The idea is a perfectly orthodox liberal one. Liberals want to make sex distinctions not matter. So, just as the US Government is planning to redesign naval submarines to make them more user friendly for pregnant women, so are our Portland liberals demanding that the female body be treated no differently to the male one.
But the protest backfired. The topless march attracted a large gathering of male onlookers:
Ty McDowell, who organized the march, said she was "enraged" by the turnout of men attracted to the demonstration. The purpose, she said, was for society to have the same reaction to a woman walking around topless as it does to men without shirts on.
The comments in the local newspaper wouldn't have been too encouraging for Ty McDowell either:
Dino90000000 said...I'm still not totally convinced. Many more of these protest marchers are in order. Pretty please?
spud said...I wish I would have gone now. I would have offered Ms McDowell some "support"
comnsnseruls said...I don't want a man to look at me and think it's no big deal, I want him to look at me and like what he sees and get excited, not think the same thing when he looks at another guy, that's crazy. pick something that really matters to march for.
Y2Nyb3c%3D said...One thing is for sure; there are no "ladies" in this bunch. Try as they may, here in America it is never going to be business as usual for women to walk around topless. They can be angry at God or whomever, but that's just how it is.
ElSkipper said...This article is useless without photos!!!!
It goes without saying that the Swedes have already resolved this issue in favour of the liberal position. Authorities in Malmö decided to let female bathers swim topless at public swimming pools. It was thought discriminatory that men could swim topless and women couldn't; it was also thought wrong that female breasts should be thought sexual in a way that men's aren't:
Speaking to The Local, Ragnhild Karlsson , 22, explained the women's motives for swimming without bikini tops.
"It's a question of equality. I think it's a problem that women are sexualized in this way. If women are forced to wear a top, shouldn't men also have to?"
Outraged by what they regarded as discrimination, a group of women in southern Sweden made a show of solidarity by establishing the Bara Bröst network. (The name translates both as 'Bare Breasts' and 'Just Breasts'.)
"We want our breasts to be as 'normal' and desexualized as men's, so that we too can pull off our shirts at football matches," spokeswomen Astrid Hellroth and Liv Ambjörnsson told Ottar, a magazine published by the Swedish Association for Sexuality Education ...
"Our aim is to start a debate about the unwritten social and cultural rules that sexualize and discriminate against the female body," said Astrid Hellroth and Liv Ambjörnsson.
Laura Wood in her post asked, reasonably enough, if the Portland protesters really believed that the male and female chest were the same:
Do they deny that a man’s chest is, um, different from a woman’s?
Ah, but the power of ideology. If you really think it's important to believe that they are the same, then you will. Bengt Forsberg, the Swedish official in charge of the swimming pools, justified the decision there on this basis:
"We don't define what bathing suits men should wear so it doesn't make much sense to do it for women. And besides, it's not unusual for men to have large breasts that resemble women's breasts," he said.
In the meantime, young Frenchwomen are going the other way. They're starting to put their tops back on:
At one private beach at Bormes-les-Momosas on the Mediterranean coast, fewer than two per cent were topless this week. "It used to be about half," said one sunbather in her 40s.
The women's magazine Elle noted the return of a value – la pudeur – which it thought "had been put firmly in the discarded goods cupboard since May 1968".
According to a recent poll by the IFOP agency, 88 per cent of French women describe themselves as pudiques ... The most striking finding was that younger women are far more unwilling to bare all than their mothers or grandmothers. A quarter of 18 to 24 year-olds even described themselves as "tres pudiques".
Jean-Claude Kauffman, a sociologist said it was a sign of less showy times."We are witnessing a return to more safety and family-oriented values. Modesty and discretion are the order of the day," he said ...
Younger women who had chosen to cover up gave a variety of reasons. Some said it was because of the risks of skin cancer, but more attributed it to changes in society. "On the beach, it's only the older ones who show their boobs nowadays. Having boys look at you is too annoying," said Clara, 17.
"There's a real difference between the generations. Frankly it's hard to find girls of 20 these days who want to go topless," said Manon, 20.
Mr Kaufmann advised French men not to ogle if they wanted bare breasts to remain on their beaches at all. "The male look on the beach must be void of expression, with a lack of interest, which glides over the landscape neither avoiding bare breasts nor staring at them otherwise the beach equilibrium is broken," he warned.
The French experiment hasn't led to the desexualisation of women's bodies. Quite the opposite. Young women are still complaining about unwanted attention from men if they go topless. And men are being advised in response to adopt a studied lack of interest in what's around them, in which they maintain a pretence of neither noticing nor avoiding noticing the fact of attractive women being topless.