We had the pleasure of chatting to Free the Nipple Brighton 2018 organiser Bee, who revealed everything we need to know about this year’s event. Join the movement on Sat 7 July to help smash the stigma surrounding female nipples.
IMAGES BY MICKEY F PHOTOGRAPHY
Tell us about Free the Nipple Brighton
Free the Nipple Brighton is a local feminist protest group all about body autonomy and nipple equality, highlighting the very real and sexist attitudes in our culture towards women’s bodies and trans bodies. In a world where breasts are used to sell everything from sports cars and perfume to hit singles and TV shows, we really ought to have achieved topless equality by now – at the very least mothers should be able to breastfeed in peace without being harassed by strangers. But alas, equality is still a long way off.
Women who show their breasts in almost any context are shamed, sexualised and disrespected – kicked off social media and potentially even arrested. For trans folk, the issues are even more complex – our culture’s obsession with the gender binary makes it nearly impossible for a trans person to show nipples in public – either with or without top surgery. It’s high time that this double standard should end – we all deserve the right to be comfortable in our own bodies and walk the streets in peace and safety – just like men do.
How long has the Brighton event been going?
The movement has been going worldwide since 2012 and we have been marching in Brighton for a few years. This year will be our team’s second year organising the march. The core organising team includes:
- Bee Nicholls
- Mickey F
- Roni Guetta
- Suze Smethurst
- Dani Simmons
- Dory Valentine
- Rachel Beck
- Beckah Hawkins
- Lottie Wood
What can we expect from the day?
Friendship, sisterhood, networking and bonding with other amazing likeminded souls. Life-affirming, empowering and liberating experiences. A fully accessible march and rally along Brighton seafront, followed by a totally amazing after-party organised by Traumfrau. Last year was honestly one of the best days of my life!
How did you get involved in it?
I went along to the 2016 march which was organised by Samantha Pressdee and when I couldn’t find any word on a 2017 march, I contacted her to see if it was happening. She told me she was away all summer – “But why don’t you organise it?” she said. The idea was so exciting and terrifying, I couldn’t believe I was capable of organising something like that, but immediately the ideas and inspiration started flowing. So I bit the bullet – and here I am! It’s been one of the most wonderful things I’ve ever done.
How can people help the event?
We have managed to put on the 2017 and 2018 march on a minuscule budget (self-funded) and I personally think it’s great when things can exist without orientating around money. The best thing people can do to help us is by promoting the event online, distributing our flyers for us, making banners and placards, and most importantly – turning up and taking part! But if there are any socially conscious millionaires reading this, I won’t turn down your donations…
Do people have to be topless to take part?
Definitely not. We acknowledge that for all sorts of complex reasons being topless is not an option for everyone. The stigma still hangs heavily in the air and it’s not an easy thing to do. We wouldn’t want anyone to feel that they had to dress a certain way in order to take part – if our message resonates with you, you’ll be welcomed! That’s all there is to it for us. All ages and all genders are welcome to take part. We have a code of conduct and safety plan in place to make the event as inclusive and as safe as possible.