I take for granted that I can go out without a shirt should I so choose. And though I advocate for nudist rights, nudism and topfreedom are two distinct entities. For nudists, we’re all in a struggle for rights in the face of ignorance, because being fully unclothed is typically restricted across the board. For topfreedom advocates, we have an equal rights situation where the law is applied differently to men and women. And it’s built on a very masculine view of what is and isn’t appropriate for public viewing. Since men have sexualized the female breast throughout history, we have created laws that restrict its viewing for more salacious moments. So, I believe there is a very strong Equal Protection case to be made that banning topfreedom for women is discriminatory and puts an undue burden on women to conform to a law limited to their body’s makeup.
Additionally, as we become more aware of the fluidity of gender, that we’re not merely the binary types that have been fed to us by our collective cultural hypnotism, banning toplessness for “women” or “female breasts” is actually more complicated than first thought out.
Here’s where folks might say, “When I was a kid, we didn’t have all these genders!” as if that’s a valid argument. Truth is, we did. Nonbinary genders, though, typically didn’t have the visibility that they have now. But they existed, perhaps buried deep in “the closet” or in safe spaces or anywhere out of sight of the type of people who get angry at the idea that someone else might express their human beingness differently from themselves (and for fellow nudists that might sound familiar). So, let’s cut to the chase. There have always been nonbinary genders, but society ensured we didn’t have to think much about the topic.
And while I believe that makes it even more likely to cause toplessness bans to be lifted, we should bring back some focus on the discrimination against what we would identify as the female breast if the person identifies as female. There are many people who fit this category.
So, what of this offending nipple? On a hot day, I can run into the water with just trunks on, if at a clothed beach. Women can’t let their bodies breathe the same way. At the beach, a man with large breasts can stand in the water and feel the breeze, while a woman with smaller breasts must be contained. The key is that they are all breasts. Men get breast cancer, too. It’s technically what that area is.
Society is nothing if not full of enforced conformity. And for years, women have been unequal, even here in the so-called “land of the free.” Women couldn’t own property; women couldn’t vote; women couldn’t marry without permission; women were discouraged from working and then got harassed in the workplace; women are looked down upon for not having children, for having children and working, for having too few children, for having too many children, for having children and not having energy, for aging naturally; and as we see from the Me Too movement, we have surface gains while misogyny is still the way of the world.
Here’s hoping Top Freedom wins out, for the sake of sensibility, for the sake of individuality, for the sake of equality.
To me, it seems that men in suits are far more likely to lead to the collapse of civil society than topless women ever will.