On Sunday, hundreds of women in 12 cities across America exposed their breasts for equality during the fourth annual Go Topless Day.
The event, which was organized by gotopless.org, centers on women’s right to go topless in public.
Many would probably feel uncomfortable seeing a bare-chested female walking around in public, but that stems from America’s puritanical views on sexuality. Women during Puritan times could be beaten or executed for engaging in acts that were remotely or entirely sexual, highlighted in literary classics such as “The Scarlet Letter.”
“Going topless is actually the cure for that problem of sexually obsessing,” said Nadine Gary, president of gotopless.org, in an email to the Oracle. “Women’s breasts are taboo and sexual in nature in these peoples’ minds only because breasts are hidden. It’s a perversion that takes place in the mind which causes this obsession we can see all across the U.S.”
How is it OK for an overweight man to expose his “moobs” but a good-looking lady can’t show off the “twins”?
“Either we can all be topless or no one can,” Gary said.
The right to go topless in the U.S. varies in legality. According to gotopless.org, 12 states, including Texas, California, New York and Oregon allow women to be bare-chested in public, though it is common for local ordinances to prohibit toplessness despite state laws.
Even in Fvlorida there are still some cities that tolerate toplessness, including Key West, South Miami Beach and Daytona Beach during spring break. However, it is still illegal in these cities if someone complains, so care should be taken before the top comes off.
Despite the fact that topless equality is legally in a grey area, police may still arrest women exercising their right on criminal charges, such as disorderly conduct. Incidentally, this is how National Topless Day got started. Phoenix Feeley, a woman in New York was arrested for exposing her chest in 2007, sued and won $29,000 in court, according to morelaw.com.
“We want to bring public awareness first and also help to change the stigma Americans have been raised to think the human body is dirty in some way when it is naked,” said Donna Newman, organizer of the Miami protest, in an email to the Oracle.
Gotopless.org wasn’t created to make women go topless, but to give them the legal option to do so. Women should have the same choices men have, even when it comes to wearing a top.
Lindsey Voltoline is a senior majoring in mass communications.