It may take years for us to understand the importance of what is happening in Missoula, Montana this month.I have been waiting for the next real turning point in the topfreedom movement. I think the student journalists of the Willard Wire have created it, especially coupled with last week’s New York Times piece on topfeedom that showed uncensored images of female nipples, a landmark in the mainstream media to my knowledge.When I see media coverage of topfreedom, I watch for several things at once… details of whatever event took place, the motivations behind the act, the quality of the coverage itself, and most importantly to me, the wake effect of that coverage, the commentary, the reactions, etc.Last month, a mixed-gender staff of Missoula, Montana high school students, Chase Boehmler, Kylie Hoedel, Keaton Alexander, Sarah McDonald, Tilly Kushner, Skylar Stanley, and Aurora Staggs published an issue of their school paper with the headline “Free the Nipple.” Boehmler authored the “Free the Nipple” article itself. Hoedel took the photos, designed the piece and co-edited it with Alexander. McDonald and Staggs are assistant editors. Kushner contributed a story about her experiences with slut shaming and violence. Stanley, the paper’s business manager, wrote on the joys of bralessness
Topless images in Missoula high school paper stir concern
The images were published alongside an article about the “Free the Nipple” campaign, a national effort to allow girls and women to be topless in same situations that men and boys are allowed to be topless.
The district is trying to recall every copy of the issue, which was released Wednesday at Willard and three MCPS high schools – Big Sky, Hellgate and Sentinel.
MCPS spokeswoman Hatton Littman says the district is not releasing any statements or conducting on-camera interviews regarding the publication at this time.
Investigators are still trying to figure out the identities of the people involved and it’s unclear if the topless individuals are students or if they are over 18.
Six topless individuals appear in the front page photo, and two others appear in another photo inside the paper
At YBN we are always welcoming to media persons – as an organisation we are always looking for ways to publicise our group, our events and the fun and positive values we have found in naturism. Reading the article, we can see Clover Spa and its customers are reported in a good light,and the positive, relaxed and happy atmosphere of a youth event comes through in the piece. We at YBN are particularly pleased to have so much space given, uncritically, to the statements of Simon, our co-ordinator, and we thank Mr Lockley and the Birmingham Mail for that.
Unfortunately, much of the rest of the article is sadly awash with cheap innuendo, as Mr Lockley displays more of his own misconceptions about naturism than an account of the reality. From the very first paragraph, where he makes a terrible joke about naturist men “putting holes in donuts”, it seems like rather than actually trying to learn anything about naturism, he spent most of his time at Clover Spa dreaming up juvenile puns and cheesy one-liners to pad out his journalism writing, and this nudge-nudge wink-wink schoolboy humour mars the article throughout. While the humour is disappointing, nobody in YBN takes naturism so seriously as to be unable to laugh at ourselves (although maybe not at tired gags about naked men eating hot dogs).