Topless Women in Public Not Breaking the Law, Says NYPD
Topless Women in Public Not Breaking the Law, Says NYPD
By Hannah Ridge / policymic.com
May 17, 2013

Ladies of New York , you are free to walk bare-breasted through the city! New York City's 34,000 police officers have been instructed that, should they encounter a woman in public who is shirtless but obeying the law, they should not arrest her. This is a good step towards gender parity in public spaces.

This decision means that breast exposure is not considered public lewdness, indecent exposure, or disorderly conduct. It also notes that, should a crowd form around a topless woman, the officer should instruct the crowd to disperse and then respond appropriately if it does not. Relative coverage is no longer a factor.

This policy shift comes after several years of litigation and protest. In the 1992 case People v. Ramona Santorelli and Mary Lou Schloss, the New York Court of Appeals ruled in favor of two women who were arrested with five others for exposing their breasts in a Rochester park, holding the law void as discriminatory.  The ruling was put to the test in 2005, when Jill Coccaro bared her breasts on Delancey Street in New York, citing the 1992 decision, and was detained for twelve hours. She subsequently successfully sued the city for $29,000.

In 2007, Go Topless, a national organization supporting gender equality in shirtlessness laws, established Go Topless Day. Dozens of women protest – often topless – in thirty cities around the United States, promoting equal rights to be shirtless. Protests usually include chants of “Free your breasts.  Free your minds” and a song “Let ‘em Breath” to the tune of the Beatles’ “Let it Be.”

While some who have witnessed these events have suggested that "[t]his is extreme liberalism and why America’s in decline” or “[i]t’s degrading to women,” others have been supportive. One man even said he would encourage his wife to join them.

Though bare-breasted women might shock the sensibilities of some in the public, it is encouraging to see the police responding positively to gender bias, even on such a seemingly small scale. After all, no one thinks twice about a man shirtless on a summer day. However, the female nipple or chest is still considered “lewd.” By reminding its officers of this, the NYPD is publicly declaring that it will no longer perpetuate unconstitutional gender discrimination, a standard to which all law enforcement should be held and a decision for which it should be applauded.

Footage of the protesters can be found here (NSFW)  

 

Wondering what else is on this site? 

You can use this image to share the Wall of Films on Facebook

The Top 100 Social Change Documentaries

Top 10 Films that Explain Why OWS Exists

4.2 ·
4
Trending Today
What Makes Call-Out Culture So Toxic
Asam Ahmad81,483 views today ·
John Pilger on ISIS: Only When We See the War Criminals In Our Midst Will the Blood Begin to Dry
John Pilger13,166 views today ·
I Promise, It's Not Lame to Ask a Woman for Permission
Dave Booda11,829 views today ·
Caitlin Moran's Posthumous Advice for Her Daughter
Caitlin Moran4,604 views today ·
The Top 100 Documentaries We Can Use to Change the World
Films For Action3,836 views today ·
Paramedic's Response to "Burger Flippers" Making an Equal $15/Hour is Beautiful
Craig Carilli3,447 views today ·
On the Wildness of Children: The Revolution Will Not Take Place In The Classroom
Carol Black2,807 views today ·
Mourning the Manchester Bombing
Abi Wilkinson1,487 views today ·
Jeremy Bernard Corbyn: What Was Done (2017)
33 min1,477 views today ·
Load More
What's Next
Plastic Planet (2009)
99 min
Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism (2004)
78 min
How TV Ruined Your Life (2011)
120 min
Like us on Facebook?
Topless Women in Public Not Breaking the Law, Says NYPD