The Free the Nipple campaign took a hit in the legal system when the Supreme Court decided not to hear the appeal of the three New Hampshire women who were arrested for going topless at a beach in 2016. The women believe (rightly, I’d say), that the rule violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution, because men can go without shirts while they cannot, putting an unequal and undue burden on them to cover their breast.
And it’s silly really, since men with larger and more pronounced breasts than women are allowed to be unclothed. This is due to a misogynistic sexualization of the female body by men over the course of history. So, rather than promote equality under the law and do away with deeply held, but nevertheless erroneous, impressions about the body, the Court let the ruling stand.
In Utah, a woman whose stepchildren saw her topless in her own home faces jail time and a ten-year stint on the sex offender list after a judge did not strike down a lewdness law. The judge amazingly claimed that she could not second-guess what lawmakers consider lewd conduct. At last check, judges strike down bad laws all the time, because it’s their job, literally, to judge things. So, in abdicating her responsibility, a topless woman faces an uncertain and damaged future. She still can appeal this decision.
Meanwhile, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down an unequal law that required women to cover up in Fort Collins, Colorado. Though there has been some confusion about whether the law applies to all states in the Tenth Circuit’s jurisdiction, towns in Colorado are addressing their “decency” codes. The town attorney of Breckenridge has alerted government officials that their law is now in violation of the ruling.
So, a step forward and two steps back. All the more meaningful for #NormalisingNaturism in our society, so we can do away with all this craziness.