A Critical Last-Post Perspective

This is my final post today guys… I know, you’re all as sad (grateful) as I am.  All I can hope after these last 6 or 7 weeks is that I’ve provided you all with lots of new or differently explored information, and potentially even persuaded you to believe that maybe online activism has its place.  I’m even more hopeful when I try to believe some of you have maybe sought out some of the ways I’ve listed in your attempts to do some good in this world.  And I’m at my hope-iest that some of you have maybe spread the love that I’m putting out into the world by just having a chat with those around you.

What I’ve wanted all along is to create my own critical periphery.  A periphery of you all on the outer edges of a movement I’ve been trying to start, a periphery that gives me momentum, shape and size.  All you need to do is talk about it.  Hashtag it.  Listen to what others have said.  And most importantly you must not feel bad about contributing to a cause online when its something that really resonates with you.

Photo by Yolanda Sun.

To recap, we’ve talked about incredibly important campaigns like #HeForShe, #BlackLivesMatter, #PledgeAPlate, #FreeTheNipple, and the #IceBucketChallenge.  And our tips and tricks posts have hopefully illuminated for you the ways in which you can be a great online activist.  We’ve talked about content creation, telling stories, knowing your resources, and research.  And hopefully, you can look at my campaign through the same eyes and figure out what was successful and what was not so successful about it.  Not only did I want to create my own critical periphery, but I wanted to get all of you involved in creating effective change, and one of the skills needed for that is to be just bloody brilliant at the sort of work I’ve been hoping to showcase.

Finally, I wanted to give a huge shout out to everyone who has been a part of this journey.  You have all told helped me adjust my style, and approach things in different ways even if you weren’t aware you were doing so.

Here’s hoping I’ve made a difference!



#FreeTheNipple: A Case Study

Protesters being interviewed by a couple Activated Nuts… inspired by this. By Alexandra Duggan

So why should we study #FreeTheNipple?  What makes it a successful campaign?

lena-dunham-01Lena Dunham bares all, by Elena Duggan.

Some main points to consider…

Its message is clear.  This is a fight for gender equality.

Its name is catchy, short, easy to remember, and honest.  This is a fight against the idea of the sexualisation and criminalisation of the female body.

The use of all forms of media in spreading their message has allowed it to get mass exposure through the light-touches people make on their own social media channels.  Whether or not your remember the post, you’ve definitely seen #FreeTheNipple all over the place.  Celebrities like Kendall Jenner, Lena Dunham, Willow Smith, Miley Cyrus, Scout Willis, and countless others have joined the movement.  They’ve posted photos of themselves freeing their own nipples, they’ve hashtagged, they’ve even worn the merchandise.


Miley Cyrus joins the movement, by Elena Duggan.

But not only has this movement gained notoriety through social media, the women responsible for its kickoff created a film that aimed to document their lives in combat with the systemic gender inequalities.

The act of going topless in America as a female is something you can be arrested for, yet we watch countless people dying at our own hands on the news each night.  What we are allowed to be exposed to says a lot about what legislation does to those disenfranchised by it.

willow-smith-01Willow Smith’s conversation-starting post, by Elena Duggan.

What started as an attempt to raise awareness of this particularly ridiculous notion, has now seen its hashtag #FreeTheNipple stand for the widespread issues women face when they come in contact with the many systemic inequalities against us.  If you follow their Instagram you’ll see conversations about consent and rape culture, feminism, female reproductive rights, body confidence, sexuality, art…

Take aways here are:

  1. Think through your ideas and find the core message
  2. Make sure its something that will incite passionate response
  3. Use all the skills you have to create your content: video, photo and animation production, clothing design, drawing, digital art creation… the list goes on
  4. Know your demographic, and target them with your message on ALL their platforms
  5. TALK, TALK, TALK to those who agree with you, and then COLLABORATE.

Join the movement by signing the petition here.

Or more actively engage by following the simple steps listed on their site:

1. Get together with your friends and meet at a public location that gets a lot of traction.

2. If it’s illegal to be topless wear X pasties on the nipples and write FREE THE NIPPLE on your chest.

3. Send us pictures of your gathering to info@freethenipple.com and we will also post to continue the conversation in all our media outlets…

4. Someone like you needs to be the leader in your community and make sure we are at least getting more and more people to join you on your next topless hang out day… Depending on how big we can also reach out to media and press to come and cover it.

-By Alexandra Duggan
kendall-jenner-01Kendall Jenner tackles the issue, by Elena Duggan.