In cities around the country and the world women are walking outside topless. This is to commemorate the annual Go Topless Day. Started in 2007 by a non profit organization, the day tries to highlight the social inequality that separates men and women. While in most places around the world it is perfectly acceptable to see a man strut around in public topless, most of the same places would outlaw women being topless. Even if a particular city doesn’t explicitly ban women going topless, it is considered socially unacceptable and lewd.
The day this year falls on Aug 28th. The day takes place on the day closest to Aug 26th which is the day that women across America were given the right to vote, one of the biggest victories for gender equality. As the movement gains momentum other organizations like Free the Nipple have popped up and are fighting for women’s rights in a tongue and cheek way. Even men participate in these events by wearing bras or bikini tops to highlight gender inequality.
While the issue of women being able to go topless seems like a frivolous issue it does highlight the social differences and expectations of men and women. The fight for allowing and normalizing breastfeeding in public is a prime example of the movement. So often are women shamed for feeding their babies in public and many feel the need to retreat to cramped bathroom stalls just to feed their children.
Many others argue that the social expectation of women going topless is a lewd act that equates to promoting sexual assault. The various organizations that organize and promote topless events strive to normalize the female form instead of sexually objectifying it. “The more you repress a body part, the more obsessed you become about it,” says president of GoTopless, Nadine Gary.