START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x
929,977 people care about Women's Rights

Asbury Park Will Not Go Topless

Asbury Park Will Not Go Topless

Should women be able to go topless on the beach?  The expectations for male and female sunbathers’ attire is certainly a double standard that will be challenging to erase from American culture, but topless activists (yes, they exist) are planning to protest a recent decision by the Asbury Park City Council, which declined to change city ordinances prohibiting public nudity.  The New Jersey beach town’s city council was reconsidering their stance on topless bathing in response to a request from a group of local women that a part of the beach be set aside for topless swimmers and sunbathers.  No other New Jersey beach allows topless sunbathing, although there are nude beaches elsewhere in the United States.

The organization GoTopless is at the center of the protests against the ban.  According to their president, who denounced the ruling as “unconstitutional and discriminatory,” topless protests will be held across the country on August 22 to combat this “gross nationwide discrimination.”  Men, incidentally, will be allowed to participate, not by going topless, but by covering their chests.

These protest plans seem to mirror an event that took place in April, where about two dozen women walked the sidewalks of Portland, Oregon, sans shirts.  GoTopless itself is an extremely bizarre organization: some investigation on its website reveals a muddy understanding of feminism and some even stranger religious rhetoric (it was apparently founded by a spiritual movement based on the idea that “life on Earth was created by advanced extraterrestrial scientists” – there is also talk about some sort of UFO encounter in 1973). 

But despite the weirdness of this particular group, they do raise a valid point – it just doesn’t make sense that men can bare their chests while women can’t.  And the cultural taboos around exposing women’s breasts extend far beyond the beach, primarily affecting breastfeeding mothers.  Women’s breasts are oversexualized to the point of a social imperative to hide them; like most kinds of nudity, desexualized toplessness seems inconceivable.  But this is, at its heart, a nonsensical double standard.  While topless beaches by themselves are not going to strike a particularly strong blow for male or female liberation, it would be something very remarkable if women were socially permitted to have the same kind of comfort with their bodies that allow men to appear shirtless in public.

So will I be protesting for more topless beaches on August 22?  Probably not.  But does this incident represent a fundamental inequity that most of us don’t think about during a day at the beach?  Absolutely.

Read more: , , , , , ,

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

quick poll

vote now!

Loading poll...

have you shared this story yet?

some of the best people we know are doing it

184 comments

+ add your own
3:00PM PST on Jan 16, 2011

There is such a double standard! Even though I wouldn't go topless, it would be nice to have the option. Its unfair that men, who sometimes really should be wearing a shirt, are allowed to go and wave themselves around when we can't. Going topless isn't going to encourage any rape or sexual harassment. It is fair to say that there will probably be some stares at first, but people will realize that women's breasts aren't just something ogle at and will respect it.

1:08AM PDT on Jul 31, 2010

I did not vote because it is not a question I would think about.
I only wonder: When would women use their brain? Has nobody heard about the dangers implied by too much sun bathing and most of all to sensitive parts like breasts.

7:46PM PDT on Jul 30, 2010

Anthony I think calling a whole country an den of sexual deviants is out of line. I know there are sexual predators in your country as well but would never say everyone in the country is one. I by no means think the us is squeaky clean but I really have to call a time out on this one.

5:11PM PDT on Jul 30, 2010

The powers that be know the U.S. is a den of sexual deviants. It is not a European country where the human body has not been cloaked to an extreme, making a glimpse of breast a taboo victory, attracting all the bottom feeders out from behind the kitchen cabinets.
It won't work, no more than opening the door of the Chicken coop to the Fox just because it's the 21st century.

11:16PM PDT on Jul 28, 2010

A lot of the beaches over in Europe it is permitted for a woman to go topless (not all though). As long as a sign is posted I see no issue in letting women go topless.

My knowledge is lacking in this area but I am not sure you could call women's breasts as sex organs. I will bow to others expertise in this area.

Again post a sign and if there are people with kids who do not want to let their kids see this let them use the beach down the road.

10:39AM PDT on Jul 28, 2010

To Lika S.: yes, children should be educated about the human body. There are cultures in this world (unless they've all been exterminated) where topless women are normal, and it does not adversely affect the children in those cultures. Actually, your kind of qualms affect men, too: I was on a beach, wearing a bikini, and two guys thought it was "sick" that I would do that on a beach where children were present. No one seemed to notice the double standard: both of their bikini-clad girlfriends were right beside them when they said it.

I believe that wherever bikini-clad women are socially acceptable, bikini-clad men should be, too. Likewise, wherever men are allowed to go topless, women should be too.

If you are in favor of "some" beaches allowing topless women, would you also then advocate that only "some" beaches allow topless men? If not, you hold a double standard.

2:24AM PDT on Jul 27, 2010

As a man I obviously voted "yes". I wonder though, howmany of the yes voters are women.
The question of topless bathers does not mean that you háve to go topless but only that you máy go topless!
Leave it to the bathers, I would say!

7:38AM PDT on Jul 26, 2010

women should be given that choice to go topless or not,just as men are. our breasts are body parts given to us to nurse our children,not for men to stare at. this should not even be an issue. it should have been legalized years ago.

2:30AM PDT on Jul 26, 2010

Thank you for sharing!

2:35PM PDT on Jul 25, 2010

I went with "leaning yes" simply because of a vague, yet insistent, feeling, that the intolerant, spiritually & emotionally underdeveloped society I am witness to each day is full of people who would prove completely unable to handle the proposed freedom. Other countries are able to deal well with topless and/or nude beaches, but they don't have the kind of intolerant, rabidly puritanical views on sex, which at least half of our country proudly call "family values". I hope I'm wrong :)

add your comment



Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

ads keep care2 free

Recent Comments from Causes

Why you had to die dear Satao. So, So sad! Beautiful elephant Rest in Peace.......

I remember working with an ESL student from China who was VERY proud of the fact that both her children…

Oh yes, big issue... 70% of the marine species humans consume are already endangered

meet our writers

Kathleen J. Kathleen is currently the Activism Coordinator at Care2. more
Story idea? Want to blog? Contact the editors!
ads keep care2 free

more from causes

Animal Welfare

Causes Canada

Causes UK

Children

Civil Rights

Education

Endangered Wildlife

Environment & Wildlife

Global Development

Global Warming

Health Policy

Human Rights

LGBT rights

Politics

Real Food

Trailblazers For Good

Women's Rights




Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.