It’s 2016, going topless shouldn’t be illegal anymore in any state

‘It’s the perfect time to be topless’

In 1936, after years of protests, a series of fines, and even arrests, men earned their right to go topless in public. 1936. 80 years ago.

On Sunday, August 28th, women all over the world marched through city streets fighting for the same right. Two days after Women’s Equality Day, women everywhere ditched their top and exposed their breasts, marking the eighth annual GoTopless parade.

Founded in 2007, the movement as part of the wider campaign to Free The Nipple focuses on the battle for equal topless rights between genders. Following the wrongful arrest of topless activist Phoenix Feeley in New York City, GoTopless was founded with one goal in mind – female empowerment.

“Women started realizing they wanted to be able to go topless,” said president of the organization, Nadine Gary.


She wasn’t wrong. What started out as a small gathering in Central Park has grown into thousands of women in over 55 locations worldwide baring their breasts. Nadine compared GoTopless’ movement to women earning their right to vote.

“By starting out small and being determined, that’s the way women change their conditions.”

Though going topless is legal in the majority of U.S. states, cities within the state can enforce their own ban, which many of them do. Plus officers can still arrest women for disorderly conduct if they are topless in a “top-freedom” state. Basically, wherever you are, someone will probably make you put your breasts away.

It’s currently still illegal for women to be topless in these states:

  • Indiana
  • Tennessee
  • Utah

While these states have “ambiguous laws”:

  • Arizona
  • Florida
  • Maryland
  • Massachussetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • Virginia

States like New York where going topless is legal are “seen as a beacon for the rest of the world.” However, everywhere else women are forced to protest going topless by covering up their nipples and areolas – don’t worry, the other 90 percent of their breasts are completely fine to put on display.


In response, women have pushed the ridiculous law so far by wearing latex nipple and areola pasties almost identical to their own – and they get away with it just fine.

“Why should women who have different shaped breasts to men – but breasts nonetheless – not have the same laws?” asks Nadine.

Since 2008, the GoTopless marches have been bringing awareness to more and more women every year. Nadine recalled at least two incidents of activists suing their cities after being fined for publicly baring their chests.

“The march brings power to women, it makes them stand up, it triggers something in them.”


However, this goes way past publicly exposed breasts. Social media has repeatedly taken down photos containing the slightest indication of a nipple, basically defeating half the point the Free The Nipple campaigns are trying to make.

“We talk about being topless, but can’t actually demonstrate being topless on social media,” said Nadine.

She believes young women are the generation who will make the most influential change for equal topless rights. And she’s right.

Our generation is empowered, we’re inspired, we’re frustrated, and we want to stand up for ourselves. Women have spent too much time worrying about showing too much of their bodies – especially worrying how they might be used against us. We need to show the world we’re not afraid of what people think of us, and that we’re not afraid to show our naked breasts.

After all, “It’s the perfect time to be topless.”