If you havent seen it, you should watch the following clip with Miley Cyrus, who was recently invited to be on Jimmy Kimmel’s show.
Watch that here:
(1) Jimmy Kimmel’s Embarrassed/Flustered:
We live in a culture that will fine people, even imprison them, for not wearing clothes. The transgression is nudity. Flesh. Skin. Nudity is treated much like death, we don’t like to talk about it. Hence, why our television screens are covered in advertisements for anti-ageing creams and new pop-culture fashions almost daily.
Rather than talking about why we feel uncomfortable with nudity (some of it, could be a hangover of Judeo-Christian values which are can still be seen prevalently in Western politics). We avoid what we fear. Now, for some, fear might seem like too strong of a word. But, is fear, in its most simple form, other than something that makes us feel out of control or uncomfortable? The course of the 6 minute interview Jimmy is not comfortable. (This blog is not attack on Jimmy Kimmel!). Jimmy stands in as a metaphor for the social discomfort that is prolific across our culture. Hence, why #freethenipple is such a radical notion (as Miley mentions), because it challenges this discomfort head on-but, also fights for an egalitarian spirit that we have yet to see, which is gender discrimination. Namely, that men can walk around half-naked, but women can’t. That is a problem, which still then supports patriarchy, which we’ve tried for centuries, its time for equality.
(2) You can be a jerk with a shirt on
Miley makes the point that one cannot be naked or a form of it and be a jerk. What is she referring to? Inadvertently, she is referring to the very same thing that is making Jimmy Kimmel uncomfortable – our culture of shame with the human body. We don’t seem to like our bodies. Its as if clothes hide the vulgar parts of our bodies, or our realization that we think its vulgar, much like all of the anti-ageing face creams. In Christianity, and even in some Greek belief systems, the body is seen as a prison. Now, the irony, as you may have already noticed, is that the Greeks did what we do now, objectify the female body (remember all of those marble statues of women and their bodies?) – this is one major issue that has to be dealt with, women, in a generic sense, need to not be treated as sacred – I don’t mean this in a derogatory sense. But things like rape, prostitution, and even pornography (which, yes, isn’t just women, but stats say women tend to be used more frequently) are all after-effects of this objectification. Men and Women should not be treated as Gods. This is a huge issue. But rather, we should be treated as equals just because of who we are, because we value equality above and beyond our own fantasies of one another.
(3) The Nipple is the problem
We’ve sexualized certain aspects of the human body. Why does a nipple have to be fetishized? What’s so special about it? It’s as if we desire to keep a part of the body sacred, untouched, as if to imply that if we don’t see it, we don’t know about it, a transgression hasn’t been made.Its like when we have these interviews that block out the faces of those who commit criminal acts – as long as we distance ourselves from it, then we can distance our connection to it. If we distance our connection to it, then it allows us to commit all kinds of transgressive acts (i.e., I can masturbate to this because I don’t feel responsible (or a connection) to it. (Note: I am not saying masturbation itself is wrong, but that we create a cycle of transgression and shame by hiding our behaviours and attitudes towards certain areas of our bodies).
So, Free The Nipple is an attempt to emancipate us from the need to feel shameful about our bodies. It’s quite radical. It can slowly move us away from the internal angst we have been socially/parentally been conditioned to feel towards our bodies. Nudity is not the enemy, shame is, and Miley stands as a reminder of this!