I Worry ‘Free the Nipple’ Works Against Equality

Question Everything Free the Nipple Alyssa Milano
Getty Images; Photo Illustration by Mia Tramz for TIME

Normalizing breastfeeding will be more effective

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I worry that the images shared by the Free the Nipple campaign are defeating gender equality by encouraging women to be objectified. We’re facing issues like wage inequality and paid maternity leave. I don’t see how being allowed to show your nipples is going to fix any of that.

How am I supposed to explain this to my children? To teach my son not to objectify a woman’s body but to respect and appreciate it? And to teach my daughter that empowerment has nothing to do with her sexuality but her heart and her soul and her brain? It’s totally normal to see Miley Cyrus’ boob on TV, but if I post a selfie breast-feeding, it runs the risk of being removed. That is crazy.

Normalizing breastfeeding will be a lot more effective in advancing women’s issues and desexualizing breasts. Yes, they’re pretty. And yes, they have a purpose in women’s sexuality. But their main purpose is to feed another human. And I think that’s way more special—and more relevant to humanity—than being allowed to go topless in Times Square.

Milano is an actress and breast-feeding advocate

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