Free the Whole Breast

by Sheila Hageman
Sheila Hageman

I mean, seriously, we gave women the right to vote, what did you think was going to happen next? You didn’t think they were going to want to take their shirts off just like men too?

If we are not going to allow women to free the nipple, then we should at least enforce a no manboob ruling in public. If the argument is that we want to protect the children, well, I think we should be more concerned about protecting children from seeing men with man boobs. Honestly, if I were a kid, that would be more shocking to me than seeing women’s breasts.

Look, I’m not going to argue that there’s no difference between men and women. Obviously, there are many differences.

But this is about women saying, enough already. Yeah, we have differences, but there are some things that just shouldn’t matter. And if somebody has a problem with a woman’s naked breasts, why don’t they have a problem with men’s chests too? Just because they look a bit different?

Yes, I can hear what you are probably thinking…but women’s breasts are sexual; they evoke sexual feelings in men. So what? You think naked male chests don’t excite the ladies sometimes?

The world hasn’t ended because some women feel hot for that guy walking along the beach. They control themselves. And if men are so powerful and mighty, I think they should be able to control themselves around the opposite sex’s naked torso just as well as we have been doing for millennia.

And the fact that a woman’s breasts have been sexualized is not a woman’s fault or problem.

Just as a woman can be topless to breastfeed, which is a natural human function, why can’t she be topless at any time a man would be allowed to? Why the hell at this point in our lives in America, can’t women be topless in public in the same places that men can be? Just relying on the old puritanism and the fact that it’s the way we’ve always done things is not going to cut it.

Seriously, any place where I would be distracted by a female breast is the same place that I would be distracted just as easily by a male one. If I’m at the beach or a park and a man or a woman wants to take their shirt off, who am I to say no to that? I am not afraid of my children seeing women’s breasts. I’m a woman, and they’ve seen mine. It’s likely that at some point in their lives, they’re going to see someone else’s breasts.

Oh, it offends your senses? You might have to explain something to your child? Fine, then explain it. It’ll be a great learning opportunity to explain the way that women have been held down in our patriarchal society. It’ll be a great opportunity to talk to your child about why women’s breasts are allowed to be on a “Sports Illustrated” cover bouncing around, but not out in public.

The thing is, if we allow women to be topless in public places that men can be, we can shut down a lot of this noise.

It will take away a lot of frustration from women. We will move in the right direction. We will be taking some of the shame away that has been placed upon women around our sexuality and our bodies. We will be working toward a society where our sexuality and our bodies can be celebrated and enjoyed instead of objectified and demeaned.

One of the greatest gifts I would like to be able to give to my daughter is the feeling of having no shame and no embarrassment about her body, and that begins with the ability and the right to bare just as much skin as she wants to, or at least just as much as men, in public.

Yes, there will be some awkwardness for some people and many women will not feel comfortable shedding their tops right away, or ever. Just like some men don’t and never will. The sooner we begin, even with small steps like this, the sooner we will achieve the equality we all claim to want for women (and their bodies).

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