Why it is ok for men to go topless while women are shamed into covering up? Confronting this double standard Byron local Eva Judell has decided to hold a ‘Free the Nipple’ rally in Byron on Saturday August 11 from 11am at Belongil Beach.
‘I was inspired to organise this protest because of personal experiences and countless stories from other women. Within our culture (yes, even in Byron Bay) there is a hyper-sexualisation of the female body,’ said Eva.
‘Myself, my friends and countless women living in this community have experienced being sexualised, harassed and shamed for going topless at the beach. In the larger perspective, this mentality contributes to rape culture and gender inequality.
‘Only genitals are illegal to show in public; upper bodies of men and women are technically fine but it’s more complicated than that. Women still risk being told to cover up by police and strangers. Sometimes men even assume they are asking for sexual attention which is both frightening and sickening.’
Eva recognises that not everyone will be wanting to go topless at the rally but encourages men and women who support the free nipple to come along ‘nipple free’ or not.
In fact there is a third solution for those who want the freedom of a little nipple expression but aren’t quite ready to go fully topless. It is a bikini top with nipples – and yes I’ve had one in my wardrobe for many years. The Ta Ta top as it is known comes in a three skin tones and nipple shades and as they say on their website it ‘is far more than nipples on a bikini top… we work to promote questioning the social norm’.
Eva has received plenty of positive support for the rally and is ‘asking men and women alike to demonstrate the absurdity of this double-standard by walking together, topless along the beach from Belongil to Main Beach’.
‘If you are a woman who wants to stand up for her rights and if you are a man who wants to support women, encourage respect and safety – join us! Check out the Free Nipple Byron Bay facebook event. I’m happy for anyone to message me with ideas and contributions,’ said Eva with enthusiasm.