Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Women should have the right to be shirtless!

Photo of topless men from Legal Juice.[1]





I saw what I initially believed was a topless old woman walking a dog outside the apartment building across the way... Looking closely, I saw that the person was bald. But still, mincing along in his pajama bottoms, waiting for the dog to poop, you could clearly see that he had breasts. Like, pretty big ones. It is impossible to guess his age, but I wouldn't be surprised if he were over 80 or so.

Shouldn't he cover his boobs? Oh wait, he's a man, so he is allowed to have big old naked boobs.

So, why can't I?

~*~

I used to write for an alternative youth newspaper called Subversive Scholastic, and one of my first diatribes for said publication was all about how women are not legally allowed to go shirtless and men are. It still infuriates me, decades after I first wrote that.

It is one of the most sexist cultural conventions IN THE WORLD.

Women's breasts, originally intended to nourish babies, are greatly fetishized by men. In a patriarchal culture, this makes them sacrosanct, so they must be covered up as something dirty. Dirty = arousing to men. (Men's chests might be similarly arousing to women, but in a patriarchal culture, what is arousing to women is regarded as being of no real importance unless it suits male fantasy.)

Of course, as fetishized objects, boobs must also be made into ornaments (just like cars, also fetishized by men). So, they are primped and prodded, alternately bound and pumped up, displayed like prize ponies. Even if you don't want to. (Have you tried to buy a non-wire bra recently that didn't look like a Playtex Cross-your-heart? Good luck with that.)

When I first wrote the Subversive Scholastic essay, I got a lot of reactions from males who said, basically: You wanna take off your shirt? Hey alriiiight! Do it, babeeeeeee!

No, no and no.

If I should take off my shirt, I want you to be as lackadaisical about that as if your best male friend took off his shirt. Are you saying Hey alriiiight! to your best male friend and encouraging him to take off his shirt? Then I don't want that either. Optimally, it would be nice if you didn't even NOTICE.

Hey, says authoritative male voice, you can't expect guys not to even notice, okay?

Question: Do women act like asses when men shed their tops? You know, we might be as excited about that as you are, has that ever occurred to you? But we have learned to behave ourselves. I am utterly confident that men could learn the same, if expected to.

~*~

Now that I am older, I realize there is another reason women won't shed their tops. Not just a dislike of salaciousness, but a genuine fear of male ridicule. As I watched my old neighbor waiting good-naturedly for his dog to pee, I realized that he has never had that fear, and of course, does not have it now. He has boobs and doesn't care. By contrast, I would now be too afraid to take my shirt off, even if my boobs look better than his. Mine would be considered far more offensive that his [2] even though his are more unexpected and startling (and many would say unattractive and/or grotesque), since he is a man. I would still get arrested, and yet he is allowed to walk outside in the stifling heat, topless, without comment.

It's not fair.

But what would the world be like if the law were changed and women could go topless? Would only attractive women take advantage of this, as seems to be the case on various topless and/or nude beaches? Because if so, that will mean nothing... only when the whole group of us, every single one, takes off the shirt simultaneously, from 15 to 100 years of age, all colors, all body types, the fattest and the skinniest and the disabled and the one-breasted and former-breasted and everything in between... just like the men... only then will we be free of this SEXIST, FETISHIZING BULLSHIT, that keeps our sweaty boobies swathed in fabric as we swelter in 90 degree heat and pine for the sensation of ice-cold chlorinated pool-water on our nipples. Nobody should pay any damn attention... but of course, they do, we do, and it seems an impossible Daisy-dream, one I've had since I was a mere kid, back when I had pretty, perky boobs. Now, I am old, and mine tend to look like the dog-walking neighbor, but you know what? I feel the same. I still want it. I still want the freedom. Nothing has changed.

And I repeat, nothing has changed. We are still covering up them all-sacred titties.

I keep hearing we live in a post-feminist society, blah blah blah. And yet, one gender can shed fully half of their clothes outside, while another doesn't have that right, enshrined by LAW. All because one gender is the subject, while the second is the object; one gender makes the rules and defines the sensibility, while the other must live by those standards. [3]

...


[1] Ironically, Legal Juice (the blog I got this graphic from) mentions the fact that the town of Easton, Maryland, has made it illegal for any person (including men, children and babies) to go topless. This was considered weird enough to rate comment.

[2] Looking for graphics for this post, I found one guys' insulting, indignant blog post titled "Why do fat old women go topless?" Apparently, it has never once occurred to this fellow that we might do this for ourselves, and not for him or other men. God forbid! (Imagine the title "Why do fat old men go topless?")

[3] Paraphrasing Simone de Beauvoir.

[4] Nikki Craft and other radical feminists briefly took up this call in the 80s, but later abandoned it due to increasing co-optation by various unsavory profiteers. Craft was arrested in June 1986 in Rochester, NY, as one of the Rochester Topfree Seven. Interviewed later in Off Our Backs, I can still remember Craft's correction of a male reporter's coverage of the event, about "the right of women to appear topless"; Craft said she was supporting the right of women to BE topless, not to APPEAR topless, and to note the difference.

And I always have.

91 comments:

lilacsigil said...

In Japan, it was common for farming and labouring women to go shirtless in the fields (with a sling for a baby and breastfeeding, if needed) right up to 1946 - when the government, trying desperately to Westernise and throw away pre-war nationalist culture, made them cover up, allegedly to stop them offending occupying American troops. So it's really pretty recent in at least one First World country.

(I don't like going braless and I sunburn like crazy, so it's not a personal issue for me, but I'd support other women's choice to do so!)

sheila said...

Great post Daisy! Witty yet so so true. I think it's all a western thing. People in other countries seem to have no problem and don't go into man-heat when they see boobs.

And, I might add that thousands of years ago, people walked around pretty much naked all the time. I watch Nat Geo and there are still many remote tribes that still let it all hang out.

Me though? I like to be covered only for the fact that jiggeling annoys me. :)

Dennis the Vizsla said...

Actually the other day, while I was going to the studio, I passed a fat old man in pajama bottoms going topless to his car. His pajama bottoms were almost falling off because his beer belly was so big he couldn't pull them up properly. So ... yeah, why DO fat old men go topless?

I never go outside around the house without a shirt on, even though I'm not a fat old man yet (I hope).

CrackerLilo said...

Nicely done. I don't know if I'd want to walk around shirtless or braless, but you made me think about how there should be the *option*.

A recent fan encounter for Danica Patrick (the Indy driver) should seal the deal on this.

RMJ said...

Not much to say except Right On!

Amber Rhea said...

Totally agree w/ you. It never fails to blow my mind that this is STILL an issue in today's world.

thene said...

So much THIS.

Btw, it is legal for women to go topless in New York, and there's this great photography project that shows women - all sorts of women, young, old, fat, thin, perky, not - doing their everyday normal thing in NYC without their tops on.

Blue Heron said...

I did a hippie stint at a Rainbow Festival in Spokane, Washington for 6 months in 1974. People of both sexes were basically naked 24/7. You talk about a desexualizing experience. I think most of us are probably more attractive clothed but maybe that's a gross generalization. As a sexual man I must say that I think a persons nipples add a certain amount of possibly important information about their being. Can I say that without sounding like a complete pervert? Excommunicate me if you wish.

Mista Jaycee said...

Hey Daisy,
It's been a while. I'm still soda free!
Well about Boobs! Men and Women are not wired the same way. This is something that just has to be accepted. Men get excited with they see the nipple. This has been proven in studies. Women however do not react the same way to seeing a Man. Sure, some Women may get excited but most don't.

But moreso. Dig, Everybody should not go topless even if they look magnificant! There is great power that has to be handled with care.

I think where some feminist go wrong and went wrong is that they equate issues pertaining to equality with issues that require good sense. Sometimes they don't go together.

PS I would like to see your essay.
Jaycee

Sungold said...

Tried it once in supposedly liberal Berlin, in a city park, on a 100+ degree day, which is a total anomaly in those parts. I got ugly catcalls. Never did it again.

I will say, though, that breastfeeding was less fraught for me in Germany than in the U.S.

Just yesterday, I so wanted to take off my T-shirt after a hot bike ride. I was wearing a bar underneath that covered as much as any bikini. Even that would've been totally transgressive - even though I'm in Berlin at the moment.

And I extrapolate to South Carolina - ouch!

John Powers said...

One thing I love about the Internet is seeing pictures of people's kids. Naturally I enjoy seeing pictures of my own family, but with Facebook and other sites it seems as if I see a lot more pictures than I used to. When I see pictures of boys with their shirts off it sparks memories being that age. When adult men go shirtless there's something connected to those memories as boys.

I hardly ever go out without a shirt and I don't particularly like going barefoot. I remember being mortified as a child when my brother took his swimming trunks off at the lake--he was only 2 or 3. I screamed about it to my mother who sternly told me "What difference does it make?"

My brother is not an exhibitionist, but I know he likes clothes a lot less than I. If he could get away with it he'd probably spend a lot more of his time wearing only underpants than he does. I've got one or two other friends like that. The daughter of one of them now has a toddler like my brother who likes to take his pants off. I sort of know where that comes from.

The sauna in Scandinavian cultures has expectations not unlike the ones for church. People are expected to put some things to rest there, no swearing or arguing. It seems it would be good if we here in America could have something similar.

Hot tubs actually seem to bring up some of the issues about nakedness for people to consider. Even if you're all in the tub naked together, it's important to observe the modesty of others as they wrap a towel or dress.

I think temperament is involved about nakedness as well as cultural norms.

I'm sure those who love you, love you top-on or top-off. It sucks that top-off in public is too complicated to be worth the effort. But there are situations where you can be top-off with others and it probably is worth the effort to be in those situations.

K.C. Jones said...

Totally agree! I remember watching videos about the tribes in the Amazon when I was a kid and I was amazed that men and women could work together with barely any clothing on. Women did everything with their breasts naked and I was SO jealous!

Fast forward to when I used to practice voice at Berry College-I did it late at night, because that was the only time I could find a room and since there was no air conditioning, I would practice with my shirt off. It was great and I wish that I could do it more often! It's hot down here and I live farther down South than you do!

Octogalore said...

I see both your point and Jaycee's. I think it shows an inequality, for sure. But I think, as you alluded to, that fixing the root inequality -- economic -- would be necessary for this to work, even if legal.

The fact that women's bodies are fetishized more than men's is not the root inequality but is instead based on an underlying economic "trade" pattern in which women's sexuality is on trade for men's power, money, security, protection. In this equation, women's naked assets have a value placed upon them that revealing them would diminism -- right or wrong.

That's why the reaction of the guy was: "yeah, go for it!" Until the root inequality is resolved, women revealing ourselves will always be giving something up in a way men aren't, in a mainstream context, whether we see it that way or not.

So if this were made legal, only half of the equation would change. Women would lose an asset that men are willing to pay for (whether in money or in other forms of patriarchal power), without often having the ability not to need this patriarchal power.

To me, the ideal first step is the "not to need the patriarchal power" step. Then we don't need to keep in check our sexual power. In the meantime, even though I'm not charging anymore, I'm on the side of those who aren't giving it up for free.

Octogalore said...

An analogy is high school -- which I know we can both ID with since I believe your daughter has been there and my daughter will someday. Even egalitarian moms usually feel like, living in the real world, we want to safeguard our daughter's virginity perhaps a bit more so than our son's (I don't have one of those), even though we know this is antediluvian. Because we know in the real world, she can be hurt more. Both qualitatively, in terms of reputation, and quantitatively, in terms of STD transfer to women being more likely.

So as in your example, what if we jumped outside the real world and said: girls should do what guys can do! Well, how would that work in practice? Let's say a few of the girls began to do this -- with no change to the underlying gender dynamics. How would that work? Those girls would probably not thrive in the way that boys who behaved similarly would, much as we hate that result. And other girls, who wait longer, are hurt by the "market price" for these assets diminishing because of increased availability on the part of other, to use crude economic language.

So, without a change in the underlying dynamics and economic models we regrettably live within, the utopian vision and the reality of this proposal differ substantially.

Jenny said...

ooh! That photo's from Improv everywhere when they invaded abercrombie and fitch.

Lyndsay said...

"But what would the world be like if the law were changed and women could go topless?"

Well, I hate to sound negative but the world wouldn't be much different. According to wikipedia, it is legal for women to go topless in three Canadian provinces and five States. I am in one of them (Ontario) and I've never seen a topless stranger here. I still think it should be legal everywhere though. Even if it wouldn't make any big changes, the few women who want to go topless should be able to without worrying about arrest. The last time someone was arrested for that in Ontario, as far as I know, was in my city in the 1990s. She was acquitted in 1996 by the highest court in Ontario.
I would consider going topless at a beach with not many people around. Maybe. But it is nice to know that if I was really hot and took my top off I couldn't be arrested for it. And that's something even if a cultural change doesn't happen.

Lyndsay said...

Of course I meant a topless stranger who is a woman. I don't think I've ever seen one topless in Ontario. I went to the south of France and saw three in one beach visit. It seemed normal and fine, especially at a beach.

misswadzi said...

I love this post and I absolutely agree this is something ive always felt strongly about. I have always thought it unfair and bullshit.

DaisyDeadhead said...

Jenny, thanks for identifying the photo! I was wondering!

jovan b. said...

I support everyone's right to be nude in public -- old and young, male and female.

Anti-nudity laws are a big problem here in America -- an Oakland, CA man who was doing a home improvement job was arrested under such a law in 2006. Thankfully, he was acquitted in 2007.

Great post, Daisy!

DaisyDeadhead said...

Octo, sorry for taking some time to reply, swamped with work.

You wrote: Let's say a few of the girls began to do this -- with no change to the underlying gender dynamics. How would that work? Those girls would probably not thrive in the way that boys who behaved similarly would, much as we hate that result. And other girls, who wait longer, are hurt by the "market price" for these assets diminishing because of increased availability on the part of other, to use crude economic language.

I remember the same argument in the early 70s, used to counter the sexual revolution... if women "give it away" (so to speak) it will harm all women; "why should a man buy the cow if he can get the milk for free?"- etc. My reply to that: I think the benefits of sexual activity for women, as well as sexual freedom for women, outweigh any negative 'market' concerns. As far as I know, the market in sex-for-profit has not been harmed by women giving it away for free. (Do you think it has?)

How would topless women be any different?

Then again, perhaps it ups the ante and means that very attractive women are the preferred sex workers now, whereas before, even a somewhat hefty gal like me could get hired for scantily-clad dancing. I often don't think I could get hired now (talking about my 18-19 year old self, of course); the bar has been raised. Is this what you mean?

Again, my reply: I think the benefits of shirtlessness becoming a norm for women and girls (or largely unremarked upon/unnoticed) would outweigh the negative market concerns.

Kim said...

It would be nice if we COULD go topless. But men are so disgusting that they would run around pinching them and women would still basically be objects.
We're always going to be sex objects. It's not fair.
But the only way THAT could change would be if some brave woman bought an island and had a colony of feminists [and no men], and raised kids that they had through artificial insemination to believe it's okay.
What a world we live in...

ranklechick said...

this issue makes me so angry! its just not fair. I try complaining to my boyfriend, who usually is pretty good about feminist issues, and he just says women can't go topless because it arouses men! How ridiculous! I cannot go topless while the man, who has bigger breasts than i do, can! I am not a sex object, and i do not want to cover up when its freaking hot out out of fear of being arrested!

Danny said...

So ... yeah, why DO fat old men go topless?
The key to it is the old and fat. Many young and/or not-fat guys go topless for the attention. Old and/or fat guys, either by not caring or coming to terms with it, are not bothered by the ridicule that comes with being topless in public.

Actually I think that if women were to suddenly start going topless I think a lot of men would get over it and eventually it would cease to be a big deal. Now I'm not trying to say women should just settle for "eventually", just making an observation.

Elizabeth said...

Fantastic post! I have felt the same way since I was a teen. I lived in Europe when my fist child was born, and was back in the states when my second was born. Breastfeeding in public in Europe was so not a big deal. I saw women in Germany nurse their babies in the swimming pool, just pop their suit down a bit and they were set. I refuse to cover up when I nurse, whatever country I'm in.

Also, in Italy I went to the beaches a few times and women of all ages and body types were topless. As were young girls, say 8-10 years old. That's something you'd never see in the states, regardless of the fact that they have nothing to cover up!

Maybe we should declare a "breast liberation day" and all of us should go top-free that day! (We can't all get locked up, can we?)

Anonymous said...

I was on a beach in the south of France a few weeks ago. Lots of topless women of all shapes and sizes, and no one even raised an eyebrow...

Sean Ferguson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SarahBear said...

I didn't read the other comments, but here in Eugene, Oregon, it is legal for women to be topless. Still not culturally accepted though, except at places like the Country Fair.

Yu said...

@Sean Ferguson

I don't think this article complains about men getting boners when within sight of a pair of exposed breasts. A physical reaction is something no man can help.

What it condemns is the behavior many men present when in sight of a pair of exposed breasts.

As you say, we receive most erotic stimulation visually. Its in our nature. Whenever we see anything that makes us think about erotic acts, we react physically.

Although, in my experience, most non-homosexual males don't get aroused at the sight of breasts. Maybe get beastly, but not aroused.

Besides, we get plenty excited with conservatively covered boobs or rears.

Imagine getting turned on by a pair of eggs sunny side up. They remind you of last time you had sex. Whatever. Yet, we don't go around saying lewd things to them or sexually harassing them (hopefully!).

A curious tale. A friend once went from prime wood to limp noodle in zero seconds flat after learning that the girl he was ogling had STDs. Her exposed assets hadn't disappeared, but his desire had.

The only logical conclusion to this is that eroticism starts in the head, not in the nether regions.

Like the difference between nude and naked.
Nude is perceived as natural and has a kind of asexual quality about it; you can almost picture an Ingres painting.
On the other hand, Naked has more raunchy undertones; like the hot monkey sex kind.

Its all in the conception.

Women want to have the right to be nude.

Everyone should respect that and not treat them like they're being naked.

DaisyDeadhead said...

Sean, you are centering male reactions. I don't care about male reactions, is the thing. When men take off their shirts, you certainly don't care about OUR reactions, or gay men's reactions, do you?

I'm going to dissent a bit. Because you are not a man and you will never know what it is like to be one, you cannot possibly know what it's like for us to see a partially clothed woman.

I've been married three times, and I have talked to all three of them extensively about this topic.

All have agreed with me. None would object to a woman taking off her shirt, although all three thought there would be a problem with harassment. But all have been in environments (rainbow gathering, biker gatherings, scifi conventions, etc) where some women have opted to go shirtless. And they survived it!

There are very strong and generally uncontrollable physiological changes that occur when we do.

This is true for some women also. So?

In general, women do not respond the same way to visual stimulation by the opposite sex.

I always have responded to certain visual things, in fact, that most people do not even regard as sexual... but I won't go there! :D

But I've had to learn to control myself, you can do the same. It isn't beyond the realm of possibility, that you can learn to keep your arousal to yourself and not broadcast it to everyone in the immediate vicinity.

We've seen this time and time again in psychological research. There are some fundamental differences between men and women in this regard.

So?

As a white man, my biases don't allow me to make absolutely impartial judgments about issues such as racism and abortion.

You say anything you like about racism and abortion. You simply have to be prepared for the consequences of your actions when you do. You may expose yourself as a racist or sexist, if you opine out loud without having done the necessary political work and study first.

Women are expected to know about the male reality. Nonwhites are expected to know about the white reality. You can study and learn about the female, nonwhite reality... and THEN comment.

The tables are turned in this situation, and I don't feel that its right for our point of view to be so callously tossed aside.

See, most men would say they LIKE women to be topless. What you are objecting to is that we are deciding this for ourselves and not consulting you.

Are you going to consult us the next time you take your shirt off? Didn't think so.

Put simply, women don't understand and they can never hope to.

So? I don't care what men understand. Learn to behave, regardless of what you understand. Are men uncontrollable beasts that are incapable of controlling themselves? If so, we need to start locking them up.

Now you could still argue that our point of view is less important than a woman's right to go bare-chested.

Yes, it is.

However, it will come across as quite ignorant as you have no way of evaluating the value of our perspective.

Not ignorant. I repeat: I don't care.

Hard to believe women don't care what you think, huh? (You need to understand that most women truly don't but have simply learned to ACT like we do.)

Think about it for a while and come back to us with something a little more broad-sighted.

Who is "us"? This post is up to about 3000 hits, dude. Obviously, some people (women) agree with what I am saying, and are burning up in the heat besides.

Come back or not, suit yourself. Have a nice day!

Sean Weigold Ferguson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sean Weigold Ferguson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DaisyDeadhead said...

Sean: However, it is a point of view that hasn't received the attention it deserves.

Excuse me?

Men run the world. We hear and see what men think of titties every single day, broadcast from every media source and billboard in the land. Are you serious?

We barely get a break from the constant tit-talk as it is. I think we know men's views, and in fact, hear about them (like right now) whether we want to or not.

I think the POV of men about women's bodies is very well represented, and in fact, it's way past time for them to SHUT UP, particularly when it concerns what WE choose to do with our own bodies. Historically, men have ALSO had the power to LEGISLATE their views, and women have had no such power.

Furthermore, as I've already stated, the reactions of women to visual stimuli are different and measurably less intense than the reactions of men.

And as you seem not to understand: I DON'T CARE.

Learn to behave yourself, aroused or not, as I have had to learn. As any respectable person knows how.

At no point did I say that it was insurmountable for men.

Then what is the issue? That you don't WANT to learn to behave?

That you shouldn't have to?

The intense psychological changes don't dictate behavior on an individual level, choice does. On a large scale harassment could potentially be a problem.

I think that is one of the things we are discussing on this thread, aren't we? Or are you issuing some kind of veiled threat? ("Be nice to me, baby, or I'll go get my friends!"--hey, I remember THAT guy from high school!)

Because of the differences between men and women, it's likely that it's easier for you to control your behavior than it is for a man.

Take your biological essentialism and shove it up your ass, you should pardon expression.

BULLSHIT. When men think they are gonna get laid by a beautiful woman, I've noticed their behavior becomes bloody EXEMPLARY. Ditto, if they are in basic training or a job interview or want to get onto a sports team mor (most especially) if they want to impress each other... OR if they need to impress the parents and get money, etc.

Men can control themselves just fine, WHEN THEY CHOOSE TO.

As you have repeatedly pointed out so well, its only when it comes to women that men have issues with controlling themselves.

I am not making the case that psychological arousal dictates behavior on the individual level. My behavior is the product of my choices. Despite this, even if I choose to suppress my arousal, it's still a shift quite wide in breadth that I now have to deal with. I might not even be aware of it.

Who cares? You have obviously confused me with someone who does.

And you may come across as narrow-minded and ignorant if you haven't done the necessary research into the effects of nudity on the male psyche.

Oh well, hope I will be able to live with myself and sleep tonight.

I have done so. My one-sided focus is to bring up a rarely mentioned point of view that's important to consider in any debate on this issue.

And again, no you have not, if you actually believe the male point of view on titties is not extremely well known to women, 24/7 in the modern-day USA.

No, but if a woman asked me to put my shirt back on, I would.

So?

I think you missed the point. Psychological changes do not directly lead to action without conscious choice as an intermediary. That doesn't mean they have no effect.

I think you missed the point. I don't think women's lives and the laws governing our bodies should
be predicated on men's psychological changes, or anything else about men.

To be continued...

DaisyDeadhead said...

Sean: It's this type of attitude that has lead to the horrors of racism and sexism. "we just don't care".

And you started your anti-racist and anti-sexist activism at WHAT age? Let's see the creds. I will match my lifetime of political activism against racism and sexism against yours or anyone else's, any day of the week. Something tells me you haven't carried a single sign at a single demonstration and you haven't been teargassed a single time.

So, please do not preach to me, thanks.

I think your 3000 hits is mostly an example of what I've been talking about. Men see the headline and Women+Shirtless=click.

Good, let them read about the issue from a feminist point of view. It will do them good.

If you really don't care at all about other people, then there's not much point in making a case. I hope someday you manage to overcome your chronic sexist attitude and learn that all people are worth caring about.

I'm almost 52 years old, and I have taken care of other people, including men, most of my life. And what have you done?

I 'care' plenty. I simply center the lives of women, first, since I am a feminist and that is what feminism is.

If you have never encountered feminism before, as it sounds like you haven't, the first rule is to be quiet and listen. Then, go to some of the male feminists on my blog roll, such as Aiken Area Progressive (Jovan, already posted in this thread) and Hugo Schwyzer, and attempt to learn.

Otherwise, as stated previously, have a nice day.

DaisyDeadhead said...

Sean: I don't intend to defend the behavior of sexual deviants.

We don't call anyone "deviant" on this blog. If you are going to comment here, knock off the offensive language.

EHR said...

This is such a great post, I'm wondering why I haven't visited your blog before!

I was just saying to my husband the other day (when it was over 100 and very humid with no wind) that men should be able to wear skirts and sleeveless shirts without shame because it can make such a huge difference in the heat. Then I realized that men can go without a shirt at all... Though they will never have to deal with underboob sweat, which I hate. ;)

Since a lot of women are aroused by physical contact with another person, I think it should be against the law for men to go outside without every bit of skin covered. I can't control how I might act around a man if he brushes up against me, after all. And who cares if he gets sick of wearing clothes head-to-toe plus gloves in even the hottest summer weather? The only way for men to avoid sexual harassment from me is to do whatever absurd thing I want them to do, without complaint. /snark, of course

Sungold said...

Okay, I can't resist weighing in on Sean's distress. Gosh, I never knew that spontaneous arousal could be so painful!

Is the problem erections that arrive unbidden? If so, that's why the good lord created pleated pants.

Or is the problem instead psychological frustration that every attractive woman who turns you on won't actually fuck you? If that's it, then we all just need to throw away our makeup, stop fussing with our hair, and wear burkas so no man will get the hots for us.

Hmm ... come to think of it, that's what Pravda suggested a few weeks ago. And "pravda" still means truth. So let's all cover up and save men from the pain of unrequited desire.

Danny said...

Men run the world. We hear and see what men think of titties every single day, broadcast from every media source and billboard in the land. Are you serious?
I'm sure this exact working is not what you mean but I have to say that this is wrong. Men do not run the world. The world may be run by a select few men but rest assured that we are not all connected in some conspiracy to control women. And frankly speaking what the media says that men think about titties nowhere near represents the whole lot of us anymore than Cosmopolitan magazine speaks for all women.

FilthyGrandeur said...

first, i want to say awesome article. i would love the option to go around topless if i want.

and to criticize Sean for a moment--if we're all immersed in seeing topless women it becomes de-sexualized. it's only been sexualized because it's been taboo for a women to bare her breasts in public. if you're around it all the time, eventually you'll stop popping that boner at the sight of boobies. i shouldn't have to cover up because you can't control yourself.

Sean Weigold Ferguson said...
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Sean Weigold Ferguson said...
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Sean Weigold Ferguson said...
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Sean Weigold Ferguson said...
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DaisyDeadhead said...

Sean says, apparently without irony: If you want to see sexism in every corner, you will.

Ya think?

Okay, Sean, let me make this perfectly clear: you are being a sexist troll and an asshole, mindlessly waving your dick around like a mindless, stupid, ignorant and thoroughly offensive swine. If this is your intention, by all means, go ahead. If it is not, stop now. If you continue after this warning, you choose to send the signal you are here to harass, since I have decided that any further posts are a deliberately-harassing tactic, and I will read it that way. You will not force me into censoring your boob-obsessed ass, but I will designate you a troll and bring in some reinforcements if you don't go away peaceably.

But if you should choose to continue posting your bullshit, I will personally NOT be responding to the juvenile party-piece... certainly, you do revive that old adage that some men will do anything to get laid, even crash feminist blogs with their ridiculous and archaic piggery. (Anything to get attention!)

Sean, you make me nostalgic for the "feminist lounge lizards" of the 70s...those "feminist guys" in their three-piece leisure suits, who at least had the good graces to offer us a toke before subjecting us to their dickhead philosophies.

(sigh)

If other women want to argue with your uneducated and uninformed idiocy, they can. As for now, I will allow this for the sake of entertainment, since I am bored.

Keep up the humorous dick-waving, at least until mommy and daddy call you in (or out of the basement) for the night.

First Amendment abridgment notice: If you get nasty and stop entertaining me, I will start deleting. I think I've allowed Opie to talk back LONG ENOUGH.

Sean Weigold Ferguson said...
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DaisyDeadhead said...

Goodbye Sean, momma says come in for the night.

Do you know what "do follow" is? It means that this conversation in comments is indexed, and will be on Google and Yahoo from now on, Mr Sean Weigold Ferguson, internet troll and harasser of women. So, when you apply for jobs, and HUMAN RESOURCES and/or the EMPLOYMENT OFFICE starts Googling your name and checking you out, they will find that you are here trolling some old hippie woman's blog late on a Saturday night, when any respectable go-getter capitalist boychild like yourself is supposed to be out on the town having a good time. (Will that look a might creepy to your future employers?)

"Now, be gone, before somebody drops a house on you too."

Sean Weigold Ferguson said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bryce said...

"who let the dogs out?"

Darcy said...

Has anyone bothered to read their biology books?

Breasts function is NOT ONLY to feed babies. They are also a highly visible, visual cue that a young woman is (or soon will be)able to bear children.

FilthyGrandeur said...

@Darcy--

okay, so what does that have to do with the argument that we should be able to go topless?

Yu said...

@ Darcy.

Lips are also for reproductive purposes. Chimps don't have lips.

Yet, like lips are romanticized, and not (as) sexualized as breasts, they just turn you on if you´d like to get familiar with the whole package, not just the sight of them.

It all works like the 'NO' philosophy.
If somebody told you "Don't drink soda" the first thing you think about when you see a can is about drinking it. And then, that you are not supposed to.

So when breasts are exposed, in our minds, in less then a nanosecond, people go like "boobs! we are not supposed to squeeze them, or fondle them. Or **** them, or do this kamasutra position on them, or **** *** on them, or..."

So even if we don't want to, everything we are not supposed to do to them already flashed through our minds and made us horny as hell.

If it stopped being such and issue, people could look at boobs and go "My wife's are a different shape." "She must be hot" "..."

And life could go on peacefully.


@Daisy

Just found your blog recently. You are definately an interesting read. Congrats :)

Meadester said...

I personally would rather not see unattractive men or women go topless (especially men with big breasts - YECH!) But I do not think going topless should be illegal for either sex.

Regarding men's reactions to an attractive topless woman: Do the vast majority of men act like asses when women shed their tops? Maybe in hillbilly backwaters and ghettos but not in civilized places, including more dignified working class neighborhoods. Of course, I wouldn't include looking and smiling or saying, "those are pretty," as acting like an ass. Grabbing or pinching, would be, but any man who did that in public would be arrested on the spot and convicted in a heartbeat. As for prolonged staring, saying "nice hooters", whistling, etc., most men would not do those either, but would welcome the equivalent treatment from women. That is if women decided to ogle any particular part of a man's body, whistle at it and call it "naughty" names most men would be flattered.

Are you saying Hey alriiiight! to your best male friend and encouraging him to take off his shirt?

No, and he's not saying it to me because we're both straight. But I'd be thrilled if a woman tried to get me undressed so enthusiastically.

FilthyGrandeur said...

@Meadester--

you said, "Maybe in hillbilly backwaters and ghettos but not in civilized places, including more dignified working class neighborhoods. Of course, I wouldn't include looking and smiling or saying, "those are pretty," as acting like an ass. Grabbing or pinching, would be, but any man who did that in public would be arrested on the spot and convicted in a heartbeat[...]That is if women decided to ogle any particular part of a man's body, whistle at it and call it "naughty" names most men would be flattered."

where to start?

I think you're looking at this from a place of high privilege: as a white man you seem to easily judge who is and isn't "civilized," in a very classist assessment based on how you think poor people behave towards women. and going along with that, i find it interesting that you refer to "ghettos," a word that conjures up imagery of poor people of color. thus i'm offended that you think poor people, and especially poor POC are incapable of civility, despite that sexism is so pervasive in our society that it cannot be pinned to one group (i.e. people of low income).

as for the "grabbing and pinching," or assault, as it's known to the victims, yeah, in a perfect world a man would be "arrested on the spot and convicted in a heartbeat" for assaulting a topless woman--yet this assumption seems to overlook the vast amounts of crimes against women that are ignored, go unreported, or the crimes that don't result in any conviction for the perpetrator.


oh, and most men would be flattered because we're in a patriarchal society--this suggests that a man is incapable of being sexually harassed, since it's perceived to be complimentary (this is also the type of thinking that leads to the myth that men are unrapable, but i digress). men do not have to undergo systemic sexual harassment, as women do--i cannot think of one day where i have not been harassed directly, or where i have not been exposed to some type of ad, show or commercial that does not engage in sexism which thus excuses the harassment of women, because it's understood that my body is for male consumption.

Meadester said...

I think you're looking at this from a place of high privilege: as a white man you seem to easily judge who is and isn't "civilized," in a very classist assessment based on how you think poor people behave towards women. and going along with that, i find it interesting that you refer to "ghettos," a word that conjures up imagery of poor people of color. thus i'm offended that you think poor people, and especially poor POC are incapable of civility, despite that sexism is so pervasive in our society that it cannot be pinned to one group (i.e. people of low income).

I should have made it clear where I was coming from, whenever someone on "Feminists Critics" tells Daisy that most men don't act like the stereotypical brutes that she claims, she says they do in her neck of those woods where everyone's soooo poor. I don't think most men of low income act that way, regardless of color, but Daisy is always insinuating that they do. Where I come from men do not act that way. Some teenage boys do, just as some teenage girls have their own types of obnoxious bullying behavior, but men do not. But Daisy would say this is only because I am a member of the "upper class." (In fact I'm near the upper end of middle class).

As for associating ghettos with "people of color" you did that, not me. There are white people in ghettos too. It's not about color and it's not just about being poor, it's about being dysfunctional and prone to violence and other anti-social behavior. Not that everyone who's born into the ghetto is that way, but the people who are that way make the ghetto what it is.

the vast amounts of crimes against women that are ignored, go unreported, or the crimes that don't result in any conviction for the perpetrator.

I said any man who did it in public. Sure there is less than 100% conviction rate for crimes that take place behind closed doors, where the evidence is all he-said, she-said. Still, the conviction rate is high enough to make false convictions a fairly common problem.

i cannot think of one day where i have not been harassed directly, or where i have not been exposed to some type of ad, show or commercial that does not engage in sexism which thus excuses the harassment of women, because it's understood that my body is for male consumption.

I suppose most women have been sexually harassed at some time in their lives, just as most men have been verbally harassed and physically assaulted. But I think the only women who think they get sexually harassed all the time are the ones always expect it to happen and experience every innocent touch or look as an instance of harassment. As for ads, I'm sure your aware that many of them portray men as bumbling, incompetent oafs. I do think some men take these too seriously and might be better off lightening up about them, while still pressing for balance between the genders portrayed in the idiot role. In any case, though, I'd rather be portrayed as a sex object than a laughingstock dolt.

DaisyDeadhead said...

Excuse me, Meadester, but can this shit, right now: Maybe in hillbilly backwaters and ghettos but not in civilized places, including more dignified working class neighborhoods.

Only hillbillies (like your humble narrator) are allowed to use the word hillbilly on this blog. If you are a hillbilly, my apologies. Otherwise, it's the same kind of word as those others you are not allowed to say unless you personally qualify.

And as for "civilized places"--you mean like the C street house in Washington DC? Right.

Take your elitism and go home, please. If you want to post here, do not again refer to some people in some places as "more civilized" than others, okay? And this is NOT debatable; your various rationales, reasons and arguments are not being asked for, not interested.

I've already deleted one troll from this thread, and I'm developing a taste for it! Adhere to the rules or exit. Thank you.

Yu--thank you! :D

DaisyDeadhead said...

whenever someone on "Feminists Critics" tells Daisy that most men don't act like the stereotypical brutes that she claims, she says they do in her neck of those woods where everyone's soooo poor.

Bullshit, direct quote please, and link the thread where I said this. (And the only person I've ever called "brute" was my own father, on this blog, not on Feminist Critics.)

You are acting like a stereotype RIGHT NOW, you realize?

Do not bring other discussions into this one. Feminist Critics is not the subject--deal with what I have written here in this post and thread. Thanks.

Octogalore said...

Daisy – thanks for the reply.

Yes, while a (I believe small) percentage of women would enjoy the additional comfort, I don’t think this would benefit women statistically. Men have various ways they can use physical power. Comparative size, musculature, etc. In the world as it now is (and more shirtless women wouldn’t change it, see my earlier comment re underlying economics) a source of power for women is what we *don’t* do or show physically. In the school context, in the world we now live in, an expectation of earlier sexual performance would hurt those girls who wish not to do this. In the adult context, an expectation of more revealing or sexual action, without an accompanying economic power balancing, would remove a source of power (however distasteful) from women.

You said “: I think the benefits of sexual activity for women, as well as sexual freedom for women, outweigh any negative 'market' concerns.” I don’t think this happens without such balancing.

You wrote: “As far as I know, the market in sex-for-profit has not been harmed by women giving it away for free. (Do you think it has?)”

I sure do. Look at how little women used to have to do to be a Playboy centerfold, vs now. Porn, as well. Stripping, as well. My lap dances weren’t your father’s lap dances, and in ten years, the kind they’ll do would probably be something I’d swear I never would … only if I were doing it ten years from now, I’d probably have to.

And for the record, yes, you could still sell a dance.

Meadester said...

DaisyDeadhead: "Bullshit, direct quote please, and link the thread where I said this. (And the only person I've ever called "brute" was my own father, on this blog, not on <Feminist Critics.)"

"Do not bring other discussions into this one. Feminist Critics is not the subject--deal with what I have written here in this post and thread. Thanks."

Do you want me to provide a link or do you want to me drop the discussion of what you said on Feminist Critics entirely? I can do either but not both. Oh and to be fair, you didn't actually say the word "brute", but the actions that you claimed were common would imply "brute" to most people.

DaisyDeadhead said...

Meadester: Oh and to be fair, you didn't actually say the word "brute"

At least you admit to lying/exaggerating/misquoting.

To be fair, I didn't say the rest of it either; this is your (deliberately) faulty interpretation, just like you decided to ascribe "brute" to me...

What happens at Feminist Critics, stays at Feminist Critics. Argue the points of this post, or not. Thanks.

Meadester said...

Daisy Deadhead:

Meadester: Oh and to be fair, you didn't actually say the word "brute"

At least you admit to lying/exaggerating/misquoting


I admit nothing of the kind. I interpreted what you said. Others may interpret differently, but I stand by my view. Now I feel I must post the quote to defend myself. Here it is after a bit of context:

In an ongoing debate about whether legally sanctioned devaluing of men was worse than extra-legal devaluing of women ZoBabe posted this to which typhonblue responded with this and you responded with this. To summarize, typhonblue pointed out that Blocking the door, wrestling to submission, monitoring phone calls, stalking and harrying, etc. done by a man to a woman are illegal and highly unacceptable in mainstream society. You responded that she was like "Princess Margaret" because she doesn't live her life in "juke joints" and "roadhouses." Thus you implied that "juke joint" and "roadhouse" men are responsible for the bad behavior that men everywhere get blamed for, even though typonblue, I, and many other people of both sexes rarely see it.

This is relevant to this post because when you asked "Do women act like asses when men shed their tops?", suggesting that men do my response was that the overwhelmingly majority of men don't. I expected you to counter with some kind of class based response like you did with typhon, but I see now I should have let you made your point and countered it rather than trying to preempt you.

DaisyDeadhead said...

Meadester's lie: whenever someone on "Feminists Critics" tells Daisy that most men don't act like the stereotypical brutes that she claims, she says they do in her neck of those woods where everyone's soooo poor.

And I asked for an exact quote and proof. He has failed, as you can see, to provide this. He could not link to the exact post that said this, since it does not exist. This makes him a liar and/or exaggerator.

Meadester: Thus you implied that "juke joint" and "roadhouse" men are responsible for the bad behavior that men everywhere get blamed for, even though typonblue, I, and many other people of both sexes rarely see it.

Ummm, no, this is your lack of reading comprehension.

I said Typhon Blue was "Princess Margaret" because she (proudly) lives the affluent, clueless, sheltered life of a suburban housewife, then erroneously claims ALL women have it "easy" (i.e. eating bon-bons all day at poor hubby's expense, while he slaves away, all so she can refuse him sex at night and call herself oppressed) ...simply because she lives that way. All of us do not. This is a very small minority of women's experience in the entire world, as I said.

The conditions of women's lives that I described, were EXAMPLES of situations she obviously (as she admits) knows nothing about. Therefore, she should STFU. If she has never seen/witnessed/felt domestic violence, this does not mean it never happens and does not exist. (I have never been to the moon, but I know it's there. I have never played a clarinet, but I've heard someone ELSE play one!) Really, it isn't rocket science, except... on Feminist Critics, where "domestic violence" translates as: those bon-bon eating babes are beating the hell out of poor hapless men every day.

Certainly, I know EVERYONE does not fit that standard, since TB and her over-tolerant hubby live very pampered lives and I had to explain to her that not everyone does.

AT NO TIME did I say ALL MEN go to juke joints in the south. AT NO TIME did I say "EVERYONE is SOOO POOR". AT NO TIME did I say
"most men of low income act that way"--I was speaking of how MY EXPERIENCE differs from precious Princess Margeret's. Period. Obviously, a bit too subtle for you to follow? Or deliberately misreading? In any event, let me sum up:

Your "interpretation" = LIES.

Meadester: Daisy is always insinuating that they do.

Where on earth would I get the idea that certain men act like assholes? Gee, I wonder.

Meadester, you insist on making your side look like a bunch of intransigent trolls. With every post you make, you make feminism stronger and stronger. Thanks for all you do!

Now, address the post, and leave old threads from Feminist Critics out of it.

Meadester said...

I see that you, like me, consider "Troll" a compliment. You said so on a post about a topic that I agree with you about.

I told no lies. If you and others who think like you cannot handle different interpretations of facts, that's not my fault. If anyone is lying it is you about the positions of Typhonblue and others at Feminist Critics regarding domestic abuse. But I'll leave that up to others to decide. Anyone with an open mind should by now know where to find it.

I would like to drop discussion of anything regarding Feminist Critics after this but since you brought it up, again, what makes you think that Typhonblue has always lived in what you call luxury? How do you know that she and her husband didn't start out poorer than you, and both do their share to work their way up to where they are now?

DaisyDeadhead said...

Once more, with feeling:

No more FEMINIST CRITICS discussion on this thread. Stop rearranging the discussion to be about men (or in the case of TyphonBlue, reactionary anti-feminist women who SUCK UP to men), rather than women.

I am recentering (yet again) this discussion. Check the title: it is about WOMEN GOING SHIRTLESS. It is NOT about FEMINIST CRITICS. I should not have let you start the digression in the first place.

I have warned you several times now. Any other FC posts will be deleted, most gleefully and with considerable enthusiasm.

(The breasts sure bring them out, huh?)

Mama Moretti said...

"eating bon-bons all day at poor hubby's expense, while he slaves away, all so she can refuse him sex at night and call herself oppressed"

D - this is maybe the funniest thing you ever wrote.

Accurate too!

Blue Heron said...

Wow, this shit got deep.

Anonymous said...

I'd much rather a law that forbids *anyone* to walk around topless in public. I don't want to see your nipples, scars, stretch-marks, blemishes, or anything else - men or women.

If hanging out while you're hanging out is something you want to do at home, that's cool.

But in public? No shirt, no shoes, no service.

Anonymous said...

Here in Austin Texas it's legal for women to go topless. Unfortunately, it's still a rare occurrence except at mardi gras and halloween.

kikipotamus said...

Copying from gotopless.org: "In 1996 the Province of Ontario, Canada's most populous provice, became legally topfree due to a criminal court challenge by Gwen Jacob. Because the highest court in Ontario was interpreting a Canadian federal law, this case has set an important precedent for all of the other provinces in Canada. Attempts to change the law to re-criminalize women have not been supported by Canadian voters."

I have taken advantage of this freedom once. It was a very hot day and I was mowing my yard. When the heat and humidity got to be too much, I removed my shirt. The world did not come to an end, nobody was titillated that I know of, and the lawn got mowed.

Anonymous said...

Simple manners would suffice, and respect for each other. I see no problem with anybody going topless or nude, and would never disrespect them if they did. I am still totally amazed and angered when my sister breast feeds in public, and gets all sorts of looks, from male and female, and mostly of a unkind nature. As if it was totaly inaproprate to care for her child at that time and place.
I am a male, and yes I admire the female form, I also admire works of art without lusting after them. Bring back a consideration for others first, and then we might be able to all walk around as naked as we wish.

Steven said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Deborah

http://maternitymotherhood.net

DaisyDeadhead said...

My follow up post here.

And Renegade Evolution's post titled Cool and makes ya think, blogworld edition...

Dana said...

Ha, love your replies Daisy.

And I concur. Re: pressures on young women, I find the idea of women feeling obligated to use their bodies as power repulsive, though if that's how you get through life so be it.

I have no intention of forcing anyone else to go topless but I would much appreciate the opportunity to be topless without harassment.

Sure, a lot of women will pass, and some people will be dicks, much as it is now with wearing swim suits, but it's a bit different to utter horror on the part of people viewing your *gasp* breasts!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
DaisyDeadhead said...

I've just deleted a pretty nasty comment that came from a link posted to a scarily-misogynist website, on the level of stormfront.org... so bad that these guys' signature-lines actually include photos of battered women.

Anyone coming over here from that link will be automatically deleted. Mr Daisy found it very alarming, maybe more than I did (they wished some pretty negative things on me). I initially wanted to leave up the comment, and he told me it would only encourage them.

I defer to Mr Daisy's wisdom re: male behavior.

Again, Jill, Cara, Holly, Melissa, Jessica, Amanda, et. al.: I am sorry I never realized what you all have to put up with... pretty scary stuff.

And just for stating an opinion.

FilthyGrandeur said...

i feel you on the nasty comments front. i've been getting quite a few lately, so i've decided to put a moderation policy on the comments form. i am no longer giving voice to trolls, especially since most of them are one time commenters, which means i wouldn't get to reply to them anyway. my readers don't need that crap, and neither do yours. we have few safe spaces as it is.

Kim said...

Love this post, Daisy! And hell, I'd be happy just to be able to not wear a fucking BRA for starters!!!

missincognegro said...

Honestly, DD, and in all due respect to your post, I don't like seeing shirtless men in public. I don't find it sexy. In as far as shirtless women, I really don't want to see that either, for the same reason I don't like seeing shirtless men in public. Additionally, men couldn't handle it, no more than they can handle a fully clothed woman showing cleavage and wearing a mini skirt.

A LOT of things would need to change in our culture to make shirtless women even a remote possibility, such as issue re: body image and size. Would only thin women be allowed to go shirtless? Also, Americans, for all of our drooling, have a lot of hang-ups re: nudity - partial or full.

John Powers said...

Not quite on topic this post about bra and cancer link seemed related.

Hearing so often how uncomfortable bras are I've wondered why comfortable ones aren't made to take the market by storm. From a dumb male perspective, I notice in many parts of the world women wrap fabric around their torso and that looks more comfortable than hanging from the shoulders.

David - a nudist said...

I don't get why in most places, it's illegal for women to be shirtless (I usually refer to the term "topfree"), except of course, at designated areas. I didn't read all of the comments, only some of them, but I'm not replying to any of them. I'm only giving my two cents on this topic.

I, for one, agree that women should have the right to be topfree. And, I don't just mean totally fit 18 to 20 year olds. I'm talking about women of all ages, shapes, and sizes...and not just adults, either. Female breasts should be treated just as equal as male breasts. Censoring female breasts and making it illegal to show them in public only sexualizes them in unnatural ways, but I won't get into that.

Consider...imagine a man and his girlfriend walking along a beach area, both topfree. Now, imagine the woman (but NOT the man) getting arrested. For what? She's showing the same thing her boyfriend is. According to gotopless.org, some cities in America are going to have a topfree day where women will be allowed to be shirtless. I don't know all the details, but I remember reading something about that on the site.

But, why only one day of the year will this happen? Why not EVERY DAY? No offense, but I really do not like this country's prudish ways of thinking when it comes to topfreedom and nudity for that matter. I've said this next thing on so many websites, but I'll say it here, too...nude is not lewd. Okay, I'm done for now.

belledame222 said...

tangentially, in San Francisco, apparently, it is legal to be nekkid in public. much to the consternation of some out-of-neighborhood-types at the Castro Farmer's Market this past week or so, apparently, who were put off their produce by the appearance of cheerful guys clad only in shoes and cockring amongst the stalls.

Anonymous said...

Should women be able to go topless? - no brainer, obviously yes they should.

Would women go topless? In today's culture almost certainly not.

Would it be strange or cause problems? - No, I think it would have much less impact than people think. On a topless or naked beach it is strange for the first 30 minutes, then the novelty wears off. Breasts are quickly demystified and become another body part. If a significant % of the female population were prepared to bare all, I suspect it would not take more than a week for our entire cultural viewpoint to change.

Sarah said...

like this blog!

will a good portion of men (not all) react lewdly/offensively to shirtless women: yes.

does this mean that to try and prevent this behavior women should not go topless: no.

one human being is not responsible for another human being's childish behavior. How dumb is that? If someone acts in a reprehensible manner it is HIS fault and not the person's to whom he was acting reprehensible. Learn how to have a logical thought process.

(note: this is a form of VICTIM BLAMING. To all who had this argument please look up the concept and see why it is one of the most illogical, inhumane, and DUMBSHIT arguments to ever spring into the mind of some idiot long ago who though he was being clever. Becoming aware of this will help in understanding many feminist issues that you may encounter in the future)

also @ mista and @ biological essentialists (look up biological essentialism if you fear you may be making one of these arguments) in general: just because a study proved that men react more strongly to the stimuli of a nipple than do women does not prove that this is due to a biological trait. Could it be the result of a society pounding into their heads since the day they were born that straight, non-sissy men are supposed to like breasts a lot? I think that is more likely. You can not prove definitively that men are more predisposed to act like idiots around nipples because of some genetic or biological trait. In fact you cannot prove any sort of biological essentialism definitively. This is why these theories should be taken with a grain of salt. They are THEORIES and theories come from PEOPLE (mostly men) who have been influenced by society's norms, taboos, and constructions for the entirety of their lives. Biological essentialism is not only dehumanizing to women but it also makes men out to be dumbshit apes, putting back both sexes by centuries in one fell swoop.

Igroki said...

Breast fetishism is a product of our culture. It would be pointless of me to deny my basic pleasure (and entirely sexualised - the kind you appear not to appreciate).

The logic in your article is perfectly sound. It is a male directive that breasts are sexual and to be covered up. You only briefly allude to the female directive - that only one of youth & beauty shall display their breasts on a nude beach. This has been vastly understated & is perhaps as powerful. That area should have received more attention.

In a country such as mine (Australia), the logic does not fit application. I agree entirely with your points. However, the application would be a joke. Breasts are sexualised in my country (many others too, of course, I am just trying to stick to a more direct point). It will not change in my lifetime.

I will always gaze at a naked breast as a sexual object. Logic & application are two different things. Feminism often drops short at this very point of difference.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

As a guy who considers himself to care about equal rights, I see no reason why women shouldn't be able to go shirtless in public. All of these crazy arguments are demeaning to good, honest men who do NOT use women as objects. Good men don't stare at a woman's covered breasts, and the same would go if her breasts were UNcovered. I can honestly say that, though breasts are considered by almost all men an attractive and desirable part of a woman's body, the same can be said by women of a man's chest. I mean, if you look like Arnold S. from back in the days of his youth, most women will find you more attractive than if you are a skinny, weak little guy. I have been cat-called plenty of times (many times while training for competitive running events) while shirtless. It is something that will happen if you are shirtless no matter what, male of female. And I tell you this: seeing an old, fat man shirtless on the street may make me want to gag sometimes, but I never do, and I never say a word about it. In fact, it is quite easy to avert the eyes from something you find grotesque. If a law recognizing women's right to go topless were passed, I hope no woman would not go topless because she believes she is no longer "attractive" or something. That is ridiculous. It doesn't stop that fat old man, and it shouldn't stop you! There are plenty of good men who might be aroused by seeing an attractive woman topless on the street, but they would never let on to that fact. For me, just seeing a topless woman walking down the street just isn't that sexy or arousing in the first place. I mean, she is just topless. They are just breasts. In an intimate relationship breasts may enhance both a man's and woman's experience, but outside that... well, they are breasts, not very different from mine.

And if a guy gropes you in the first place, he deserves to be castrated. Tazer the bastard and be done with it.

Anonymous said...

it won't happen as too much of capatalism is tied up in marketing breasts, secret, erotic, garments for them, images etc.
Our western world isn't unable to cope or rap[idly adapt to exposed breasts at various degrees. If all women of all ages and stages frequently left off bras, in warm conditions left off tops or light minimal ones, openly breastfed it would eliminate the fuss, enhanced arousal of men on glimpses of any nipples/breasts. Sure some would get aroused sometimes on seeing a breast or nipple just as they are by any other facet of appealing females striking them as wow.Are conventions are commercialy based , then culturally swollowed. I remember my northern European migrant parents gave me a swimsuit that was gathered and covered my top, after previously my swimming in small shirts like my brother. Even I thought then what for still flat as aboard, guess cause I'm a girl noticing it wasn't as comfortable as just shorts taking ages to dry. My parents had outlasted others before covering me up.The most unfairthing is in hot weather if one has larger boobs they get hot enough without all the expected trussing up, yet men that wouldn't be affected as much are top free
It's all about $$$ and a considerable number of women relying on creating an illusion via dressing up , down , proping their breasts too.
In regard to breast feeding quite openly, I never or women I knew 30 yrs ago in Australia ever got a bad reaction. The few rare negatives get publicised and in abstract via opinion polls it sounds more negative though many of the wary of polls are ok faced with the reality finding that looks so ordinary and normal. It's easy to breast feed in public, capatilism hasn't much invested there unlike leaving breasts topless or in some situations braless in public.

Kati said...

I really love the idea of this article, but as a PROUD owner of DDs, I barely feel comfortable going without a bra, much less a shirt. Although, I really enjoy showing off my cleavage, in large part because it lets my breasts just breathe.

Which brings me to my next point: the inevitable ogling. I've read many of the comments previous to mine and people have made valid points on both sides, but I just want to say that if good, decent men have trouble keeping their eyes away from just the flesh that's peaking above my shirt, I'm not sure that the stares would go away quite as quickly some people here seem to think. Besides that, there's always the creeps out there who will ruin it for all of us. You always have to play to the lowest common denominator, which has created a lot of really crazy rules in our society.

My point: I would like this kind of freedom. Fuck yes, I would. In fact I would love to be able to wear what I feel comfortable in without getting disapproving looks from the more prudish people in my community. I just don't think it's going to happen anytime in the future.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
DaisyDeadhead said...

Anonymous, this is a feminist blog, and we don't call women sexist names. Thus, your comment was deleted... and for the record, an anonymous comment is always somewhat suspect--use your real name or online pseudonym/profile next time, please.

Allan said...

Great topic, I've wondered the same thing and never seen a woman talk about it!

Regarding your discussion with guys on all their arguments why it's just too hard for them to control themselves, I have a couple observations.

I'm mostly gay, have a lot of SSA and gee guys, I've learned to control myself around straight guys who generally let you know they don't like it if you show you like looking at their sexy chest. I can be as respectful as I want to be. Also, as a gay man, I have that experience of being treated like a piece of meat by someone you have no interest in. Trust me. It isn't fun.

So guys, stop being a wuss. Learn to control yourself. Ok. Sorry. Wuss isn't nice. I'm just kidding.

Two.

In counterpoint to the above, all I ever got growing up was encouragement to "go for it!!!!!" over and over and over if I felt attracted (or even NOT actually). To women of course. It's part of the guy code and SO! it IS a separate learning process you have to do on your own with virtually no encouragement from anyone (except maybe your feminist girlfriend).

Jennifer said...

I don't think it can even be labeled as a "western problem". As an American living in Spain, the minute I get to the beach, I feel like it's totally ok to get rid of my top, just like my (male) partner and my kids are totally cool to go nudie anywhere. I'm in a big city and except for immigrant men from countries where woman are generally covered leering from the boardwalks, nobody seems to make a big deal about any of this and the guys are able to stroll along the beach without demonstrating any sort of rabid excitement (and they're all wearing speedos!). Age is no barrier... one of my favorite examples is an old couple who I used to see a lot, both is super brief bikinis. She accesorized with a lot of ruffles... along her bikini bottom, in her hair- I thought it was soooo cool! It's also important to note that this is in a country which has only been free from the control of an ultra-catholic dictatorship since the mid 70's. If it can be done here, it can work anywhere!

Once you jump off the beach, it is expected that everyone, regardless of gender, wear a shirt and bottoms and locals marvel at northern European males who don't seem to understand this.

And, additionally, extended nursing was a piece of cake here.