Michelle Obama's Nude Bust empowers women as they fight for topless rights
American Sculptor Daniel Edwards created the controversial, yet elegant bust of Michelle Obama, complete with bare bosom and Nerfertiti-esque hairstyle which accent Michelle's African roots.
GoTopless contacted the artist to ask him about this artwork currently displayed at the American National Gallery of Art in NYC because to GoTopless women, it trancends in different ways women’s struggle for topless equal rights.
Indeed, the First Lady of the United States is represented topless and free, empowered and dignified. She also embodies the way her women ancestors must have proudly appeared before the religion of the colonizer covered them with shame.
GT: Why were you inspired to represent the First Lady in her African ethnicity?
I wanted to make the example of Michelle Obama embracing her ethnicity, because I didn't think that it would ever happen in any visible, superficial way. I wanted to make the statement that she brings a new look to the Whitehouse, and that it is a historical event, and for the sake of of future scrutinization, she should not appear to be downplaying her ethnicity by courting comparisons to Jackie Kennedy just to appeal to white voters. Michelle Obama is the first example of a new era.
GT: Why did you sculpt the American Flag on her bosom?
The flag tattoo on Michelle's bosom was a commentary on the criticism Barack Obama was receiving, at that time, about the absence of a flag pin on his lapel. It was as though critics were questioning his commitment to America. The flag had escaped me that it might be perceived as a reference to slave branding, which doesn't change my thought about its original intent. Forcing Barack to wear a flag pin on his lapel (which he did, immediately following the criticism) was a form of branding. I think if it had occurred to me that the tattoo would be considered referential to slavery, I would have avoided it, which would have been a shame, I think.
GT: Why representing her as a nude bust?
The nude depiction of Michelle is a traditional convention of the language of sculpture.
GT: What do you think of the gender-equality National Gotopless Day, from a sculptor's point of view?
From a sculptor's point of view, gender-equality National Gotopless Day is an incredible opportunity to study the female form in a natural way! as a sculptor, I would love to be able to understand the diversity of forms of the breast not confined to the contrived setting of the artist's studio, or the intimate setting of the bedroom, or the sexual artificiality of an airbrushed/photoshopped image from a magazine. As a sculptor, I would love to see the different sizes of breasts, without preferences. I would love to see the effects of age and gravity on the form of the breast, and I would love to know the feeling of appreciation and/or empathy that could come from seeing that. I would like to be able to connect the forms of breasts to real women doing real things; to understand breasts as merely parts of the whole being.
Dr. Brannan, MD speaks about the health benefits (including cancer prevention) of women’s topless rights
Dr. John Brannan, MD is a radiologist in Mobile, AL where he does mammography. He has this to say about the health benefits of enforcing women's rights to go topless in public:
"The biggest task in breast cancer detection is early diagnosis, and I am convinced that one of the greatest contributors in the late diagnosis and fatal outcomes of breast cancer is the feeling that women have that they are supposed to hide the breast and that the breast is somehow a forbidden territory that should be concealed.
This attitude imposed on women has, in my opinion, held many women back from getting proper evaluations and kept many cancers from being detected even when the physical signs would be obvious.
This attitude must change, and I think your civil rights battle for women’s topless rights is needed in our fight against this horrible disease.
Males generally do not get breast cancer and when it occurs it is obvious to everyone and detected early and easily successfully treated.
Everyone has breasts. They are not sexual organs.
Except for a few weeks in a woman's life when she nurses a child, they serve the same function as the male. Many male breasts are larger than female breasts.
The day that women are freed of the burden of unnecessarily and dangerously hiding the breast will represent a great step forward in our fight against a deadly disease, and I applaud your efforts.
As far as sun exposure is concerned, the breast is, again, no different than any other part of the body, and should be protected with sunscreen. The nipple is the same tissue as the lips and should be handled the same way, with sunscreen, chapstick, lip balm, etc. depending on the type of exposure (sun, wind, etc.).
Your breast is as ready for sun exposure as your face!"
Dr. John Brannan, MDPlease sign the petition on White House website for equal topless rights -deadline Sept 13
GoTopless women invite Femen to join a topless demonstration in Paris on August 26th – In Paris as in Kiev, women’s rights are violated
Gary said said GoTopless is inviting the women of Femen, an Ukranian women’s rights organization, to take part in a GoTopless demonstration in Paris on August 26, anniversary of the original Declaration of Human Rights (Aug. 26, 1789).
“By criminalizing female top-lessness, the city of Paris is clearly violating the principles of gender equality laid out in that historical document,” Gary said in a statement released by GoTopless this morning. “In Paris, it’s against the law for a woman to bare her breasts in public. Yet this is a simple matter of gender equality guaranteed by the French Constitution.”
Gary said the founder of GoTopless has made his position clear.
“If men expose their bare chests in public, then, constitutionally speaking, women should have that same right,” said Rael, founder of GoTopless and leader of the International Raelian Movement, in a recent statement based on one of his speeches. “If women don’t have that right, then we must also force men to cover their chests in public.”
Accordingly, Maryline Canin, Gotopless coordinator for France, is asking Femen members to support GoTopless by joining in the Paris demonstration on August 26.
“The courage and indignation shown by Femen in the face of injustice against women is an example for us!” Canin said. We invite Femen to take part in our Paris demonstration to denounce discriminatory acts committed by the French capital, just as they helped demand the right to abortion from the top of the cathedral in Kiev!”
Canin said French GoTopless women were victims of abuse by the authorities during the peaceful GoTopless demonstration held in Paris last year.