The UK’s Daily Mail has a new story called ‘War is obscene, not my nipples’: Women and men strip for 10th annual Go Topless Day Parade in New York City as they demand the desexualization of female breasts. Like the adult male physique, breasts cannot be “desexualized”. They are one of the indications of women’s fertility, and men are subconsciously attuned to notice these traits as sexual cues. Does the author mean “tolerance to the exposure of women’s breasts”?
Activists paraded shirtless through the streets of New York City on Saturday, flashing their chests to celebrate the 10th annual Go Topless Day Parade. The annual event was established in 2007 by Nevada-based organization GoTopless, which promotes gender equality. Similar events held in cities across the US support the right of women to go topless in public on gender-equality grounds.
I don’t believe that gender is socially constructed, but I support equal opportunity, including the equal right to choose what clothes to wear.
‘I wouldn’t miss this for the world,’ said Rebecca Barwick, 35, who traveled to New York from Virginia and works in the federal government. ‘It’s important to send a message. These are our bodies. They should not be policed any other way than men’s. Men walk around like this all the time, so why is it such a big deal?’
Cultural norms are hard to change. These norms evolved in a time when it was dangerous for women to overtly display their breasts. Such cultural practices often become confused with morals. By applying the non-aggression principle (NAP), we can easily see that women bearing their breasts is not immoral, as no one is hurt by their actions. The taboo against them doing so is therefore an aesthetic preference.
In New York, it has been legal since 1992 for women to bare their breasts in public. While the majority of the US is top-free for women, there are still three states where it is illegal: Utah, Tennessee, and Indiana. Even with a top-free law is firmly in effect, there have been cases of women being arrested on the grounds of ‘disorderly conduct’.
And presumably not actually conducting themselves in a disorderly manner, whatever that vague phrase means.
Several US cities marked the day with participants tweeting using the hashtag #FreetheNipple. The international effort also included events where participants were protesting for similar rights in 29 other US cities, including Venice Beach, California; Denver, Colorado, and Phoenix, Arizona. GoTopless Day events were also celebrates outside America, including in Montreal, Canada, and Paris, France.
The article never mentions the claim made in the headline that the purpose of the rallies is to somehow “desexualize” women’s bodies. Possibly the claim came from the mind of the author. In an ironic twist, many of the women pictured in the article did not actually free the nipple, and those that did, the Daily Mail censored.