A Swedish high school student volunteered to pose topless in a yearbook photo.
Hanna Bolander from Vaxjo in southern Sweden decided to pose topless to contribute to a debate regarding equal rights and public sexuality. On the day of the photo shoot, Bolander’s class thought one girl and one guy should take off their shirts for the photo, and she volunteered to do so.
"My classmates are politically active," she told The Local. "We just thought somebody should take a stand and show her boobs and it just felt natural."
Although school officials and the photography company were not happy with the 19-year-old’s decision to pose partially nude for the yearbook, Bolander said they respected her decision and informed her of the potential "risks" involved.
Bolander was "surprised but pleased" that the school published the photo. As a self-declared feminist, she believes the unwillingness to display breasts in public areas comes down to social constructs and misinformation.
"Blaming biology is a poor argument because there is no biological difference!," she wrote on her blog, as reported by The Independent. "Women are not objects, women are people. And by playing down the female body so that it is seen as just as natural as a man, so we have come a step closer to equality."
Bolander’s family has been supportive of his decision, although they were reportedly "a bit scared."
"I don't regret it at all," she said, as reported by the Daily Mail. "I just thought ‘why shouldn't I be able to do that if guys can take their tops off?’ I have met men with bigger breasts than mine and they never felt the need to keep them under wraps."
As her story has spread throughout Scandinavia, she noticed a significant difference between the ways Swedes and Norwegians have reacted to her photo.
"The strongest reactions have been in Sweden, and more Swedes were against it," she said. "Norwegians were just like, 'that’s great, well done.' My [favorite] reaction came from a Norwegian man in his seventies who told me if he had a granddaughter who’d done this he would have been so proud."
Although Bolander said her decision to pose topless was "spontaneous," she does care about the implications of equality and sexuality.
"I will continue to fight for equal rights, but I don't see the need to show my breasts all the time," she said.