Women bare breasts
May 21, 2001 7:26 AM   Subscribe

Women bare breasts in Boston seeking right to go topless. I know this isn't exactly the first time this issue has been brought up, but I couldn't find many resources on the web. Can you?
posted by revbrian (30 comments total)
Can't find topless "resources" on the web? You must not be looking hard enough...
posted by dcehr at 7:45 AM on May 21, 2001

I'm all for letting women go topless.

I do, however, think we should pass a law prohibiting anyone over 180 lbs from wearing Spandex.
posted by bondcliff at 7:46 AM on May 21, 2001

The Booby Liberation Organization busted out on the Massachusetts political scene....

Isn't there some sort of anti-Pulitzer for writing this kind of lead?
posted by idiolect at 7:47 AM on May 21, 2001

I wouldn't be worried about The Boston Herald winnign any prizes for quality reporting.
posted by bondcliff at 7:51 AM on May 21, 2001

i'm all for the booty liberation organization myself. that's right, the BLO.
posted by moz at 7:54 AM on May 21, 2001

I do, however, think we should pass a law prohibiting anyone over 180 lbs from wearing Spandex.

And when it happens, I'll be protesting it. :)
posted by hijinx at 8:03 AM on May 21, 2001

In Ontario (where I used to live) a woman named Gwen Jacob challenged Ontario's indecent exposure laws and won, essentially giving women the right to go topless. Personally, I'd never take advantage of it myself, but I don't see anything wrong with allowing toplessness for those who want to do it.

Topless in Ontario is a site which condemns the aforementioned legal decision, and also has a section called Topless in the United States.
posted by sanitycheck at 8:06 AM on May 21, 2001

Symantec bears topless protest
posted by claxton6 at 8:11 AM on May 21, 2001

As any naive American teenager guy on his first trip to a topless or nude Euro-beach knows, public nudity is a bad, BAD bargain, since it doesn't limit the pool of people participating...
posted by ParisParamus at 8:24 AM on May 21, 2001

The movement in this country is called the TopFree movement, at least by some. This page has some pretty up to date stuff. I've always thought that it was odd that you could buy breasts [Playboy, etc] legally but you couldn't wear breasts legally. And, if you only believe stuff if you read it in Salon, look here.
posted by jessamyn at 8:41 AM on May 21, 2001

I wish someone could explain the point of such foolishness to me. There are about five different explanations I can think of; none of them approach rational thinking.
posted by Dreama at 8:42 AM on May 21, 2001

if you don't understand the point, how can you call it "foolishness"?
posted by moz at 8:48 AM on May 21, 2001

For shame! Women need to cover their bodies. If public boobies were common and nonsexual, what would happen to the price of beads at Mardi Gras?
posted by sudama at 9:37 AM on May 21, 2001

Huh? You need to have a 'permit' to hold a protest in Boston? How dumb. Kinda like McDonald's staff saying 'You can only complain about the service if I let you.'

I think the reason that bare boobies in public are a tatoo is because of what society has taught us as we've grown up. Most of us learned that it's okay for a man to be topless, but not a woman. As such, the tradition continues.

At the most logical level, what's wrong with it? It's just some skin. Men are allowed to show their skin, so why aren't women? However, if you allow people to be topless in public, then why not bottom less as well? That's just skin too. If you want to remove the taboos, remove them all.

However, I think that clothes are the optimal solution in nearly all situations (except the beach). Nearly all shops, cafes, restaurants, bars in the UK require that people have some sort of top on, even in mid-summer.
posted by wackybrit at 9:47 AM on May 21, 2001

Thanks for keeping us abreast of the protests, revbrian.
posted by darren at 10:00 AM on May 21, 2001

If you're going to make the wearing of shirts mandatory, make it mandatory for everyone. Otherwise, it's sexist silliness.

Just my humble opinion.

posted by Mars Saxman at 10:08 AM on May 21, 2001

I wonder if breasts would lose their power to fascinate men if they were set free? Nobody is particularly shocked to see bare arms and ankles these days, could we get to a point where a woman's nipple produces as little attention as a mans? I think people should do what they want, especially in what is basically a fashion problem anyway. What a boon to the men of the generation where the women embrace this particular freedom.
posted by thirteen at 10:21 AM on May 21, 2001

i doubt it, 13. socialization might be due in part to the fascination of some men to breasts, but there probably is something genetic about the whole thing. sociobiology: the genetics of behavior. fear is pretty commonly built in: you may be able to suppress it sometimes, but it's still there. and if it's not, the reason is probably genetic.
posted by moz at 11:05 AM on May 21, 2001

I think the reason that bare boobies in public are a tatoo is because of what society has taught us as we've grown up. Most of us learned that it's okay for a man to be topless, but not a woman. As such, the tradition continues.

MmmHmm. I've also read some theories that requiring a woman to keep certain body parts covered stems from the concept that married women are the property of their husbands. Thus they aren't her boobs to display, but her husband's, and he prefers to keep them away from the roving eyes of other potential suitors.

And of course, there's the whole Victorian "bodies, especially women's bodies, are bad evil dirty icky things" line of thinking. I think insisting that women's breasts are taboo things that must remain hidden is just a stubborn remnant of this thought process.

On one hand, I'm very pleased I can flaunt my ankles as brazenly as I want. On the other, I would like to be able to lounge around with no shirt on in mixed company.

Of course, for some women, being bare chested and doing anything particularly active isn't really an option. Big boobs hurt when they bounce around a lot.
posted by jennyb at 11:12 AM on May 21, 2001

Isn't it fun living in a country founded by Puritans?
posted by Spanktacular at 6:16 PM on May 21, 2001

Okay let me get this straight. There are women out there who want the right to walk around shirtless so they can further be equal with men? I'd rather there be a lobby organization set up to make it a law that men with pecks and six-packs and no chest hair have to keep their shirts on. Especially when they've had too much to drink and come over to breathe heavy on my date.

As it is now, fully clothed women get mad when we look at their cleavage instead of their eyes. Now they want to make it completely impossible to ignore their mammaries? A man can only be sensitive to a certain point before he ends up babbling incoherently in some mental hospital about what it was once like when you could only see them in Playboy centerfolds and by sneaking into the girls locker room in... *ahem* oh excuse me. Never mind.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:01 PM on May 21, 2001

Man... and I thought driving in Boston was bad enough, now drivers will have to deal with someone yapping on their cell phone while eating a burrito while staring at some topless women.
posted by gyc at 9:02 PM on May 21, 2001

I am reminded of two comedic routines dealing, in an oblique way, with this issue.

One was a Seinfeld routine suggesting that, if women were forced to cover their heads by law, we'd have issues of Playhead magazine running around.

The second was a funny SNL sketch* involving aliens landing on earth. They were all female, and their eyes were where their nipples would be. The explanation? Men were always looking at them anyway, so that's how the race evolved.

My opinion? Breasts are breasts, and if a woman wants to show them in public, fine. The problem is that this is embedded deep into American society, and it's going to take a whole lot of time to change this notion that women's breasts are just not to be seen. I applaud efforts to start questioning ideals such as this, but am personally too cautious and chicken to be on the front lines of this particular battle.

* = I realize that this is an oxymoron nowadays, and thus perhaps the concept of said sketch was far funnier than the execution, for I'm certain it ran 5 minutes too long, as all SNL sketches from 1995 on do.
posted by hijinx at 9:07 PM on May 21, 2001

if women were forced to cover their heads by law, we'd have issues of Playhead magazine

Yeah, cause, you know, Playboy is called that because women are forced to cover their boys by law.
posted by kindall at 10:12 PM on May 21, 2001

I don't know,,. If every woman went topless. I don't think they'll be any sex appeal left to boobs anyway... I mean look at NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC ...
posted by danger at 10:22 PM on May 21, 2001

danger wrote:
[...]If every woman went topless. I don't think they'll be any sex appeal left to boobs anyway

I pretty much agree...butt...there are those who believe that large, round, human female breasts, aka the rack......
um, where was I...?
--oh yeah...ahem...the rack may be the upright biped's clever imitation of a baboon's butt. That is, large breasts may be a sort of frontal demonstration of a come-hither posterior.

So maybe there is more than a simple cultural excuse for my, erm, the male's preoccupation...

Or maybe not.
posted by Opus Dark at 2:37 AM on May 22, 2001

Kindall: I don't write the routines, I simply parrot 'em.
posted by hijinx at 4:36 AM on May 22, 2001

Genetics? Bah. The way we feel about breasts is entirely cultural.
posted by sudama at 9:34 AM on May 22, 2001

And Mars has it perfectly correct. Several years ago, a case went to the US District Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, sitting in New York, and in fact a New York State Statute forbidding women's breasts from being uncovered in public was overturned as violating the US Constitutional guarantee of Equal protection.

So, within the geographical jurisdiction of that court, it *is* now legal for women to go around top-free.

Though why a woman would want to walk around in public with her body cut off at the navel eludes me...
posted by baylink at 12:14 PM on May 22, 2001

Oh, and BTW, Hijinx: you missed the SNL commercial with Sarah Michelle Gellar for "Holding Your Own Boobs" magazine.

It's floating about on Gnutella...
posted by baylink at 8:43 AM on June 2, 2001

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