In a crowd of animal rights activists planning a stunt, the girl most likely to win the vote on who will get naked for the cause is usually me. I can’t exactly pinpoint why but I can safely assume it’s because I’ve stripped for PETA’s “Rather Go Naked” campaign many times and know how to the get the media’s attention when needed. When my friend, independent filmmaker Lina Esco asked me to drop my top for an upcoming media event to promote her debut film, Free The Nipple, which she hopes will start a topless revolution against backwards censorship laws in America I was intrigued. Lina gave me the facts: Today in the USA it is ILLEGAL, a CRIMINAL ACT for a woman to be topless in 37 states, in some states this includes breast-feeding. What?? However, in my hometown New York City, in 1992 it became legal to be topless in public, but the NYPD continued to arrest women anyway. On the flip side, it is completely legal and dare I say acceptable by the majority to show violence on TV and in movies, much of it targeted towards children. An average child in America sees over 16,000 murders on TV by the age of 18. PG-13 films that are viewed by many young people actually show more violence than R Rated films and yet a woman’s naked breast is cause for uproar. Somehow the math seemed screwy. So, I was in. I love a good fight against the crooked norm. Lina’s film begs the question, what is more obscene, a murder or a nipple? The answer may seem simple but her film illustrates just how far from simple the answer is when it comes to the powers that be.
Adding to the insanity, Lina’s lawyers informed her that Free The Nipple will in fact receive an NC-17 rating from the MPAA, the very same institution her film exposes for their “pro-violence and anti-nudity” polices. In Hollywood an NC-17 Rating is considered the kiss of death for theatrical distribution, as it’s considered “pornography” and most theater chains won’t carry it further adding to the things that make you go Hmmmmm category. This is why Lina is trying to bypass the MPAA’s rating system, by teaming up with the new crowdfunding venture Fundaything.com as a next level marketing and distribution platform to reach the audience directly. As an activist I know that going through the normal channels is seldom an answer or an option. Lina’s way may not be the norm but if funded, it will get the job done her way and by her own rules. Personally, I care about censorship and changing the images that today’s youth are exposed to. It has been said the opposite of love isn’t hate its indifference. Indifference being promoted in movies and on television shows directly affects the way that children ultimately treat each other, the planet and the animals that inhabit it. That speaks to me. Everything is connected. There will be no peace until we all take a hard look at what is considered normal and acceptable in our society and what is considered obscene. This film explores this and deserves to be seen by everyone who cares about the generations that will inherit this fragile earth and be the leaders of the new world. De-criminalizing the female body sounds like a good start to me. I for one will try to do my part in re-introducing some sanity to the world by supporting Free The Nipple – so excuse me, while I drop my top, drop some cash and drop it likes it’s hot – because there’s nothing hotter than a revolution.