Ebba Lindström 2016-09-13
In December 2014, Lina Esco, actress, activist and producer, launched the movie Free the Nipple. The movie follows a group of young women in New York that, by walking the city street toppless, are questioning the old fashioned view of the women body. Not only by this kind of activism, but also with graffiti and installations, these women are examine the illogical glorification of war and violence and the censorship of the women body (Free The Nipple, 2016).
But in what way is this a micro trend? Well, even though it is not a product or a brand it is a movement and a hashtag diverged from, what I argue is a meso trend in the western world, feminism. Feminism has been a hot topic the last couple of years. Of course it is an old concept and movement that has been around since the late 18th century (Nationalencyklopedin, 2016) but has escalated. Let us take the originals series Girls from HBO, starring and directed by the outspoken feminist (Dowling, 2015) Lena Dunham as an example. A series about a group of young women, living their lives as a modern version of Sex And The City. Or Beyoncés statement during her Mrs. Carter tour, projecting the word “Feminist” in bold pink letters when performing her song “Flawless”. In an interview with Elle she clarified why she chose to do that:
“I’m not really sure people know or understand what a feminist is, but it’s very simple. It’s someone who believes in equal rights for men and women. I don’t understand the negative connotation of the word, or why it should exclude the opposite sex […] I don’t want calling myself a feminist to make it feel like that’s my one priority, over racism or sexism or anything else. I’m just exhausted by labels and tired of being boxed in.” (Gottesman, 2016)
Both Dunham and Beyoncé are good examples of setters (Ponten, 2016) of the meso trend feminism from which the movie, movement and hashtag “Free The Nipple” has, in my opinion, grown to be a micro trend. When analyzing what could be the mega trend holding it all up, I would argue it is the trend of activism. A way for the young people of the generation to do something bold and make a statement which in this day and age takes form in feminism and in a micro level, Free The Nipple.
Today, Free The Nipple is a movement that takes form in several different ways; in social media accounts, in a movie but foremost as a hashtag! Under the hashtag #freethenipple, instagram has over 300 000 uploaded photos (Instagram, 2016) that mainly picture a pair of womens breasts, hiding the very middle of it, the nipple. On many platforms, it is legal for men to show their nipples whilst it is not for women. And in this case, the movement and the nipple has become a metaphor for gender equality addressing the notion that the female body gets sexualised when naked and the male body doesn’t (Thomas, 2016).
When searching for the phenomena “Free The Nipple” on Google Trends it is clear whereabout it has been popular: In Australia, Sweden and the U.S. But also western Europe and Taiwan have been showing interest. Even though it is a well search term it had its culmen in December 2014 (Google Trends, 2016) proving the micro trends decline in the lifecycle (Ponten, 2016).
But now to the question: Do you think that Free The Nipple is a meaningless movement and hashtag that is irrelevant for the gender equality fight or is it a necessary and drastic move to raise awareness about it?
Dowling, A. (2015). Lena Dunham explains feminism in 12 quick quotes. Retrieved 2016-09-12 from: http://www.theloop.ca/lena-dunham-explains-feminism-in-12-quick-quotes/
Freethenipple.com. (2016). Film Synopsis. Retrieved 2016-09-12 from: http://freethenipple.com/film-synopsis/
Google Trends. (2016). Free the nipple. Retrieved 2016-09-13 from: https://www.google.se/trends/explore?q=%2Fm%2F012z969n
Gottesman, T. (2016). Beyoncé wants to change the conversation. Retrieved 2016-09-12 from: http://www.elle.com/fashion/a35286/beyonce-elle-cover-photos/
Instagram. (2016). #freethenipple. Retrieved 2016-09-12 from: https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/freethenipple/
Nationalencyklopedin. (2016). Feminism. Retrieved 2016-09-12 from: http://www.ne.se/uppslagsverk/encyklopedi/l%C3%A5ng/feminism
Ponten, H. (2016). Trends Theory. Retrieved 2016-09-12 from: https://learn.hu.nl/pluginfile.php/5303/mod_resource/content/2/Tand%20B%20block%20A%201617%20trend%20theory.pdf
Thomas, L. R. (2016). Free the nipple isn’t just about nipples, it’s about equality. Retrieved 2016-09-13 from: https://i-d.vice.com/en_gb/article/free-the-nipple-isnt-just-about-nipples-its-about-equality?utm_campaign=iduktwitter