Wed, Apr 15, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Local ‘Free The Nipple’ photoshoot sparks controversy

By Lii Wen  /  Staff reporter

Inspired by the global “Free The Nipple” campaign, five young women in Taipei posted a series of topless photographs of themselves on Facebook last week, triggering a heated debate on media censorship and gender equality.

The controversy escalated after Facebook deleted the photos and suspended two of the women’s accounts.

The global campaign, launched in 2013 by US filmmaker Lina Esco, seeks to address perceived inequalities between men and women, as only female nipples are usually subject to censorship.

The campaign received renewed attention last month after photographs from Iceland went viral. Scores of women worldwide have since expressed solidarity by posting photographs of their chests with the hashtag #FreeTheNipple.

Journalist Liu Mei-yu (劉美妤) said she initiated the Taipei project to protest against Facebook’s censorship rules after she was banned from posting content on her page for three days after sharing an article about the FreeTheNipple campaign that contained several images of topless women.

She said she backed the campaign’s appeal that the female body should be accepted in a non-sexualized way.

“I understand that the human body can naturally never be completely separated from sexuality, but sexuality should not be everything,” Liu said.

“What we are trying to communicate is that people’s bodies come in all shapes and sizes; the ways in which people engage in dialogue with their own bodies, or their sense of beauty, should not be singular or absolute,” Liu said.

The Taipei photographs were taken by former Storm Media correspondent Wang Li-jou (王立柔) and featured Liu along with hairstylist Sung Chin-yi (宋晉儀), make-up artist Ting Te-ching (丁德競) and non-governmental organization worker Lin Yu-hsuan (林郁璇) chatting, eating snacks and listening to music, barechested.

The five women have complained that local media coverage of their efforts exaggerated and distorted their intentions.

They criticized an article published on Sunday in the Chinese-language Apple Daily, which Wang said highlighted the media’s inability to handle female nudity without resorting to sensationalism.

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