ColumnWelcome to 2016! You thought people would start the year off in a haze of “I’m going to try super hard to be the best I can be-ness,” but alas, that hopeful cloud has lifted and it all started because of this New Hampshire politician and his aversion to female nipples when they’re used for breastfeeding.
What politician, you ask? Republican Rep. Josh Moore, who thinks it’s a totally chill idea to grab a woman’s nipple if he sees that it’s exposed in a public place. Ah, yes — rape culture is alive and well in 2016.
It all began innocently enough. New Hampshire currently has a law that allows men and women to expose their nipples as much as they want, whenever they want. Pretty progressive! But (there’s always a but) Slate reports that a recently proposed bill (that was created by Republican men) would make it illegal for a woman to purposely reveal her areola, the nipple of her breast, or breasts, in public. While the bill does make an exception for breastfeeding, it doesn’t require men to cover up. “Men would still be permitted to expose their nipples in public with impunity,” Slate appropriately snarks.
When Amanda Bouldin, New Hampshire state Rep., caught wind of this less-than-stellar political idea, she blasted the state’s republican party for being so obsessed with controlling women’s bodies while praising the joys of limited government and freedom. When Bouldin voiced her totally valid opinions in a Facebook post, her colleague, Republican Rep. Josh Moore, responded in a very sexist, dimwitted way, and by bringing breastfeeding into the mix. (Because god forbid a woman show her nipples!)
This is exactly what Moore typed in a comment in response to Bouldin on Facebook. (And FYI: The typos are all Moore’s doing.):
“Who doesn’t support a mothers right to feed? Don’t give me the liberal talking points Amanda. If it’s a woman’s natural inclination to pull her nipple out in public and you support that, than you should have no problem with a mans inclination to stare at it and grab it. After all… It’s ALL relative and natural, right?”
Yes, just like it’s “relative” and “natural” for a person to catcall a woman in public, have sex with her against her will, and harass her for dates, even if she says no.
And, get this – the banter actually got worse from there.
Republican Rep. Al Baldasaro, another one of Bouldin’s colleagues, added this totally appropriate and creepy quip. (Again, all typos are his.):
“Amanda, No disrespect, but your nipple would be the last one I would want to see. You want to turn our family beach’s into a pervert show. Libertarians want a nude beach, put your money together and buy one, if you want to expose you kids to nudity, go for it. Some of us liberty minded Reps do believe in family values.”
Bouldin didn’t get down into the gritty fray, but did respond to Slate’s request to talk about the boneheaded comments. Her response? That she is totally flabbergasted that men don’t think male nipples are sexual — and she doesn’t get why male and female nipples aren’t viewed the same way.
“I certainly find men’s nipples sexual,” Bouldin exclaimed. “If men being topless wasn’t sexual, they’d have to take off their pants to attract any women. We know that topless men are sexual. But apparently only topless men are allowed to display their sexuality. Women are not.”
Good for her, we say. She’s totally right. Nipples are body parts and can be seen as sexual. So can lips, feet, ears, hands, etc. If the government wants women to cover up their nipples, then they better go all the way and ban male nipples too. And sexy elbows, right?
It would be really nice if this were to be the only outrageous things males say about women’s bodies this year, but we know that won’t be the case. After all, it is an election year, and we all know how much men love to police women’s bodies when votes are at stake.
Related on EcoSalon
Image of protest via Shutterstock