Would You Let Everybody See Your Boobs? In Public?!

your boobs topless girls

Moira Johnston shows that topless girls don’t need to be topless all the time–and that topless girls aren’t necessarily sexualized. | Source

Would you let strangers see your boobs in public? One woman in New York City does, and she’s hoping more topless girls will join her.

Moira Johnston made a name for herself recently by traipsing around NYC topless–as in no shirt, no bra, no nothin’. And guess what? She and other publicly topless girls in the Big Apple are doing this completely legally. And theoretically, that’s kind of cool.

So why is it okay to keep your boobs uncovered in New York? In 1992 a state court case, two topless girls fought the law and won. They didn’t think it was fair that guys could walk around shirtless, but that if topless girls enjoyed public space in a non-sexualized way, it was still considered vulgar. The court ruled in favor of the topless girls, thus ensuring your right to show your boobs in New York if you feel like it. And we think that’s awesome. Because although we wish more topless dudes would just put their shirts back on (I mean, come on, guys. You don’t look THAT good.), girls should have the same right to air out their torsos if they want to. But note that this is New York state–do not try this at home, either, because if you’re under 18, child pornography laws can come into play and get you and other people around you in big, big trouble.

Most people aren’t aware that this law actually exists and that it’s legal to let your boobs go free, so whenever topless girls take advantage of their legal right, it causes a little bit of a stir. Enter Moira. In an interview with Dr. Drew, the 29-year-old professional topless dancer explained, “I understand that it’s not as socially acceptable and there are safety issues involved . . . I would like women to feel empowered about their own bodies and go topless whenever they feel comfortable in their own social context in their own communities.” Watch Moira talk more about why topless girls are empowering and about the double standard that exists within society about exposing men’s and women’s bodies:

Thing is, while we love two of Moira’s points, in which she notes that she wants to empower body confidence (we love love love that!) and that she’s trying to promote equality for all women, we’re not convinced that walking outside with your boobs flopping around is the best way to go about getting equality. For one, it seems pretty uncomfortable–in the hot weather, the under-boob sweat wouldn’t be fun to deal with (this is one reason bras rule). In the cold weather, everyone would know just how cold it was by glancing down past your chin.

your boobs topless girls

Would you be comfortable showing your boobs shopping like Moira Johnston does? | Source

What’s more, it’s unclear how topless girls in public contribute to other areas in which women face inequality. Does showing off your boobs really send a message about the glass ceiling? If anything, topless girls in the streets may simply distract from the larger point that the same topless girls are trying to make: Women still face inequality everywhere from health insurance (though the new laws are helping to remedy that) to the workplace to the media.

It’s amazing to be comfortable with your body and to stand up for and use your rights. We think that’s freakin’ awesome. But if you’re trying to take a stand against something, it’s generally better to lead with your voice and your brain rather than with your boobs–because even though they’re pretty quiet, your boobs can still drown out the message you’re trying to send.

Do you think showing your boobs in public is a good form of activism? Would you ever show your boobs in public? Have you ever seen topless girls out and about? Tell us in the comments!

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20 Comments

  1. avatar Lord C says:

    I’m a british boob-obseessive/pervert & having been aware of this law for ages & having read everyones thoughts I have to agree with Synthia, straight line time yo, I’ve never ‘assaulted’ a lady & never will but not all men have the common-sense/self-control that I do & you really do have to take that into serious consideration if you ‘must’ do this, be careful, try to be in a group & carry mace & lots of it! I do however wish you the best of luck & safety, be well my friend, respectfully, Lord C

  2. avatar Julia says:

    I live in New York and am going going to get a group of friends and do this on my 18th birthday! Only 3 years to go! I’ll definetly wear a wig and sunglasses though! Don’t want to be recognisable!

  3. avatar Hello kitty says:

    I wish I could walk around compleatly naked but I can’t :”(They should make a law so all you could wear was underwear. LOL :”)

  4. avatar scott says:

    i guess not,your boobs r blocked out out the page i read.if they r not comfortable than i guess society isn’t.

  5. avatar Synthia says:

    Doesnt she understand that Men and Women arent the same! We have different bodies thats why men can go around topless! Men’s pecks arent used sexually, I mean if you see a man walking around with no shirt, would it make you aroused and kinda horny? But if you girls walk around topless I know for sure that youre in for LOTS of sexual harrassment, and a lot of horny men following you around because being topless will be teasing them and and one of them might not be able to control themselves and just might grab your boobs. And when they do sexually harass you, youll take it to trial and the judge might say that you were teasing him. Boys will no longer look for porn and just sit in the street with boners looking at every girl that walks by. -____- Just stop…

  6. avatar Taylor says:

    This is awesome! I know tuns of guys tha take their shirts off when the weather gets hot, and not all of them are exactly ‘attractive’ when exposing their torsos. What those girls are doing is amazing

  7. avatar Julia says:

    The problem is that America is all “oh my gosh SKIN! my children will be scarred for life, this is unnatural!” etc., while in other countries you might be stared at if you ARE wearing a top because other people see the human body as beautiful and just normal, not some gross, inappropriate thing to cover up. We are so far in this idea though that I think it would be a hard rut to get out of.

  8. avatar leyla says:

    damn i’m only 15, but when i’m 18 i’m sooo trying that. and it’s great to know i won’t get in trouble for it :D

    • avatar Helen in Ala says:

      Why wait til then?? Start going topless around your house. Gothenburg go around the yard til you feel safe

  9. avatar Kaila says:

    It’s great that this is legal & we have some equality, but I’d still rather not see another girl’s boobs if I don’t want to :L I guess it’s just a matter of equality; it’s not like girls are actually gonna walk around topless. What’s the point? We don’t even like it when guys do it! I like that we have the OPTION, though; like I didn’t want to go to the dance but I’d like to be asked.

  10. avatar Lauren says:

    It’s retarded if you ask me. Girls have never really exposed their boobs like that. Not in American society at least. I hardly see guys walking down the streets of NYC witht their shirt off, except naked cowboy :) How about do it in a place where guys have their shirt off…like the beach? That seems more approriate. Women being topless walking down the city is inapproriate.

  11. avatar Ohh Lala says:

    I live in NYC ! Woop woop. While is nice to have the right but seriously, as a society we are not that modern to put men and women on equal platters(as yet). Let’s face it; guys are socially allowed to do things that women haven’t been able to. Voting yeah I get everyone should be able to; roaring 20s I get too. Women are highly sexualized and this though I hate to say is enabling women to be set back instead of propelled forward. Yeah yeah equality blah blah if guys should women should. If that’s the case women should practice reverse chivalry for lack of a better phrase and then all the feminists would come out then wouldn’t they? Keep covered ladies; but be glad that you have the option.<—- unpopular opinion

  12. avatar Allison says:

    I think this is pretty awesome! My boobs are pretty small, so I wouldn’t be uncomfortable without a bra. In fact I would love to join Moira and go topless. I wish I was older and lived in New York, so I could do this. It might not help the cause, but it still sounds good to me. :)

  13. avatar DaynaMarie says:

    I think they should have made the law so that NOBODY can go topless. No matter how good of a body a guy has, that much skin in public always seems inappropriate to me.

    And I agree 100% with the statement that “your boobs can still drown out the message you’re trying to send.” It’s like when PETA put naked and topless people in cages in public to spread some message about caged farm animals. The nudity shock completely overpowered whatever message they were trying to send out.

    • avatar Spencer says:

      Oh whatever. It’s her choice. At least she is making a stand for her rights. And if that much of skin is too “inappropriate” for you. Too bad thats your thoughts. Not everyone thinks the same way.

      I’m proud of her. You don’t have to be.

      • avatar DaynaMarie says:

        Yes, it’s true that “not everyone thinks the same way,” and we each have our own opinion. But I only stated my opinion, not complained about somebody else’s.

    • avatar Kaila says:

      Ugh, I HATED when PETA tried that whole “topless people in cages” thing. The boobs did overpower the message, like they were just trying to sell sex than get their message out.

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