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Scout Willis needs better women's studies classes

#FreetheNipple is a campaign against oppressing women's body
#FreetheNipple is a campaign against oppressing women's body
ScoutWillis's Twitter page

Scout Willis walked the streets of Manhattan topless yesterday to protest Instagram’s hypocrisy, but her #Freethenipple protest makes little sense.

Instagram isn’t hypocritical for blocking photos of partially, frontally or fully nude men and women. Instagram, under Facebook's ownership, is quite unselfish in that regard. It's no secret that the quickest way to get blog hits and reap astronomical financial rewards is via exploitation of the female body. (In fairness, naked pics do fill Facebook and Instagram feeds, but famous people and celebrities can't get away with it).

Demi Moore, Scout Willis's mom, knows there's huge profit in the exploitation and sale of the nude female body. She's profited from movies like "G.I. Jane", "Striptease" and "Indecent Proposal." It's a little ironic, although not surprising, her daughter would bare her celebrity breasts (for publicity) rather than dollars to prove a point about what she feels is Instagram's hypocrisy. Her mom would have secured financial heyday before agreeing to such a stunt. That's feminism at work, literally.

Women's studies programs are falling down on the job in regards to women, self sufficiency, entrepreneurialship, and economics. Sure, the feminist lectures, literatures and programs that have emerged in the ivory tower over the past three decades have improved women's confidence to confront workplace discrimination and leverage equality in romantic and marital relationships.

But somewhere along the line in the philosophies that generate women's empowerment, the discipline skipped a step. It's debatable, if not laughable that some, including co-eds, feel topless revolutions are a viable, necessary step toward gender equality.

It's not. It's more like youthful rebellion since it makes more sense to free bodies at American beaches and lakes where people are almost naked; where people want and deserve to tan evenly. Toplessness in the streets and public parks, male or female, ultmately lacks reason and purpose.

Some time ago in NYC, laws were changed in the name of gender equality. A law permitting men to walk streets topless, but not women, was struck down. For women, the amendment was a gender equality win. That law also dictates that should a crowd form when a woman does walk the streets topless, police are to disperse the crowd and deal with jeering oglers swiftly.

Great. But it's terribly insulting that a court so easily corrected a law that restricted a woman's body, but has yet to correct laws that keep women's salaries lower than men. This is the problem with Scout Willis's protest of Instagram's policy yesterday. This too, sadly, is also a problem that women's studies programs across the nation have yet to reconcile and redress.

There is a terrible reconciling of sexual pleasure and sexual freedom that awaits the topless revolution. Rihanna has joined Scout Willis in the topless war, even though women entertainers profit tremendously in their complicity with the for profit objectification of the female body. At the core for pro-topless crowds is discourse on oppression of women's bodies.

The oppression of women's bodies, like bras, the hatred of public breastfeeding, and proper clothing to prevent a potential rape is a valid source of female discontent and discrimination. It is also the root of a larger and newer idea that men should not rape and that men (and women)must unlearn their ideas of male ownership of the female body.

However, people like Scout Willis and others need to understand that the liberation of the female body will not begin until women are financially capable of making incredibly comfortable livings without having to sell their bodies either by profession or in outdated, uncongenial marriages that keep women financially afloat.

It's ironic, counterintuitive, and just plain silly that the most privileged of people, like Scout Willis and the brainy, academic young and old people who support her don't recognize that.


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