Going Topless for Equality

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When I lived in New York City, I would often see, hear, experience things that I insisted would only happen in NYC. Once again a headline warrants the thought – only in New York City. “‘Go-Topless Day’ In New York Seeks Equal Rights To Bare Chests”

Yesterday, women all over the city protested the double standard of the social norm that men can go shirtless, but women have to cover up. Personally, I dance around in my birthday suit all the time at home, but I’ve yet to brave nude beaches or naked yoga (I have considered it). While I believe in freedom of expression, equality and the Constitution, I’m not sure I would feel comfortable baring my breasts along the busy streets of NYC. It is legal for women to go topless in the Big Apple so I don’t have to wait until next year’s “Go-Topless Day” to try it out.

International Go-Topless Day

According to reports, women in 30 cities around the US and 10 countries participated in organized events. Did anyone else know about this, participate or see women going topless in their towns/cities?

According to the website Go Topless, the group is a “U.S.-based organization founded in 2007 by spiritual leader Rael and we claim that women have the same constitutional right that men have to go bare-chested in public.” Hold the phone, let me bust out my trusty pocketbook Constitution that I carry in my purse. Where is it in the constitution that we have the right to bear nipples? is that the second and a half ammendment?

From UFO’s to Spiritual Leader to Constitutional Defender

It gets better, Rael’s spiritual teachings are based on his experiences from an encounter with a UFO in 1973. Let me get this straight, a man is visited by a UFO and starts teaching spiritual lessons he learned from these encounters. Over 35 years later, he starts an annual go-topless day to protest women’s oppression from their constitutional right to bear breasts. Wow, as we say in creative nonfiction, I can’t make this stuff up!

Naturally, there is controversy over this movement, and I love to stir the pot. The website Blisstree reports, “Wearing a shirt has nothing to do with equality. It is not your constitutional  right to go topless. And it’s not doing anything to diminish sexual  discrimination. If anything, it’s just adding to the problem, while giving  creepy onlookers something to stare at.”

According to reports, Karen Heaven, an event organizer, told the crowd, “We say there is nothing wrong with the female nipple. My dog has six, I have  two, but I can be put in jail for showing my nipples. It’s 2012 — what are we  thinking?” However, as I previously stated, it is legal to go topless in NYC.

Is this a step forward or backwards for women’s rights? What about women who are harrassed for breastfeeding in public, the organization does not even mention this on their website. I wonder what the results of a public poll would be if we asked men andchest women the following questions:

Should women be allowed to go topless if men are?
Should women be allowed to breastfeed in public?
Is it a Constitutional Right to bare chest?

Wait, maybe I don’t want to know the results of that poll. I can’t wait to hear Mayor Bloomberg’s reaction to this event!

Up Next: Mayor Bloomberg Promotes Breastfeeding by Banning Formula

Lisbeth Prifogle is a freelance writer, Marine officer, and globetrotter currently in San Diego, CA. She earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University, Los Angeles and a BA from DePauw University. Lisbeth spent six months in Iraq and is working on a memoir about her experiences. She keeps a blog titled The Next Bold Move www.lisbethprifogle.com and her work can be found in the 11th issue of Poem Memoir Story, The Splinter Generation, and In the Know Travel. Lisbeth has had problems balancing hormones since she was a teenager and is constantly researching and exploring natural remedies including diet, exercise, and alternative medicines.

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