Some pictures may be considered NSFW.
When I first started Jug Report, I had no idea how much I would be writing about the power of toplessness. I figured I would be posting mainly personal pieces and my thoughts on any scrap of news that could possibly relate to breasts and body image. Little did I know there was going to be an onslaught of breast-related news coverage, particularly in the topless arena. People all over the country have been actively protesting our society’s views on public decency and the female breast. Primarily, people have rebelled outright by going without a shirt – Narcissister, Scout Willis and the Free the Nipple movement to name a few. Others have been focusing on the struggle of nursing mothers. In the end, they’re all asking the same thing: why does the female breast need to be so policed?
Then, Laura Dodsworth contacted me about her art and social project, Bare Reality (some images on the site may be considered NSFW). Over the past two years, Dodsworth has photographed 100 women and their naked breasts, leaving the photos untouched. With a Kickstarter campaign, Dodsworth plans to create a book of the collection, donating a portion of the proceeds to Breast Cancer UK. At first glance, this appears to be another step in the respect-for-the-female-breast rebellion. The photographs represent a wide range of women with a variety of body types and sexualities. The pictures show clearly that no two breasts are the same.
But the project didn’t stop there. With the photographs, Dodsworth collected stories from these women, extremely personal stories about their breasts. Each story focuses on that woman’s experience with her breasts and ultimately her life. “Bare Reality” reveals these experiences, these testimonies that illustrate the complicated lives women have with their bodies. Breast Cancer UK described the power of Dodsworth’s work the best: “This touching, inspirational book cuts through the sexual objectification of breasts and encapsulates how unique, yet similar, we all are.”
The fight for toplessness isn’t just about being able to take off your shirt on a hot day. It’s about the fact that breasts are part of women’s lives, their selves. No one should have to cover up out of shame, just as no one should be objectified if they decide to uncover. Our bodies are a part of our identities and our histories, unaltered and raw. No one has the right to police them.