Known as the “breast bikini top ever,” the TaTa Top (a bikini that resembles naked breasts) is sparking new discussions around the #FreeTheNipple movement. As I am currently sitting on a beach and getting sand in my cleavage, I figured it was time for me to take a closer look at these swim suits.
Over the past year, various people have been protesting the US’s unequal topless laws. While a topless man lounging on the beach seems ordinary, a topless woman doing the same thing is seen as scandalous. The most shocking thing is that many states actually do legally allow women to go around without shirts, but our society is still fixated on the notion that women should remain covered. In one of my earliest Jug Talks, I spoke with Nadine Gary, the spokesperson for GoTopless (a group fighting for equal topless laws). Their movement argues that everyone should be able to go shirtless, or none at all.
The movement has now grown more cohesive, spawning projects such as the TaTa Top. The suit serves as an option for people who do not want to go fully nude but still want to fight against the disparity. It is also reigniting the discussion – some photos of the bikini have been banned from Instagram because the suit looks to realistic. But the things is, the suit isn’t actually that realistic. The site explains: “This design is meant to be a cartoon representation of a nipple in a fun way.”
But this has led to some other controversies about the TaTa Top: until recently, the bikini has only been available in smaller sizes and limited colors. While the swimsuit is not meant to look realistic, these restrictions unintentionally reinforce the idea that the movement is only for a small group of people. In this case, the assumption is that all women are white and can fit into this size bikini. This kind of exclusion by limitation unfortunately runs rampant in many activist movements. In most cases, no one is actively trying to exclude any – many people are just privileged enough that they are not required to think of people outside of their race or body size.
The TaTa Top, however, is already making great strides to include a wider range of people. Michelle Lytle, one of the co-creators, told me: “We had to finance [the TaTa Top project] ourselves and and I really didn’t know whether this would even sell to begin with! As a result I just created the first top to match me…” As the site indicates, Michelle and her project partner, Robyn, are already investing in a wider range of sizes in colors. In fact, they are even looking into a variety of styles that can accommodate different sizes. Thus, the TaTa Top continues to expand, making it a project we should all keep an eye on. Honestly, with suits like these, how could we not?