Free the Nipple

Kylie Cheung’s article “Free the Nipple Has Become A Divisive Political Issue in Springfield, MO” gives some background on the Free the Nipple movement and what’s going on in Springfield. The author is a feminist from the Bay Area and holds rather liberal views; she is clearly in favor of the Free the Nipple movement. It would appear that her audience is conservative people who may not realize how sexist it is to criminalize women’s breasts. She wants them to realize the double-standard and support the movement both socially and politically. She uses facts and quotes to describe the situation in Springfield and adds commentary to guide the reader to her conclusions regarding the nature of the events.

I think she presents her information rather well, however, she might not have considered her audience quite enough. I think conservative people would be much more hesitant to accept her argument and, in turn, would need a more carefully worded approach in order to prevent them from shutting out her ideas. For example, she seems to assume the reader will be on her side when she displays the opposing side, when in reality her audience might see that “opposing side” and agree with it, therefore dismissing her argument. She could fix this by elaborating on her counter-argument.

I agree with the author. I think that the idea that women’s breasts are inherently sexual is asinine. However, I understand that it’s a cultural thing and that it won’t be easy to change the way people think in America. I think it would be interesting to explore more people’s opinions, especially people from places like Europe, where women’s toplessness is not quite so shocking.

Censorship

The article I found was an opinion post on The Guardian by a man who appears to be a huge advocate for the idea that modern technology is ruining children’s brains. Aric Sigman’s article “What children need is censorship” talks about what it is that children need to be protected from online and why censorship is the answer. His audience is clearly for the adults of these children; he talks about protecting the childrenĀ in the third person and describes their generation as “entitled,” something he wouldn’t say if he was trying to win their favor.

Since his post is in no way scientific, his evidence includes rather vague statements that would make parents who already agree with him nod their heads enthusiastically. He says that seeing heavily photoshopped people online damages children’s self-image and that their investment in an internet world negatively affects their ability to have “real” socialization. While these points do carry validity, he has no real source and depends on the audience’s ability to connect this “evidence” to what they already know and have decided, which makes his argument weak. However, since his audience seems to be people who already agree with him, a strong argument doesn’t seem to be one of his priorities.

I also think that including some counter-points is an important part of creating a strong argument and Sigman does not mention anything that may break his fragile argument. He seems rather closed-minded and has taken things he has seen (children socializing in person less often) and dumbed it down to something that is not even accurate to the experiences of the youth (a form of socialization that is inherently bad). This makes me distrust any argument that he has. I’m somewhat on the fence on this issue and can be convinced that censorship is necessary and good, but currently I am leaning towards the idea that censorship is not the answer to the problems people like Sigman think we have.

I also think that Sigman doesn’t even cover the real issue of censorship. The things he says we should protect children from seem rather insignificant. I would like to see other people’s ideas of what should be censored and why they think censorship is the answer rather than attacking the source. I think that, in general, simply attempting to hide issues and make them taboo to talk about is not a good way to protect anyone from the issues that are still undeniably there.