#freethenipple Case Study: Part Two

So, the question we are all really asking is: Will the free the nipple campaign eventually lead to gender equality?

Two young women, Zoe Lennox and Amanda Haworth, organised a #freethenipple picnic In Orleigh Park in Brisbane where approximately 50 women, mothers, children, non-binary and transgender people, gathered on rugs, lay in the sun and shared their stories as a scattering of men sat on the edge and watched (Mitchell-Whittington, 2016). The girls created the event in order to “create a safe space where women didn’t feel sexualised or shamed for freeing their nipples” (Mitchell-Whittington, 2016). Police were also understood to have drove past the event, however, no arrests were made (Mitchell-Whittington, 2016).

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Looking into this further, Pacific Standard interviewed Sarah Murnen, a social psychologist from Kenyon College in Ohio, who’s research specialises on the increasing sexualisation of young women (Wheeling, 2015).

Murnen’s initial impression of the campaign was that she wasn’t “sure thats the best way to do it, given that our culture already sexualises breasts to a great degree. I think there might be other ways to make that point – allow women to breastfeed in public places, emphasise less the objectification of women. I think one of the general issues is the extent to which women are objectified, and when people are shown as objects they often get treated by objects” (Wheeling, 2015). Murnen also believes that the campaign might actually contribute to the objectification of women’s bodies (Wheeling, 2015).

Although free the nipple is raising awareness around the world in regards to gender inequality issues, Murnen feels “like this focus on women’s sexuality as a form of empowerment is distracting us from the real issues that exist in terms of wage inequality, parental leave issues, etc. I think it’s a distraction, and it’s not really going to result in women’s empowerment to be able to bare their breasts in public. We need to focus less on defining women by their bodies in my view” (Wheeling, 2015).

In 2014, an image was removed off Facebook showing a new mother breastfeeding her premature baby for the first time due to a user complaining it contained “offensive” nudity (The Telegraph, 2014). Instead of trying to normalise the nipple straight away, a better angle the campaign could take is to normalise breastfeeding. This would be a lot more effective in advancing women’s issues and desexualising breasts (Milano, 2015).


References

Milano, A. (2015). I Worry ‘Free the Nipple’ Works Against Equality. [online] Time.com. Available at: http://time.com/4029633/alyssa-milano-should-we-freethenipple/ [Accessed 22 Aug. 2016].

Mitchell-Whittington, A. (2016). Brisbane ‘free the nipple’ picnic an intimate affair. [online] Brisbane Times. Available at: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/brisbane-free-the-nipple-picnic-a-quiet-affair-20160117-gm7sxs.html [Accessed 22 Aug. 2016].

The Telegraph. (2014). Facebook removes mother’s breastfeeding photo. [online] Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-health/11195373/Facebook-removes-mothers-breastfeeding-photo.html [Accessed 22 Aug. 2016].

Wheeling, K. (2015). Will the Free the Nipple Campaign Lead to Gender Equality? An Expert Weighs In — Pacific Standard. [online] Pacific Standard. Available at: https://psmag.com/will-the-free-the-nipple-campaign-lead-to-gender-equality-an-expert-weighs-in-a3e7dceefffa#.kensxdat4 [Accessed 22 Aug. 2016].

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25 To Life In A Concrete Tank

Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human traits or reasoning skills to inanimate objects or animals not capable of such dimensions. I think it would be safe to say that most of us are guilty of anthropomorphising something at one stage in our lives – I know I have extensive conversations with my dog on a daily basis. However, anthropomorphism can be an uneasy subject in regards to animals in captivity.

Blackfish is a documentary concerning captive orcas at SeaWorld, the deaths of three trainers and the consequences of keeping orcas in captivity. After watching this film, I immediately developed some kind of attachment and emotion towards these animals. Anthropomorphism can occur unintentionally e.g. me talking to my dog, but in regards to SeaWorld’s treatment of the orcas, it can create all kinds of issues.

Following the release of the documentary, Blackfish drove activists and protesters on a mission to put an end to the orca theatrical shows. SeaWorld has recently decided that they will stop the breeding of the whales and this will be the last generation of orcas at SeaWorld. The film also had a very large impact on SeaWorld’s financial side of things. According to SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. Reports, SeaWorld suffered an 84% drop in its net second-quarter income; from $37.4 million in 2014 to $5.8 million in 2015.

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Evaluating the film, I recognised the ways the trainers were treating the animals were totally humane. We are told that the whales are kept in enclosures barely big enough to contain them in and separated whales from their families. I believe that because of this type of treatment, led to the aggressive behaviour that some of the whales have demonstrated. The film explains that there have been many trainer-related injuries and deaths during shows and training, but there have been no reports what so ever about a killer whale harming a human in the wild.

When referring to Tilikim’s state of mind in the movie, there are a lot of “he seemed” statements: “He seemed to enjoy working with the trainers” … “In the morning he seemed happy to see us”. He was also described as to be “frustrated” and even suggested that he could have been in a psychosis. The trainers explain how they formed “special bonds” with the animals, and I think by treating them this way, they had somewhat shut out the real identity of the animal and what they are capable of.

 

Crossing over

First lets start with the meaning of ‘crossover cinema’ –otherwise, you will have no idea what I am talking about. Khorana (2013) explains that the term crossover cinema is used to encapsulate an emerging form of cinema that crosses cultural boarders at the stage of conceptualisation and production and hence it manifests a hybrid cinematic grammar at the textual level, as well as crossing over in terms of its distribution and reception”. You’re probably thinking to yourself “what the heck did I just read?” – I am too. So, in simple terms, crossover cinema can be identified as movies based on broader themes that international audiences can relate to.

An example of a crossover film is ‘Bend It Like Beckham’, which is very popular within the Western culture. The English-speaking film has both Indian and Western influences intertwined within it. The Indian influences of the film come from the British film maker Gurinder Chadha, who also directed and produced ‘Bend It Like Beckham’. Gurinder Chadha is of Indian origin, therefore influencing obvious cultural crossovers within in the film.

Another example of a crossover film, more close to home is the Australian film ‘The Sapphires’. The film portrays many different elements that cross over Aboriginal and other cultures.

‘The Sapphires’ not only demonstrates crossovers from various cultural aspects, it also addresses the racist attitudes and issues that were present in Australia at that particular point in time.

Crossover cinema allows people from all different cultural backgrounds relate to one film due to the variety of international aspects within it.


References:

Khorana, S, 2014, ‘Crossover Cinema: A Genealogical and Conceptual Overview’, In S. Khorana (Eds), Crossover Cinema: Cross-Cultural Film from Production to Reception, Pp. 3-18.