I love being naked. As a child I took my clothes off at the earliest chance I got, which was usually the second my mom turned her back after forcing me into clothes in the first place. What a little asshole I was.
As an adult, not much has changed. I was arrested last year for protesting topless and I advocate for the de-sexualiation of the female body on a regular basis. As much as I love what I do, and as strongly as I feel about this issue, there’s no denying it can be frustrating as hell fighting this battle. The belief that women’s bodies are inherently sexual and inappropriate is conditioned into our brains so strongly and at such an early age that refuting this belief often results in confusion, mockery, and even hostility. These responses can make my crusade to change society’s views about the female body feel pointless. It wasn’t until I was introduced to festival culture that I felt a significant glimmer of hope.
My first festival experience was at Treasure Island Music Festival in San Francisco. Walking into the festival I was overjoyed at seeing the numerous women comfortably walking around in pasties, short shorts, and one-pieces. They did not look ashamed or worried, they looked happy and free. I realized this was probably in part due to the fact that the men there didn’t seem to care either. The festival had cultivated a community and a culture that normalized this type of wear. It was refreshing as all hell to say the least.
As I went to more festivals and raves over the years, it became clearer and clearer to me that this culture of acceptance was not unique to any one festival. The community of people that belonged to this culture had shifted their values of what was acceptable. For the most part, within the walls of these events, women were not looked down on, discriminated against, or forced to conform to any standard. Personal expression and freedom were not restricted by sexism or rape culture.
Now, that’s not to say this subculture is perfect. Women are still made to believe that they are sluts or that they are ‘asking for it’ when they wear pasties. Any woman that wears what she wants and is not influenced or dictated by the patriarchy will always find resistance amongst men. That just means we need to keep doing it. If festival culture can create an environment where a majority of women feel comfortable wearing or not wearing what they want, than our culture as a whole can do it too. Ladies, continue to do you, free the nipple, frolic naked in the campgrounds if you want, because we are on the verge of revolution and equality.