Bare-chestedness really can feel normal (with a video to prove it)

Assateague National Seashore, Berlin, MD. November 2015.
Assateague National Seashore, Berlin, MD. November 2015.

It struck me today as I spent three hours bare-chested on the beach that it felt normal.  Not just to me, I mean.  Bare-chestedness almost always feels normal to me now.  I mean it felt like it felt normal to the people around me.  It wasn’t crowded but it wasn’t empty either and we walked miles along the surf and passed people all day long.  They would nod their greetings, chat briefly, some didn’t even notice me.  Two grandparents with a five-year-old grandson set their chairs near us.  A park employee gave me a thumbs up (must have read the blog).

Assateague National Seashore, Berlin, MD November 2015. Walked about 2 miles, stayed three hours, ate a PBJ, met some fishermen, got a thumbs up from a park staffer. Good day.
Assateague National Seashore, Berlin, MD November 2015. Walked about 2 miles, stayed three hours, ate a PBJ, met some fishermen, got a thumbs up from a park staffer. Good day.

And on my walk through D.C. with Raven last week, we spent about four hours bare-chested and didn’t have a single negative interaction.  Not one.  People looked, of course, and took photos, some waved.  But the world sort of just ignored us, honestly.

Assateague National Seashore, Berlin, MD. November 2015. It's November and I'm bare-chested at the beach. #globalwarming?
Assateague National Seashore, Berlin, MD. November 2015. It’s November and I’m bare-chested at the beach. #globalwarming?

Progress will ebb and flow in the effort to normalize female breasts.  Some days will feel hopeful, others discouraging.  Yesterday felt discouraging, as I discussed the Fort Collins, Colorado situation with the courageous Brittiany Hoagland.   And then today felt good.  I think it’s important I share both ends of the spectrum.

Here’s some video. (Normalizing bare-chestedness.)  Watch the people in the background…normal I tell you!  And it was like that all day…

Note: We propped the camera on the backpack in such a way that no one could see I was filming.  We try very hard to avoid appearing as if I am bare-chested for the sake of videos or photos.  I want people to associate my bare-chestedness with normalcy, not exhibitionism or overt sexuality, but I also wanted to show how people were reacting without them knowing I was filming them.  How’s that for a voyeur beach video!?  So in a three hour day we took maybe five photographs and about four minutes of video.

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10 thoughts on “Bare-chestedness really can feel normal (with a video to prove it)

    1. Thank you, Sophie, for visiting my blog and for commenting. It means a lot to know there are other women out there who are working toward the same goals of happiness, body acceptance, self-love and love for others. It really is about more than the boobs. (But the boobs are important 🙂 There are times when I think we aren’t so far away from wrapping our heads around the idea of gender equality. I picture us leaning on a brick wall, exhausted. But if we look down from the sky, we see that all that separates us from our goal is six inches of brick. Once we figure out how to go through, under, over, around that little impediment, we’re there.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. The reason people don’t seem freaked out is because they probably think you’re a crazy person and want to avoid eye contact in case you freak out on them. Then later all the guys will think about you when they masturbate. There is a reason this is considered indecent exposure and you could be put in jail and labeled as a sex predator. If a guy did this and showed everyone his balls he would be thrown in jail no doubt. A double standard.

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    1. Hi, thanks for visiting my blog and commenting. This is something to consider. Perhaps they are afraid I will come at them like a spider monkey. At any rate, walking bare-chested is not against the law in many places, including the places where I go bare-chested, so it is not in fact considered indecent exposure and I cannot be put in jail nor labeled a sex offender. If a guy were to bare his testicles to a crowd he could indeed be arrested and placed in jail, because that is a crime. Walking bare-chested is not a crime where I am doing it. In some places it is, though men may do so, which is in fact an actual double standard. Female breasts are not inherently or primarily sexual. No one considers a bare-chested man a sexual predator and we have no reason to think of a bare-chested woman as one either. As far as showing balls, neither men nor women can bare their genitals in public. So that is not in fact a double standard. Men and women should be treated equally under the law. In some places we are. In some places we aren’t. We are working to change that. As far as blaming a woman for what men think about masturbating, this is the definition of rape culture. We are working to change that too. Men and women think all kinds of things when they masturbate. The responsibility for those thoughts lies within that individual, not with the subject of those thoughts. It’s not fair to label all men masturbatory monkeys. There is nothing wrong with masturbation, for the record, but your comment implies that women should be ashamed if men think of them in some sexual manner. I reject this premise, as I reject using shame as a control tactic. It’s not a woman’s responsibility to govern the thoughts of others. Men can control themselves. The men I know respect people and understand the importance of equality. Thank you for taking the time to consider gender equality.

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      1. Good response and well written. I agree with you for the most part except where you said women’s breasts are not inherently sexual. The world is run by cleavage. It is prominent in ads and Hollywood. Breasts are very sexual.

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        1. Thank you. By inherently I meant, born as such or biologically so. Procreation requires a penis and a vagina. Breasts are sexualized because we have made them that way through stimulus and response. Breasts are associated by many people as sexual, of course, and that imagery is established through so many ways, advertising, fashion, behavior, music… So yes, of course breasts elicit a sexual response in some people, but so does hair, lips, fingers, calves, backs and so on. My main argument is that just because some breasts are sexually attractive or evocative to some people, they are not biologically speaking any different than other body parts that evoke similar sexual responses. Breasts are used to sell things to us, which takes away women’s ownership of them and the right to decide when they are sexual and when they are not. Women’s ankles used to be seen as something sexual and indecent, same for women wearing pants, and the like. This took some brave and intelligent people identifying the unfairness- the wrongness if you will- of these things and then correcting them. Female bare-chestedness is no different, and since we allow male bare-chestedness, we must allow female bare-chestedness.
          I appreciate your time and conversation.

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