TODAY’S Face In The Crowd is one with the power to get tongues wagging in more ways than one with a movement that is very new to our shores but is taking over different countries of the globe by storm.
GeMo Edoxie (her spelling) is a 22 year old free spirit who has entered into a new phase of her life which is all about self awareness and discovery…starting with her own body and feminity itself.
Spearheading the St. Lucian version of the “Free The Nipple” campaign, the young dancer/artist is on a mission to get women to be more in touch with themselves and their bodies but most importantly, she is bidding to get the nation, especially men to view women’s bodies as more than taboo sex objects and instead to see them as equals who deserve the same respect as their male counterparts.
The VOICE: Where does this passion for the expression and liberation of the female body come from?
GeMo: Great question! It comes from questioning myself and how I would like to be received as an entire human being rather than the ‘idea’ of one. After studying myself and how I feel before, during and after a performance or relationship, I find pieces of myself that I believe can be expressed in a fuller nature. Being publicly naked especially as a female with a maturing body has exposed me to a lot of beliefs that I have adopted along the way and it serves me more in an empowering manner rather than an inspiring one. Constantly being honest and true to those suppressed parts of myself allows me to face those beliefs with an open heart and I feel more connected to my own curves and skin. I feel alive within myself and it excites me to be in the presence of females who have discovered and feel themselves FOR themselves in their own skin.
The VOICE: Now I’m aware that you have an ongoing campaign called “Free The Nipple”. Tell me about it…why, when and who is involved?
GeMo: Yes! I am quite active in the Free The Nipple movement which is actually a global liberation of the perception of the mature female breasts that has been going on for almost a year now. I was exposed to the movement a few months ago, first from Cara Delevigne who is a British based model who promotes the movement via social media. I then saw the movie which is based on the origin of the movement and it inspired me to act and speak out where I am. The movement is about exposing the double-standards in our global society that condemns the revealing of the female breast unless it is revealed under the labelling of “pornography”. This strict portrayal of the female nipples creates a hyper-sexualised perception of the female nipples whereas male nipples are seen as just a normal part of their anatomy. The movement embraces the freedom of a woman to show her nipples wherever a man is allowed the privilege to. Currently, on this island, I have had the honour of meeting four women who feel empowered in their skin and nipples to stand with me in the name of equality. We come from different lifestyles yet we all share this connection through our common freedom. I am really excited to meet more women who are in this flow of great energy both on island and abroad. It is truly worth my every breath and it’s all quite a pleasant surprise to wake up to, especially seeing males who view women like myself in an openly embracing manner. I feel more connected to the masculine perspective as well, thanks to my involvement in this movement.
The VOICE: Ok so with the campaign, what are you hoping to achieve in St. Lucia?
GeMo: I would like to trigger and inspire inward thought on how we treat ourselves and our surroundings as a people. I have observed our culture to be very outwardly influenced rather than inwardly inspired into action. I intend to be myself fully, wherever I am and to speak and express myself without inhibitions. I believe that creates a natural connection to me and my surroundings. I would like to achieve the feeling of humanity in Saint Lucia, not the idea of humanity but the actual feeling and connection.
The Voice: Do you think that this is a movement that will catch on or even be accepted here?
GeMo: To be honest, I don’t know. I got involved in this with very little expectation. All I know is that what the movement stands for resonates with me and allows me to explore worthwhile parts of myself and meet people who feel and do the same. I believe the movement is just a means of opening a deeper conversation that everyone will be a part of in their own time and within their own means of expression. Whether it’s while I’m still breathing as GeMo or after, all that matters to me is that I feel it while I can.
The VOICE: Some might argue that you are sending out the wrong message and that women’s bodies should be sacred and not put on display?
GeMo: I no longer entertain arguments. They only fulfil my intellectual ego and put me in a position where I only feel at peace when I have asserted my view rather than actually connect to the person on the other side of the argument. The idea of debates tends to bore me now. I’m not here to tell anyone (man/woman) what their body is to be seen as or used for. I am here to stand up in the freedom of who I am with what I am, as what I am. Other people are free to have their personal perceptions of me and thankfully, so am I.
The VOICE: It’s sad to say but we live in a society that is overly sexualised in the wrong way where women are being told that they should cover up or else… With all the threats of rape and or sexually based violence do you ever worry that this movement might be feeding the flames so to speak?
GeMo: I believe this movement flips the script and allows a broader perspective on rape itself. Women’s bodies and sexuality itself has been dehumanized and constantly served to us as a product rather than a living part of an individual which changes and evolves with the individual. I believe this movement creates a conversation and openness for people to get more in tune with our own bodies, feelings and thought patterns which creates room for both positive and negative exploration. In my opinion, knowledge is always power and the more one knows about oneself through one’s own self-study, the easier it will be to see and connect to each other rather than forcing connections through selfish intentions and urges.
The VOICE: Now you are very young yourself but is this a path that you would encourage younger girls to take?
GeMo: Yes! Totally. This movement actually received a recent boost from Iceland when a seventeen year took it upon herself to create a Free The Nipple day in her school. I am in awe to see young women standing up for the rights of their bodies and to be honest, I dream of seeing elderly women who can portray that same empowerment.
The VOICE: Do you see where this can become worrisome because already grown women face serious threats with sexual predators, won’t this movement among teenagers in particular open the doors freely for paedophiles to feed their perversions?
GeMo: I believe the movement offers an abundance of real life nakedness rather than a strict viewing of what nakedness is “supposed” to look like. There will always be predators in a society that breeds victimizing roles to be played out by its people. This movement stands for empowerment. It stands for taking initiative and standing up for what one believes. As a female of this island, I believe a female’s right to not be raped should be honoured whether she is clothed or not. I believe a man deserves the same respect. Our perversions are not based on others, in fact they are based on our own wounds and painful perceptions of life.
The VOICE: What has been the response of society and especially your family towards your part in this movement?
GeMo: My perspective on the term ‘family’ has broadened and so I no longer see the word strictly applied to humans who share my surname etc. The entire human specie is my family and so whether it is my mother or a random elderly lady on the street, I respect that person’s space by being true and honest to who I am and how I feel and I allow that person to be what represents them. The members of my family whose lives are lived from a religious perspective believe my voice to be “of the devil”. Others find my presence quite inspiring and courageous. I prefer not to base my feelings of myself in other people’s personal perception of me. All in all, this movement is allowing me to be more connected and raw with myself and those I come into contact with
The VOICE: Are you worried about the legal aspect of the movement as it goes against the law of indecent exposure?
GeMo: I believe the laws of a land represent its people’s beliefs and I am a living person of this land who doesn’t believe the human body to be indecent when exposed. I also believe we have sat down and allowed one religious belief system to dominate our land for long enough. I believe that as a people, we all deserve the right to be properly and equally represented in our law system. Women especially have been objectified and victimized by our current law system and this has led us to becoming manipulative in order to survive. Personally, I am disgusted with the way we have accepted the treatment of our physical earthly representation of ourselves. So no, I am not in a state of worry. I am in a state of inspiration, observation and appreciation.
The VOICE: To the women out there of all ages who are interested in this movement but feel uncomfortable due to factors like weight, skin condition or even body types, what would you say to them?
GeMo: I’d say start small. No one owes the world a public display of their insecurities. I’d recommend surrounding oneself with women who feel empowered with their stretch marks, cellulite, skin conditions, etc. If you can’t find them in your immediate surroundings, search online. Feed your mind with worth that goes beyond skin deep and it will help to open your sight to the beauty that shines through what you once perceived to be flaws. It’s natural to crawl before we stand. I believe the journey to the Stand is just as important as the Stand itself. Freeing the nipples is about facing the parts of ourselves that we believe are “unacceptable” and finding the courage to see it as a worthy part of who we are.