Our Breasts Are Deadlier Than Your Stones

by adriennelindsay

Apparently.

Because while the threat of stoning is just that-a threat-breasts are on display throughout the world today in support of Amina Tyler, the nineteen year old Tunisian woman who posted pictures last month of her bare chest and the words “My body belongs to me, and is not the source of anyone’s honor” in Arabic. A second photo, declaring “Fuck your morals” in English, was also posted.

Almi Adel,  who heads the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, now known (ironically) as the Moderate Association for Awareness and Reform is quoted as saying: “The young lady should be punished according to sharia, with 80 to 100  lashes, but (because of) the severity of the act she has committed, she deserves to be stoned to death,” he said. “Her act could bring about an epidemic. It could be contagious and give ideas to other women. It is therefore necessary to isolate (the incident). I wish her to be healed.”

In case that didn’t hit you hard enough, let me give it to you again: “It could be contagious and give ideas to other women.”

Well we wouldn’t want that, now would we?

Amina Tyler is reportedly safe, although certain sources say she was briefly institutionalized for her actions. If loving her body makes a woman criminally insane, lock me up too.

Femen, a Ukrainian feminist protest group with many offshoot branches in other countries declared today, April 4, 2013, as Topless Jihad Day. Women all over are painting their naked chests and peacefully protested in support of Amina. Already, arrests have been made in Kiev. Posts to the group’s Facebook page have seen an influx of imitation pictures in support of Amina’s actions.

While the news coverage I’ve seen of this event has been minimal, in many of the sources, the photos of Amina and her supporters have been altered, either by blurring out the women’s nipples, or adding the boxy black line across their naked chests. And so I ask, why even bother reporting a story about the censorship of women and their bodies if you’re going to do the same?

Now maybe it’s because I have them, but I’m not entirely sure what is so scary about breasts. The difference between a man’s chest and a woman’s chest is minimal. Correct me if I’m wrong, but men have nipples too, don’t they? Oh yes, that’s right, they do. Which is why blurring out the nipples in a photo of breasts to make them “less offensive” seems absurd.

Another thing I find interesting: an overweight man has roughly the same size “breasts” as I do, but the difference is, he’s allowed to take his shirt off in public and I’m not. The difference between our breasts? It certainly isn’t size. But I’m a woman, so mine are required to be out of sight. Why? They certainly aren’t hurting anyone. And mine are able to produce milk that can feed a child. Which, I think is pretty cool, but that’s beside the point. Except it isn’t. Because a woman’s body is able to provide life. And I think that’s pretty special. And maybe we should be appreciating women for their bodies instead of punishing them for their breasts, and hips, and vaginas.

But I guess in the end, confidence can lead to setting an example. Especially an unwanted one in Islamic countries, like women claiming their own sexuality, their own bodies, and their own worth. And understanding their worth might lead to a crazy idea like a hunger for education and knowledge. And since knowledge is power, we’d better stop and stamp out all this momentum as soon as possible.

Look, I’m a 125 lb., 5’11″ girl. I’m not going to do any damage to a man in a fist fight.

My body isn’t anything to be afraid of. My mind, however, is.

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