Topless Parade

Rachel Jessee speaks into a megaphone while riding atop a car during the GoTopless Day Parade in New York in 2015. Appearing bare-breasted is legal in New York. (AP Photo/Kevin Hagen)

Tulsa is not going to have a wave of bare-breasted women attending PTA meetings, walking down the state fair midway or golfing at LaFortune Park.

Well, except for those handful of women Sunday rollerblading along the River Parks. Still, Tulsa survived.

The Great Breast Bombardment of 2019 should have been expected after the recent sensational stories and headlines skewed what’s happening in the federal courts.

There has been a knee-jerk reaction prompted by bad information, and social media is fanning the freak-out flames over an appellate ruling appearing to allow women to go topless in Oklahoma and five other states.

That’s not completely true.

The Free the Nipple campaign has been among the groups challenging nudity laws targeting women and not men. Legal arguments have used free speech and equal protection as the basis, with varying degrees of success.

Recently, a Colorado decision found a city ban on women baring their naked bosoms violated the 14th Amendment because it was rooted in “negative stereotypes depicting women’s breasts, but not men’s breasts, as sex objects.”

That seems a valid equality argument.

But as a 47-year-old mom with a few pounds to lose, I don’t want to see my own nipples and have no interest in seeing those on anyone else.

That includes men.

If this is going to be the new era in equality, then go the other direction. Put more clothes on people, not less.

Women have put up with the sight of hairy man boobs at pools and beaches without legal recourse.

Back hair isn’t helping. Throw in the sight of a butt crack, and it’s bingo.

No more, I say. Forget Free the Nipple, how about movements like #NeverTheNipple or #CoverYoChest?

I’d make an exception for breastfeeding moms. They can do what they want because it’s damn hard caring for infants.

For other women, keep your tops on for now. The fight for your right to let it all hang out isn’t over.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals decision stands as law in six states because the defendant opted not to appeal. Other circuit courts have upheld similar nudity laws, creating a patchwork of conflicting opinions.

This sets up the U.S. Supreme Court to sort it out, if it wants.

Locally, attorneys and law enforcement officers disagree on the 10th circuit’s immediate impact. The body-positive skaters prompted interpretations from officials.

Attorney General Mike Hunter says the state laws have not been made invalid.

There is one consistent answer. An Oklahoma woman can be arrested for parading her tatas in violation of local laws, and she could challenge those laws in federal court.

If a city or state choose to challenge it up to the U.S. Supreme Court, she would need to be ready to go that distance.

Good luck with that. Seriously. It would be super fun to see those justices go at it over breasts.

The Free the Nipple movement and others like it push against these decency laws to reclaim women’s bodies and sexuality, couched in equal rights arguments.

This brand of feminism — and there are many shades — calls on decriminalizing and de-stigmatizing women’s breasts. By de-sexualizing breasts, it’s believed women will gain power.

Female breasts have great power, and with them comes great responsibility.

Oklahoma is unlikely to be a leader of aerating areolas.

Even if the decision stands, thinking logically, men don’t typically go shirtless in public. Women wouldn’t either.

The court case, at its core, brings up legitimate questions around the punitive laws specific to women. But courts and governments cannot legislate societal norms and expectations.

At a time when women are finally gaining traction in reversing systemic sexual harassment, assault and discrimination, it seems counter-intuitive to then use breasts to seek equal rights.

Americans traditionally have a way of finding balance between extremes when making cultural progress. That will happen here too.

Until then, blouses and exercise bras aren’t going out of style, and women aren’t clamoring to turn everyday life into Mardi Gras.


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Ginnie Graham 918-581-8376

ginnie.graham@tulsaworld.com

Twitter: @GinnieGraham