If you are a woman living in New York City, feel free to take your top off. In February of last year, New York City police officials were instructed that if they were to encounter a topless women, they were not to arrest her — this makes the women of New York just as free as men to be bare-chested in public. The right for women to go topless was established in the 1992 with the New York State Court of Appeals Case People vs. Santorelli. The case ruled that the arrest of five topless women in a public park was discriminatory, and that women are allowed to be bare-chested anywhere men are.

 

Many view this topless movement as a step toward gender equality. Organizations like Go Topless encourage women to express their right to bare their chests just as men do. The Go Topless organization Founder, Rael, claims, “As long as men are allowed to be topless in public, women should have the same constitutional right. Or else, men should have to wear something to hide their chests.” With the slogan “Free your breasts! Free your mind!” the Go Topless Organization has established a “Go Topless Day” where women are encouraged to take to the streets to promote gender equality.

 

Women participating in Go Topless Day in New York City (snooperreport.com)

Women participating in Go Topless Day in New York City (snooperreport.com)

While some view this as a positive step toward equality, others view it as degrading. A witness at the Go Topless Day in NYC said, “This is extreme liberalism and why America’s in decline. It’s degrading to women to tell them to expose their breasts publicly.” Another woman noted, “I’m not shocked – we’re in New York City. But speaking from a woman’s perspective, I disagree with them. There’s something to be said for modesty”.

 

While some women may not feel comfortable with going topless, it is perfectly legal and women interested in expressing their right to bare their chest should not be prevented from doing so. As more women fight for their right to be equal to men, it will be interesting to see if the right to be topless will change the way people view women’s bodies.

 

What do you think of women being allowed to be topless in public? Let me know in the comments below or tweet at me @whatsthesich