In 1992 New York State’s highest court ruled that it was legal for a woman to go into public without covering her breasts. Many people have derided that decision — most calling it immoral — and by most moral standards they are probably right. In most places in the world, covering your body is considered as important, if not more important, than cleaning your body. So in New York, in spite of a law that allows it, the overwhelming majority of women do not bare their breasts in public. Why? Two reasons: The main reason is because women have been taught since childhood that exposing their breasts is embarrassing, sinful, immoral and, in general, “unladylike.” The second reason is that most citizens of New York — including police officers — have no idea that it is perfectly legal for a lady to bare her breasts in public.
Case in point: Two years ago, a 27-year old New Yorker, Jill Coccaro took a walk without covering her breasts. She was arrested, taken for a psychiatric exam, and thrown in jail for 12 hours. Finally, after someone in the District Attorney’s office realized what had happened, she was released and told no charges would be pressed. In turn, Jill sued the city and, just recently, received a $29,000 settlement.
Don’t try this outside of New York! Anywhere else in the country you will likely have to pay dearly for your ‘nature walk.’
The questions this issues raise are: Is someone being victimized by a pair of breasts? Is a lady endangering anyone’s life or destroying anyone’s property by shedding shirt and bra? These are, of course, rhetorical questions and the answer is: course not! So if no one or nothing is damaged by a pair of exposed breasts, why should it be illegal anywhere for a lady to walk around with her breasts exposed. Might this be frowned upon by those who object to the practice, yes! Might a topless lady be subjected to social castigation, certainly! A topless lady will certainly not be allowed in many places of business and that’s fine; but to be incarcerated and fined for exposing your breasts — that’s ludicrous.
Our legal system is supposed to protect us against people who want to, or in some cases unintentionally do, harm our persons or our property; the legal system should not be misused to enforce social taboos! There are many things I don’t like to see — and I’m sure there are many things you don’t like to see; some of these things may just upset you and some may deeply offend you — but should they all — or any of them — be made illegal?
In this case, we’re talking about the human body. Hey, everyone has one and they all basically look alike except for gender differences. If you don’t like to look at a naked or partially naked human body, YOU may be the one with the problem and if you teach your children that they should be ashamed of their body you’re passing that problem on to the next generation.
On your next vacation, I would suggest a week in a naturist facility or, as some call it, a nudist camp; by the end of the week you will have an entirely new perspective.
Houston Chronicle: Topless woman accepts $29,000 in NY settlement
Beloit Daily News Editorial: EDITORIAL: Exercising ‘right’ to be indecent
From the blogosphere:
Humor in Verse: You have nothing to loose except your bra-strings
Tim Worstall: Phoenix Feeley (Jill Coccaro)