing to do with body- or slut-shaming

  • Published in Letters

To The Daily Sun,

To (Free the Nipple supporter) Kia Sinclair, this nonsense needs to stop. You have taken a movement about gender equality and bastardized it into something unrelated to the original.

First off, the woman who started this #FTN – Lina Esco – stated that this was all about gender equality and the shaming of the female nipple; that it was about the U.S. being "puritanical and unevolved." She only used the words "Free The Nipple" because it was engaging and funny. Well, I am disengaged and failing to find the humor.

You drag in the LGBTQ community as well as persons of color. Why? It isn't about them. It isn't about body-shaming or slut-shaming. It isn't about a lifestyle choice. This is about you being the bully, not others. When a small group of women attempt to browbeat a town of 7,000 (and far more in the summer) into looking away while they flash their particulars, it is you who are being the bully. So an attempt to desexualize the female nipple is only about gender equality – not a lifestyle choice. That was my response to the nudists from Florida and California who sent in their 2 cents. Because nudism is a lifestyle choice that can be enjoyed at a private resort or enclave. In California and Rhode Island and Florida they have beaches set aside for just that lifestyle. Gilford does not.

Personally, I hope you fail, and I'll tell you why. I have daughters. I will stand by them their entire lives to ensure they have equal voting rights, earning ability, education opportunities, and other legal rights. But from the first time I had the privilege — yes, a privilege and not a right — to see the breast of a woman who had exposed it for me and only me, I knew that it was a moment of immense personal sharing; a time and a place where people who care for each other take that step.

The attempt to desexualize the female nipple is a losing proposition for couples everywhere. It takes something away from those moments between a man and a woman of equal everything and now makes it secondary. Minimized. An afterthought: It hasn't anything to do with race or sexual preference, and shame on you for trying to drag them into this.

Perhaps Ms. Esco is right and that at some point in the future, your nipples will be free to exhibit themselves anywhere they want. But even if the Supreme Court of the United States was to say, "Yes Kia!! Go forth and expose to your heart's content!!," I still will have an issue with you and your little group of bullies. And I hope that the town of Gilford will use my tax dollars to fight and continue to fight to keep this town invested in a little bit of old-fashioned romance.

Alan Vervaeke
Gilford