Monday, July 11, 2011


Female toplessness is legal in a lot of places in the US (although not where I live), and I’d be meeting the letter of the law with a couple of Band-aids. But I have a gut feeling that if I go anywhere that there are people—and particularly anywhere there are children—nobody’s going to be too happy about my Band-aids. The enforcement is social; women just don’t go around topless in the US.

It bothers me because it’s unequal, but it also bothers me in its implications: that my body is inherently sexual, and a man’s body isn’t. It feels like men are being viewed through the first-person lens of “it’s nice to feel the sun on my skin, and I don’t mean anything by it” and women are being viewed through the distinctly third-person lens of “it’s inappropriate for me, a heterosexual man, to see her sexy parts.” It ignores the experiences of people who are turned on by male chests and somehow manage to contain themselves when they see one.

I like this point. It's hard to explain to my kids why half naked men aren't considered naked. Why flat chested little girls have to cover up their chests that are no different to little boys's chests. Sigh. It's all so silly. 
Now I have no urge to go round bra-less and topless myself, quite the opposite, though I have often had dreams in which I suddenly realise I'm out and about in underwear, or topless, and it's usually not as horrifying to me as it would be if I realised I'd gone to work with no top on in real life... but, yeah. 
I confess, though, I have perved at (on?) a tanned and topless muscly builder or two in my time...