Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Pushing the social envelope

So once a woman decides to exercise her topfreedom rights, there are a number of questions that come to mind.
  • When should it be done
  • Where is it legal and should it occur
  • With whom should it be done
For many, it seems like the beach is a natural place for this to occur. Women and men are already stripped down to almost nothing, so for a woman to remove one more little strip of clothing doesn't seem to be a big jump for some. Some women seem to prefer to do this alone when no one they know are around to witness the experiment. Others seem to prefer to participate as part of a group of women, not wanting to go it alone. While most women do not choose to exercise their right personally, it appears that most are not offended if others choose to do so in this setting.

While not as restricted in setting as going topless at beaches, another common situation involves breastfeeding. Breastfeeding seems to be much more prevalent the past few years, primarily due to recent medical research. While some people seem to be uncomfortable with breastfeeding for one reason or another, it seems much more justifiable in many people's minds to expose a breast in these circumstances than in any other. Sustaining life is a natural part of life, and is not sexual like some other situations are perceived to be.

Photo courtesy of cafemama

What about walking down Main Street, going for a bike ride, or taking the subway? While this is legal, most women don't want to try this unless they are sure that local authorities are not going to arrest them for indecent exposure. For most woman wanting to trying this, it tends to be a group activity. Some make this an event to advertise beforehand, hoping to have publicity so that local authorities and the public as a whole can be educated in what the law actually allows. It most areas of the state it is difficult to find a critical mass of women willing to test the waters. Incidents have a occurred in a few placed, like Ithaca and Buffalo, to try to spread word on the subject. Some women have also participated in the World Naked Bike Ride, with New York rides in New York City and Albany, with mixed results.

Photo courtesy of jennfarr

Now what about walking about on your front yard in just a pair of shorts? Out in the country where there is little car traffic and even less pedestrian traffic, this would seem like a good possibility to some. To do this in a densely populated area in most cities and suburbs, and this suddenly starts feeling a little awkward to some. To have your neighbors or co-working seeing you in such a level of undress feels weird to many. While it may feel a bit weird at first, it's amazing how many women want to join in, but never have said or done anything because they haven't wanted to be the only one. This is one situation that by participating, it is possible to build a critical mass of women to participate.

That's for today. For the next blog entry, the plan is to talk more about the New York State specific history of the topfreedom movement. Discussion will also include ways that individuals can help spread the work about the movement and groups through which people can participate.

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