My Right to be Topless

In the 1930’s, men fought for their right to go topless. Now, women are doing the same.

Sure, it was almost 100 years ago, but people acted like seeing a man’s nipple would burn their eyes out or something. It explains many of the goofy, long shirts and one-piece bathing suits men wore to the beach at the time. Well, they may look goofy to us now, but back then, they were all the… rage? Not really. Sure, they may have been promoted as such, by publicity campaigns, but the reality is that they were imposed on men, just as bras, sports bras and bikini tops, tape-under-your-dress, and flesh-colored pasties are imposed on women today still. Why? It may have much to do with the fact that men’s pecs and nipples can be sexualized and demonized just as much as women’s breasts and nipples are.  Breasts are just as likely to be sexualized as a pair of legsfeet or arms.  According to a survey conducted by sex toy brand Lelo, feet are mostly preferred over breasts! 

There’s nothing wrong with feeling an attraction to the opposite sex’s body; or your own sex’s body, for that matter. But part of why we tend to sexualize breasts (more than pecs, nowadays), even in non-sexual context – at the gym, church, at the beach – is because they’re treated as such a taboo. The average guy will be mesmerized by a girl’s breasts no matter what she’s wearing, or doing, or even their size, most of the time. But we don’t seem to sexualize men’s pecs as much anymore, do we? I think because we’ve been exposed to them so much more, that we’ve finally come to see it as “normal”. Thing is, it is normal. And so are breasts!

Skinny, muscular, overweight, no one looks at a guy twice for being topless anymore. Women should have the right to enjoy the same comfort and pleasure of simply hanging out topless, without being seen sexually. Breasts aren’t sexual organs! They’re only ever used for milk after reproductive sex, but that’s it. If we could leave our breasts at home, I bet many women would. And I understand why; because we’re afraid of people staring, to the point that we become ashamed of having breasts. And most of the time, it’s other women doing the shaming and judging.

Right now, going topless is legal in 6 states. (link But women mostly don’t exercise that right, probably due to years of ingrained cultural shame and fear. Until Puerto Rico is one of those states, I’ll continue modeling my breasts in public places – with my mask on for now, of course! Because I shouldn’t feel ashamed of something so natural.

What do you think? Do you think men can support women in this endeavor? Can women stop judging and criticizing each other long enough to pursue this right? What makes women’s breasts so offensive? Why do we sexualize breasts out of context?

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