I Can Feel Bare-Chestedness Normalizing

Blog Georgetown landscape
Georgetown University, Washington D.C. December 2015. Who says global climate change isn’t real? 70 degrees on December 13? But it made for a nice normal walk… no negative interactions in three hours.

 

I walk bare-chested primarily because I enjoy feeling free.  My strong secondary reason for walking bare-chested is to normalize female bare-chestedness, so that other women may feel the same way.

The only way to normalize anything is to do it with so much regularity and normality that people stop being afraid of it and start seeing it as conventional behavior. This is my motivation for posting photos and videos of my walks.  I want people to see and hear for themselves the reactions (and more importantly the non-reactions) of the public as I walk by.

There exists this misconception that going bare-chested is some disruptive act of revolution and that traffic will stop and babies will cry. Perhaps it was at one time, and in some places may still be, but in many places that’s just not true any more.  People look, yes.  People will occasionally comment negatively.  But the vast, vast majority of people react neutrally (ignore me completely) or positively (smile, nod, thumbs up.)

This is why I don’t yell at people, shout slogans or argue.  Those are scary behaviors in any setting, and people being yelled at will hear only volume, not words.  They will also associate female bare-chestedness with anger and threat.  I want them to associate it with health and normality.

It takes a lot of processing for a person to change a strongly held opinion.  When I walk bare-chested, I let people do that processing without judgment.  I don’t give them dirty looks.  I don’t stare them down.  I don’t even watch their reactions.  It is ultimately a private conversation they must have with themselves, and it will probably happen hours, days or weeks after seeing me on the street.  It may never happen.  I can’t control that.  All I can do is present the thing.

So here is a video of me walking M Street in Georgetown, Washington D.C. yesterday.  My fiance held the camera discreetly in his hand and walked a bit in front of me.  We wanted to record people’s real reactions.

Two highlights.

Somewhere in the first few minutes a man tells me to put something on.  I look at him.  Physical threat?  No.  He repeats his request. “Put something on.”  I smile and say a gentle word.  He watches me walk by then says to my back, “I love you.  You look nice!”  Just like that.  Much more importantly, everyone who witnessed that saw me stay confident, calm, strong and non-confrontational.

The second highlight is just incredible, though very hard to pick up on the audio.  I am walking in front of a ten year-old boy and he looks at his mom (I assume his mom) and goes, “Whoa!”  Later, barely, you can hear her behind the camera explaining to him that bodies are just bodies.  They walked along with us awhile, following their original path without adjusting to mine, and later yet we heard her discussing body image and gender equality with him.  She was calm and positive and let him process.  I wanted so badly to hug her or acknowledge the awesome job in some way, but I didn’t want her to feel observed.  At any rate, that was their moment, not mine.  I’m just so happy I was able to observe it.

Here’s the video.  I have to say, it felt pretty darn normal.

 

Advertisements

232 thoughts on “I Can Feel Bare-Chestedness Normalizing

  1. Your production required a tremendous amount of contrivance ( costume, cameraman, acting-directing), posed publicity shots, blog). Your flawless young physical beauty is right out of central casting, Playboy Magazine and classical Greek sculpture. The act itself has been filmed as often as a cornflakes commercial and demands no novel commentary or feminist justification. You contrive a wholesome show where modern sensibilities would be hard pressed to find anything “wrong” with the walk while affirming much that is “normal,” pleasing and liberating. Kudos.

    Obviously you adopt an egalitarian few of male and female upper-body nudity presumably striving to persuade men and women to accept the sight of bare[ed] breasts as ‘normal” in public anonymous settings. You seem oblivious to foundational obstacles blocking your enlightened mission.

    1) Female breasts configured within certain (usually) youthful, aesthetic parameters are erotic for men and erogenous zones for women. Such versions on display are likely to trigger reactions- apart from the red herring of sexual assault- that are problematic for both sexes.

    2) For reasons that probably draw on nature and nurture, biology and culture, we have developed modesty constraints not only on nudity or partial nudity but also on erotic clothing in many settings. No one minds a woman sunbathing topless or nude on a beach, but a topless hottie leaning over a male colleague at work to discuss a report prompts considerable concerns about “appropriateness.”

    3) Despite string bikinis, thongs, micro-minis and other erotic clothing, the vast majority of men; and especially women have internalized a sense of bodily modesty which is not likely to be worked out of human society in the foreseeable future. This sense of modesty may be seen to work on self- consciousness in two important ways. First: around age 5 or 6, boys and girls become aware of a privacy imperative to hide their genitals from view. (They put on clothes.) Many modern girls/women feel “empowered” about “flashing” their breasts on occasions, often to shock or titillate an audience, but seldom arrive at a comfort level sufficient to walk around topless in social places where clothing is the “norm.” Second: The vast majority, men and women alike, feel a compelling need to “cover up” because of justified concerns about exposing the physical defects of their waist-up naked bodies likely to prompt derision or disgust. Your youthful, firm and shapely, aesthetically pleasing body, moving gracefully withing the frame of the video works dramatically but only within the frame of an aspirational and over-explained ideal. In ordinary life 99% of the rest of us, certainly those of us aging into our thirties and forties, are less keen about examining the unappetizing features of the sagging, blemished, and aging flesh making its way along the street or pushing a cart past us in the supermarket. Few want to see or be seen under these conditions. Good luck with your experiment.

    Like

    1. Hi. Thanks for visiting the blog and watching the video. In a way, I’m flattered you find my “production values” to be high. My “publicity” photographs are snapshots we made on an iPhone, and the video camera my fiance (cameraman) used to make the video is an old bicycle handlebar camera he tucked in his hand. We don’t edit the videos at all. We just post them straight to YouTube. Modern technology is amazing, I agree. But this is no “production” in the way I read you implying. I’m not acting here, I’m not getting paid for this, there is no director, no script, and these are my clothes. This is me, going for a walk.

      I just looked up the definition of a contrivance, which can either be 1) a thing that is created skillfully and inventively to serve a particular purpose or 2) a device, especially in literary or artistic composition, that gives a sense of artificiality. In the first sense, yes, I have been very careful to distill the issue. For example, when I walk bare-chested, I don’t jaywalk. This sounds silly, but in my early walks, a police officer once threatened to “find a reason” to arrest me, even though he admitted bare-chestedness was legal. So to eliminate all possible excuses, I eliminate from my behavior anything within reason that would give a police officer a “reason” to arrest me. This is partly why I do not escalate my voice or yell (which could be considered disorderly conduct, as well as just being unaffective.) I don’t behave in a sexually explicit manner, same reasons. Extrapolating that theory to the social aspects of normalizing bare-chestedness, my goal is to have people associate female bare-chestedness with conventional, non-sexual behavior. In order to do so, I purposefully behave in ways that will hopefully reduce their fears of this new dynamic. In the first meaning of the word contrivance, yes, I am careful to avoid negative interactions and negative emotional and psychological connections.

      In the second sense of the word, which I think I hear in your words, is this idea that I am presenting an artificial version of myself, that I have contrived a character that doesn’t really exist. This is not true. I have been walking around the east coast of the United States for more than two years now. I made this video barely three weeks ago. The reason you see me walking calmly, fluidly, quietly, peacefully is because I have put the work into making this happen, both internally and externally, and my goal is to share my experiences and lessons learned with other women so they can do the same thing if they so choose.

      As for seeming oblivious to foundational obstacles blocking my mission, I would simply point out the subtle but massive difference between ignoring something and being oblivious to it.

      One of the major reasons I began walking bare-chested, aside from the fact that I just like the way it feels, is that I was reading and hearing all these conceptual discussions about what would supposedly happen if women were to go out walking bare-chested. Babies will cry, marriages will crumble, police, chaos, rape, harassment… but who would know these things? Barely any women have ever done it. All of this speculation could be nonsense for all we knew, all these people insisting all these things would happen before anyone ever even tried it. I feel a resistance from people sometimes who were so sure how this would look, because here it is, and it doesn’t look like what they said it would. I’ve gone on a lot of bare-chested walks. Never been arrested. I barely have negative interactions anymore, and only had a few to begin with. I’ve never been touched inappropriately while bare-chested. Only while conventionally clothed. The police are the worst about saying offensive things, and they aren’t that bad anymore. The general public is fine. So all this insisting I keep hearing from people that men are going to lose control and people are going to make fun of someone’s imperfections and boys are going to be walking around with erections and masturbating, it isn’t happening. It just isn’t happening. All the insisting in the world is not going to change the fact that these things have not happened to me. I’m not saying they don’t exist, or won’t happen. I’m saying people way overestimate the bad things that will happen and way underestimate the good things.

      I made this video to give an example of what I’ve been writing about for three months and what I’ve been experiencing for two years. I have 8 other videos on YouTube from other towns and cities, doing other activities, in different circumstances. Short videos. Long videos. 40 minutes long, unedited. No catcalls, no harassment, no arrests, no erections, no crying babies. Yes, I have had negative interactions. Yes the police have stopped me and at times have been insulting and inappropriate. But the vast majority of people react neutrally or positively.

      You write, “The vast majority, men and women alike, feel a compelling need to “cover up” because of justified concerns about exposing the physical defects of their waist-up naked bodies likely to prompt derision or disgust.” First of all, this isn’t true. It is contextual. Go to any beach or pool and you will see people exposing their bodies. On any given summer day in Ocean City Maryland there are 150,000 people on the beach, most in some form of bathing attire. People feel comfortable exposing their skin when they feel the people around them will perceive their behavior as normal. I’m working to expand the definition of normal. I’m also working to bring awareness to that derision you reference, to that shame people use to control others.

      100 years ago, neither men nor women could go bare-chested in public in the United States. Men fought for the right in the 1930’s. Now male bare-chestedness is normal, especially in certain contexts, beach, sporting events, parks, swimming, exercising. 120 years ago women couldn’t show their ankles or arms, wear pants or ride bicycles. Now, as you point out, women are wearing thongs on the beach. The internalized sense of modesty you reference is conditioned. I argue that at around the age of 5 or 6, children become aware of the behavior of the adults around them, see everybody covering up certain parts of their body and follow suit. Children raised in naturist environments feel no such compulsion to cover their bodies. They haven’t been taught to be ashamed of themselves.

      If we are not allowed to act in new ways, if we are shamed into conformity, then that internalized modesty will never change. It will just cement.

      Last thought about the “physical defects” associated with real human bodies, one of the reasons I feel it is so important that female bare-chestedness be normalized is so we collectively begin to get a more realistic expectation of what bodies, female bodies in particular, really look like. This idea of the flawless female is bogus. But so is the notion of the inherently flawed female. If there exists no “perfect” body, then imperfection becomes meaningless. There’s no measuring stick. We are what we are. I have walked bare-chested with women of different ages, races, sizes, shapes. They enjoyed peaceful walks free of harassment and they felt empowered after. I do not want my children forming their expectations of women from pornography. I want them seeing real women, behaving normally, being happy and strong and content with the life their bodies allow them to experience.

      As for this being an experiment, it’s not. This is how I am living my life. This is how other women are living their lives. I post the videos mainly as raw material for people to consider as they form their opinions of normalized female bare-chestedness. I went for the walks and described them accurately and some people said, there’s no way. So I posted videos, and still people say there’s no way, that I contrived the video. The only thing left is to come walk with me. Feel it for yourself.

      I do appreciate your detailed comment and thank you for your time. I hope you will continue this conversation with me.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. I’d like to speak to a few of your comments here.
        Regarding comment #2…. no one here, especially this woman in particular and myself, are trying to go to our jobs bare chested. We are trying only to go to the same places where men are allowed the opportunity to go bare chested. I will not attempt to go into a store or place of business that is not legal for a man to go bare chested, but if a male is allowed to walk on the street or at a beach or park, then I should also be afforded the same right.
        Regarding comment #3 … Flashing genitals is not what is happening either. No “flashing” is happening at all, it is simple going without a top on. Genitals are a complete separate region from breasts and serve a complete separate function.
        In terms of youthful, trim bodies being the ones doing this, I am a fifty five year old morbidly obese woman who walks (hikes) in the woods bare chested, I camp, I swim and I will be doing a walk in town in the spring/summer of this year bare chested. It is not a youth only or a “hottie” only issue, this is an issue of equality for women to be able to bring many different things to the table, including size and age discrimination. Do I get comments? Yes, I get both positive and negative comments, mostly positive, “congrats for being brave” “congrats for standing up” , but yes, also the negatives “no one should show their breasts in public” , etc. People are all going to share their opinions, but people are learning that this culture is changing.
        I’m so proud to be associated with this woman who can walk proudly bare chested or not.

        Liked by 5 people

        1. Bravo to both of you and spot on with the job response. I thought exactly the same. No shirt, no shoes, no service signs mean both men and women should put on a shirt. Why is a make nipple ok to expose but a female nipple is not. Why is a female nipple more sexualised than the male nipple? Both have nerve endings.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Thank you for visiting and commenting. Heidi is amazing. Her whole crew up there in New Hampshire is doing wonderful work, staying peaceful but firm. That’s what it will take to normalize female bare-chestedness. I am working to see a world in which it takes no more courage for a woman to walk bare-chested than it does for a man. In many places we are quite close. In some places, not so much. But we are moving, and I take heart in that. Be well. Stay in touch please.

            Liked by 1 person

    2. Jim, I am totally confident about being bare breasted and bare bodied … I model for life classes but also happy in other contexts like my blog. And I don’t fall into the twenties something category, not even the thirties or forties. Normalising the body is about normalising it. It’s not about being a certain shape, size or age. Not long ago, male nipples were considered way too erotic for public display. We don’t constrain men, even though bare chests are obvious still ‘titillating’. Sure the breast can be erotic, but just like the penis… they don’t have to be all the time.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Hi Jeni: thank you for visiting the blog, commenting, and for supporting topfreedom with your words and actions. I love meeting other confident women who have found their way to self love and body acceptance. It is such an empowering place to be and opens doors to happiness in many directions. Whether someone walks around bare-chested or not, loving one’s own body for the experiences it can bring, for the life we can enjoy in it, is profoundly beautiful to me. May I ask what state you live in?

        Like

        1. Hi Heidi (actually I can’t find your About section), I am living in Australia. I’m looking forward to reading more of your thoughts. Will certainly be returning to your site. Excuse short eply, I am flying out into the day.

          Like

          1. Jeni,
            I’m not Heidi, but she’s lovely and I’m sure she’s reading this as well. I’m Gingerbread (or Chelsea). I would be interested to know what is going on in Australia regarding gender equality. If you have the time, knowledge, and inclination to share some thoughts on that I would be much obliged. On here is fine or through email: breastsarehealthy@gmail.com .
            Be safe and enjoy your travels!

            Liked by 1 person

    3. I think central casting would have set the bar just a bit higher. The waist is pudgy, the boobs are prematurely saggy (for a ‘young beauty’), and the hips are too narrow. But I suppose there will be hordes of lesser young men, willing to absolve this young female of any responsibility.

      Like

      1. Hi Ron: Thanks for visiting my blog and considering gender equality. Your comment as I see it is basically an insult aimed at what are often considered “soft spots” in a woman’s self-esteem, her weight, beauty, age, how we compare to whatever standard we are being help up to etc. This is a common tactic of people trying to discourage topfreedom activists from our work. I look at insults kind of like I look at toddler tantrums, meaning I try to remember that the person just wants what they want when they want it and I think, “Use your words,” and then I try to figure out what’s really bothering the person (hungry? Wet diaper? Time for a nap? etc.) and address that need. In other words, when people insult me (you’re not the first) I generally approach it like this… I read and reread the thing and look for what REALLY emerges as your meaning, and try to really understand, sympathetically, what your anxiety and fear centers around. Because going for walks and asking people not rape women (which is basically all I’m doing with this blog) really shouldn’t be that scary. So when someone directs anger or negativity or attempted shame at me I try to remember that I struck a chord with this person somewhere. I also think, since you linked here from Facebook I assume, that someone shared my blog article, you had to take the time to click the link and explore it. I mean, you at least had to look at the photo, react to it and scroll to the comment section and type your comment. That’s investment, to me. You could have completely ignored me. Which is fine too. Your call. So interpreting the meat of your comment, I’m not sure if you realize or not but you are taking issue with a man who was trying to discredit me by claiming that because I was so “perfect,” too perfect, that none of this blog can be sincere, that it is theater and false. So THAT means that not only did you click the link, look at the photo, scroll down (perhaps reading some of the article along the way), you even read the comments, reacted to them, and chose this one of all you could have chosen from, and used it as a platform to frame your insult. But in fact your insult negates his argument that I’m artificial. So thanks. I appreciate the back up. As to the content of your insults, I do ask you to sit with your intentions and ponder why it feels good to you to try to make people feel bad about themselves and what about what I’m doing causes fear inside you, which causes you to try to hurt me and discourage me. All I’m doing is asserting my right to go for a walk in the same manner as men. It’s not a big request. Yet it seems to cause you some anxiety. I’d love to hear more about this if you’re willing to share with me. Your use of the term “hordes of lesser young men” resonates with me, as this implies a strong self-image in which you are a “higher” or I guess stronger or more worthy man than a majority of men in our society, one of a the proud few standing on high looking across the teeming masses of young, unformed males looking up at you hoping that someday they might reach your height and hold your lofty standards. It’s a breathtaking image. I can see why you hold on to it. I ask, while you are up there with these aspiring young souls looking to you for guidance, that you consider the value of being a model of kindness and inclusion and also consider the fact that disrespect does not reflect on the disrespected nearly as much as the one doing the disrespecting. Anger is fear. Your insults belie an anxiety, but the anxiety is unwarranted because I’m really no threat to your social fabric, assuming your social fabric doesn’t include raping women, which is really what I’m working to end. I’m not sure what “responsibility” I would be absolved of there in your last sentence. I’ve sat with this trying to figure out what you mean, unless you mean that my bare-chestedness means I’m responsible for sexual assault and rape should it happen to me? And that “lesser” young men would agree with me about this and refrain from raping me, I guess falling short of some standard of manliness that includes raping women as some sort of punishment for being immodest or forgetting our place? I might be misreading this, I understand. Feel free to explain that last bit. Thanks again for all your time in visiting and reading through my blog. Be well.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. I noticed your assessment of Ginger Bread and then had a look at your own blog, which appears to espouse many Christian virtues through quoting scripture and explaining your own Christianity. One page contains the following line “God that made the world and all things therein”. I assume you believe this to be true, so surely any shortfalls you see in there Ginger Bread’s physical appearance are God’s responsibility. It seems Matthew 7:1-2 (“Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you.”) would apply here – have you forgiven yourself for passing judgement, ever considered how your wife or children would feel if someone were to scrutinise their appearance (or yours) as you have done here?

        As for the final sentence saying “I suppose there will be hoards of lesser young men, willing to absolve this young female of any responsibility” baffles me. I am not sure responsibility you mean. Is it the responsibility to find flaw (or not)? The responsibility (or not) act on any urges? By questioning what you have said does that make me “lesser”?

        If you pardon the pun, enlightening other readers of this blog would be beneficial.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I feel that if the camera was behind you and you could see the faces/reactions of people as they saw you, this would be a more enlightening perspective vs. just seeing you as the focal point.

    Like

    1. Hi Rahul. Thank you for watching the video and commenting. If you go to 5:28 on the M Street walking video you will see footage shot from behind. Also, I have posted other videos on YouTube. The entire video of Hontouni Heart and I walking through Rock Creek Park is shot from behind. In the video of my bicycle ride around Washington D.C. you can see a different perspective beginning at 13:20 through 20:00, albeit bumpy at times. And I have a short video of Brighton Beach in which you can see a lot of people from the front. In all of these videos, you will find the same general reactions as the M Street footage from behind. It’s worth pointing out that even if people react with surprise as I approach (which does happen sometimes of course) that often by the time we have passed each other, they have already moved onto something else. The vast majority of reactions are neutral (ignoring me completely or just not reacting) to positive (thumbs up, nod, smile, etc.) Thank you again for your time and for commenting. Be well.

      Like

    1. Good morning. Thank you for visiting the blog and commenting. The biggest compliment anyone can pay me is to say I am boring. My entire mission is to make female bare-chestedness as uneventful and boring as possible. This makes my day. At least for one person, my mission is accomplished. I would love nothing more than for bare-chestedness to normalize so I can go back to my quiet walks in the park, no more videos, no more photos. I’m working to put my blog out of business. When I’ve bored everyone to tears, my work will be done. Thanks again. Be well.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Everything you say reveals a decent, tolerant and authentic personality with the best of intentions. Completing topless walks down public streets largely avoiding negative responses testifies to your dignity and charm; and to our enlightened times. Nonetheless, I remain skeptical of nudist metaphysics that seeks to cleanse human consciousness of sexual arousal or fantasy.

    Men do sexually objectify the female body consistent with some interaction between hormonal reflex and exposure to culturally conditioned sexual stimuli. Whether this stimuli is supplied by pornography or a Greek statue is irrelevant to aspirations for a sexually satisfying female partner. Simply put, “looks” do matter especially to younger men. However much we regard this fact of life as unfortunate, shallow or bestial (we are animals after all), men will tend to “size up” women as sex objects in many contexts and women will always know how the game is played.

    Your disciplined identity may have developed to a level whereby you can conscientiously ignore the lustful gaze of men as you saunter bare-breasted through the city sometimes accompanied by small numbers of other women pursuing nudist Utopian ambitions. Most women, however, would anticipate an insufferable sense of mass sexual violation appearing nude or partially nude in an ordinary public space and defer to the retrograde convention of putting on clothes.

    Like

    1. Hi Melvin: Thank you for visiting my blog and commenting. I agree with your sentiment that my peaceful walks are the product of our relatively enlightened times. I want to clarify some things about my alignment with “nudist metaphysics,” if I may. My first response is oft repeated, namely that a bare-chested woman is no more nude than a bare-chested man. We don’t call a bare-chested man wearing pants nude. We call him bare-chested. With that said, I am not trying to cleanse human consciousness of sexual arousal or fantasy. People keep assigning this motivation to me, but it’s not what motivates me nor do I see it as an attainable or even worthwhile goal. I wrote an article called, Do We Really Want Breasts to be Non-Sexual? which discusses some of my feelings on this topic. Bare-chestedness is not nudity, and topfreedom is not naturism. There are parallels of course. My primary motivation for walking bare-chested for example is that I just love the feeling of it. I obviously have other motivations like establishing equality and discussing body shame and victim blaming, but what this increasingly boils down to for me is that we can end all this speculation about what supposedly will or won’t happen if women go bare-chested. Most if not all of the commentary in the topfreedom debate over the last ten years is speculative. All sides of the debate have been weighing in saying, this is what we think will happen if women walk around bare-chested. Back and forth and back and forth and I thought, oh for heaven’s sake, it’s legal. I’m going to go far a walk and just see what happens. No bullhorns, no signs, no shouting. I’m just going to go for a walk. I did this for two years before I started the blog, all over the east coast. And guess what, no arrests, mostly neutral or positive responses, occasional negative interactions, nothing rising beyond objections to the changing of the times or obnoxiously condescending police officers. I’ve certainly had a handful of strong negative reactions, but I’ve literally been seen by hundreds of thousands of people. What’s a dozen overtly negative responses to a sea of neutrality or positivity? So the argument was that if women go out bare-chested, some bad thing or other will happen. And my response was, how do we know? Very few women have ever tried this. So let’s go out and try it, document it, have conversations, share photos and videos and see for ourselves. What happens if women go bare-chested? As it turns out, not a whole lot on the street. The fear reactions exist predominantly in the people speculating about its effect, not in the people actually experiencing it.

      I don’t care if men or women find the sight of a breast attractive. I find male and female bodies attractive myself. People tell me that boys masturbate as if this is news. Girls masturbate too. It’s a natural part of sexual exploration. People tell me that men find breasts attractive and always will. I respond, that doesn’t make the breast a primary sexual organ to be regulated by law. People are always going to find long hair and plump lips attractive too. As far as sex goes, the hands and mouth can provide more pleasure than breasts can, but we don’t require veils and gloves. Hair, backs, calves, ear-lobes, the entire body is a sex organ. We don’t say, well because some faces are pretty, all faces should be covered. Sean Connery’s voice melts women all over the world and excites them sexually. Does he not get to talk because of it?

      So my point is that I am not asking for the breast to be asexualized. I am asking for a more mature conversation about female bodies and our collective sexuality. And I am asking that we treat women’s and men’s bodies equally under the law, so those women who do wish to exercise this freedom can do so. The truth is we don’t know what would happen if women overcame their body shame. I read a poll that said 90% of women dislike their breasts. I also read a poll that said 90% of drivers think they are better than average. People’s perceptions may or may not have any root in fact or reality. They often don’t. The only way to really figure out what happens if women walk around peacefully bare-chested is to do it. Only then can we figure out how society will react to the shift. Until then, it is just speculation and I think a lot of it is harmful speculation. For all we know, great things could arise. Humans tend to have a bleaker forecast of the future then actually arises, so I’ve read. That may be a survival mechanism, but it limits our happiness. Thank you again for your time and for the comment.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. It’s only fair that I commend your logic, qualify observations and the skepticism that derives from them. Breasts are not intrinsically sexual. I experience no offense or arousal from catching a view of the exposed shapely breasts of a young mother breast feeding her baby in public. In many contexts breasts are perceived as asexual appendages that are features of the female anatomy.

    I appreciate that by “nudity” you stipulate tasteful bare-chested exposure only and not full nudity that puts genitals and buttocks on display. Indeed the photo shows you covered from waist-to-ankle by a loose, full-length skirt. While stressing that going topless makes you “feel good” in the open air on a temperate day in the city, you also thoughtfully adhere to a code that prohibits entering offices, retail stores, and other buildings where people may be held a captive to an offensive interaction in a confined space. You are taking a wholesome walk down the street and nothing more. But there is “something more” from my point of view.

    Putting aside minor incidents, you take pride and comfort in discovering your experiment proves “nothing happens.” This conclusion, however, is only apparent and superficial. I believe you confine your observations to overt actions rather than consider the implications of reactions that take form in the minds of people, especially men, who take in the sight. You have exposed yourself in a public setting where most men will sexualize you in reflexive response to your bare breasts and torso even though the progressively civilized majority of Americans who share the space have the good sense not to harass you in word or deed. (Ironically the police who have chastised you mildly on occasion serve to protect you (and your legal right) from any unwelcome advances, deterring those with any inclination for sexual assault or harassment from acting out.)

    Our disagreements come from divergent views about aspects of gender equality conflated with other important discussions about male-female sexual differences -biological, physiological, hormonal, neurological and psychological. Despite similarities, there are important differences between male and female sexuality. Sexual arousal in men is frequent, urgent and hair-triggered by visual images, random fantasies or daily build-up of sexual tension. Often the effects of male arousal rise to the level of discomfort, quickly and easily relieved by orgasm achieved through masturbation, intercourse or other brief stimulation of the penis. Pointing out that women also masturbate elides the fact that the same “word’ describes two very different processes for the sexes. Pointing out that because men go shirtless in sex-neutral contexts, women should follow suit seems logically consistent with the principle of gender equality while ignoring the unintended, and usually unpleasant consequences of clashing disparities in male-female sexual response.

    Like

    1. Maybe you’d hear this better from another male, Melvin. The male sexual response to bare breasts is a conditioned response. The response is very quickly extinguished through repetition without reinforcement. Some men go to nudist situations for sexual excitement. They discover any excitement very quickly disappears and the nudity they see becomes boring from that point of view.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I take on board the Fox’s point. On the few occasions I’ve viewed strippers gyrate into action, boredom has set in at about the two minute mark. Though there can be multiple causes for flagging attention in strip clubs, the comment above seems to refer more broadly to the process of “habituation.” Native Southsea islanders, for example, can work all day naked, cheek and jowl as it were, with the opposite sex without batting an eyelash. Habituation however does not extinguish male sexual response to the female breast or body under pertinent circumstances and conditions. Biology as well as “conditioning” comes into play.

    The fair lady who gently leads this blog is remarkable beyond physical loveliness. She seems wonderfully kind – devoid of meanness, spite and phoniness that pervades the blogosphere. For the future, I would wish she brings her intellect, character and passions to more weighty issues.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Greetings,

      these are questions for Melvin.

      Question 1.
      How come there still exists cultures where both men and women live naked all their life without hiding any body parts from neither family nor strangers, without any of the “problems” discussed here? (E.g. the Zo’é people.)

      Question 2.
      How come, in the American culture, both men and women continually go from being clothed people, finding breasts, buttocs and genitals “disturbing” in one way or another, to being social naturists, not finding said body parts “disturbing” in any way?

      I will propose an answer to both questions:

      Answer 1.
      Because it is not a universal trade for men to always experience the mere sight of female breasts (or buttocs or genitals) in a sexual way. It is culturally conditioned. Anthropology attests to that.

      Answer 2.
      Because an individual’s emotional reactions to the sight of something can be changed. Every single treatment for any visually induced phobia, via emotional reconditioning, attests to that.

      Question 3.
      With reference to question 1 and 2 (and the answers), why shouldn’t our culture try to change the frightful and negative way we react to the sight of female breasts?

      Cheers, Johnny :o)

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Thank you for continuing this discussion, Melvin. I appreciate your open mind and willingness to exchange ideas. It’s always refreshing to have conversations that have room to move. I do hear from time to time people ask me to do something more important with all this effort. I take that in two ways, part compliment … you’re doing good, you have skills, you have a voice… and part a negative questioning of my judgment (which is allowed, I’m not offended) for applying said talent, effort and voice toward what the critic feels is a relatively unimportant application. You may of course be proven correct in time, this whole thing may be a grand waste of energy, which will only really be proven if we do see bare-chestedness normalize after some great effort and nothing really improves regarding gender equality, shaming, body pride and all those related conversations. Only time will tell. Having felt the distance between the presence of my own body shame, (the debilitating effects of that poor body image in relationships, education, career and physical health, etc) and where I am now, which is at peace with my body, my person, my personality, my strengths and weaknesses, and the incredible happiness that has opened to me, I do feel this is the right expression for my particular skillset.

      Shame is a control tactic. A person immune to that shame is a powerful force. It really does resonate. We have to free a voice before we can use it.

      I don’t share these analytics to boast, I know other blogs and issues have far, far more visitors, but to show that the conversation is resonating across the country and world, this blog has been visited by more than 100,000 people from 150 countries since I made the M Street video just one month ago, and I have had more than 200,000 page views from those visitors. Goodness knows how many people have seen the thing pass by on Facebook, but 80,000 people have visited from Facebook (and I don’t have a Facebook page.) The M Street video has been viewed nearly 50,000 times itself and my top ten tweets on Twitter which were all simple photo/headline links to my blog articles have been seen more than 500,000 times. Given that many people and the fact that I’m a bare-chested female, the maturity in the the comments sections of these pages has been profound, with people quietly discussing just like we are here very difficult and evocative topics, like the existence and effects of shaming, inequality and so on. Just having the conversation is the victory for me.

      As I said in the title of this article, I can feel bare-chestedness normalizing, I can feel the issue moving, in profound ways. A significant percentage of the people watching my video are girls and women between the ages of 13-25. These young people are going to decide the future of what it means to be a woman. Young men are also participating and listening to the conversation. You’re right. There may be people who are too set in their ways to change. I accept this and I am not spending energy to change their minds. But there is a whole population of young people listening to this type of interaction and making their decisions based on their own codes. Numbers themselves prove nothing. Cat videos are seen by 20,000,000 people. Do they change the world? Maybe, maybe not. But the sheer amount of civil, mature, thoughtful conversation happening through this blog is breathtaking to me. I agree with you about the disturbing tone of the blogoshpere, and this has concerned me deeply because this is where current public discourse is happening, and it’s not pretty. So the fact that you have celebrated the marked tonal shift in conversation we read here is a huge deal to me, and indicates that my efforts are well-aimed. I respect people’s right to disagree with me. I think I’ve proven that. I just hope people can continue to discuss these heavy topics with quiet minds and open ears and hear each other. Volume only begets volume, not truth or progress.

      Liked by 2 people

    3. Melvin, don’t you think freedom is a weighty issue? This particular aspect of freedom may be less important than, for example, slavery, but that does not mean it is of no importance at all. Concentration on a single aspect (of almost anything) is usually a requirement for success, and in this field, with little practical support in the form of being joined by others, it is quite a hard enough job without being diverted onto other causes that some people happen to think are more important than this one. The lady is entitled to choose her own priorities, and I for one wish her every success.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I believe this is, itself, a weighty issue. On the surface it may not seem so, but it represents a major step forward in true equality. A century ago, it was women being allowed to vote. That took a couple generations of planning and footwork, eventually succeeding despite strenuous objections that turned out to be baseless. How else would you overcome baseless opposition?

    More important from my perspective is the way she’s getting it done: Quietly, going straight to the top, knocking down the barriers, following through by actually doing it, with video and photos. Then documenting it as a model for others to follow.

    That’s empowerment in a big way, and the model itself is a weighty issue.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Heidi wisely reminds us that no one can predict the future. If the bare breasted agenda captures the popular imagination, we may see topless women become the ubiquitous norm in public spaces. Personally I would pray that their torsos are not disfigured by those dreadful tattoos, another fad not predicted by modern civilization. (Frankly I was surprised to see a young, clean and appealing female body out for a city walk unblemished by skin illustrations.)

    The entire debate roils with ambiguity, ambivalence, red-herrings, false assumptions, digressions and silly analogies. At the end of the day, coherent discussions must pick out specific contexts and the primacy of choice.

    Contemporary society offers a plethora of places and occasions, both public and private, for women to bare their breasts. Western civilization has advanced toward accepting female nudity, partial nudity or near-nudity in swimwear or other erotic clothing as a matter of broad consensus.

    Our blog hostess has literally followed in the footsteps of thousands of liberated predecessors who have walked topless down public streets. The deliberate stage-setting for the video raises as many questions as it answers. The modest ankle length skirt, the bare feet, the dignified bearing and linear pedestrian course, the accompanying male cameraman combine to signal a healthy natural experience cleansed of cause for alarm.

    What the video hides are multi-faceted social controversies and constraints swirling around bodily privacy ethics; the clash between the rights of people to expose themselves in public and the rights of those who feel offended or even violated by such exposure. Pushing back against indiscriminate public baring of breasts is the always watchful eye recording unwelcome behavior triggered by uninhibited male sexual impulses. We cannot see what would happen if, unaccompanied and unfilmed, our heroin, boarded a crowded bus with standing room only. Let the groping begin! We do not see her walk through poor inner city neighborhoods with crude young men arrayed on corners and curbs addled and disinhibited with booze or drugs, we do not see her encounter a group (or gang) of teenage boys with no impulse control emboldened to “score” on her exposed body with sexual assault or rape seeking glory in horndog fantasies driven by raging reckless hormones.

    Once more for the record, I do not accept the premise that male and female sexuality are equal in the sense of being “the same” in form or expression. Male biology cannot be “conditioned” to expunge objectification of the female body integral to male sexual desire or behavior. We can be taught manners that promote cordial consensual interactions but we cannot be taught to de-sexualize the bodies of women in our pursuit of desirable romantic-sexual partners.

    Like

    1. Greetings Melvin,

      I have yet to find proper scientific research showing that men’s objectification of women is universal, static and/or always sexual.
      The best I have been able to find is this:
      http://www.livescience.com/21806-brain-male-female-objectification.html
      I’ll be happy to hear about other science bringing light to the issue.

      While the research in the link supports that men objectify women, it does so only for men in American culture. Hence it does not show if the objectification is a universal trait, or if it is a limited culturally conditioned trait.
      It also shows that women also objectify women just as much as men do, and that it is not a static trait in individuals of either gender.
      Finally it mentions that the objectification could be culturally conditioned.
      Again the validity must currently be limited to American culture.
      More research is needed.

      In the meantime we have some empirical observations to draw upon:
      Several other existing cultures have women roam freely bare-chested everywhere, among everybody, at all times, without risking any of the abuse you outline. I warmly recommend watching the documentary “Isolated: The Zo’é Tribe” in the series “Amazonia: Last Call”
      (This documentary also shows a totally different emotional approach to genitals. But that is outside the scope of this blog.)

      Even if one assumes that it is a universal trait that men sexually objectify women all the time, clearly such objectification does not automatically lead to sexual abuse, or the Zo’é tribe (and comparable cultures) wouldn’t be living the way they do.

      The best explanation for the above observations, that I can come up with is, that how men react to female body parts, and what contexts trigger which reactions, is learned through cultural conditioning.
      Cultural conditioning is in itself a non-static state – it can be changed – it does change.
      If this was sometime in the 1800’s, your exact same objections to, and arguments against, females being allowed to uncover some body part, would not have been about the breasts, it would have been about the ankles.
      Ankles have been normalised as just another body part, and so can breasts become (as can any other body part, as attested to by other cultures).

      Cheers, Johnny :o)

      Liked by 3 people

    2. (I am not sure if you are responding to something Heidi said, who is another woman fighting for equality and a new friend, but I am not Heidi. My name is Chelsea, and my nickname is Gingerbread.)
      Thank you as always for continuing the conversation. My first thought is, women get groped on buses and trains while fully clothed. It’s wrong and should be punished, but more importantly taught that it is wrong from an early age. That said, I personally would not enter a bus bare-chested. My understanding is that buses typically require all passengers to have their torsos covered. As long as it’s equal, I’m okay with it. Also, I would not enter any tightly packed place bare-chested for a couple reasons. Seeing and touching are two different things. I would not enter a situation where people would be forced to touch me against their will as would happen if I crammed myself onto a bus. I would not just walk around hugging people bare-chested either, nor would I welcome an unknown male making that type of contact with me. If I know someone and we have an understanding that that type of contact is acceptable, great. Hug. But I would not presume to make that close contact. Unwanted physical contact can be considered assault. It doesn’t matter where one touches the other person or with what, nor how they are dressed.

      As for the speculation about “poor inner city neighborhoods,” the implication that the people of underserved or poor neighborhoods can’t control themselves is problematic. It carries with it a note of prejudice that perpetuates more prejudice. You will find in all of my Washington and Philadelphia videos a racial, gender and age diversity in the people I pass and interact with. In the first Philadelphia video in fact I end up spending a few hundred yards in the company of a group of teenage boys, riding their bikes with me. They look, they comment, they ask me questions, they do not touch me, nor insult me, nor try to “score” on my body.

      As evidence that men will normalize to women’s bodies, consider the fact that Playboy magazine has stopped running photographs of nude women. Their explanation? The world is one click away from any sexual image it could want, we can’t compete. The men who used to pay them money for photographs of “tasteful” bare-chested and nude women normalized to the sight of their style of nude photography to the point where Playboy couldn’t sell the images anymore. Nude models, even airbrushed Playboy models, have lost their sexual impact. If it was inherent and not conditioned, this normalization effect would not happen. We absolutely have a sexual drive. But the imagery that triggers sexual impulse is conditioned. Different people find different things attractive, and a lot of that effect is conditioned through masturbation I think. Pornography is changing how we see because we reinforce this imagery through repeated self-pleasure, after which that same image normalizes and we have to increase the dose, extremeness, intensity to have the same pleasure effect.

      You mentioned in your previous comment that male masturbation is different than female masturbation. I assure you women do indeed have strong sexual drive and fantasies. Many women also have “hair-triggers” for sexual arousal, and if a person isn’t aware of that it’s only because the women around that person haven’t wanted her or him to know it. I have a friend who masturbates up to ten times a day, every day. It’s just a part of her life. After breakfast, during a coffee break at work, with people in the house… she doesn’t make a big deal of it, she just goes off to the bathroom or bedroom or whatever. The list of things that turn her on are long and varied and includes bare-chested men. Few of her friends even know she does this, even though they do it themselves. I know because they’ve told me. One of them can bring herself to orgasm without touching her genitals, and does so with regularity right at her office desk. So yes there is a difference between males and females regarding sexual impulse and impulsivity. And it’s not that males have sex drive and females don’t. I love and respect men and I believe most men have all the strength and character they need to navigate their sexual impulses without groping or assaulting women, just like women do toward men.

      So I imagine we aren’t going to find common ground on the topic of male potential. I just want to reiterate that no one I know in the topfreedom movement is calling for people to stop being sexually attracted to other people. What we are asking for, or at least what I am asking for, is exactly what you point to in your last line, that we use basic manners and good judgment to navigate those feelings and impulses and not use the mere presence of sexual impulses as justification for refusing to control those impulses and assault women by touching them against their will. Most women and men control themselves every day. There will always be people who cannot control their impulses. They rob banks, get in fights, drive poorly, drive drunk, whatever. We criminalize that behavior or treat it. We do not accept it. We do not allow people to punch people because they have natural impulses that they just can’t control. Nor do we blame the victim of the punch. We hold the assailant responsible over and over again until the lesson is learned.

      Imagine the impact if girls felt empowered at a very early age to reject, resist and report groping in kindergarten or elementary school. Imagine if teachers and parents and administrators reinforced those lessons. Boys and girls would both learn that uninvited touching is wrong very early.

      The last half of your second-to-last paragraph is pretty hyperbolic, which is not an unusual reaction to women who go bare-chested. In fact, it’s almost ubiquitous among police officers. I could almost script it out before hand. I ask them to confirm that bare-chestedness is legal in a place, the police officer confirms that it is and then, inevitably, throws in some iteration of the sentiment, “Don’t get raped.” I had a married colleague once who insulted everything by calling it “gay.” Gay shoes, dude. Your haircut is gay. This song is gay. Guess what? He turned out to be gay. So when I hear someone tell me over and over and over, “Don’t get raped,” groping is inevitable, or men just can’t change, it sounds like the critic is resisting, within himself, the shift to holding men responsible for assault and rape. A woman should be able to stand completely nude in front of a man and not be touched without her explicit permission. Her attire or lack there of is not her consent. If the idea of receiving formal permission from a woman before touching her sounds plastic and artificial, blame the legion of men who have abused the privilege, not the legion of women touched against their will.

      You are eloquent and you make valid points, but your message would land a lot better if it weren’t imbued with condescension. You use terms like “Silly analogies,” “Over-explained,” “Contrivance,” etc, telling me I haven’t thought this or that through, that I don’t understand some obvious fact like men have sexual drive. You insist you know the future but in the face of evidence to the contrary, you point out all the reasons that contrary evidence is flawed. Some of your words land like a threat, to be honest, insinuating that because I don’t accept the inability of men to control their sexual impulses, (which feels like it’s frustrating to you, based on your demeaning language) I will get groped (groped!) and deserve it because you told me it would happen and it happened and it’s my fault because I was too silly to see the obvious.

      Men and women have sex drives. They aren’t as different as you think, which is my opinion but also my experience. I have many male friends and engage them in open conversations. Men can control their impulses. Most men prove this every day, all day. Some men can’t. We should hold those men responsible and punish them or teach them otherwise. I would prefer that people learn to acknowledge our feelings, impulses, desires and be given the tools at an early age to handle them in a healthy responsible manner, rather than ignoring the issues because “they can’t be changed” and thus ending up with more serious punishments doled out to perpetrators of abuse and violence and an increase in victims down the road.

      Liked by 4 people

  8. And is it catching on? Are lots of other women of all ages joining you in the street and parks of Georgetown? I’ve never been, is it nice and safe? It looks lovey and leafy.
    Do you notice a difference when you are with or not with your boyfriend?
    Would you firmly and politely bare your chest in a place you didn’t know well, or a place you knew to be perhaps more socially complex (or unsafe) for women? At dusk or after dusk on a hot summer day, would you still be bare chested?
    Are 50 and 60 and 70 year old women bare chested in Georgetown?

    Like

    1. Hi Lucy: Thank you for reaching out to me. I just made this video in Georgetown in mid-December, which was something of an impromptu walk on an unseasonably warm day. But with that said I have walked in Washington D.C. with two other bare-chested women and both events were peaceful and beautiful. Both women found me through the blog and asked to join me on a walk. They are both amazing souls. Georgetown is a lovely corner of the city, for sure. I have not noticed much of a difference when I am alone and when I am with my fiance, or when I am with another woman. I have walked, ridden my bicycle and gone on beach outings bare-chested all around the east coast of the U.S. over the last two years, most in places I had researched prior to my arrival, but many where I had never been before. You will find information about these walks throughout my blog, mostly in the captions of my photographs. I spent five hours walking around Manhattan on Halloween, between 7 pm and 1 am. I was with a group, some other women has spent some time bare-chested that evening, and I had a pleasant evening free of negative interactions. I would love to walk with a woman over the age of 50, especially a woman in her 70’s. I would find that magical. Even if we just sat on a blanket and talked, I would love that. Where do you live? Have you ever been bare-chested in a social setting before? Thank you for writing to me. Be well.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you for the link, Johnny. I doubt if the cited experiment proves anything about neurological activity and objectification.

    Cutting to the chase, I was reluctant to use the ideological term “objectification” when I prefer the concise term “sexual objectification.” I don’t see how a man could look at a woman in a bikini and become sexually aroused without looking at her “body parts” or more holistically put, – “her body.”

    You observe correctly that there is no single universal way that men react or have reacted to the female body in erotic contexts. The hobgoblin of “only in American culture” sometimes broadened to “only in western culture” invariably crawls out from under the bed to make his case.

    Consider some contrary evidence. The erotic depiction of the female body sensuously entangled with the male body goes back to the relief sculptures of ancient India. The female form, albeit stylized, is remarkably similar in form and proportion to modern sexualized exemplars. The female body idealized in the sculpture of ancient Greece and Rome speaks for itself. The narrow waist, the curved hips, the firm uplifted breasts attest to an evolving consensus of what young female physical “perfection” should look like. More recently, the international dissemination of western culture has reinforced this female model mandating a preference for these features on a global scale. I would bet that as we speak, hundreds of millions of men are watching pornography on the worldwide web or looking at erotic images in magazines that reflect these standards whatever the race or ethnicity of the model on display.

    Other apparently relevant accounts of the infinite variety of human sexuality, past and present, are less helpful when they are folded into binary thinking or conflated with irreconcilable opposites. Because men often feel some arousal at the sight of women’s bare arms and shoulders, and less frequently at the sight of their hands and feet and ankles, does not validate perceiving such “body parts ” as the erotic equivalent of bare breasts (Yes, there is a spectrum). Though people can become habituated to the sight of bare breasts in certain public settings under certain conditions, we cannot expect breasts to be divested of their strong potential for male sexual arousal, whether expressed in silent fantasy, sexual harassment or violation in other settings and under other conditions. I suspect the vast majority of women will “put something on” after making a cost benefit analysis of walking topless down public streets…I could be wrong. The march of events will provide indisputable proof.

    Like

    1. Greetings Melvin,

      It seems to me that the basic disaggreement is about whether or not it is possible to normalise female breasts.
      It seems to me that there are two propositions: One being that it is not possible because men always see female breasts as sexual, and that that is a mental state that can not be changed, and the other proposition being that it is possible because men do not always see breasts as sexual, and the mental state in those who do can be changed.

      I have provided examples of real world observations that men do not always see female breasts as sexual (other cultures, American naturists), and that such a mental state can be changed (American men becoming naturists, themselves telling that their reactions to seeing breasts have changed, successfull reconditioning of phobias proving that individuals’ emotional responses to seeing something can be changed).
      This can be looked up (anthropology, many naturist sites with personal stories on the net, and neuro science and psycology).

      Gingerbread has collected two years worth of real world practical field studies, showing how real world American people react to seeing female breasts in public, and how they become more at ease with the sight each extra time they see it.

      Several people have mentioned the fact that ankles have gone from being percieved as sexual to becoming normalised, proving that an entire population and its culture can have its emotional reaction to something changed. Historians know how to dig out that information.

      Can you provide any real world examples to challenge the above?

      Cheers, Johnny 🙂

      Liked by 4 people

  10. Sorry for the mistaken identity, Chelsea. Your comment, especially the first part makes my point.
    Any woman who considers taking a bare breasted walk in the city, must weigh so many reactions ( her own and others) along with multiple conditions, constraints, rules and risks that even presuming she can can bring herself to a neutral position the preponderance of negative costs far outweigh affirmative benefits.

    Your orchestrated topless stroll through an affluent neighborhood filmed with a young gorgeous ingenue in the starring role is difficult to duplicate. Add twenty years and forty pounds, throw in copious body tattoos accessorized with fetching nipple rings and the visitors to this blog would morph into a pretty unsavory lot.

    Most women, including the growing number willing to bare their breasts on discreetly selected appropriate occasions, under appropriate conditions, and in appropriate settings still regard their breasts as PRIVATE BODY PARTS protected from indiscriminate public viewing in anonymous pedestrian places.

    Whereas we recognize the futility of trying to talk each other out of firmly held beliefs, in light of the reasons I have given in previous comments, I believe that most women will find your philosophy unpersuasive and your movement unappealing.

    I commend your attentions and appreciate your motives. Best wishes.

    Like

    1. I am more than 20 years old, and more than 40 lbs heavier, with multiple tattoos and nipple piercings as well as gauged ears and … well, you get the picture…. and I walk and hike bare chested, with no comments……. so your point there is invalid. (and this is heidi not chelsea).

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Hello !
    I am quite upset !
    I shared this article on facebook because I love it. I wrote a long personnal comment with it and I got blocked out of facebook for 3 days !!!
    !! I assume it is because the breasts on the picuture are not censored..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ema: Thank you for contacting me. Yes, I imagine you were suspended for this reason. I have had four other women tell me the same thing this morning. Is Ema a female name? I don’t want to assume. If so, interesting that it was only women who were suspended. At least, I’ve never had a man tell me his account was suspended yet. I believe someone has to flag an account or complain before Facebook will react. I don’t know though. I don’t use Facebook in protest of their female nipple policy. A supporter somewhere posted the article you received about a month ago and it has had an exciting life since then. I very much appreciate you sharing the article to your friends network. That is a big voice of support when people share it. We need men and women having this conversation together.

      I have written an article this morning in response to your message, Nipples, Social Isolation and Facebook: using shame to control women

      My hope was that I might give those suspended by Facebook something to share in response when your suspension ends. As such I have posted a photo on my blog with my back turned to the camera, which I typically don’t do, but I think the image resonates all the same and can live a long happy life on Facebook.

      I visited your blog. Are you from France? Thank you again for contacting me.

      Like

      1. WOAW !! SO COOL !!
        I didn’t expect such a response from you ! Wonderful, amazing, beautiful.
        I am a woman, my full name is Emmanuelle Duchesne, you can google my name and find a few things. 99% of my posts on facebook are public and I write mostly in English.
        You may also find my modeling website, I use to be a full time nude model for artists and photographers.

        The website I sent and you checked is under construction.
        Yes I am in France.
        I’m a ‘Slow Sex & Slow Love’ coach, mostly inspired by the principles & philosophy of Orgasmic Meditation (which I teach and practice regularly) & NLP. I studied both in the US.

        What I had writtend when I shared this article on facebook is this :
        That my breast grew beautiful and fast and generously, I had up to a E and F cup at some point.
        So at school, guys didn’t call me by my name but by the nick name they gave me : big boobs. And they also tried to touch me. Fortunaly I did practice Judo intensely and therefore could defend myself. The were pretty obsessed….

        So althought I have always loved being naked and having my breast bare naked, I remember the bullying and tend to wait and make sure it is super safe.

        Yet what you do is totally the kind of things I am into !!
        I call it ‘Being a walking permission’ by doing what I desire, I help other people do it themselves as well more easily. And we all get more free !
        These concepts actually from from the orgasmic meditation culture.

        Anyways, I love and admire what you do and it inspires me.
        I am not sure I would do the same yet, actually what I wrote was : where is this legal around where I live and do I have girl friends to do it the same day in the same city so, it helps me and brings me courage 😉

        For the same reasons I love bearded women, hairy women, etc

        Much Much Love to you !!!

        Ema

        Like

  12. Mr. Nielsen’s summary above of the controversy is fairly reasonable. Still it suffers from oversimplification, binary positions and the omission of key qualifications. Point of view means nothing unless we stipulate where it is situated. Obviously we are not watching Chelsea walking seven times around the ka’ba on a hajj to Mecca in a sea of the faithful. We are watching Chelsea in 2015 America walking alone down a street in gentrified Georgetown, emerging alone like Aphrodite from the ocean onto a yuppie east coast beach, or photographed alone on the Washington mall with another “monument” in the background. Though reactions may range from mild surprise to mild titillation with indifference carrying the day, this orchestrated performance cannot mark a decisive moment in history where one brave woman has led the female masses into bare-breasted liberation.

    Countering the ambition is not so much a matter of prudish reactionism- legal, moral, or religious- seeking to control or shame women about their bodies in order to perpetuate gender inequality pursuant to some decaying agenda of a die-hard patriarchy. The operative forces that appear to consign the experiment -the ubiquitous baring of breasts in public- to the margins are women themselves asserting their right to bodily privacy in MOST social contexts. Since the sexual-cultural revolution of the sixties, women have been offered and acted upon multiple opportunities to “normalize” bare breasts in healthy public display but the fad just hasn’t caught on. What Chelsea presents as a project to raise social consciousness and revolutionize behavior -the “philosophy and the movement”- is neither original nor compelling.

    I’ve tried to examine why I believe relevant female modesty has persisted and predominated in the bio-cultural evolution of society. We could write many volumes on the topic discussing aspects from diverse points of view. A special objection to entertaining any ambiguity between breasts-as-normal [objects] and breasts-as-sexual [objects] cites ancient cultures and the vanishing remnants of stone-age “natural” cultures as indisputable proof that we can either go back or march forward to a bare-breasted Utopia. For me the observation ironically reverses the conclusion. The cultures cited struggled under subsistence conditions where authoritarian control oppressed individual freedom of thought, speech, action or expression. Conformity was enforced with an iron hand and defiance was harshly punished usually by a patriarchal elite. The concepts of individual liberty and inalienable rights, which have underscored the women’s movement in recent decades, are modern western inventions. I see contemporary Enlightenment-grounded cultures moving rapidly toward the primacy of free choice. The fact that most women have not chosen to go bare breasted in public, emulating a small minority of their sisters, seems to indicate how most women “feel” about actually participating in the Movement. Once more I concede that future developments may prove such speculations moot.

    Like

    1. Greetings Melvin,

      practically all changes throughout history has been started by very few people.

      You still haven’t come up with any real world examples to prove that it is impossible to change the current state of affairs.

      At the base of it all your message to Gingerbread seems to be: “You shouldn’t try to change things.”

      My question is: “Why not?”

      Cheers, Johnny 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

      1. The quote misattributed to Mahatma Gandhi: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win” seems to apply here, with Chelsea (and others) encountering the ambivalence, ridicule, and resistance at the same time. Hopefully, along with other forms of equality, the end result is a victory.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. “practically all changes throughout history has been started by very few people.”

    Mr. Nielson feels that my comments have not offered real world examples to substantiate a claim, which I never made, that change is not possible regarding the ambition to normalize breasts when I’ve clearly stated that unpredictable change is inevitable in human society and that my current speculations could turn out to be wrong. No one can “prove” where the march of events is taking social consciousness and practice. We can only organize our observations into a coherent point of view that addresses the likelihood of certain outcomes.

    Especially since the sixties, society has compatibly accepted the display of breasts in discrete public places with important qualifications, limitations and constraints. ( Declining sanctions on legal, moral or religious grounds is mostly generational). Chelsea has grafted her city walks onto “healthy nudity” movements which have been around for many decades. The philosophy intends, ironically in the case of someone exposing erotic physical prowess, to “de-sexualize” breasts. Add a cupful of attenuated radical feminism mixed with the oxymoron of dimorphic egalitarianism and a pinch of New Age spiritualism, and you have a brew that only a niche female clientele will find potable. Patriarchal control and shaming, I believe, are rotting red herrings in our progressively liberated culture. It is WOMEN who are not comfortable with or receptive to the message.

    The movement itself boils down to a technique in sun bathing embellished by a handful of true believers with manifestos, bravado demonstrations, and staged photo-ops. Like Oakland (California) there is just not much there there. Women take off their tops at the beach; less frequently in city parks and sometimes while hiking or walking accompanied in semi-secluded natural settings in order to get some color. (Gingerbread fails to print a caution to her readers that sunscreen should be applied liberally to the body before exposure to sunlight. Ultraviolet can kill. A curious omission considering the focus on physical health.)

    Women defer to the ethic of modesty on bio-cultural grounds in MOST ordinary daily settings and activities for sound reasons. Modesty works reciprocally for the welfare of both men and women and thereby constitutes an implicit social contract. We may pretend to set aside the issue of sexual arousal, but we cannot set aside the paradigm of bodily privacy, the right to bodily privacy, and reflexive feelings of violation when our naked bodies are exposed to the graphic inspection of others or when we are compelled to view the exposed bodies of others. Obviously I’m opposed to the proposition that baring breasts ubiquitously without regulation in public is healthy, but I’m not telling gingerbread or other women what they should do. If social consensus moves away from my this-is-a bad-idea attitude, then so be it.

    Like

    1. We have a disconnect on language. When I refer to the normalization of the female breast, I am referring to psychological normalization, the idea that experiencing a thing repeatedly makes the effect of that thing grow weaker with each subsequent experience of it. You are incorrectly assigning me the aspiration of making bare-chestedness a social norm, which would mean that most people do it most of the time. Men running bare-chested is not the norm, but we are normalized to the sight of it. I am working to normalize the sight of the female breast, which will enable women who wish to go bare-chested (for any of the valid reasons to do so) to do so without legal or social reprisal. I’ve never said I hope or expect this behavior to become a societal norm. So when you call me naive for expecting bare-chestedness to become a norm, for all the reasons you list, your entire argument is invalid because you are arguing against something I never said and never felt. You have repeatedly misrepresented my motives and my expectations. There are many things that are legal that are not the norm. I want the law to treat men and women equally, that’s my expectation. What people do with the freedom is entirely up to them.

      You also exaggerate my position when you assign me the motivation of creating a “bare-chested utopia.” I’ve never used language even implying the creation of a utopia. You point out the “thousands” of women who have walked bare-chested before me, in some attempt to knock me off a throne I do not occupy. I have never claimed to be the first woman to do this. When commenters refer to me as a pioneer, I celebrate the true pioneers who preceded me. In fact, had you read my blog articles, you would find that I have continually acknowledged and celebrated the women who have moved topfreedom forward, and to whom I and all women who wish to go bare-chested owe a great debt.

      Finally, like your previous comment, your last line again makes the salient point. “If social consensus moves away from my this-is-a-bad-idea attitude, then so be it.” How will consensus ever shift if we aren’t allowed to try something new? If women are never allowed the chance to go bare-chested, how will anyone’s opinions of bare-chestedness change? This is precisely why this blog exists. I make contact with police, confirm the legality of going bare-chested somewhere, I go bare-chested there, and then I prove it to others by writing about the experiences and posting photos and videos. What they do with that information is up to them. I know women who want to go bare-chested. I’m trying to help them do so.

      Also I don’t only go bare-chested in “gentrified places.” Calling Brighton Beach and Coney Island Beach yuppie beaches is laughable to anyone who has ever been there. Being mindful does not mean being inauthentic or contrived.

      I’ve proven my willingness to civilly discuss difficult topics with people who disagree with me. I protect your and anyone’s right to disagree with me. But I reject your use of misrepresentation, exaggeration, hyperbole and condescension to make a straw man of my positions. Let the arguments speak for themselves and let our readers decide for themselves.

      Liked by 3 people

  14. Excellent and very brave to be bare. I have been on M Street and I have massage clients in that area ( a posh and very educated white population) and felt that was heavenly to see a bare chested female walking on M Street.
    I have been to nude clubs and felt that when you become nude , you are more aware that how your body should look. You try to exercise and be fit. And, naturalists or nudists are very clean and healthy people.

    You deserve a free massage .

    Like

  15. 15 minutes of my life I will never get back after watching this, but you got your 15 minutes of fame, so good for you.
    Most women won’t be joining you. I applaud you for standing up for what you believe, but it’s really a non-issue for the majority of women. Women by nature are private creatures and are not looking to go out in public and show it all. In fact when women come into my therapy room, I notice that most of them hide their bra and underwear under their sweaters, pants etc when they don’t even have to. It’s just what they do. No judgement. Nobody screaming for change. Go with the flow. But I don’t see this taking off big. Sorry.

    Like

    1. Hi Patt: Thank you, first of all for watching the entire video, if that’s what you mean by 15 minutes… that’s awesome. I don’t post my videos to be famous, though. I post them in fact to show the sheer number of non-reactions to my bare-chestedness, as evidence that the American public is ready for the form of equality. Many defenders of unequal laws regarding bare-chestedness claim that allowing women to go bare-chested will create disorder and upset people. I know it won’t, because I walk bare-chested often, so I decided to show this by posting unedited videos of myself appearing bare-chested in public. It took me awhile to figure out where some observers and I were disconnected on one issue, which I finally figured out a couple weeks ago. I’m not actually trying to or expecting to see female bare-chestedness be the “norm”, as in what most people do most of the time. I am trying to make it “normalize”, which is the psychological phenomena whereby a stimulus has less of an effect each time a person experiences it. I want the public to pay no more attention to a bare-chested woman than a bare-chested man. All I am hoping to achieve is that women can go bare-chested if they choose to do so. I have never told women they should do so, I only say they should be allowed to if they wish to. In fact, I’ve not heard many if any topfreedom advocates telling women to go around bare-chested. That is a personal choice, and if a woman chooses not to, great. I just assert that the law should treat women and men equally and that we should stop shaming female bodies. You say women by nature are private. Some women are private. Some are not. Expecting all women to adhere to one standard is unfair and damaging. I say we let the private women be private, no pressure to be anything other than what they wish to be, and those who wish feel free in their bodies can do so also without pressure to be other than what they are. Fair? Also, I’m not looking to make bare-chestedness “take off.” Maybe some other activists are, but I’m not. I’m looking to establish legal and social equality. What individuals do with their freedoms is entirely up to them, so long as we all have the same ones. Regarding your comment that this is a non-issue for the majority of women, I think it’s the opposite. I think the majority of women suffer or have suffered from low self esteem and poor body image, which is one of the main reasons supporters of topfreedom do this work. We are addressing the sources of shame and poor body image, one of which is entrenched inequality in the law. Another is societal expectations for females to be “modest.” But other than that, no, I’m under no misconception that the women of the world will be walking around bare-chested any time soon. Some will choose to though, and they should be allowed to walk in peace. I do appreciate your time and consideration in watching and commenting. Be well.

      Liked by 3 people

  16. I think that what you are doing here is fabulous, and just proves how unconcerned most people are about it.

    One question is why you choose to do this in winter when all the other pedestrians are wrapped up in coats. Doing topless walks on warm/hot summer days would look far more like a natural and spontaneous event rather than something that has been pre-meditated.

    That said, you do not look to be suffering from cold!

    Also I think there could be regional differences to responses – you may be able to enlighten me on that – i.e. within the US or outside it. But well done, I’m all for it and I hope your brave message spreads.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi. Thank you for writing. The walk I made through Georgetown was on a 70 degree F (21c) day in December, which is normally much colder than that. We laughed about the disparity in clothing choices around me too. I made that particular video on a whim, while waiting for Hontouni Heart to break free from work and join me on a walk through Rock Creek Park. We had the bicycle handlebar/seat camera we had used for the cycling videos from November in the truck and we thought that since we had an hour to burn let’s experiment and see what happens. So I didn’t set out to make a video really. But when we saw the footage we realized that it illustrated my point perfectly, which is that people barely notice me for the most part. I mean, certainly people notice but they don’t make these big reactions people expect when the idea is just conceptual. As far as people wearing coats, yeah it was funny to watch people wearing winter clothes just because it was December and supposed to be cold. Funny how humans work. Also, I am naturally warm blooded and am comfortable bare-chested down to about 60 degrees if there’s not too much wind. We saw six barechested men that day, two runners and four guys playing volleyball with a group of women in sports bras. As far as regional differences I imagine that would be significant depending on where a woman was. I’ve only been to Scotland in the cool Spring months so I haven’t walked bare-chested in Europe though I would love to do so in a place like Germany, the Netherlands or Denmark whose laws allow it. Just to see what people do with it. I can imagine differences in the U.S. too of course. Elsewhere in my blog you can see plenty of photos of me in warm months. Thank you for your comment. Be well.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s