STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
Is Going Shirtless a Necessary Freedom?
By Joe Jarvis - January 14, 2018

Should women be allowed to take off their shirts in public?

Men can do it without legal restrictions. And although it may not seem like a big deal, it is one of those lingering inequalities that give fodder to otherwise over-the-top feminist movements.

It would be better to fix the few actual inequalities that still exist.

Women around the world participate in the “free the nipple” movement. They challenge local laws which restrict women from going topless while allowing men that freedom.

Three women in New Hampshire are challenging a Laconia town ordinance that bans women from going topless in public. They say that New Hampshire has no such law, and it is an unconstitutional restriction of their freedom to stop women from doing an activity perfectly legal for men.

They were arrested in 2016 after refusing to put their shirts back on while sunbathing. Of course, New Hampshire is really too cold for anyone to take their shirt off, even in the summer. But hey, to each their own.

In the U.S. there have been mixed results challenging local laws that ban women from going topless.

A U.S. District Court judge ruled in October that a public indecency ordinance in Missouri didn’t violate the state constitution by allowing men, but not women, to show their nipples. But in February, a U.S. District Court judge blocked the city of Fort Collins, Colorado, from enforcing a law against women going topless, arguing it was based on gender discrimination.

Arguments in favor of the ban seem largely be based on tradition. It is clearly different treatment for men and women.

Most of the women challenging these laws go topless only at beaches or other places where men would typically go shirtless as well. But that hasn’t stopped some lawmakers from resorting to an amusing variation of the slippery slope fallacy to make their point.

The New Hampshire legislature considered a bill to ban women from taking their shirts off in public.

Supporters of the bill warned that allowing women to go bare breasted at beaches could lead to scenes of topless women at libraries and Little League games. They said they were trying to protect families and children. Opponents said such a ban violates the state constitution.

But the problem women have is not with the ban on shirtlessness itself in certain places. The problem is that women are banned from going topless, while men are not. Libraries should require all patrons to wear shirts. I’ve never seen a shirtless man in a library.

I’ve always been a bit perplexed at the usual, “for the children,” argument when it comes to women’s exposed breasts. What are we protecting children from? They know what breasts are. Many of them were nursed by their mothers. I’m unaware of any psychological harm this would do to children.

And although breastfeeding in public is a different issue, it is related. Women should be able to breastfeed in public. There should be no shame associated with such a normal function of human life. In that sense, some women have a better reason than men to be partially exposed in public.

Otherwise, there are certain places that are appropriate in public for everyone to take off their shirts, like beaches and parks. Other places no one should go shirtless, like libraries and little league games I suppose. And on private property, the rules should be up to the property owner.

I support freedom in the sense that if you aren’t hurting anyone, your actions shouldn’t be restricted.

True that sometimes it hurts to look at certain people who have their shirts off. Even so, a consistent position would be to ban men from taking their shirts off in public.

But why go in a more restrictive direction? Freedom means putting up with others’ freedom as well, even when you don’t necessarily like it.

You don’t have to play by the rules of the corrupt politicians, manipulative media, and brainwashed peers.

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  • Peter

    I think it should be illegal for many men to go topless. I know no one wants to see me shirtless….on a more serious note, In a free society libraries would not be run by the government. Nor would most (if any) beaches, parks etc. I doubt most of these places in general would allow topless women. But some beaches would open catering to topless women. It would likely depend on the beach.

    What will likely happen in our current world is no one will be going topless. I can see courts striking down laws regarding topless women since they discriminate and the government will replace such laws with laws banning both male and female toplessness.

    • One simple solution would be to get fit and healthy and be proud of your body ? For whatever reasons,many Americans are a bit prudish about nudity. Some of it may be from being ashamed of their own body for various reasons ? But doesn’t it seem a bit silly for anybody to over react to a woman breast feeding ? I see some occasionally in public and they are NOT trying to show their breasts, simply feed as necessary timing. I cannot recall seeing any who were not aware and covering them self as necessary to feed. So what harm is done except to prudish folk who simply need to rethink some things in their own life ? Seems to me any woman who has the intelligence to breast feed should do so as she wishes.

      Not saying a free for all or nudist particularly, just rethink nudity and the human body and be proud of your body as a gift. There is no negative for sure, so just enjoy ones health and the sunshine. It’s a good thing

  • michael32853hutson@yahoo.com

    legal is one thing,good taste another

    • Don Duncan

      All criminal law is based on the initiation of violence, threat thereof, and fraud. Good taste, religous dogma, tradition, and personal profit may be the motivation but so what? The immorality of the political paradigm remains. Is it justified to use an immoral process to achieve a moral goal? Any goal? Can a moral society be built on an immoral paradigm?

  • Don Duncan

    Let’s expand the investigation of “mixed results in challenging local laws”. What about the contradictory SCOTUS decisions? How can a right be inalienable if it can be waived overtly or covertly? Doesn’t that contradict “inalienable”?

    Do I lose my “right to life” if I am attempting suicide? Forever? Or just within a limited timeframe? When the SCOTUS start to excuse govt. violations of rights, they have abandoned the very definition rights are based on leaving no principle to base a decision on.

    • Agree we are headed down a slippery slope as the courts legislate more and more. In todays PC world this is a critical point so we need to stop the PC junk and reestablish the correct boundaries of all courts including SCOTUS !

      • Don Duncan

        In any world, anytime, the political paradigm is paramount. We can’t “reestablish” what was not established. The limits of govt. were not set, only imagined to be so. The history of the American Constitional govt. is one of expanding powers from the start. The politicians were supposed to be our reps but that has rarely been the case. No practical limits on them exist.

        If an immediate recall system were put in effect how would it help? The faces would change based on the quickly changing mood of the masses who could vasilate between extremes. It would be group against group, policy against policy. Political polarizations as we have today would be much worse.

        Majority rule without rights is tyranny.

    • James Higginbotham

      we as Americans have UNALIENABLE RIGHTS, NOT INALIENABLE RIGHTS.
      you need to check the Declaration of Independence, and Constitution.

      • Col. Edward H. R. Green

        You need to check a dictionary. Both are correct. Inalienable is a synonym of unalienable.

        The etymology of “inalienable” is probably from French inaliénable, from in- + alienable: alienable.

        Thomas Jefferson used “inalienable” in his original draft of the Declaration of Independence, probably due to his study of the French language (he was Minister to France from 1784 to 1789).

        • James Higginbotham

          you are right, but like i said in our declaration Of Independence were told we have UNALIENABLE RIGHTS.
          so i leave it there.

      • jymm

        Don’t we all just love those Grammar police? They always add so much to the discussion.

        • James Higginbotham

          yeah.
          more like SELF APPOINTED HALL MONITORS.
          and like i said we have UNALIENABLE RIGHTS, and that’s how our founders wrote it.

  • gomurr

    I don’t care if you take off your top, but please don’t whine and complain if men look at your breasts rather than your face while addressing you. I say this as a woman. Thanks.

    • Archey

      Exactly!!!!
      It is human for men to look at a girl’s jugs…
      Sounds disgusting, but it is natural…never going to change…

      • Archey

        So these women that want to be topless are going to be OK with Rape?????
        Cause that is gonna happen..
        Sicko’s don’t need an excuse.
        And that is good one….

      • why would that be disgusting ?

  • Dimitri Ledkovsky

    Since less than 1% of all men are Apollos it would be considerate of all of them to keep their shirts on, especially the big breasted rolly-pollies who feel compelled to “take it off” at public events like sports spectacles.

  • jymm

    All places need to do is post a sign just like they do now.
    No shirt, no shoes no service.
    That takes care of that.

  • Strayhorse

    There needs to be a WOMEN ONLY VOTE on the matter, and once that vote has been realized then the matter needs to be stilled in the waters. IF the majority of the females of America want to go topless then let them decide. The ramifications of that vote will be thrust upon that gender and they will need to live the consequences. As a male I don’t wear a shirt all the time, but I wear a shirt 99% of the time in socially appropriate places, at socially appropriate times to avoid undue attention. Females will need to be aware of such attentions too. But let them decide when and where.

  • TheConservativeMajority

    How about we all keep our shirts on?

    • Why ? because you are ashamed of your own body or simply a prudish fool ? I rarely wear a shirt in the warm months or shoes ? So does that make me some how a bad person in your thinking processes ? Get a life and let go of such junk thinking of materialism !

  • TheConservativeMajority

    I’ve seen way too many times where dumb@ss guys are going shirtless in public. They only serve to repulse the masses. If only men, that women would call “hunks”, and only woman, that men would rate as a “10”, would go shirtless, I’d be all in.
    Sadly, like when you got to the beaches on parts of Europe, the vast majority of people going topless would far serve themselves better to remain well covered…

    • TheConservativeMajority

      And to clarify, I’d be one of those guys that would repulse the masses. Therefore I choose to keep my shirt on in public.

    • GunstonHall

      Nobody wants to see old people naked, not even other old people. Most people, young or old, look better clothed. So those in that majority should do all of us a favor and cover themselves.

  • henrybowmanaz

    “But that hasn’t stopped some lawmakers from resorting to an amusing variation of the slippery slope fallacy to make their point.”

    I hereby dub this the “slippery nipple fallacy.”

    Women shall not appear in men’s clothing in public, & vice versa.
    –WICKENBURG, ARIZONA TOWN ORDINANCE #1, 1909

  • Archey

    Personally I think it would be better if men were forced to keep their chest covered…
    There is enough physical abuse of women.
    And for them to walk around without a shirt covering their Breasts, would cause untold distractions, not to mention that some people need to be covered….

    • Brooklyn Dave

      Sounds like Burkhas for everybody. LOL

  • Brooklyn Dave

    Many men and many women should NOT take their shirts off in public.

  • usdollars76

    Topless is legal in Monroe County NY. It has been like that for probably 20 years. I have not seen any problem with it.

  • Naked, is over rated, especially by those on the left.

  • care4mn

    Speaking as a mother who has breastfed, the idea that breastfeeding means letting it all hang out in public is stupid and frankly disgusting. It is entirely possible to feed a baby in public without ever exposing even a nipple to anyone but the child you will be feeding. I go back to basic biology. There are significant physical, structural differences between male and female bodies. Frankly there is no equality between sexes. I say vie La difference! We used to use common sense to know how we should act. We didn’t need laws to dictate behavior.

  • Axel Mattson

    If people were meant to be naked we would have been born that way!! 🙂

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