Think fast, hot shot: what's the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word "breasts"? Cute domes of fat that look pretty cool? Fascinating organs that can create free food for tiny humans? Awesome sexual pleasure nodules?
Every one of these answers, plus dozens of others, are correct — but in the world at large, the reigning sentiment on breasts still seems to be "so inherently sexy and dangerous that we must regulate them as if they were pharmaceutical cocaine." How else could you explain the recent uproar over a hoax that claimed that British tabloid The Sun would stop publishing topless photos of models on its infamous "Page 3"? Or the fact that in the U.S., female public toplessness is still 100 percent illegal in Utah, Tennessee, and Indiana, and the law is murky or inconsistent on the subject in nearly a dozen other states? In most public perceptions, breasts are nothing but sexual temptations, as beguiling as they are dangerous.
Of course, if you yourself are the owner of a pair of lovely lady lumps, you know that that's nowhere near the whole story. Not only are breasts tough (ask anyone who's nursed) and vehicles for personal sexual pleasure (ask anyone who's had an orgasm from nipple play) — the cultural taboo about them makes them into tools of protest and change, for those fighting against everything from breastfeeding bans to sexism in the arts.
Our boobs can be total bad-ass outlaws — there's great historical precedent for whipping out your girls to do everything from protest wars you oppose to make a statement about women in the art world — and the three boob-based rebellions below prove that you can use your boobs to fight the power — right now.
Your Boobs Can Fight For The Rights of Nursing Mothers
Nursing a baby is the most natural thing in the world. Like, literally, it is a natural phenomenon that proceeds the development of human innovations like speech, the concept of the "self," and the career of James Van Der Beek. But even though 46 states and the District of Columbia guarantee a woman's right to breastfeed in public, nursing mothers still get hassled, shamed, and told to cover up while breastfeeding all over the place, from department stores and amusement parks to homeless shelters and college graduations.
But boobs don't take slights like this lying down — instead, they took to the streets. Over the past several years, nursing mothers fed up with being told to breastfeed in a public toilet or hide themselves from public view have organized public breastfeeeding "nurse-ins" all over, including one event that saw moms nurse at over 200 Target stores across the country on the same day. A nurse-in event at a Los Angeles Anthropologie drew 100 mothers together to protest, and other nurse-ins have gone down at a Friendly's restaurant in Connecticut, Claridge's hotel in London, and elsewhere.
And the protests have been more than just dramatic — they've gotten results. In the case of Anthropolgie, for example, the management issued an apology and noted that nursing was permitted in all of its stores, and the Target protesters met with no resistance from the management at any of the stores.
Your Boobs Can Take on Facebook and Instagram
Facebook and Instagram are where we connect with the world, documenting and sharing our lives with both close loved ones and some weird teenagers who maybe live in Denmark (how did we start following them again?). And sometimes, our lives involve breasts — from shots of mastectomy scars celebrating a triumph over breast cancer, to breastfeeding pics celebrating recent motherhood, to topless vacation photos celebrating how awesome it is to be on vacation, photos of our boobs are often necessary to tell the story of our lives in full. But for years, any shot like that would immediately get flagged on the social media platforms and potentially result in the user getting locked out of their account — a fate that did not befall users who posted, say, violently misogynistic content.
A group of activists came together in the Free the Nipple movement, which, with support from celebrities like Miley Cyrus and Scout Willis, pressured the social media platforms to not mark all photos of breasts as pornography — a policy which objectified women by saying all shots of breasts are inherently titillating (sorry, had to). And thanks to the pressure, Facebook has changed its policy, now allowing the free posting of breastfeeding and post-masectomy photos (though art featuring breasts remains taboo, and Instagram continues to refuse bare breasted shots of all kinds).
Also, just as a reminder, you are always free to show your knockers on Twitter in whatever context you deem appropriate, because they are groovy like that.
Your Boobs Can Kick Nudity Laws In the Ass
Of course, even though it is technically legal for a woman to walk around topless in most of the country, in real life, things often play out differently. Topless women can be ticketed or charged with "disorderly conduct" or "public indecency" for walking around topless in many places where bare breasts are legal, if police officers judge that their nudity is sexually provocative ... or, you know, if the cops just feel like it. The best way to protest this double standard? By whipping out your humps, of course.
Several U.S. cities host annual "Go Topless" events where shirtless women congregate to protest the double standard and try to normalize the sight female chests in public, and a group of topless female protesters recently took to the beaches of Rio, where a woman appearing topless in public can be punished with up to a year in prison.
Maybe today is the day to put a picture of some breasts up next to your Che Guevara poster.
Images: Monica Andino/Bustle;