Toplessness

Toplessness

On July 4, 2017, I sent Congress the following letter (which has since been edited):

The fact that men are allowed to be topless in public but women are not is sexist and cruel. My brother can walk outside and feel the warm sun on his bare chest without fear, shame or humiliation. But because I am female, I am condemned for doing the same thing strictly because of my gender, which is discrimination, and that is illegal. It also keeps me and millions of other women from living our lives to the fullest. Discriminatory laws prohibiting women from being topless wherever men are allowed not only perpetuates gender inequality and rape culture and violates the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution which guarantees equal protection under the law regardless of gender.

Until the day I can walk outside without having to censor my  nipples, I am being discriminated against because I am female, and that is the true indecency. These laws forbidding female toplessness hyper-sexualize and objectify my nipples by equating them with genitalia. Men are obligated to only cover their genitalia, not their nipples; women should be allowed the same. That is what is fair. A chest is a chest, nipples are nipples, and genitalia is genitalia, and to mix or conflate these anatomies is a veiled attempt to further oppress women. Nipple exposure does not negatively affect anyone and the only reason they must be hidden is to perpetuate the flawed demonization of the female gender.

It perplexes me why we have learned so much about the historical hardships women have faced throughout history only to continue the shadows of such policies into the future. This prolongs the suffering of women. If our culture implored boys and children to respect women instead of controlling them and their bodies, it would remove the systemic oppression that women continue to face. The encumbering stress that society places on women to censor themselves creates needless fear of ‘nip slips’ and ‘wardrobe malfunctions’, and fear and shame are tools of control and disempowerment. Juxtapose this experience with men who are completely free to be bare chested without consequence. Our laws and culture are structured to rip apart and destroy a woman’s self esteem while building up and cementing a man’s. This is wrong, illegal and unconstitutional.

Society begs people to believe that women are emotionally, mentally, physically and psychologically inadequate by calling them “crazy, hysterical, emotional, illogical and irrational,” and therefore are not worthy of the same dignity and respect men are. If our society instead honored and respected women, it would move us forward into the future. Every morning in school growing up, I recited the Pledge of Allegiance, and the last line, ‘With Liberty and Justice for all,’ was always my favorite. Liberty is defined as ‘the state of being free from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views’ and  justice is ‘fairness,’ ‘equity,’ and ‘impartiality.’

Criminalizing female toplessness while allowing male toplessness defies the concepts on which the foundation of this country was built, and our laws deny women their full due Liberty and Justice, and they therefore must be changed. Our laws do this by discriminatorily imposing ‘oppressive restrictions’ on women due to their gender. According to the 14th Amendment, (1) no state shall deprive any person of Liberty and (2) no state shall deny any person equal protection of the laws. Therefore, criminalizing female toplessness denies women their rights guaranteed to them by the US Constitution and demeaning women by not granting them the same rights and privileges that men have perpetuates the abusive culture which continues to sustain the false idea that women are not worthy of the same respect and dignity that men are. This is wrong and unethical and must be changed as soon as possible.

This inhumane and cruel double standard preserves not only gender inequality but dehumanizes women and makes them second class citizens. That is not fair. My whole life I have been punished for being a girl and that is not fair. I hope together we can come together to free women from the sexist, discriminatory, disrespectful and unconstitutional laws that continue to rob them from a full free life, and I dream of the day when I can finally wake up and walk outside and live, live with the same  liberty, freedom and dignity that men enjoy every day of their lives and have always enjoyed. I look forward to organizing action on this matter to bring long overdue liberty, equality and justice to the women everywhere. Thank you for your time and I hope to hear from you soon.

Sincerely,

Lindsey Hanna Green

Unencumbered, wild & free, the way that life, and boobs, should be!