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Posted by on Aug 8, 2012 in Law, Society | 16 comments

The Right To Go Topless (Guest Voice)

The Right to Go Topless
by Tom Purcell

I, for one, support what Moira Johnson is doing.

According to The Huffington Post, Johnson, an exotic dancer by night, has by day been walking around New York City topless to advocate a woman’s right to go shirtless.

This is an equal rights issue, you see. Johnson and other topless lasses want to know why men are free to trot around shirtless anytime, anywhere, but women are not. After all, men have breasts, too.

But maybe Johnson has a point.

Where upper-torso nudity is concerned, maybe there is a double standard, and maybe we need to shed it like some old T-shirt, as we have so many outmoded standards of the past.

It wasn’t long ago that women were expected to stay at home and attend to the needs of men. But nobody thinks this way anymore.

In fact, many men these days prefer that their wives work and make a boatload of money. They see no shame in staying home with the kids and clapping the first time Junior uses the toilet to do No. 2.

It used to be that women were expected to be soft and feminine, much like actresses in the old movies, but that’s no longer true.

Women’s professional basketball is as exciting and competitive as any male sport. Women now have their own professional football league. And on ESPN, professional female boxers do things to each other that make Mike Tyson look like a Quaker.

It used to be that women needed husbands to have kids, but that’s no longer true, either. Famous women who have dough are not only shunning husbands, they think they’re better off without them.

We men are stinky and hairy. We mess up the bathroom. We make loud noises when we eat. We snore when we sleep.

Regrettably, though some women may think they’re better off without us, we don’t fare so well without them. We find ourselves waking up in a pile of dirty laundry and newspapers, still clenching the tequila bottle we began drinking from three days earlier.

In these modern times, then, is it right that American society tolerates men walking around shirtless without extending this same basic freedom to women?

After all, many attractive European women are allowed to go topless. Sure, they don’t frequently bathe or shave their armpits, but you can’t have everything.

Perhaps this topless thing is just another example of our rigid thinking, in which we hold an opinion on how women should act without really thinking it through. So let’s think it through.

What if more American women conducted their daily business topless? I assure you that would prompt me to get out of the house more often. I’d spend every waking moment, to quote the great Dean Martin, “standing on the corner watching all the girls go by.”

Besides, many towns, including New York City, have no laws on the books that say it is illegal for women to walk around topless. Johnson was arrested for her topless protests, but the cops had to let her go.

In any event, as many Americans sit idly by while their government strips away all kinds of freedoms — such as a religious organization’s freedom to not have the government tell it what health insurance plan it must buy — I suppose someone standing up for any kind of freedom is a good thing.

So I support all lasses who go topless on International Go Topless Day — I’m not making that up — which is on Aug. 26.

Because the freedom to go topless may soon be one of the few freedoms we have left.

©2012 Tom Purcell. Tom Purcell, a freelance writer is also a humor columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune- Review, and is nationally syndicated exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

  • dduck

    The day when I and other guys don’t get distracted when they see a nice female body, with fully cothed, braless, or naked, will be the day it is safe to let ladies walk around topless.

    You see it’s not safe for male drivers (smash), walkers (Oh, I just ran into a parking meter, or got hit by a bike), we just ain’t.

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    August 26, a day which will live in ecstasy…

  • dduck

    As usual, when I am searching for answers to life’s most complicated issues, I usually turn to a Seinfeld episode for enlightenment.

    Sorry, I couldn’t find the full episode where Sue Ann causes a traffic accident by walking around in only a bra. This clip is about the trial. Hilarious.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVZD-HsFLGI

  • The_Ohioan

    Gee, the point about “a religious organization’s freedom to not have the government tell it what health insurance plan it must buy” almost got lost in the excitement generated in musing about topless gals, but you still got it in.

    Where next will that same hobby horse be inserted? An article about the newest mommie porn book “Fifty Shades of Grey”?

  • dduck

    Ohio, sorry if we interrupted your reading of Proust, or was it the entire ACA bill, with a real life issue, men’s safety.

  • The_Ohioan

    dd

    LOL!!! My right to privacy prohibits my revealing just what I AM reading. You might be surprised. 🙂

  • dduck

    Or shocked.

  • The_Ohioan

    Yes, possibly.

  • rudi

    Most of the world allows topless women. Only the medieval Arabs and Bible Thumpers in the US are bothered by bare breast or babies nursing. DD – Rape isn’t about arousal, it’s a physical assault against women…

  • dduck

    There are plenty of women, and men, that are best left clothed.

  • dduck writes:”There are plenty of women, and men, that are best left clothed.”

    Amen to that sentiment!! Triple AMEN! Just the other day, walking along the beach with my doggies, who comes strolling toward us but a 300+ lb hairy behemoth with a beer belly the size of car’s airbag. He’d shaved the Olympic rings into his chest hair. Breathtaking, it was! I could hardly breathe. My eyes still water at the memory.

    All us women ain’t built like Shania Twain ya know. Or even Jane Fonda. Some of us were nursing moms ..that reflect that activity of 25 years ago. Would the OP be standing on the corner eyeing us, I wonder? Probably not.

    Bottom line: I’m with that woman who said over 100 years ago, “My dear, I don’t care what they do, so long as they don’t do it in the streets and frighten the horses.”

  • dduck

    I’m with that woman who said over 100 years ago, “My dear, I don’t care what they do, so long as they don’t do it in the streets and frighten the horses.”

    Precious.

  • The_Ohioan

    The Olympic rings shaved into his chest hair; Oh, the humanity!

  • Having studiously scoured the constitution, I can find no specifically enumerated right of nudity. A few theories come to mind however:

    1. This may be one of the rights the founders contemplated as being retained by the people in the Ninth Amendment.

    2. The right to be born naked is implied in the Fourteenth Amendments definition of natural born citizens.

    3. If there is a right to privacy implied in the Constitution as the Supreme Court has ruled, then there must be the converse right to publicy.

    4. There is no right to frighten horses.

  • zephyr

    “My dear, I don’t care what they do, so long as they don’t do it in the streets and frighten the horses.”

    Excellent dd. Words to live by..

  • DR. CLARISSA PINKOLA ESTÉS, Managing Editor of TMV, and Columnist

    To paraphrase dduck:

    The day when I and other women don’t get distracted when they see a nice male body and person, fully clothed, or shirtless, or naked, will be the day it is safe to let ALL fine men walk around shirtless and maybe with a thong to show off their glutes.

    You see it’s not safe for female drivers (smash), walkers (Oh, I just ran into a parking meter, or got hit by a bike), we just ain’t.

    And to make it even more complicated There are few men who are not distracted by the sudden appearance of a buff half-naked man if only in admiration or envy, and there are few women who are not distracted by a half naked woman for similar reasons– and for some, eros is part of the admixture too), in other words, all those in the fine to very fine (coin grading) category.

    And, I guess, though certain people of certain configuations are ‘easy targets’ for a personal jolt for ‘the barney goo-goo-googley eyed beings of planet Earth’, I’d find the breadth and depth of what one finds beautiful and also without measure, is present in many of us also. So that those souls who do or do not conform to ‘instant and easy jolt’ for the public view, are held by many of us, as beyond beautiful and cherished as well.

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