Open Letter to David Cameron
Dear Prime minister,
If I may take this opportunity to introduce myself, my name is Tamzin Brown and I am running a demonstration in London this day, Sunday the twenty-sixth of August, two thousand and twelve, in conjunction with Glenn Carter and GoTopless.org
Our protest is designed with the intent to highlight a socially ‘acceptable’ bigotry and to call for a clarification in the law regarding topless nudity.
The work of previous British Governments in making nudity laws by enlarge none discriminatory is commendable. However, the grace that these laws afford, when enforced by both the police and local authorities, almost uniformly do not extend to women and are in need of clarification.
In polite society it appears more acceptable, or indeed only acceptable, for a male to bare his chest in a public place and not a woman. Remembering that men also were classified as ‘indecent’ for baring their chests not a century ago and that now it is considered completely normal. Men also are free to walk past Downing Street in the summer with no coverings for their nipples, but not women. Men are also often seen topless on TV prior to any ‘watershed’ without any concern but not women. Is this not a double standard that restricts women’s freedoms and equal rights?
All of this only serves to prove that we as a society view female topless nudity, in effect my body, as only ‘Sexual’ and therefore inappropriate, ‘indecent’ or even ‘obscene’ if viewed anywhere outside of the bedroom. This apparent generic and normalized discrimination is in fact what is inappropriate, not the exposure of the female body.
I and we freely acknowledge the need for decency laws and willingly abide by them. However, this double standard of what is deemed as ‘decent’ or ‘indecent’ when being applied to male or female topless nudity by the individual is where the grey area exists within current legislation, which clearly needs to be updated.
I received these comments in a letter from the ‘Westminster Events Office’:
Whilst public nudity is not an offence in isolation, nudity or degrees of nudity can possible constitute a number of offences dependant upon its "purpose"," nature" and "location"
All of these points are clearly open to interpretation dependant upon the individual enforcement officer’s personal bias. This approach surely is not satisfactory when the possible outcome is an infringement of ones equal rights.
As you are completely aware we live in a pluralist society and I implore you to speak out and clarify this grey area of what is deemed decent or indecent within British law. The ability for each law enforcement officer to make his own decency judgment, imposing his or her personal bias upon the law limits my legal freedoms and is clearly a wholly inconsistent approach to enforcement.
The sooner we as a society cease from tolerating mindless or unconscious discrimination and address these inequalities, in all of their forms, the better. We, both male and female on this day are using our bodies to highlight an inequality between the treatment of men and woman. It is possible that this message will be happily lost in any press generated by our event, however I trust that this message will not be lost on you.
My breasts, covered or not, are not indecent nor should they even possibly be categorized as offensive.
Tamzin Brown, Artist.
GoTopless to stage protests in 30 cities worldwide on Aug. 26
LAS VEGAS, Aug. 25 - GoTopless announced today that its August 26 protests will take place in 30 cities worldwide, a marked improvement over last year.
But as GoTopless enters its 5th year of protests demanding women’s rights to go publicly topless, discrimination against bare-chested women continues worldwide.
“Despite our recent victory in Toronto, where our annual protest has just been officially welcomed after being forbidden last year, we still have much ground to cover before being granted our constitutional right to go bare-chested wherever men can,” said GoTopless President Nadine Gary. “Even with laws ensuring gender equality, women are still being arrested for going topless. The governments of the United States, Israel, France, the United Kingdom and Australia all supposedly guarantee gender equal rights. But Gotopless women have been clearly told they’re not free to go topless like men can, and that if they do, they will be fined and/or imprisoned.”
Calling this discrepancy “a blatant double standard,” Gary gave examples.
“In Tel Aviv, authorities told GoTopless leader Sharon Aziza this week that although Israeli law is vague about topless rights, female protesters must wear full bikini tops or face arrest,” Gary said. “Well, what about the men? Israel passed a Gender Equal Rights law in 1951!”
She said female demonstrators in Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, London, Paris, Puebla, Mexico; Cartagena, Colombia; and elsewhere face arrest if they fail to wear tops at the August 26 event.
“It’s appalling that even female officials like the mayor of Asheville, North Carolina, are supporting the men who oppose topless gender equality!" she said. “They got where they are through gender equality. How can they deny that hard-earned right to other women?”
Gary said that many people call the public exposure of female breasts “a degradation” or “a humiliation of the women body.”
“Only a perverted mindset thinks that exposing a female breast is more humiliating than exposing a male breast,” she said. “Female breasts are as beautiful as men’s and they likewise come in all sizes. The only degradation that will be observed in the streets on August 26 is the degradation of male domination!”
GoTopless is determined to achieve topless equal rights worldwide.
“Gender equality is a basic human right!” Gary said.
GoTopless responds to Mayor Bellamy and Asheville, NC City Council letter
Dear Mayor, Vice-Mayor, good Asheville City Council members,
I once again find myself explaining to you and your fine state the true purpose of our demonstration which you continue to denounce, apparently upon "moral" grounds.
First and foremost, this is a constitutional issue, not a moral issue - and morality is not a constitutional matter. I could imagine that eighty or so years ago, when a small group of men decided they would not wear bathing suits which covered their chest, that this might have been a moral issue. It was, after all, against the law at that time for a man to be topless. But since men won that legal right, women should - and DO have the same right according to the US Constitution.
Similarly, it was considered wrong and immoral for women to vote less than one hundred years ago. But the constitution disagreed and that took priority over "morality" once again. Women finally won a right they deserved all along which was denied them (by men) until women had to create demonstrations, rallies, petitions in order to claim their rights back. It sounds to me that if you and the City Council members were in office at that time, you would have voted to make sure women would still not have the right to vote. It seems ironic that the current Mayor, Vice-Mayor and some members of the City Council are women yet you are against constitutional equality. Of course that means that not only would you not be able to vote 100 years ago, you would certainly not have been considered for your current jobs!