Thursday, April 09, 2009

Kenyon Women Fight for Topfree Equality

A story today in the Kenyon College Collegian newspaper describes how topfree women were kicked out of a "Shock Your Mom" party event on campus, which sparked a protest by a group calling itself "The Women Behind the Boobs", who hung photos of their own naked breasts along an area called Middle Path. A letter was circulated from the protesters, who said, "We love our bodies and we want you to see why! We just wonder why 'common decency' requires us to cover a part of our bodies that not only do men not have to cover, but that is a natural, integral part of ourselves."

According to students interviewed for the story, nudity at the annual event was expected, even though officially prohibited, and that the Campus Department of Safety decided to crack down this year. One student with flowers on her nipples was "grabbed by the shoulders" and told to leave.
According to (student Emma) Lippincott, between 50 and 75 women were involved in the demonstration in some way. While perhaps not all participants saw the demonstration as feminist, Lippincott said that she did. "For me, the true definition of feminism is about egalitarianism between the sexes," she said. "If one gender's chest is viewed as completely sexualized if it's exposed, if it's viewed as pornography when it's just breasts... that's an issue of equality."
Kenyon College is a liberal arts school with 1600 students located in Gambier, Ohio.

UPDATE: The Kenyon Collegian has an editorial supporting the students. It's a little awkwardly written but the point is clear.
We sympathize with the students who felt degraded by the comments they heard when they were asked to leave. Many students in the past have seen Shock Your Momma as an opportunity to expose themselves. These students find liberation in revealing their bodies in a relatively safe environment. When students feel as though they are invited into that environment and then they are pulled away from it, they may feel an understandable amount of shame from putting themselves out into exhilarating and uncomfortable nudity and being pulled away from it by a shaming force that says they are behaving inappropriately.

No comments: