Free The Nipple

06.26.14

The Tata Top Battles Gender Inequality By Helping Women Wear Nipples Proudly

A new bathing suit takes a different approach to the Free the Nipple movement—mocking breast haters by printing an exact replica on flesh-toned bathing suits.

“Why can’t girls be topless?” Chicago-based feminists Robyn Graves and Michelle Lytle ask on their website, The Tata Top. In the midst of the #FreeTheNipple movement and the continued battle for gender equality, Graves and Lytle have created a seemingly simple answer to that  problem: a nude-colored bikini printed with pink nipples—the perfect solution to baring it all without letting things hang out.

“If you really think about it, what’s the difference between a man’s nipples and a woman’s?” the duo continues. “Is it really just the extra breast tissue? Is it the fact that women’s nipples are paired with a vagina? What is it that is so horrible that caused SUCH hysteria? Honestly...stop and think for a few moments. Remove the cultural normalcies that have been ingrained in you and look at this situation as if you were explaining it to an alien who newly arrived on Earth. Explain why women have to cover up their chests, but not men. What reason would you give?”

Although not directly related to the Free The Nipple campaign, the company received a boost in sales after the recent burst of activism, including Scout Willis’ bare-chested romp through New York City. And its mission is to bring together a group of powerful females in the fight for feminism; Graves and Lytle donate about 20 percent of each bathing suits sale to breast cancer research.

The underlying goal of the bikini, however, is meant to desexualize the idea of female nipples and eliminate gendered double standards. Why should it be laughable, or even uncomfortable, for a woman to bare her breasts in public?

“By censoring an image of a woman’s chest and not a man’s it doesn’t end with removing that image from your platform,” Graves and Lytle conclude. “Whether you like it or not you are confirming that YES, a woman’s nipples are indecent and are something that need to be kept covered. You are endorsing that train of thought. You take yourself out of the business of providing a forum for free thinking and place yourself in the position of deciding what is immoral and what isn’t.”