Shimmering Image

photographs courtesy Philip Greenspun

It used to be that misunderstanding of top freedom was rampant. Maybe it still is. Maybe there is still an attitude in America that women, especially pretty women that you don't know, are objects. They are not people. You don't get to know and respect and enjoy them for who they are. Instead maybe they are to be envied and desired. And perhaps as an off shoot of this the nude woman is perceived as not only desirable but sexually desirable. Isn't this the role of the beautiful model in print ads; to be desired?
Of course this can't be literally true. At least I hope it isn't. America survived the introduction of the mini skirt and the midriff top without the men in society utterly losing control of themselves with desiring. The bikini didn't corrupt the morals of a generation of adolescent women. What I think did happen is we came to realize that clothing changed and people adapted. Where once upon a time a single bra was burnt to decry inequality, now it is merely removed.
But what does top freedom have to do with equality? Aren't laws requiring women to cover their breasts there for their own protection? Why allow women to place themselves at risk?
If women are more vulnerable than men and we would treat them unequally for their own safety than curfews would be in order. Restrict them from entering unsafe areas in cities or from traveling alone. Ban any provocative clothing. In a free society we don't believe in bans or curfews. Equality under the law means that as much as possible we treat all people equally. We accept that some forms of dress are not appropriate everywhere. But then, "No shirt, No Shoes, No Service" should apply equally, shouldn't it?

The Topfree Equal Rights Association (TERA) helps women who encounter legal difficulty going without tops in public places in Canada and informs the public on this issue. It also helps women in the USA.

Frequently Asked questions about the Topfreedom
Misunderstandings about Women and Bare Breasts

TERA Purpose and Principles

Photos of Topfreedom

Kayla Stands up for Topfreedom Rights in Florida

Kayla wins on appeal