BY TESSA WOODRING – NEWS EDITOR
The “Free the Nipple” campaign is coming to Susquehanna, and students are more than ready to participate.
On May 4 at 2 p.m., students are invited to meet on Smith Lawn to participate in this demonstration.
The “Free the Nipple” campaign is known nationwide and has numerous celebrity supporters including Miley Cyrus, Liv Tyler and Lena Dunham.
According to the campaign’s website, freethenipple.com, “Free the Nipple is a film, an equality movement, and a mission to empower women across the world.”
The “Free the Nipple” website also shares the history that inspired this campaign to be created: “Over 75 years ago it was illegal in all 50 states of America for men to be ‘shirtless’ on a beach. A small dedicated group fought the puritanical status quo, the police and the courts.”
The website explains that today in 37 states in the United States women can be arrested for being topless in public, and in some states that even includes breastfeeding.
The website describes being topless in public as a basic human right and believes women should have this right.
The main focuses of the campaign are getting men and women equal rights, a balanced system of censorship and legal rights for all women to breastfeed in public.
This “Free the Nipple” movement creates a place for supporters to stand against this female oppression and censorship, according to the website.
Junior English major Jessica Deibert is leading the demonstration at Susquehanna.
She found inspiration from an assignment in her publishing ethics, art, politics and entertainment course.
Her professor, Betsy Verhoeven, had students in the course analyze a genre for the project, and Deibert chose to analyze demonstrations. Deibert researched and wrote about the topic.
She was not required to take it a step further and bring her project to life, but she decided to do so anyway.
Deibert was first inspired to support this campaign while in South Africa for her Global Opportunities Program, where she studied for a full semester.
Deibert said some women would come to class with just a vest on and would let it unbutton, not worrying about showing their breasts.
Deibert then found the “Free the Nipple” campaign through social media and instantly became a supporter.
Deibert created an event on Facebook for the demonstration taking place on Susquehanna’s campus.
The event description on the page explains the purpose of the campaign saying, “This demonstration sets to reveal the double standard associated with female toplessness in public and disrupt the censorship that controls the flow of female identity.”
Deibert held an informational meeting on April 20. She discussed the purpose of this event, why it is legal for this demonstration to happen and what her expectations for the event are.
Junior Eileen Gonzalez was in attendance and explained why she will be participating in the event.
“Women aren’t aware our bodies aren’t shameful,” Gonzalez said. Her main concern is that girls are always told they have to cover up, even as children in school. “That’s sexual. It’s just a body,” she said.
Junior Raquel Capellan also attended the meeting and shared her thoughts on the “Free the Nipple” event.
“I think it’s very powerful,” Capellan said. “Especially because it’s not something that happens on campus every single day.”
The Facebook page for the event says 35 people will be in attendance. Deibert has considered that there may be some negative responses.
“As a group of men and women, we need to rally around each other and support each other,” Deibert said.
She plans to have flyers with information about the campaign to hand out to people.
Deibert said she plans to have paint and glitter available for people to paint their nipples if they want to.
She plans to have Frisbee discs to throw and said people can just read or tan if they prefer that. She emphasized that she wants people to be comfortable at the event.
She also added that students do not have to be topless to come to this event; those who choose to support the event while fully clothed are welcome to do so.