Topfreedom

A group of women protesting for the right to go topless anywhere a man could. Venice Beach, California, 2011 (demonstrator is wearing a pasty)
A group of topless women and topless men at a beach in Helsinki, Finland, protesting after a woman had been forced away from a beach in Hyvinkää for topless sunbathing.[1]

Topfreedom is a cultural and political movement seeking changes in laws to allow women to be topless in public places where men are permitted to be barechested, as a form of gender equality. Specifically, the movement seeks the repeal or overturning of laws which restrict a woman's right not to have her chest covered at all times in public.

In addition, topfreedom advocates seek allowing nursing mothers to openly breastfeed in public.

Social and legal attitudesEdit

Many societies[which?] consider women who expose their nipples and areolae as immodest and contrary to social norms. In many jurisdictions[which?] a topless woman may be socially or officially harassed or cited for public lewdness, indecent exposure, public indecency or disorderly conduct.[2] Topfreedom advocates seek to change community attitudes to breasts as sex objects or indecent.[3]

Several countries in Europe have decriminalised non-sexual toplessness. Topless swimming and sunbathing on beaches has become acceptable in many parts of Europe, though the practice remains controversial in many places, and not common in most places. Many public swimming pools in Europe are owned by municipalities, which are treated as private organisations and allowed to set their dress codes.[citation needed]

BreastfeedingEdit

In many countries around the world, breastfeeding in public is not unusual. During 2006–2010 and earlier, a number of news reports in the United States cited incidents where women were refused service or harassed for breastfeeding in public. In response, a majority of U.S. states have passed laws explicitly permitting nursing in public.[4][5][6] The United States federal government enacted a law in 1999[7] which specifically provides that "a woman may breastfeed her child at any location in a Federal building or on Federal property, if the woman and her child are otherwise authorized to be present at the location." However, these laws generally do not apply to rules imposed by private organizations or on private property, such as restaurants, airlines, or shopping malls.

Topfreedom by countryEdit

AsiaEdit

TaiwanEdit

In support of Adda Smaradottir's FreeTheNipple act in public cyberspace,[8] young women uploaded their topless photos to Facebook and protested against its Community Standards[9] of considering women's breasts as sexual materials. Those photos and related news articles were blocked initially,[10] but Facebook considered those photos did not violate Community Standards.[8]

EuropeEdit

DenmarkEdit

Bathing and sunbathing in the nude (including topless) is legal on Danish beaches.[11] Nudity and toplessness in other public outdoor places is generally also legal, unless it involves "offensive conduct" or is likely to cause public outrage.[11][12] The public outrage law is rarely used in practice, but in 1972 audience members were convicted of being nude in the Royal Danish Theatre.[11] In December 2007, a group of women and men calling themselves Topless Front swam topless in public swim baths to promote topless equality.[13] In March 2008, after a campaign by the group, Copenhagen's Culture and Leisure Committee voted to allow topless bathing in its swimming pools. After the Committee had voted, it was revealed that no laws had existed against topless bathing, effectively making the vote unnecessary. However, some public baths had (and have) restricted it themselves.[13] Public breastfeeding is supported by the vast majority of both sexes in Denmark,[14] is entirely legal and accepted in almost all places, except for a few private cafés and restaurants that have restricted it.[15][16][17]

FinlandEdit

In Finland, toplessness is not illegal, yet topless women have been removed from beaches.[18] Sandra Marins and Säde Vallarén criticized this and organized Finland's first event demanding topless equality, called Tissiflahmob (Breast flash mob)[19]. On Finland's Independence day 6.12.2019 both Marins and Vallarén showed their boobs on live TV and it sparked a lot of conversation and death threats.[20] Tissiflashmob 2020 was bigger than the previous one, now organized at the same time in 8 different cities. [21]

FranceEdit

In France, the feminist collective Les TumulTueuses organized a topfree protest in Paris in May 2009.[22]

GreeceEdit

In Greece toplessness is not illegal and is widely practiced by locals and tourists alike as there are no cultural taboos against it.[23][24]

ItalyEdit

Female toplessness has been officially legalized (in a nonsexual context) in all public beaches and swimming pools throughout the country (unless otherwise specified by region, province or municipality by-laws) in 20 March 2000, when the Supreme Court of Cassation (through sentence No. 3557) has determined that the exposure of the nude female breast, after several decades, is now considered a "commonly accepted behavior", and therefore, has "entered into the social costume".[25]

PolandEdit

In Poland in 2008–2009, two women from Szczecin including glamour model Dorota Krzysztofek,[26] won a court battle that reasserted the women's right to sunbathe topless on public beaches.[27] Krzysztofek, along with her female companion, were fined by local municipal officials for topless sunbathing at a public recreation area. The women refused to pay the fine and took the matter to Civil Court. Their first hearing had to be postponed due to remarkable media interest.[28]

On November 7, 2008, judge Szczepańska upheld the city staff decision, and charged the women with indecent exposure, explaining that their personal freedoms cannot encroach on the freedoms of families with children who frequent the same recreation spot. Although topless sunbathing is not prohibited in Poland, the judge sentenced them to pay a fine of 230 zloty (150 zloty by different source,[29] or 40, $55) for breaking the rules of conduct. In her rationale, the judge also said that it is not up to the defendants to teach youngsters human anatomy; however, her decision was appealed by Krzysztofek's female friend soon afterwards, with the plea of not guilty.[27][30]

In 2009, the appellate court declared both women to be innocent,[31] because the city staff were unable to prove that anyone at the beach was indignant or scandalized by their toplessness, and no complaint was ever reported. On the contrary, some visitors stood up to their defense. There were no signs at the recreation area against what is otherwise legal.[29] The appellate court's decision was binding, but it also created an aura of ambivalence, with topless sunbathing in public declared acceptable only if nobody else including families with children formally objects to it.[27][32]

SpainEdit

There are no laws in Spain that officially prohibit public nudity (in a non-sexual context),[33] and because of this, both topless sunbathing and naturism (the latter on a smaller scale) are frequently practiced (and usually tolerated) in many beaches throughout the country,[34] especially in the Balearic Islands[35] (even though a few municipalities, such as Barcelona, have created by-laws to forbid public nudity, including female toplessness, on their jurisdictions).[36] Due to the widespread practice of topless sunbathing, the municipalities of Galdakao and L'Ametlla del Vallès decided to legalize female toplessness on their public pools (in March 2016 and June 2018, respectively).[37][38] Moreover, there are some surveys indicating that more than 40% of the Spanish women who were interviewed (aged 18 or older) reported to have been topless on a beach at least once.[39][40]

SwedenEdit

In Sweden, toplessness is not illegal. However, private or public establishments are permitted to establish dress codes which may require women to wear tops, and deny access or remove individuals who breach these standards. In September 2007, "Bara Bröst" (a pun meaning both "Just Breasts" and "Bare Breasts") appeared to promote topless equality in these semi-public facilities. The group staged several events in public swim baths in September and October 2007, starting in Uppsala from which they were evicted several times, before succeeding in Sundsvall.[41][42]

The group scored a victory in June 2009 when the Malmö city's sports and recreation committee approved new rules that, while requiring everybody to wear bathing suits at indoor public swimming pools, did not require women to cover their breasts.[43][44] "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", said a council spokesman.[44]

North AmericaEdit

CanadaEdit

 
Topless women at Vancouver Pride Festival

In 1991 toplessness as an indecent act was challenged by Gwen Jacob in Guelph, Ontario, who removed her shirt and was charged with indecency. Part of her defense was the double standards between men and women. Although she was convicted, this was overturned by the Court of Appeal.[45] This case determined that being topless is not indecent under the meaning of the Criminal Code. However it did not establish any constitutional right of equality. This case subsequently led to the acquittal of women in British Columbia and Saskatchewan who faced similar charges. Although each province and territory technically reserves its right to interpret the law as it pleases, the Ontario case has proven influential. Since the matter has not been determined by the Supreme Court of Canada, it is still possible that a woman could be convicted elsewhere in Canada, but interpretation of moral law in Canada has become increasingly liberalized.[46] There do not appear to have been any further women charged in Canada since these cases were determined.

MexicoEdit

The only public place in Mexico that officially allows female toplessness is Playa Zipolite (a nude beach located in the state of Oaxaca), where the practice of naturism was legalized in 2016.[47] However, the practice of topless sunbathing (as well as naturism in some cases) is commonly tolerated on a few beaches in the state of Quintana Roo, more precisely in the Riviera Maya region (especially between the cities of Playa del Carmen and Tulum); furthermore, there are a few clothing-optional resorts made for adults only (also located in the Riviera Maya) where all men and women aged 18 (or older) can frequent the facilities without the need to wear clothes (if so they wish).[48]

United StatesEdit

In the United States, states have primary jurisdiction in matters of public morality. The topfreedom movement has claimed success in a few instances in persuading some state and federal courts to overturn some state laws on the basis of sex discrimination or equal protection, arguing that a woman should be free to expose her chest in any context in which a man can expose his. Other successful cases have been on the basis of freedom of expression in protest, or simply that exposure of breasts is not indecent (or similar terminology).

Laws and ordinances barring female toplessness are being challenged in federal courts around the nation. Each lawsuit, if it prevails at the appellate level, will legalize topfreedom in the following U.S. circuits of appeal (from west to east): 9 (California), 8 (Missouri) and 1 (Maryland). A federal lawsuit in the 7th Circuit (Illinois), was lost at the appellate level and the petition for review by the U.S. Supreme Court was denied. A preliminary injunction in a federal lawsuit in the 10th Circuit (Colorado), was won at the appellate level. In September 2019, after spending over $300,000, Fort Collins decided to stop defending their ordinance and repeal it. That effectively gave females of all ages the right to go topless wherever males can in the jurisdiction of the 10th Circuit (Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas and Oklahoma states as well as all counties and cities therein).[49]

 
Map of the geographic boundaries of the various United States Courts of Appeals and United States District Courts

OceaniaEdit

AustraliaEdit

In Australia, indecent exposure laws only refer to the genital area, so technically both male and female toplessness is legal. However, many local councils impose their own rules, and have the power to ask topless people to leave an area.[50] Additionally, women who go topless are sometimes slapped with more vague charges such as being a public nuisance, or offensive behaviour.[51]

On public beaches, local bylaws are not heavily enforced, and women can often sunbake topless without fuss.[50]

Breastfeeding in public places is a legal right in Australia. Under the Sex Discrimination Act 1984, no business or service provider can discriminate against a breastfeeding woman. Women can still breastfeed even if no other food/drink is allowed in the area. If a special baby care room is available for breastfeeding, women are not required to use it unless they wish to. If someone abuses a breastfeeding woman or forces her to leave, this may come under state/territory harassment laws. These protections also include women who are expressing breast milk for their baby.[52]

New ZealandEdit

In New Zealand, there is no specific law prohibiting nudity in public places. If a person is nude and also exhibiting lewd and lascivious, or obscene behaviour, then they may fall afoul of laws.[53]

The High Court of New Zealand has upheld a conviction of disorderly conduct for nudity in the street, because it was not a place where nudity was known to occur or commonplace. Being nude in the street is likely to incur a small fine if a complaint is made against the person, or if the person ignores a police order to cover themselves. However, in practice, the likelihood of being prosecuted for nudity on a public beach is low, providing the person keeps to themselves.[53]

In 2012, a woman swam topless on Opunake beach. The police were called, but informed the callers that toplessness was not an offence.[54]

In 2017, nudists used the beach at Tauranga, which caused consternation among some residents. However, the local council said there were no bylaws dealing with the issue, and that nudity was not an offence.[55]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Manninen, Laura: Mielenosoittajat paljastivat rintansa helsinkiläisellä rannalla – kärjessä marssi Hanna, jonka vuoksi uimavalvojat soittivat viime vuonna poliisille, Ilta-Sanomat 8 June 2019. Accessed on 30 January 2020.
  2. ^ Suzanne MacNevin. "Topfreedom: The Fundamental Right of Women". The Feminist eZine. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  3. ^ "What is Topfreedom?". 007b.com. 20 January 2013. Archived from the original on 20 January 2013. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
  4. ^ "Breastfeeding Laws". Breastfeeding State Laws. NCSL. March 2010. Retrieved 14 September 2010.
  5. ^ Wiehl, Lis (2006-06-22). "Indecent Exposure". FOXNews.com. Archived from the original on 2011-12-23. Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  6. ^ "Breastfeeding Legislation in the United States: A General Overview and Implications for Helping Mothers". La Leche League International. Archived from the original on 2007-03-31.
  7. ^ "Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, 2000". Retrieved 2010-01-14.
  8. ^ a b "裸 for FreeTheNipple" (in Chinese). 林郁璇. 2015. Retrieved April 25, 2015. 裸 for FreeTheNipple
  9. ^ "Community Standards". Facebook. 2015. Retrieved April 25, 2015. Community Standards
  10. ^ "太陽花5女將露乳 fb讓步po照" (in Chinese). 蘋果日報. 2015. Retrieved April 25, 2015. 太陽花5女將露乳 fb讓步po照
  11. ^ a b c Strandguiden: Lovgivningen om nøgenbadning. Retrieved 8 July 2016.
  12. ^ Nordjyske Stiftstidende (2 August 2013). Nøgen i det grønne. Archived 2016-08-27 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 8 June 2016.
  13. ^ a b "Topløs svømning har altid været tilladt". Politiken. 19 December 2009.
  14. ^ BT (7 April 2007). Café-amning er ok. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
  15. ^ Amme Net: Offentlig amning. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
  16. ^ Politiken (28 September 2011). Guide: Her er du fri for bare bryster midt i maden. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
  17. ^ BT (27 September 2011). Loven støtter ammeforbud på cafeer. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
  18. ^ "Häkeltynyt uimavalvoja käski rinnat paljaana uineen Hannan pukemaan paidan – luova ratkaisu ei kelvannut: Poliisi paikalle". Ilta-Sanomat (in Finnish). 2018-08-16. Retrieved 2020-07-30.
  19. ^ "Video: Helsingissä uimarannalla kymmenet naiset riisuivat yläosansa ja juoksivat yhdessä veteen - "Tissiflashmob" ylitti odotukset". www.iltalehti.fi (in Finnish). Retrieved 2020-07-30.
  20. ^ "IL: Rintansa Linnan juhlien lähetyksessä paljastaneille naisille satelee tappouhkauksia – työnantajalta varoitus". Ilta-Sanomat (in Finnish). 2019-12-11. Retrieved 2020-07-30.
  21. ^ Saarikoski, Matilda. "Tissiprotesti Tuomiojärvellä – osallistujat kävelevät lauantaina yläosattomissa järveen". Suur-Jyväskylän Lehti (in Finnish). Retrieved 2020-07-30.
  22. ^ "Des féministes enlèvent le haut dans une piscine à Paris" [Feminists Remove their Tops in Paris Pool]. Le Nouvel Observateur (in French). 7 May 2009.
  23. ^ "Αυτές είναι 17 παραλίες στην Ελλάδα όπου μπορείτε να κάνετε μπάνιο...γυμνοί-Θα το τολμήσετε;" [These are 17 Beaches in Greece where you can Swim ... Naked – Will you Dare?]. eirinika.gr (in Greek). 2 July 2014. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  24. ^ "Οι 10 ωραιότερες παραλίες για γυμνισμό στην Ελλάδα" [The 10 Best Beaches for Nudism in Greece]. The Toc (in Greek). Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  25. ^ Corte Suprema di Cassazione (26 February 2004). "ATTI CONTRARI ALLA PUBBLICA DECENZA - ESPOSIZIONE DEL CORPO NUDO SULLA PUBBLICA SPIAGGIA - COSTITUISCE VIOLAZIONE ALL'ART. 726 C.P." www.giustizia.it (in Italian). Ministero della Giustizia. Archived from the original on 26 February 2004. Retrieved 19 April 2019. [...] diversamente da quella del seno nudo femminile, che ormai da vari lustri è comportamento comunemente accettato ed entrato nel costume sociale [...]
  26. ^ "Dorota Krzysztofek". Galerie (in Polish). CKM. 2012. Retrieved July 22, 2012. CKM photo session.
  27. ^ a b c Magda Hartman (February 4, 2009). "Sąd: w Polsce wolno chodzić topless! (Court: you can go topless in Poland)". Polityka, Prawdy, Emocje (in Polish). Pardon. Archived from the original on 2011-02-02. Retrieved July 22, 2012.
  28. ^ Andrzej Kulej (August 6, 2008). "W obronie topless pójdzie nawet do Strasburga". Artykuły (in Polish). Gazeta Wyborcza, Szczecin. Retrieved July 22, 2012.
  29. ^ a b AFP (January 10, 2009). "Polish court reprimands topless sunbathers". France 24 (after AFP News Briefs). Archived from the original on January 10, 2009. Retrieved July 22, 2012.CS1 maint: unfit url (link)
  30. ^ Attu editorial. "Polish court reprimands topless sunbathers". Attuworld.com. Archived from the original on July 25, 2011. Retrieved July 22, 2012. Dorota Krzysztofek from Poland busted for topless sunbathing. CKM Gallery.CS1 maint: unfit url (link)
  31. ^ Adam Zadworny (April 2, 2009). "Topless jest legalny" (in Polish). Gazeta Wyborcza, Szczecin. Retrieved July 22, 2012.
  32. ^ Jamie Stokes (February 5, 2009). "Topless women soften Polish court (entertainment, photo credit: Getty Images)". Polandian. Understanding Poland. Retrieved July 22, 2012.
  33. ^ Damian Corrigan (20 January 2019). "The Legality of Public Nudity in Spain". www.tripsavvy.com. TripSavvy. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  34. ^ Damian Corrigan (22 March 2019). "10 Best Nudist Beaches, Resorts, and Campsites in Spain". www.tripsavvy.com. TripSavvy. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  35. ^ Damian Corrigan (23 May 2019). "The Best Nudist Beaches in the Balearic Islands". www.tripsavvy.com. TripSavvy. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
  36. ^ "Cuatro localidades donde te multan si vas sin camiseta por la calle". El Confidencial Digital (in Spanish). Retrieved 2019-06-10.
  37. ^ Andueza, Asier (24 March 2016). "Galdakao modifica la normativa para legalizar el 'topless' en sus piscinas". EL CORREO.com (in Spanish). Retrieved 10 June 2019. El Gobierno local retirará la prohibición expresa de esta práctica de la ordenanza que regula el uso de las instalaciones descubiertas
  38. ^ EFE. "L'Ametlla del Vallès permitirá el toples en sus piscinas municipales tras consultar a las mujeres". Público (in Spanish). Retrieved 10 June 2019. El 60,9% del total de mujeres empadronadas de L'Ametlla del Vallès y mayores de 16 años han votado a favor de la práctica
  39. ^ "Las españolas son las que más topless y nudismo hacen". La Vanguardia (in Spanish). Retrieved 2019-06-10.
  40. ^ EUROPA PRESS (3 August 2014). "Una cuarta parte de los españoles renunciaría a una semana de sueldo por más días en la playa". 20 minutos (in Spanish). Retrieved 10 June 2019. El 42% de las españolas asegura haber hecho "topless" en alguna ocasión, muy por encima del 20% de media mundial
  41. ^ "Swedes fight for topless rights". Metro.co.uk. November 19, 2007.
  42. ^ Victory for topless bathers Article from The Local
  43. ^ "Malmö win for topless Swedish bathers". The Local. 24 June 2009.
  44. ^ a b "Swedish city legalizes topless bathing....at public swimming pools". Inquisitr.com. 2009-06-27. Retrieved 2009-07-23.
  45. ^ "Judgment C12668, R. vs. Jacob". Province of Ontario Court of Appeal. 1996-12-09. Retrieved 2009-02-16. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  46. ^ Valverde, Mariana (1999). "The Harms of Sex and the Risks of Breasts: Obscenity and Indecency in Canadian Law". Social Legal Studies (8): 181.
  47. ^ Suzanne Barbezat (5 April 2019). "Mexico's Nude Beaches and Resorts". www.tripsavvy.com. TripSavvy. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
  48. ^ Williams, Peter (September 20, 2019). "Topless women win big as Colorado city drops ban". NBC News. Retrieved 2019-09-20.
  49. ^ a b Chris Jager (Nov 30, 2015). "Is it legal to sunbathe topless in Australia?". Lifehacker. Retrieved Nov 12, 2018.
  50. ^ Katherine Gillespie (March 11, 2016). "How to Legally #FreeTheNipple in Australia". Vice.com. Retrieved Nov 12, 2018.
  51. ^ "Breastfeeding in public – your legal rights". Australian Breastfeeding Association. Aug 2016. Retrieved 12 Nov 2018.
  52. ^ a b "Nudity in Public - Legal Aspects". www.freebeaches.org.nz.
  53. ^ "Nudity not necessarily an offence". Stuff.
  54. ^ "Battle for the beach: Nudists clash with Papamoa beachgoers". March 25, 2017 – via www.nzherald.co.nz.