Open Letter to Manuel Valls, Prime Minister of France

In a recent public statement, you used the representation of bare breasted Marianne as the symbol of women’s freedom.

As a representative of the international organisation GoTopless, I would like to thank you for highlighting this vital link to the empowerment of women.
GoTopless, an independent non-profit organization based in the United States, was founded in 2007 following the suggestion of spiritual leader Raël, with the
goal of promoting gender equality, based on a simple premise: "where men have the right to be topless, women should also have the same


Following the many unanswered letters sent to successive ministers of woman’s rights in your governmental team, I would like to elucidate in more depth the question of freedom and equality, and draw your attention to the present situation in France:

The female breast is incorrectly considered to be a sexual organ. Thus, the cost of freedom for every "French Marianne", that is to say any women choosing to be topless just
like men, is a 15,000 euro fine and a year in prison for sexual exhibitionism ( Art. 222-32 of the criminal code). That is the price of freedom in France today!

Under a government purporting equality, how come men’s breasts escape this distinction? In what way are they different from women’s breasts? Don’t forget that a century ago, when a woman showed a bit of leg above the ankles, she was arrested for indecent exposure. Today, only men can strip off their tops in certain public places such as swimming pools. Why should women be forced to wear a top, while men have a choice? This is blatant double standards ... Where is the equality?

Allowing women these same rights as men would be a huge step forwards in removing archaic gender bias. The "topless" campaign seeking topless equality between men and women might at first sight appear trivial, but in fact it goes to the heart of the matter as it raises awareness about how politics and religion impact on our freedom.



By imposing a top on women, western societies, including France, are no different from those forcing women to wear a veil or a burka and the only way to end this control over women’s bodies is to once and for all end this inequality in the right to be topless. Whatever the situation or circumstance, to be covered or topless, that is the right of free choice of the individual themself.

It would be great credit to you if you were the one to give “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” the full meaning, with the legal implementation of the right for everyone to be topless. For our organization, freeing our breasts, freeing our body, is to free our minds. Not just for women. Men would also be released from their obsession of women breasts if breasts were not considered a shameful part of the body that should be hidden. Whatever is repressed will maintain obsession.

For you who wishes to maintain and develop peace between people, we offer you have a crucial element to change society.

I remain at your disposal for any interview should you wish for a more in-depth explanation of our vision, so as to finally end this blatant discrimination.

Please receive, Mr. Prime Minister, my highest consideration.

Maryline Canin, GoTopless Representative France


(*) Topless events organized on the occasion of the International GoTopless Day bring together thousands of people each year, on the Sunday closest to August 26, historical date marked by the Declaration of Human and Citizen Rights affirming equal rights - principle with constitutional status - as the principle of equality between men and women in all fields, which appears in the preamble of the 1946 Constitution.



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