Wondering why exactly Scout Willis went topless in New York City last week? Check out the young activist’s explanation, in her own words.
Scout Willis knew full well her topless walk down the streets of New York City would make headlines, and is using her newfound attention to make an official statement.
Monday morning the 22-year-old daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore tweeted a link to her article on xoJane, which is headlined, “I am Scout Willis and this is the only thing I have to say about walking down the streets of New York last week.”
“Earlier last week I decided to do something kind of crazy,” the young woman pictured here with her father and stepmom, Emma Heming, explained. “Instagram had recently deleted my account over what they called ‘instances of abuse.’ Which in reality amounted to a photo of myself in a sheer top and a post of a jacket I made featuring a picture of two close friends topless. For these instances of abuse, I was politely informed that I would no longer be welcome in the Instagram community.”
Sharing that many women have been kicked off the popular site for sharing so much as a glimpse of their nipple, Willis continued, “So I walked around New York topless and documented it on Twitter, pointing out that what is legal by New York state law is not allowed on Instagram.
“What began as a challenge to Instagram and its prejudiced community guidelines became an opportunity for dialogue. Matters like the taboo of the nipple in the 21st century, public breastfeeding, slut-shaming, fat-shaming, breast cancer awareness, body positivity, gender inequality and censorship have found their way into mainstream discussion. But unfortunately the emphasis in the press has been on sensationalizing my breasts, chiefly in terms of my family.”
Addressing critics and haters alike, Willis shared, “I understand that people don’t want to take me seriously. Or would rather just write me off as an attention-seeking, over-privileged, ignorant white girl. I am white and I was born to a high-profile and financially privileged family. I didn’t choose my public life, but it did give me this platform. A platform that helps make body politics newsworthy. “
After giving a nod to a group called Topless Pulp and the Free The Nipple campaign for their work, the second-born of Bruce Willis’ five daughters went on, “If my coming from a high-profile family could help spread their message, so be it. I am not ashamed of who I am. And for every nasty comment I received there were 10 more of support, appreciation and empowerment.”
Getting to the heart of the issue, Scout Willis continued, “There are also some people who would criticize my choice to relate nipples with equality at all. To me, nipples seem to be at the very heart of the issue. In the 1930s, men’s nipples were just as provocative, shameful and taboo as women’s are now, and men were protesting in much the same way.
“Men fought and they were heard, changing not only laws but social consciousness. And by 1936, men’s bare chests were accepted as the norm. So why is it that 80 years later women can’t seem to achieve the same for their chests? Why can’t a mother proudly breastfeed her child in public without feeling sexualized?… Why should I feel overly exposed because I choose not to wear a bra? Why would it be OK with Instagram and Facebook to allow photos of a cancer survivor who has had a double mastectomy and is without areolas but ‘photos with fully exposed breasts, particularly if they’re unaffected by surgery, don’t follow Instagram’s Community Guidelines.'”
Encouraging supporters to take action, Willis concluded by sharing “my breasts and I [will] return to a more casual form of a protest beneath my favorite sheer tank top.”