Of interest to women
Nearly six years ago, in the waning days of MySpace, I wrote a blog post about the idea of women being able to walk or bike down the street without a top on. This is legal in New York and D.C., and a few other places, though the practice is still uncommon. (It is technically not illegal here, AFAICT, but IANAL.)
Apparently this is changing. There is a woman in the D.C. area who is trying to normalize the appearance of strolling or biking around topfree. She does this by first contacting police departments directly, ahead of time, getting written verification from someone high up that it is OK to, and then going about her business. Then writing about it later.
Her blog is here, but I would suggest starting with a post she wrote last week about her bike ride in Philadelphia. Note: Obligatory NSFW flag, as she has a photo of herself, sans top, in every post. But please read that one, as it sets a Pennsylvania precedent.
I know this has been done in Pittsburgh. There were three topfree women on the last Undies ride. One of them has been in contact with the author.
She herself would rather let the idea sell itself, rather than promote it. She explains herself well in a post, “Why I don’t ask other women to join me but would love them to”. [link]
So I will simply put it out there for the women on the board, and if this interests you, you can contact her. I also can connect you with the one woman here I mentioned above who already has been in touch with her. (PM me if you don’t want to share info on the board; I understand that.)
Final thought, to the men who’ve read this far: This topic is where we separate the grown-ups from the drooling adolescents. Choose wisely.
When I wrote that post at 3:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, and when I made a corresponding Facebook post about it about four hours later, I was not aware that she was planning a trip to Pittsburgh that very day. I only learned about it during my travels later that morning.
This is how she operates, though. Communicate with the people in charge, iron out understanding in person, with plenty of follow-up.
As it turned out, I got to meet her in person later that evening. But enough about me. Let her explain why she was here. Blog post from Monday’s visit with the Pittsburgh police, and aboutFinding Other Topfreedom Fighters. Well worth the read.
She’s spot-on about earning trust, too. I cannot sell the idea; it has to sell itself. I cannot even sell the idea of being trustable to discuss the issue. I can only put the idea out there of being someone the subject can be discussed with, and hope I earn the level of trust she discusses.
That’s a high bar.
I have to think Pittsburgh weather would motivate her to put on a shirt…
She wasn’t topfree Sunday night, anymore than any men were. The point is, what would it have mattered to anyone if someone chose to walk down Grandview Avenue at 8:30 at night when it was 40° out? Heck, I’ve shoveled snow, stripped to the waist. My choice.
All I want is for everyone to have the same choices I have. I really don’t think that’s too much to ask. Having someone’s arbitrary misinterpretation of what appears to be a gender indiscriminate rule restrict that choice, to me, is wrong.
The swimsuit rides we had in 2010-2012 were an outgrowth of wanting to do a nude ride but knew we’d run into trouble if we tried it. But this is something else, a cultural change.
Some 90 years ago, a man could get arrested for indecent exposure if he took his shirt off and that got changed almost overnight in the mid-1930s because of a bunch of Clark Gable movies. Women got the bikini about 10 years later, but never the cultural acceptance to go without a top, at least on this side of the Atlantic. This is pretty much a non-issue everywhere else, and theoretically legal in PA. Just that nobody has done it here yet.
It’s not about protests.
It’s not about showing off.
It’s not about enticement, teasing, leading someone on.
It’s not about alarming or scaring or threatening people.
It’s not about abusing children.
It’s not about sex.
It’s not about men drooling over seeing things they didn’t used to see in public.
I could list 25 more of these. It’s not any of those things.
It is difficult to discuss the topic rationally, both with males and females and for varying reasons with either. She’s managed to express herself in a way that disarms the fear, the repulsion, the automatic freak-out that results from a topfree woman simply going about her business, be it reading a book or playing frisbee or going for a bike ride.
One of her posts (I think it’s called “Thug Life”) contains a link to a 40-minute video of her riding all over Washington DC on a sunny weekday afternoon. It’s amazing to see how little interest she raises among the people around her, especially when standing still. Nothing happens. She just rides all over, in traffic, with hundreds of people around. (It’s also cool to see how much bike infrastructure DC has.)
Redefining the new normal.
A lot has happened in six months.
* The city police’s legal department agrees that a bare-chested woman appearing in public is legal
* It has been written about in both the mainstream media (Pittsburgh Magazine, plus a Jon Delano story on KDKA), and on Vice.com and Adam Shuck’s “Eat That, Read This” (#386)
* It’s actually been done once and documented well (here, here and here)
* Pittsburgh women are starting to talk about this
* it’s warm out!!
To that end, a bike ride will be held this Friday, named the Casual Nipple Ride by its organizers. link to Facebook event
Quoting from the page’s details section:
This is a casual, river trail ride. The purpose is not to cause a scene, but to normalize the public appearance of breasts. All breasts welcome!
We will start at the 18th Street Riverfront Park on the South Side, and ride River trails along the city ending at The Point. Pace will be 10-12mph. Helmets and lights encouraged.
Proposed route: https://goo.gl/maps/9PaatrS8htT2
This is the Three Rivers Arts Fest week as well, so there may be changes to the route! Stay tuned for updates!
Feel free to bring snacks for casual, topless post-ride socializing!
If someone is acting like a jackass, they’ll be asked to leave. If you have to wonder what that means, you probably shouldn’t join us.
Post-script: Point State Park has different rules from the rest of the city, so the ride likely will not enter the park. The Facebook page will likely have the most recent routing details.
As of Monday, Friday evening’s weather looks quite nice!
Change of plans: The ride will not occur this Friday, but rather postponed until July 8.
Remember this thread? The story is very much in the news in recent days, focused on Ocean City, Maryland, trying to ban topfree women on the beach. The story has been on CNN, and in many other newspapers and other media.
What started this recent firestorm of media attention was the same woman I mentioned above, who merely asked, through professional legal channels, for an opinion from the Office of the Attorney General for Maryland, as to whether her interpretation of their state constitution was accurate.
Why I’m mentioning it now is that the photo accompanying her latest blog post shows our July 8, 2016, picnic in Frick Park. And yes, the photo is SFW. She’s the redhead in foreground. The other three women are regulars on local bike rides. The guy on the left, well, he gets around to a lot of bike rides, too.
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