Thursday, April 7, 2011

Topfreedom - Just for hippies?

I don't know about you, but when I think about topfreedom rights in the United States, hippies come to mind. The free loving kind that go around mostly or completely naked at music festivals and on camping trips.  Skinny dipping is a part of daily life.  While this isn't the only group that participates in the topfreedom movement, they seem to get the most publicity.

Photo courtesy of nlipsane

When I think about topfreedom in Europe I normally think about something completely different - topless beaches.  Over there, because it is part of the norm, people don't seem to make any big deal about it. Even on the television you can see commercials during the day in which women have their breasts uncovered. It's just a part of life, not something to hide your children from.

Photo courtesy of johnrohan

One issue that has brought topfreedom rights to the forefront in recent years in the USA is the subject of breastfeeding. Scientific research has found that children who were breastfeed early in life tended to be healthier.  Unfortunately due to stigma in many regions about bare breasts in public places, even during breastfeeding, many women chose not to start breastfeeding or stopped after a short time due to the hassle of dealing with onlookers.

Photo courtesy of sergiomaistrello

In many states there are exceptions to exposure laws for breastfeeding, but they are not equally enforced.  The current legal interpretation in New York State which allows women to bare their breasts anywhere men can is based partially on the breastfeeding issue.  More of a history of this will be discussed in another blog entry.

So in everyday American life, what should women be allowed to do?  Should women be allowed to walk down Main Street in just shorts or a skirt?  Walk around in their own yard on a hot day while gardening?  Back in the day men had to wear shirts while in public just like women, but at some point the social norms changed.  It seems like nowadays many women are willing to take off their tops at the beach to work on their tan when they are on vacation.  As long as they are far from home, there little worry about co-workers or friends seeing them in such a "shocking" state of undress.

That's all for now.  I'm hoping that conversation will begin about this subject.  There will be another post in a couple of weeks.  If anyone has any suggestions for subjects, post a comment or send an e-mail to

No comments:

Post a Comment