For the last week my left breast has played a bigger role in my life than I would have ever expected. My nipple is now probably more well-known than my face, which you might think would be a problem for an reputable member of Iceland's Parliament like myself.
But I'm ok with that. Along with thousands of others who've also taken breast selfies with the hashtag #FreeTheNipple, I've helped raise awareness on a crucial issue like never before, and been part of one of the biggest trends to hit Twitter in Iceland.
It all started when a 17-year-old female student called Adda Smaradottir posted an image of herself freeing her nipple. Like many other women, she did this to vent her anger at the censorship of women's bodies across sites like Facebook and Instagram, whose guidelines specifically target the female form. It was also there to highlight the double standards that many social media sites have for men, who have always been allowed to have their nipples on full display.
It wasn't long before men tried to shame and degrade Adda. They called her a slut, and said that the picture would be used against her. They even suggested that she wouldn't be able to study abroad as part of an exchange programme in Costa Rica. And it worked. She felt ashamed and insecure, and deleted it.
In response, a group of feminist students rallied behind her, posting photo after photo of their own #FreeTheNipple selfies. It was the most beautiful thing I've seen in quite a while. An army of teenage girls and boys, of all body types, took Adda's side and posted pictures of their bodies in solidarity.
Their message was clear. Those who try to humiliate women should be the ones who feel ashamed. This united front of feminists was saying: “These pictures are not something that can harm us. We don’t feel ashamed. We have power over our own bodies. And nobody but us sets the rules and norms for the society we want to live in."
I was in awe, and wanted to help. So I took my phone, and took a picture of my left breast, and posted it on Twitter to support the young men and women fighting the patriarchy.
As a member of Iceland's Parliament, you'd probably think this was a big decision for me, and one that would have serious repercussions. In Britain, can you imagine a young female MP doing the same, and how everyone would react? But actually I don't give a toss about my boob being out there. After all, I'm pregnant right now, and when I give birth to my twins I'll be breastfeeding wherever and whenever it suits them. My breasts won't just be on display on the internet – they'll be everywhere.
This revolution in Iceland was liberating. It was brought to us by a huge group of brave and compassionate people willing to expose themselves for the sake of others. At moments like these, I feel like the world can really be a better place, and that we're on our way there. All we need to do is help each other, and not let the trolls and sexists win.
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