The Topless Tour: 3 women bare all on Instagram

Following the fracas over Rihanna’s deleted Instagram and Scout Willis’s now-infamous #FreeTheNipple protest, it’s clear that nipples are coming out in a big way on Instagram

The latest women to fight for the right to bear areolae are the Topless Tour, a trio of free-spirited ladies who are encouraging women around the world to post their topless travel photos on Instagram. So while Brian Zulberti is staging a hunger strike in D.C. for your right to post nude selfies without fear of being fired, these ladies are looking to change the world by flashing their ta-tas at the Great Sphinx and posting it in Amaro.

Photos via The Topless Tour/Instagram

The Topless Tour is the brainchild of Ingvild Marstein Olsen, Olivia Edginton, and Lydia Buckler, three students at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London. They were first inspired to post a topless photo of themselves on Instagram after skinny-dipping in a lake in Olsen’s hometown in Norway, as a way to capture their feelings of exhilaration and freedom.

Since then, the women have been taking topless photos of themselves in exotic locales throughout Europe and North America. They’ve also been asking fellow free spirits around the world to submit their own photos to the Topless Tour on Instagram, which now has nearly 20,000 followers. (Because of Instagram’s draconian anti-nudity policy, the photos are taken from behind and are therefore mostly safe for work). They’ve even posted a photo of a woman sky-diving topless in the Swiss Alps.

Edgington says that the best part of the Topless Tour project is helping women “feel themselves again, be proud of who they are and love their beautiful bodies.”

“One of our followers recently said these lovely words: ‘All that pressure and judging went away. And so did my shirt. I felt free, happy, and me,’” she recently told CNN.

Although the Topless Tour photos are undeniably beautiful and inspiring, there’s something disconcerting about the notion that these women—who are largely thin, able-bodied, white, and conventionally attractive— equate liberation to jetting around the world and snapping topless selfies in exotic locales. While it’s awesome that they can afford to do that, not every woman can, and the idea that flashing your nips at the Eiffel Tower makes you feel “free” and “happy” sets forth a pretty specific, not to mention exclusionary, idea of what it means for women to be sexually free on social media.

Thanks in part to the Topless Tour, #FreeTheNipple, and Scout Willis’s infamous topless jaunt ‘round lower Manhattan, there’s now this prevailing idea that being topless on Instagram is tantamount to female sexual liberation in general. There’s nothing wrong with that in itself, and it’s great that these women find both travel and PG-13 nudity so freeing. But if the popularity of the Topless Tour is any indication, maybe women are ready to stop focusing on freeing just the nipple and start thinking about freeing other parts of their minds and bodies as well.

H/T CNN | Photo via Topless Tour/Instagram

EJ Dickson

EJ Dickson

EJ Dickson is a writer and editor who primarily covers sex, dating, and relationships, with a special focus on the intersection of intimacy and technology. She served as the Daily Dot’s IRL editor from January 2014 to July 2015. Her work has since appeared in the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Mic, Bustle, Romper, and Men’s Health.