Open Letter to NH House Regarding Proposal to Forbid Female Bare-Chestedness

Blog Rock Creek Park 1

Rock Creek Park, Washington D.C. December 2015.

I have e-mailed this to every New Hampshire Representative at

hreps@leg.state.nh.us.

 

Regarding New Hampshire House Bill 1525, which would amend the state’s indecent exposure law to forbid female breast exposure but not male breast exposure.

 

Dear New Hampshire Representatives:

My name is Chelsea Covington and I am writing to offer some thoughts on Representative Brian Gallagher’s House Bill 1525, seeking to amend the state’s indecent exposure statute to forbid the exposure of female breasts but not male breasts.  New Hampshire law currently treats female and male breast exposure equally.

As you probably know by now, a social movement to normalize female bare-chestedness is gaining traction across the country.  Representative Gallagher’s bill is a reaction to a peaceful action that occurred in Laconia, which has one of the few local ordinances barring female bare-chestedness in New Hampshire.

The first two articles in the New Hampshire Constitution clearly protect equalityArticle 2, Natural Rights, reads, “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by this state on account of race, creed, color, sex or national origin.”

You have each sworn an oath to protect this Constitution.

In defense of his proposed bill, Representative Gallagher was recently quoted in the Laconia Times as saying parents find it difficult to explain adult nudity to their children and are “entitled not to have an evolving standard imposed upon them.”

I pray that the deeply troubling sentiment underlying this statement is self-evident, but in case it is not, “evolving standards” have resulted in the emancipation of slaves, women’s suffrage, school desegregation and every other civil liberty citizens of our country enjoy.

To confidently declare that women’s social evolution ends here in New Hampshire is shocking, honestly.

Representative Gallagher says parents find adult nudity difficult to explain.  Female bare-chestedness is not nudity any more than male bare-chestedness is.  What parents in fact find difficult to explain is why men and women are still treated unequally in the United States.  In time female bare-chestedness will be as normal as male bare-chestedness and no one will care anymore.  Under House Bill 1525, men and women would be treated differently under the law.  Explain that to your children.

Equality is inalienable.  It is not the result of a popularity contest.  It is not subject to a referendum.  A majority cannot declare equality invalid, no matter how many “livid mothers” Representative Gallagher cites to justify his bill.  If livid mothers objected to mixed race couples walking the street, would you make that behavior illegal?

In order to justify a vote banning female bare-chestedness but not male bare-chestedness, you must declare female breasts to be primarily sexual objects, like genitals, when in fact, breasts have no primary sexual function.  Far less so than the mouth or hands, for example.  The only real sexual function breasts have is to please the man looking at them, and that is learned behavior.

Voting for House Bill 1525 would be moving The Live Free or Die State away from gender equality at a time when the nation is paying attention to equality on all fronts.

Trying to envision what public bare-chestedness would look like conceptually is difficult.  If you would like to see what it actually looks like, please visit my blog where I have posted unedited videos of me quietly and peacefully walking and riding my bicycle bare-chested in cities across the eastern U.S.  I don’t protest, carry signs or shout slogans.  I just walk.  And you will find a public virtually unaffected by my appearance.

A video of my quiet walk through Georgetown, Washington D.C.

The movement to normalize female bare-chestedness celebrates equality, body confidence, anti-shaming and civil maturity, not wanton sexuality and exhibitionism.  Women have been made to feel shame about our bodies for the entire existence of our great nation and we are standing up and declaring an end to it.

Will you vote to amend a law that enables equality in favor of one that mandates inequality?

Thank you,

Chelsea Covington

breastsarehealthy@gmail.com

http://www.breastsarehealthy.wordpress.com

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24 thoughts on “Open Letter to NH House Regarding Proposal to Forbid Female Bare-Chestedness

  1. I sincerely hope you post any and all replies to your email you receive, and identify the respondents.

    Keep up the good work. I look foreard to the time you tackle Arizona.

    Dr Quin

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. Arizona apparently already has legal language that forbids female bare-chestedness. New Hampshire does not. So it’s a different challenge to try to get a politician to sponsor a bill legalizing female bare-chestedness. But as there are a number of states with this situation, if we can unlock that process it will certainly get interesting. Currently I believe a person must show “harm” to challenge the constitutionality of a law, meaning you have to actually be arrested or punished by a bad law. I guess it’s like those antiquated laws that no one enforces. The courts don’t want to hear about how such and such a state doesn’t allow dancing on Sundays. So if a woman is arrested in Arizona and charged with indecent exposure for merely baring her breasts, she then has standing to challenge the law. Until then, it is a legislative process and requires a brave politician to craft and sponsor a bill to include gender equal language. I’ve got my hands full right now but if this ever happens to anyone let me know and I will help as I am able. Thank you for commenting.

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    1. Thank you. I’ve already received some promising replies, and one terse one from the bill’s sponsor. One representative explained the New Hampshire legislative process to me and I believe he will keep me informed on the bill’s progress, and I will let you all know.

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  2. This has been posted by me all over facebook…….. and I will continue to repost it. I am drafting up my letter, and will be at any open talks they have on this. Others here in NH are also writing and I’m sure once my court case has been won that will make a HUGE difference in how this will go. Mr. Gallagher does not stand a chance.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very well put! All of your expressions are pure logic and anyone thinking different is thinking from an irrationally wrong sexual connotation. You can’t even jump on a religious stance since there is no references in the Bible against female bare-chestedness either. Beautiful message! I do hope those that need to listen, hear your message!

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    1. Thank you George. I appreciate your time and support. I get the sense that a lot of people will be contacting the New Hampshire House on this topic which is great. I encourage it, as I encourage people to remain polite and professional when presenting their points of view to these lawmakers. People feeling fear cannot listen anymore. Keep your listener calm and he or she may actually hear you. Thanks again!

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  4. This is a wonderful and very well written letter. You have a great blog and I appreciate you taking the time to support us in NH. I am one of the women who organized the event this past summer at Hampton Beach along with Heidi. I’ve been meaning to get in touch with you, so expect an email! Maybe this summer we will have a chance to meet if you ever travel to NH or I to DC. I am very curious about the replies that you have received.

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    1. Thank you and thank you for getting in touch. I was hoping you would both eventually find me, or I you. I’m sorry I missed Hampton Beach. It was rainy, I remember, and I had to make a decision so I had to drive right by. I was bummed though. I did have a good phone conversation with law enforcement at Otter Brook just outside Keene though. Very professional crew there and they confirmed I could go bare-chested at the Army Corp beach area or in Keene itself, of course, because it’s legal. But it’s nice to have that confirmation. Please feel free to e-mail me. And we will definitely meet this spring or summer I suspect. Maybe sooner, as I plan to attend public comment on HB 1525.

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      1. A quick update on this bill in case anyone missed it. The public hearing is on Monday February 29. We hope to have lots of supporters show up.

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  5. Well I may reblog this post. But for now I will leave this comment. The reason this bill is even being considered is because of backlash against the Topless movement that i know has been in New Hampshire several times over the last couple of years. Then again this could be the work of some busybody. This law is going to be hard to fight, especially for the males in New Hampshire. If they disagree with with they will be seen as perverts who want to look at women’s breasts, or as lazy men who don’t care about what their constituents wants. Sadly enough there is almost no way the men in the New Hampshire legislation can win in this. Make sure you send this letter to the women in the New Hampshire legislation and ask for their support. Use feminism if you wish. But sadly considering the natural jealousy that older women towards younger women when it comes to body image I am not sure how well you may do with the ladies any more then with the men.

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    1. Hi William: Thank you for taking the time to comment. I have been receiving replies from New Hampshire Representatives, all male so far, expressing strong support for gender equality and for women to appear bare-chested where men can do so. So I think those men in the legislature who support gender equality and can speak eloquently on that topic are already winning. The real issue here though is that this statute would violate the New Hampshire Constitution. Equality is one of those things that you can’t vote to repeal, if you are actually upholding your sworn oath to protect that constitution. It doesn’t really matter if constituents think a woman is right or wrong to bare her breasts, because it is our inalienable, permanent right to be treated equally under the law. I think a lot of the legislators already know this, based on what I am receiving in response to my e-mail. I’m hopeful anyway, and we will continue to educate them.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hello ginger bread don’t u think enough is enough what is your real name so this is all about women lib what you are doing is nuts crazy but I can’t agree on what you doing because to me its wrong I have talked to other women about u they said it was crazy some them said worst thing one thing I do the president would not past that bill

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        1. Hello Maurice. I’m glad you decided to visit my blog finally. It’s hard to express myself on Twitter. Yes part of my mission is to establish this form of gender equality, or what is sometimes insultingly referred to as women’s lib. I feel women and men should be treated equally under the law. As should people of different races be treated equally legally and socially. The same things you say about me, (enough is enough, I’m crazy, I’m wrong etc) people say about the struggle to establish equal rights for African-Americans. Equality means equality for everyone. In our Twitter conversations you use a lot of language that says to me you feel men and women are not and should not be equal under the law. I disagree. I think we should all be treated equally by the law. You also use words that sound like you feel you control “your” women, for example the time you told me if I was your woman you would be damned if you would let me walk around with my breasts exposed. You also asked me how my husband feels about me walking bare-chested, which could be a valid question, or could be implying that a man must approve what I do before I do it. You say enough is enough. I’m curious, when will women have enough freedoms in our country? When will African-Americans be treated well enough that we can stop seeking better treatment and opportunity? I’m not satisfied with what I see around me. A lot of other people aren’t either. Are you?

          Liked by 1 person

  6. I like your letter very much. But I don’t agree with or like this sentence: “The only real sexual function breasts have is to please the man looking at them, and that is learned behavior.” A woman’s breasts can be a source of sexual pleasure for her, not just for a man. Of course, the fact that breasts can be a source of sexual pleasure to their owners is not dispositive, since men’s nipples can be a source of sexual pleasure for men, and other parts of our body, like our earlobes, for example, can also be a source of sexual pleasure, but both men’s nipples and earlobes of either gender cause no one any concern in our society. Your broader point, that breasts are not inherently or primarily sexual in function, is the important thing.

    The sentence I quoted is also heterocentric, and I fear may unwittingly suggest that women’s bodies are meant primarily for men’s sexual pleasure, which I’m sure you didn’t intend.

    Just something to think about for future appeals. Keep up the good work!

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    1. Thank you LP, I thought long and hard about that heterocentric issue actually when I wrote the sentence. I stared at it quite awhile and thought, women like to look at breasts too (I do), and then I went back and forth about it, I wrote it both ways, reread it, and worried that it would trigger another set of anxieties in some readers’ minds, like is this appeal about same sex marriage or gender equality? Too much change at once! In the course of this learning curve I’ve been experiencing, I have found a common and abiding fear about how men in particular react to seeing breasts. Case in point, quoting from a 2012 article in the Young Wife’s Guide, a blog, on why women should be modest in appearance, “We should be concerned about the teenage boys in our youth groups, and the men across the pew, and the pastors in charge of our congregation. Are we making it difficult for them to stay pure at church and at Bible study?” Translated, as I read it, be modest because men can’t control themselves and you will trip them up. I think that is completely untrue. I am sensitive to the importance of language and to the value of inclusion. If you have read some of my other articles or comment replies you will see that I refer to “all genders,” for example, not just “both genders.” I do this to include intersexed people, transitioning people, etc. The reality is that I have never heard anyone say if women walk around bare-chested, lesbians will lose control of themselves. No one has ever voiced that fear in my presence. I have heard that fear voiced about men a lot. Thank you for pointing out the fact that my sentence was heterocentric. I knew it when I wrote it and I struggled with it. But I chose, and I own this, I chose to go that way because I wanted to make the point that breasts do not have a PRIMARY sexual function, only this learned, conditioned visual function and the secondary sexual function of pleasurable sensation just as mouths, ear lobes, and buttocks do of all genders, and that really in the power struggle it boils down to this assumption that men cannot control themselves around breasts and that because they cannot control themselves, and sex is all men think about, breasts become defacto primary sexual objects like penises and vaginas. And for that reason, women cannot go bare-chested, because of men’s brains. It’s a bogus argument on many levels, but it recurs and I wanted to anticipate it in my letter. Anyway, please understand that inclusion nests in my frontal lobe and when I use non-inclusive language that I have struggled over it and made a decision to use the words I have. With THAT said, please continue to watch over me. I can’t do this alone.

      Liked by 2 people

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