Women Want to Bring ‘Go Topless Day’ to Boston in August

The movement coincides with Women’s Rights Day, which celebrates the ratification of the 19th Amendment.

Photo via Facebook.com

Photo via Facebook

There’s a 50/50 chance that the Boston Common could become the stomping grounds for a group of topless women later this month.

August 25 marks national “Go Topless” day, where women from dozens of cities across the country will bare it all in public—some risking arrest—to advance a woman’s right to walk around half-nude. The annual “Go Topless” day always falls around the time of Women’s Equality Day, which marked the passage of the 19th Amendment, in 1920, allowing women to vote. Now, the movement is trying to reduce the gender gap when it comes to accepting that females have as much right to walk around shirtless as their male counterparts.

For Worcester resident Stacey, who didn’t want to use her last name, the shirtless-movement has already started, however. “Men can take their shirts off anywhere they want. Why can’t women? It’s simple discrimination against half of the population. Is it not? It seems that way to me,” she said.

Stacey recently became the spokesperson for the Massachusetts chapter of ToplessEquality.com, separate from the GoTopless organization, but she is hoping to work with the group to bring their national event to Boston for the first time. “There hasn’t been an official connection yet, but we are trying to get such an event to happen in Boston. But it’s of course difficult to get anything to happen here because bureaucracy is that way,” said Stacey.  “This is something I have always felt was wrong, that women can’t go topless and men can, and I would love to see it happen in Boston.”

Representatives from GoTopless confirmed that there has been some vested interest to get bare-breasted women together to celebrate the occasion and advocate for equal rights. “GoTopless season 2013 has indeed begun, and many people have started to reach out to us to organize an event in their city in honor of Women’s Equality Day. Boston will no doubt be on the list,” a spokesperson said via email.

Meanwhile, Stacey continues to push the topic—and some peoples’ buttons—by walking around without a shirt on in Worcester and running the ToplessEquality Twitter account and Facebook page for Massachusetts. She said when she is topless in public, the reaction from most people has been “very good,” and they seem supportive of her initiative, both men and women alike. But there are a few who are very loudly outspoken against it, and they call the cops, yelling angrily that there is a naked woman walking down the street. “It causes hassles and problems. People don’t understand the difference between fully nude and shirtless,” said Stacey.

The other problem is that laws are vague about what is required to cover up the female breast in some places, and local ordinances conflict with state laws, or can be interpreted in different ways in terms of the definition, she said. “It makes it really tough to be legal, though.”

Under state law, “nudity” is defined as the following:

Uncovered or less than opaquely covered human genitals, pubic areas, the human female breast below a point immediately above the top of the areola, or the covered male genitals in a discernibly turgid state. For purposes of this definition, a female breast is considered uncovered if the nipple or areola only are covered.

This definition puts people who may want to partake in the topless activities at the end of August at risk—if the plans come together—a problem that was recently dismissed in places like New York City, where officials have vowed not to arrest women who walk the streets without shirts on during the August 25 protest and equal rights celebration.

But Stacey has already tested the topless waters. She was in Boston last Friday afternoon walking around with signs, handing out cards stating the group’s mission, and taking pictures with anyone who asked. One cop bothered her a little bit, she said, but another said “you’re fine, no worries,” because she had pasties covering her nipples. “It makes it much harder to prosecute someone when the nipples are not showing, but I was potentially topless according to the law,” she said of her stroll through the Common, just yards from the State House where the rules were created. “If I was wearing a string bikini, people wouldn’t give it a second thought, which is the strangest thing … that’s why women should just absolutely have the same rights as men in the state. Anywhere a man can go topless a woman should be able to go topless, too. It’s just too much discrimination.”

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  • http://prenatal-cradle.com/ Prenatal Cradle

    As long as they’re not within my immediate sight I don’t much care. I will acknowledge that they’d be quite a distraction if I had to look at them while trying to work.

    • http://www.facebook.com/pjpreilly Phil Reilly

      I need something to wake me up the coffee doesn’t seem to be working!

    • Thomas M

      The only places you’d probably see them if you were working would be if you were a lifeguard of a park employee. Men don’t go topless when working in a bank or a law office, and neither would women.

  • Frankensrusel

    The whole idea behind this movement is that women should be able to go topless anywhere it is acceptable for a man to do the same, e.g. the park, the beach, city streets on hot sunny days, yoga class, the gym. For some reason there is a stigma attached to female breasts – people are almost afraid of them; Some term them as sexual, and therefore perverse. But breasts are something we’ve all seen, and something we all depend on; Breasts are beautiful, and give life to human children. If ANYTHING, we should be celebrating breasts, and embracing them in public.

    • Matteo

      I’m positive that embracing breasts in public will get you slapped and/or in jail.

      Just sayin….

    • Cat2727

      I can’t believe people are saying things that are so unbelievably stupid. Yes, stupid.
      Women’s breasts are for nursing young, but there is an undeniable sexual component to women’s breast that is not attached to the male counterpart, hence we have girlie magazines aimed at male consumption which feature women’s breasts.
      Duh!

      • http://sunnyfun.com Tom and Mary Clare Mulhall

        I can’t believe so many people do not understand history. Women’s bare ankles were considered sexual in the late 1880’s. Are you going to hide them? No. Society matures, but there are always prudes trying to keep us int eh dark ages. As H.L. Mencken wrote: “Puritanism. The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.”

      • Thomas M

        They never denied the sexuality of female breasts: “Some term them as sexual.”
        And do you not find the chest of a fit man attractive? Do you not ogle the pecs of Ryan Reynolds or Channing Tatum when they take their top off in a movie? Sexy? You decide.
        You putdown and then offer no real opinion – Are you for or against the movement to equalise public topless rights? In fact, in many states and provinces this is completely legal, but it is far from public knowledge. Awareness and bravery will bring them out.

  • Lamdba

    It used to be illegal for men to go shirtless, too. I don’t understand why a woman’s body is inherently more offensive than a man’s. I think the problem is that too many people see them as objects, instead of simple belonging to the women that inhabit them. Maybe this will help.

    • http://sunnyfun.com Tom and Mary Clare Mulhall

      Americans do not study history. Up until the mid 1930’s men had to wear wool jersey tank tops because the sight of a man’s nipple was considered immoral and society had a “duty” to protect women and children from seeing them. Then during a heat wave in the mid 1930’s, 100’s of thousands of men went topless on American beaches. 10’s of thousands were arrested. So many that judges (men) through out the cases because they knew it was a stupid law and seeing men’s bare chests is no big deal. Same is true of women’s chests. Europe has given the right for women to topless sunbathe for decades.

  • NakedToad

    Why should women ever settle for mere equality? They belong on pedestals and as undressed as they would like to be.

  • James Murphy

    Look up the Raelian movement. They are the people behind this and they
    are NUTS! They believe that if they create an embassy for aliens, then
    the aliens will go there… After all they speak directly to Rael
    himself all the time OoOoOoOo

  • James Murphy

    Look up the Raelian movement. They are the people behind this and they
    are NUTS! They believe that if they create an embassy for aliens, then
    the aliens will go there… After all they speak directly to Rael
    himself all the time OoOoOoOo

    • hollyvanvoast

      I have been saying that the Raelians are behind this for years. I don’t get how people never mention it.

      • Thomas M

        I don’t understand what bearing that has on the situation. It detracts from the subject, which is basic equality rights.

        • hollyvanvoast

          Thomas,
          I actually cannot understand why people can only really see this as an equality issue. If you remove men from the equation entirely, I think it’s pretty easy to see that breast exposure isn’t harmful to anyone. Talking about men, equality and the patriarchy is really just talking about men.

          • Thomas M

            I only meant that when people bring religion into the equation it is usually an attempt to devalue the idea, and in this case “A bunch of crazy people who believe in aliens came up with it, so don’t take it seriously.” The topfreedom movement isn’t about converting anyone to follow Raelian beliefs, is it? I understand it to be about changing our greater perception of seeing naked female breasts in public – in particular, achieving equality rights for women and men to be topless in the places it is socially acceptable to do so.

            I feel like we’re on the same side, and I’d like to hear more of what you meant.

    • http://sunnyfun.com Tom and Mary Clare Mulhall

      Raelians are not the only people supporting this movement. Regular people support the top free movement too. I am not a Raelian and would never support that organization. The KKK is against women’s rights. Does that mean you belong to the KKK?

  • Bob Reetz

    So does that mean men can be naked as long as they aren’t turged? Sucks to be a teenage boy. And women can’t get turged so they should be fine naked as well.

    • Thomas M

      No, because exposing the genitals is completely different that exposing the breasts. Don’t compare penises and female breasts. Vaginas equal penises, and breasts equal breasts. That is quite simple.

  • hollyvanvoast

    I have been going topless in New York City for two years all over the place and in every conceivable situation. The policymic story failed to mention me, and this is the story I wrote for them:

    http://www.policymic.com/articles/45001/my-breasts-are-responsible-for-a-lawsuit-against-new-york-city/580127

    I have a groundbreaking lawsuit against the NYPD right now, the link is in my story, the memo released to the public in NYC was because of my efforts alone. The cult called The Raelians is behind this day, sadly there aren’t many people who care about that detail.

    Here is the trailer for the documentary TOPLESS SHOCK SYNDROME — it will be release on Go Topless Day because that is the date most people know about.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHH7IEajU2w

  • Cat2727

    This argument flies in the face of the inherent differences in men and women and in the face of common sense (however, why should that be surprising?).

    Men are more visually stimulated by nakedness (hence the market for girlie magazines for men rather than for women), and one of the objects of that interest would be a woman’s breasts.

    Another sign of the times, pushing the envelope of propriety until there’s nothing left that is hidden — that’s the ultimate goal, isn’t it?

  • Mate Jozic

    Looks like women forgot what is their role on this planet. I am all for equal rights but with common sense! Women MUST be properly covered when in public and yes, it means that women must be MUCH more covered from men! Topless women in public!? Give me a break, I would send them to jail on 1-2-3 years and let them go out when they get more conscious of this planet.

    • http://sunnyfun.com Tom and Mary Clare Mulhall

      “Properly covered?” In the late 1800’s a woman was not considered “properly covered” unless she wore clothes from her neck to her feet and to her wrists. Why is a bikini considered OK now, but would have landed you in jail for indecent exposure in the late 1800’s? Because society matured. women have equal rights in Europe, why can’t America also practice personal freedom? Because the fashion industry, ministers and politicians have brainwashed you into thinking female breasts are immoral.

      • D. Krieger

        oh yeah. i love boobs. women should be topless all the time :D

      • Mate Jozic

        Women could be arrested for baring her ankles not in “late 1800`s” but during early 1900`s, all the way until 1930 or so! Was that ok or not – well it was definitely better from present practice when women are allowed to walk almost naked!

    • Brian Ash

      I heard “women” and “their role on this planet” and then the rest just sounded like white noise. Sorry :'(.

      • Jillian

        Lmao, dumbass.

  • OldSheepFarmer

    Joe six packs living in Boston will no doubt be on board for the protest. I can almost see them lifting a beer and saying bring it on baby.

  • yvonnedecelis

    Grrrrrr (I got SO mad when I saw marches for “equal topless rights” and people wanted to know why. Our rape culture and the war on women is why. I am SICK AND TIRED of all of the crap that is going on against women. We are going back in time (being dragged back I should say) and people are marching around demanding that they be allowed to go topless? Give me a F’ing break! I am not saying that women have to keep themselves covered but I am saying that it is a RIDICULOUS thing to be marching over when there is still so much crap going on against women the world over! (People trying to “redefine rape” and people trying to take rights away all over the world. Sorry folks but the “right to walk around topless” is the very least of my worries at the moment.

    • hollyvanvoast

      well, the problem that you and many others have is that you compartmentalize the aggression against topless women and believe that this aggression lives in its own little world of crazy and silly. These attitudes are a part of a larger picture… and affect many things that people feel about women and society,

      • yvonnedecelis

        Not really sure what you mean when you say that I “compartmentalize the aggression against topless women and believe that this aggression lives in its own little world of crazy and silly” but you are WRONG (I never said that was how I felt). What I wrote was that I thought this was petty when compared to the garbage women are dealing with worldwide. I OBVIOUSLY get that this is part of a much larger issue. I also get that women the world over a still being discriminated against.