Hundreds strip off for 'Free the Nipple' protest on Brighton beach to challenge 'double standards of nipple censorship and unwanted sexualisation'
Topless women and men flocked to Brighton Beach yesterday afternoon for the annual 'Free the Nipple' protest, with the aim of challenging sexist double standards such as the accepted sight of topless men in public but not women.
Photos show the peaceful campaigners, who are thought to have numbered in the hundreds, marching along the East Sussex city seafront.
The demonstrators met at Hove Lawns at 2pm to paint their bodies and make signs. Then they marched to the i360 where they held a rally and had a picnic.
According to The Argus, a Free the Nipple Brighton 2022 poster read: 'Free the Nipple is a worldwide movement of people protesting the double standard of nipple censorship, body shame and unwanted sexualisation.
'Every year we come together in Brighton to say no to the many ways the male gaze continues to dictate how we behave in our society.'
Pictures show crowds of colourful protestors covered in body paint, chanting and holding signs above their heads as they marched in the sunny weather.
In the images, messages written on signs include, 'Free the nipple', 'Still not asking for it!!!', 'Isn't it wild that there are legal nipples and illegal nipples', 'Sexualised since 1999', and 'My body my choice my life my voice'.
One woman has a message painted on her torso that reads, 'Mine sustain life. Why do they offend?'
In a photo, two campaigners, who are seen sitting down together and enjoying an ice cream, have flames painted on their nipples. In others, women have flower petals painted around their nipples and have breasts covered in glitter.
Meanwhile, a man has a red bikini top painted over his nipples in what appears to be a challenge to the gendered use of the garment.
The Free the Nipple Brighton website describes the yearly demonstrations along the seafront as 'designed to highlight the sexist double standards that exist in our everyday lives and challenge perceptions of bodies, breasts, nipples and gender'.
The Free the Nipple movement kicked off in 2012, with the first Brighton march taking place in 2016.
But six years later, controversial social media policies banning female nipples remain, while the sight of women's nipples in public has not yet been normalised.
Brighton organiser Bee Nicholls told Sussex World the campaign seeks to 'dismantle the dictatorship of the male gaze and the shame associated with the body'.
They explained: 'The double standard of the male vs female nipple sends a message that certain bodies are inherently pornographic no matter the context; if people show "too much" breast they are sexualised and therefore not worthy of respect.
'The euro-centric beauty standard perpetuated by porn, advertising, media and film imposes unrealistic demands on the body; the perky naked breast is sexualised beyond reason.
'Free the Nipple Brighton is an opportunity to defy body shame, protest these sexist double standards and challenge unrealistic beauty ideals in all forms.'