Ocean City, Maryland and Topfreedom

Ocean City 3
Ocean City, Maryland, Summer 2016. One of the 30 or so times I’ve gone bare-chested in Ocean City in the last three summers, without arrest or police interaction.

 

Anticipating increased visitorship here thanks to another round of local media attention that escalated to an interview with the Washington Post this afternoon, I offer this update.

Ten months ago, the Office of the Attorney General of Maryland accepted a request to issue an opinion on the legality of female bare-chestedness from the Worcester County State’s Attorney.  Worcester County is where the beaches of Ocean City, Maryland, Assateague State Park and Assateague National Seashore are situated.  The State’s Attorney and I had exchanged several E-mails and phone calls before he made his request in August, 2016.

This opinion is a big deal because it will carry the weight of the top attorney for the governments of Maryland.

The original opinion request was worded to ask if female toplessness was legal in Maryland, but I think because it obviously is, at some point the wording on the opinion request was changed to examine whether a local ordinance that treated genders differently would be unconstitutional.

This is an important distinction.  The first question is frankly easy.  There are no laws making female bare-chestedness illegal in Maryland.  That is plainly obvious and has finally been acknowledged this month by the Ocean City Beach Patrol and Ocean City Police Department in statements made to the local press.   (Apparently this came up because three women, none of whom were me, were seen sunbathing bare-chested in Ocean City last weekend and an observer inquired to a beach patrol crew member about the legality of it and received a response that “there’s nothing we can do about it.”)

Somehow this got to the local reporter, Shawn Soper, Maryland Coast Dispatch, who I respect more and more as a professional journalist, who wrote a story complete with a confirmation from the head of the beach patrol that they had “been advised” to not approach “topless sunbathers.”  This seems to imply some communication from a higher authority, but I haven’t heard anything from the State’s Attorney or OAG directly yet.

Anyway, the second phrasing of the question is much more forward-looking and anticipates what the OAG thinks the high court of Maryland would rule in the event a local government attempted to pass a discriminatory law (think Fort Collins, Colorado or Springfield, Missouri last year, two cities that both lost in federal courts in 2016 after attempting to make female bare-chestedness illegal.)

The Attorney General’s Office said it would have an opinion issued in 3-9 months, but my last correspondence with them in May brought news that they were not yet finished with the opinion document and would not be issuing it before the 9 months passed.

That leaves all of the parties in this conversation in a strange limbo.   But it appears that the local authorities have finally accepted that Maryland law allows female bare-chestedness.  And that’s a significant win.  Now we wait to hear if the OAG thinks local governments can make discriminatory laws.

Stay tuned for more.

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158 thoughts on “Ocean City, Maryland and Topfreedom

  1. Good to at least see the wheels turning. As you rightly reference the Ft. Collins and Springfield cases, cities are going to have to weight the effort of prosecuting top free women vs the reward. Knowing it will likely land in federal court. Precedence has been set by two courts. It’s not worth the money to go forward with prosecution.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I have been following your website since the ABC World News Weekend broadcast story about your Ocean City activism.
      The comedian Chelsea Handler routinely posts photographs, her Netflix series being bare chested spoofing Vladimir Putin, Kim Kardashian etc. You should go on her program to promote your cause. Tape an episode on an O.C. beach and In the process you could get the Mayor of Ocean City knickers in a knot.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I didn’t even know ABC World News covered the story. That’s wild. I tell you, Ocean City did more to raise awareness in one Saturday meeting than I have been able to do in three years. I guess for that I owe them a thank you 🙂 . And Chelsea Handler is awesome. Joking aside though, I really look forward to the day when this is all boring again and I can go back to being anonymous. This was never about me, but I understand that people are interested in who I am and what this is about. Still, I do look forward to quiet again. Not enough to quit though 😉

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        1. In reading your website you and other women have good reason to be upset being treated as 2nd class citizens being bare chested. Here in Illinois it is legal, except Chicago requires “pasties”. My late mother used to complain to no end during the summer as her brassier elastic itched, sweaty making her miserable. I suggest that you continue your public activism with your girlfriends until it as “normal” for you as it is for us boys. Keep up your good work.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Wishing you — and everyone else in the state — the best towards a positive and just outcome!

    I did have to admit to stifling a giggle at the mention of “you have to wait 9 months.” Is that the time required for a pregnant (legal) pause?

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  3. The legal establishment is obviously not used to the confluence of scholarly legal arguments presented in support of public bare breasts.

    I remember a legal kerfuffle some time back over thong bikinis, where the authorities held sway in that they cannot be worn in Ocean City, MD.

    All the best to you and your campaign.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. this is really great news Chelsea. Really glad to hear things are working well down your way.
    Keep good wishes coming in the NH direction please. I will email you soon.
    I’m proud of all that you do and proud to know you.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. It’s great to finally hear from you again Chelsea. I was wondering what had happen to my favorite bare-chested champion.
    I truly hope that the legal wheels start turning in behalf of the people. What’s right is right.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Sadly, this just showed up on Ocean City’s Facebook page:

    “Despite what is being circulated on social media, the Town of Ocean City is not a topless beach and will not become a topless beach. The intent of the policy that is being reported on was strictly for our Beach Patrol employees. We want our lifeguards to have their eyes on the ocean, as the safety of our swimmers is their first priority. Our police department, on the other hand, will respond to calls from the Beach Patrol and complaints from our beach patrons, should any activity of toplessness occur. We have received dozens of phone calls, read thousands of comments and answered numerous emails from our residents and visitors expressing their concerns. We assure you we share those concerns and intend to do whatever is necessary to prevent this from happening on our beach, or in any public area in Ocean City.”

    So, it seems that someone still hasn’t gotten the message.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No worries, John. Ultimately it won’t matter what the comment sections on Facebook or in the local newspapers say…it will come down to what a judge says. All the rest is just people venting. Thats an important part of this too. People need time to adjust. Each time someone is exposed to the idea it is one more step closer to normalizing. Thank you for sending this to me. I have already forwarded it to my team. No surprises yet. Be well. C

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Ocean City, MD is a FAMILY resort. I personally do not want to see, nor do I want my young grandsons exposed to topless women on the beach. Have some self respect. I can see why the girl in the picture took her top off. It’s the only way she could get somebody to look at her.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t tell from your post what your gender is, so I will just say a generic welcome to my blog and thank you for taking the time to share your feelings. I ask you simply to sit with what you yourself are exposing your grandsons too, at least based on the content of your post here. Your last line has two troubling concepts to me, the first is an assumption that a woman’s worth is judged by hoe much attention she gets for her appearance, and the second is to demean my own beauty or lack thereof. So while you are concerned about your grandsons seeing a woman who feels comfortable in her body and appreciates it as the gift it is, you are not apparently concerned about exposing them to your own prejudices about where a woman’s worth and self respect derive. Breasts are not harmful to children. In fact they are used to feed and comfort children. What is harmful to familirs is perpetuating mysogyny and antiquated ideas about women amd their sexuality and attempting to shame those who reject inequality amd bullying. Again, I do thank you for taking the time to share your feelings. Be well.

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      1. It takes some nerve to tell a grandmother that she is exposing her grandsons to prejudice because she doesn’t want them seeing bare breasted females on the beach. I myself believe in the beauty of the female body and I believe that women should NEVER EVER be ashamed of it. That being said, I certainly wouldn’t want to be called a “hater” simply because I want to make the choice for my grandson, When he is older, he can go to any beach and look at anything he wants. Too many times in our society, we don’t take responsibility for what we expose (for lack of better words) children to in a less appropriate way for what they are developmentally able to handle. It is not about breasts being “bad” etc, but keeping a family resort as what it is intended to be: a family resort and a parent having the opportunity to expose their child to body parts in what the parent perceives to be the right way for their child. You cannot possibly believe that a family resort is the place for partial nudity. And please do not compare this situation to men’s bare chests, they are not even remotely similar lol! You want your rights as a woman respected. What about the rights of parents?

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        1. Thank you for responding. Are you aware that Ocean City has the largest bar in the eastern United States as measured by alcohol sales? And that nearly half of all violence has alcohol intoxication as a contributing factor?,, And that there are restaurants in town called the Bearded Clam, Big Peckers, Brass Balls Saloon, BJ’s on the Water and Hooters? Ocean City is more than happy to cash in on bawdy sexuality and demeaning imagery and the families you hold up as some standard of decorum eat it up. But when a woman says she would like to simply be comfortable on a hot day it is suddenly a crisis of morality? Ocean City is also a center of human trafficking and prostitution, underage binge drinking, pedestrian fatalities and assaults. Ocean City does not care about protecting families, it cares about separating those families from their money. Profit is not a justification for violating constitutional protections. As far as children being developmentally able to handle breasts… Children suckle breasts. Children knead and fondle and twiddle breasts and nipples. These are comforting things for them to do. It is adults who tend to be developmentally unable to navigate the tired stereotypes associated with female breasts. You say male and female breasts are not remotely the same… But males have breast tissue. Males can have protruding breasts, males can lactate, males get breast cancer. If a male takes hormone treatments, that tissue protrudes as is common in females. Male chests can also be very sexually attractive for women and men to look at. I know it is easier to draw a clear line between men and women but that line does not actually exist. I know that freaks people out. And I ask you to really sit with this… that people who ask how they are supposed to explain a barechested women to a child are not as uncomfortable with a child seeing a breast as they are in explaining why the rules are different for men and women. Because how can one possibly explain that without casting women as second class? Children understand fairness and unfairness. Rules that start with “women shall not” are not fair. Any child would understand that, even if some adults don’t.

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          1. I’m fully aware of the shortcomings of my town. There are many, just like a lot of other places in our country. Our society in general has too many crises to count. That being said, do not feel a false sense of pride that you are somehow empowering women. You are not helping those who live here or just come for a family vacation. You are clearly only thinking of yourself. Societal change should benefit the whole, not just one/very small group. You failed to answer my question about the rights of others. I’m not referring to businesses or corporations, but the average person, or people , who make up a community. Are you educated in child development? Are you educated enough, or in a position to prove that children are developmentally and perfectly comfortable seeing bare breasts. NOT for purposes of providing something natural and healthy for babies but, just “because?” P.s. I AM educated and have history of child development, family and education. So I’m pretty sure, although I’m not an expert by any means, that I can accurately discuss some of these topics. You clearly feel you are second class and are trying to prove some point. Bravo. NO ONE can make me feel any less of a person or equal unless I allow it. You are sending the message that women ARE second class and, by showing our breasts, we are empowered. No thanks. I can feel confident and proud in many other ways. I would suggest using your energy and finding a way to empower women that is positive…make a difference without negativity all because you feel uncomfortable with a bathing suit top on.

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            1. Thank you again for continuing our conversation. I will answer your question in direct language, as my implied answer did not resonate. Constitutions are floors, not ceilings. They guarantee what rights we all have, guaranteed. State constitutions can provide more protection than the US Constitution. In Maryland, our constitution guarantees gender equality without exception. No exceptions means no exceptions. Parents feeling uncomfortable is not an exception. Confused children is not an exception. Tourism is not an exception. Upset grandmothers, not an exception. No exceptions. Period. When this became activism for me is when I asked, quite politely, professionally and calmly I might add, does this guarantee mean women can go barechested in Maryland… And just for asking the question I began receiving abuse and threats and attempts to shame me. So it was actually the fact that I dared assert equality that made some people react with fear and anger. No one possibly cares enough about boobs to warrant all of this national attention, but people do care about attempts to shift power. With that said, please share with us what you feel will happen to say, a ten year old boy who sees a barechested woman swimming and minding her business…keeping in mind that this behavior is a cultural norm in Europe, which has voted females as presidents and prime ministers, has more pay equity and guarantees of gender equality under law, maternity and paternity leave and higher rates of general happiness than we do here. Im not claiming barechestedness causes all these good things, but it isn’t harming anyone there or impeding progress. Many places in the US already have barechested women appearing in public. The fact that you might be unaware of them is an indication that it is a very small deal. If people were actually being harmed by this behavior, we would have plenty of examples of how. There exist several important studies however about how overly sexualized societal views of female breasts in the US directly and causally discourage breastfeeding. I included one of these studies in my brief to the Attorney General. It is such an easy thing to dismiss all of this by saying I’m just seeking attention. Ask yourself this please, what if I am not seeking attention, what if I actually just believe so much in this principle that I am willing to walk right through the middle of Washington DC barechested to bring this inequity to light? What then? I will talk issues all day. I’ve proven that. But don’t take the easy way out and wave me off as an attention seeker. Top freedom activists by and large are sophisticated, eloquent and strong people, of all genders, who feel sincerely about our belief that equality means equality, no exceptions. Exceptions mean trouble for our society, exceptions create dissent, injustice and violence far more than the discomfort of talking about boobs with family members.

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            2. Chelsea already responded at length to your many questions on the substance. I will add just two observations.

              First, you said you feel proud and confident in many other ways. That is terrific for you. (I’m not being dismissive–sincerely, that’s a great thing.) But I don’t see the connection between that and denying other women the right or ability to be proud and confident in their bodies, in the midst of a society that for the large part objectifies and shames them for their bodies. The point of those advocating equality here is not to urge other women to go topless–if you choose not to, that is your choice, one to be respectes. Rather, the point is that all women should get to exercise choice, and their choices should be respected too.

              Second, you suggested in yojr last sentence that Chelsea is going to exceptional lengths all because she is uncomfortable with a bathing suit top on. As an outside observer (albeit one who has a clear view on one side of this debate), it strikes me that those who share your view, including those in power in Ocean City, are actually going to extraordinary lengths because you and they are uncomfortable with whether Someone Else might not have a bathing suit top on. That seems like a much more distant, inconsequential thing to get so worked up over.

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            3. hi, I appreciate your thoughts and concerns on this subject, and I’d like to respond from my personal thoughts and experiences.
              I do not have an education in child development, family and education, however I do have children, adult children. I will admit, it is not their favorite thing in the world to bring their friends to the house or to the beach knowing that their mom is most likely going to be top free. But, has it harmed them, or their friends in any way? No, in no way have they or their friends ever been harmed, since day one these kids have seen me sitting in the back yard with my breasts bared. My younger friends who have children who are also top free (and I also have nudist friends who have raised their children in nudist environments and now their children are adults) no, they are in no way harmed and in many instances are much more socialized and in more ways emotionally advanced than their peers. So, no, I do not have a formal education in those areas, but I do have personal life experience in those areas in regards to top freedom and nudist environments and adult and young adults who have grown up in that type of environment.
              In regards to your statement or comment about finding ways to empower women that is positive, I’m going to give a quote from an article from Huff Post.
              “Surprisingly, there is no common definition of women’s empowerment. In fact, the word “empowerment” does not exist in most languages. Although the phrase “women’s empowerment” is used pervasively in the Gender Equality & Women’s Empowerment space (and beyond), it is generally in the context of issues — economic empowerment, political participation, and girls’ education.”
              Yes, there are ways to reach out to women, and girls, and others to empower women, there is no doubt about that, other than to remove tops, I will not disagree with you on that point one bit. Again, quoting from the same article : ” Empowerment is the process of increasing the capacity of individuals or groups to make choices and to transform those choices into desired actions and outcomes.”
              These are the things that Chelsea and I, and women and girls like us do. we make encourage women to make choices to help to change the things that WE can change. To transform the things that we can change.
              We are not asking you to like these things, we are not asking you to participate if that is not your thing. We are only asking that you look at the in-equality in this society and see where the power lies, and to see where the changes can and must be made. If we as women do not stand together, then the changes can and will not be made.
              Do you honestly feel that as a 56 yr old, fat lady with saggy, uneven breasts I WANT to go to a public beach and bare her breasts? Let me tell you I do not go there for attention, I go there and do this to make a change. A change in the way our world looks at equality. A change in the way our society looks at breasts. A change at the way our society sexualizes a female breast and not sexualizing a male breast in the same manner. A change in the hidden thoughts in our minds that makes us fear a woman’s breast; why are we so afraid to see a naked female breast, and yet to see on a billboard the cleavage that we use to sell every product that every person consumes every day.
              Again, I thank you for your opinions on this topic. And again, I am not an educated person, just your average mom who loves to try to make a difference when I can.
              Blessings.

              Liked by 2 people

            4. Drawing on your “extensive experience” please provide credible concrete evidence of when, where, and how children, or even one child was harmed by seeing female breasts on a beach. Do you have references to scientific studies on the harmful effects to children by seeing female breasts? If so pleases share them.

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  8. I am a fairly liberal person. However, I disagree on the issue of nudity. I decide what my children are exposed to…not you. Some things are just meant to remain private. Why do you need me and my children to see your breasts? Should we allow people to have sex in public next? Should my children be exposed to that as well? Be naked in your home…be naked in your backyard…but you have no right to force that on others. Ocean City is for families. I will make sure that I write a letter letting those making this decision know that they will lose a lot of business if they allow this.

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    1. Hi Lauren. Thank you for writing amd sharing your thoughts and concerns. Female bare-chestedness is no more or less “nude” than male bare-chestedness. By your definition, men have been forcing others to see them bare-chested for almost a century. Also, in fact, as parents we don’t actually decide what our children are exposed to entirely, not even mostly. The constitutions of our federal and state governments are floors, and guarantee us all certain rights, liberties and protections. No matter how strongly a parent feels against, say, interracial marriage, that parent can’t keep people of different races from marrying each othrt, strolling hand in hand or kissing in public just because she doesnt want her children “exposed” to that behavior. You may not feel the gravity I feel about this topic, but yhe fact remains that men are afforded a right that women are not, and I don’t think it’s right to force your parenting style on my constitutional protection of equality under the law. Constitutional rights are not popularity contests. We don’t take a poll to see what percentage of a population thinks women should get a vote. Women get a vote. Period. No amount of objection can remove the right to vote. As to writing letters and taking your business elsewhere, that is all your right as an American, but please understand that Ocean City is not “allowing toplessness” as some keep characterizing it. Women are asserting our right to do this over the objections of Ocean City officials and we have all asked the Attorney General to offer an opinion to settle the disagreement. I say women have a constitutional guarantee of equal protection, Ocean City says they don’t care about the constitution, they care about tourism dollars and that tourism dollars are more important than the constitution. Time will tell. But “those making this decision” is the Attorney General of Maryland who hopefully has no financial interest in the question, and possibly eventually the high court of Maryland. I doubt either entity will put a lot of weight on where you take your business when opining on equal protection, but they may. I’m not being flip. They may consider financial factors, I just don’t think they should. And finally, Ocean City being a municipality and public space is not just “for families.” It is for everyone, and everyone is to be treated equally under the law and be given equal accomodation to the public spaces of Maryland, which includes beaches, parks, sidewalks and streets. They belong to all of us equally. Ocean City has used the family beach thing as a publicity tool. It does not set a legal standard. Imagine if they declared themselves the beach for Orioles fans. It just means that is who they target, not who gets preferential rights and priveleges in the town itself. I understand this is new and scary but it really doesn’t have to be. People keep asking what next, what next… equality is what next. All people being treated equally under the law. That’s the goal. The fact that it is so difficult for people to accept shows me how important this issue is. I really do appreciate your time. I encourage you to read through my blog. You will find that I am a patient, non inflammatory writer who does not antagonize or incite people. I have written articles on all the questions you pose here. Thank you. Be well.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. I understand your desire to protect your kids from what you feel are bad influences. You say that “some things are just meant to remain private”, but since when are breasts meant to remain private? Until recently mothers routinely breastfed babies in public and even in church during mass, Little girls didn’t cover their chest on the beach, and still don’t in many countries.

      I believe that covering breasts is a very negative model for children. If you demand that breasts always be covered in public, in effect you are “forcing” my kids to see the models that you prefer. My kids should not be forced to see only the kinds of models that you want.

      I don’t demand that women must uncover their breasts in public, and if a woman wants to cover up, then she should only be allowed to cover up in her own home or backyard. I’m sorry that the sight of breasts displeases anybody, I really am, but you should respect my freedom and my preferences as much as I respect yours.

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    3. Hi Lauren,
      As a fellow mom (and also in Maryland), I’m very confused by your jump from bare chestedness to sex as if the two are inextricably related. I would urge you to reconsider that imaginary link lest you inadvertently pass it on to your children.
      Part of the perpetuation of sexual assault normalization and rape culture in this country is because our children are being raised to see breasts and think “sex.” How much better and safer would they be if barechestedness was normalized? If my son walked by a bare-chested woman on the beach and didn’t think twice? If my daughter did the same, and knew that her body and her body autonomy are safe and protected under the law?
      So, truly, if your children are your primary concern here, think of what you’re REALLY exposing them to (misogyny, inequality, hypersexuality, body shame, it goes on) when you try to limit exposing them to female chests.

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    4. I agree totally with Lauren. I don’t care how Chelsea tries to justify her desire to display her breasts, to me, I just see a woman who needs attention…..badly. I mean, she can’t actually be proud to walk around with those little boobies hanging out, can she? Anyway, would someone please pay attention to her while her top is on so she can stop crying out for people to look at her?

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      1. Thank you for writing. The tone and contentt of your comment actually does more to illustrate why this work is important than you probably realize. It can be difficult sometimes to connect the ideas of body shaming and inequality by simply stating they exist, but it makes it much easier to understand when people can see it themselves. For example, I’ve never heard anyone claim a shirtless man is doing it for attention, but even when a man is clearly doing it for attention (think about the end of a soccer match when the star of the team rips his shirt off and runs around the field) this is still a positive, powerful act. Second, it is almost like reading a script sometimes that detractors will attempt to shame some part of a women’s body to get her to shrink back into hiding, your breasts are small (because big is better), they sag (because real breasts don’t sag), they are unequal sizes (asymmetry is a negative) etc etc etc. But then we also see what anxiety it creates in people to see how these attempts at insults are powerless now. I see through them. I understand people are nervous about the changes coming at us. Change can be unsettling. I get it. But I am proud of how many women are becoming immune to this particular style of bullying. I enjoy the strength in my body and am thankful for it. What people think of my beauty, symmetry, firmness, whatever… immaterial. And it feels wonderful. So thank you… I appreciate you taking the time to visit and write. I hope you will ponder your feelings on women and inequality and read through my blog with an open mind. If not, I still wish you well.

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    5. I agree with you. This woman is only thinking of herself. She is not doing this to somehow “save” or help all of us downtrodden women here. She does not take into ANY consideration what is appropriate for children. She’s one of the things wrong with our society.

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      1. You are setting up a straw woman… You exaggerate my positions and claim to defeat or dismiss them, when I don’t hold them. I don’t speak for all women. Never claimed to. I don’t expect even most women to ever go barechested. I think about children every day and am deeply committed to my community and my own family. Again, I ask you to state specific harm that will come from a child seeing a bare breast in a non sexual setting. Just a breast. The average age of first exposure to pornography is six years old now. Six. As a society we allow our children to see hyper sexualized, unrealistic female bodies, and form their expectations of what women should look like from these images. But we don’t allow them to see actual women, with uneven breasts or stretch marks or sagging skin or whatever. Our girls grow up thinking they have to look like porn stars (research how porn viewing is affecting girls self esteem and sexuality) and boys thinking they can treat women like they see them being treated in pornography. It is a national disaster. I am fighting for women to have a choice, which is guaranteed them under the constitution to enjoy an act, for whatever reasons they choose, that men freely do every day.

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        1. “The average age of first exposure to pornography is six years old now. Six. As a society we allow our children to see hyper sexualized, unrealistic female bodies, and form their expectations of what women should look like from these images.” “Our girls grow up thinking they have to look like porn stars (research how porn viewing is affecting girls self esteem and sexuality) and boys thinking they can treat women like they see them being treated in pornography. It is a national disaster.”

          I agree with both of these sentences. I don’t see how passing a football on the beech topless does anything to fix these problems, however. I understand you want equality, but I don’t think what you’re doing will help our children be less sexualized. You can’t keep marketing sex and then throw in some equality boobs and expect it to all wash out in the end. The fact is, boobs are sexualized and marketed in this country. You can’t address one problem without addressing the other. I don’t think anyone should feel their rights are being infringed on in a free country, but I can also acknowledge that a bunch of topless women running around in a country bombarded by a sexual marketing machine every hour of every day probably isn’t the best way to address how we’ve been conditioned to see breasts. You say, normalizing, I say, fueling the fire…

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          1. Thank you for writing. I think your language implies the bias I am working to correct. Saying things like “a bunch of toplessness women running around” immediately diminishes the idea, and satirizes the act of going barechested in the imagery of a Benny Hill episode. Topless men are rarely if ever demeaned this way. We will all have our thoughts about how to address inequalities. Mine is simple. Treat everyone equally under the law. That’s a good start. One set of rules for everyone.

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            1. That’s a pretty generic responce to what I think are legitimate points. Let’s swap running around with tossing a football. I’m sure you can agree that’s a normal activity you want to be free to do while topless??? How again, does that help address the issue of hyper sexulized children and young adults, whom you identified yourself as a “national disaster”? You keep bringing up topless men. I get it, but it seems like deflection. VS doesn’t pop up on my feed 3 times a day pushing a new extreme cleavage bra for men… Seems to me you’re expelling a lot of energy on something that’s not the root issue. I’m not saying you’re wrong, but I think you’re putting the cart before the horse.

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              1. I don’t think I used the term hyper sexualized children, did I? I’m not being combative or dismissive, I’m just making sure we are using the same terms. I think (and I am on my phone where I can’t readily see the thread). I think I said that the female breast is hyper sexualized by which I mean that the breast has become so artificially associated with sexual behavior and titillating, fetishized in fact, that it is creating a social and legal imbalance in how we treat males and females under indecency laws. My point about children and pornography exposure is that this relentless barrage of sexualized images forms a person’s expectations of themselves and others. There are some bleak studies coming out about how adolescent and young adult sexual it and sexual behavior is being shaped by pornography. As this relates to breasts and top freedom, in my mind, is that girls and boys both seem to be forming their expectations of what women’s bodies are supposed to look like from highly altered images and models. One of the things people use to try to silence top freedom activists is to demean the activists breasts, shape, beauty, symmetry, size, sagginess, pick your standard. They post comments saying the women who go barechested aren’t anyone you would want to see barexhested, as if our motivation is to please the commenter. But by going non sexually barechested, people get to see what real human breasts look like. I think this is very challenging to some people, frankly, to see the difference between fantasy and real life. But in doing so, girls and women get to see that they are not deficient in some way, that we don’t have to spend our lives trying to please men visually, that we don’t have to compete constantly with other women for those male gazes, that we aren’t shameful or dirty because we were born into female bodies, and that our bodies should not be considered always sexual, which is how rape defense often works… Claiming a victim has some blame because she did not cover herself adequately, and so on. Men toss footballs barechestedness. Men paint their school name on their chest and flex for the cameras, attention seeking. Few blame them for it. It is just so ingrained that they have this right. My push back about your language was just to ask you to be aware of how words demean a thing. I like that you are holding me to a high standard regarding my logic. And to tell the truth, there is so much going on right now that I find myself making some inexact messages sometimes. So I take no offense when someone makes a logical rebuttal. This is how we move forward. Let’s just stay above the belt as we debate. Fair? I would like to hear more about why you think a non-sexually barechested woman contributes to sexualizing society… If you are willing to continue. Thank you.

                Liked by 1 person

                1. I have to say, the comments (which I rarely read in the papers and such any longer) regarding “who would want to see those on the beach” actually made me feel stronger and better about myself. The negativity of how demeaning the people were made me want to show more and more that real people, real honest to god bodies are what is what life and breasts are all about. Not what we see on the magazine stands and the billboards across the country. Those things we see are so digitalized, and although they now make “real” barbies they are still so far away from the “real” body types that are out there in reality that kids do not get to see what is real. So, the negativity I read in the papers kept me going for quite some time.

                  Liked by 2 people

              2. To complete my thought, imagine if someone put a box on a table and said that it was illegal to see what was in the box. Let’s say it was just an orange but because it is forbidden, it would create such an obsession with the contents of that box that it would create an economic market to see inside. So then imagine a marketeer standing in front of a door and offering people the chance, for a small fee, to see what is inside the box. It is because of the taboo that the market exists, and because people are paying to see inside the box, their expectations are high, and so the marketeer has to make the orange really orange, or big, maybe even plastic and artificial, striving to meet the ever increasing expectations of his customers. Let’s say the marketeer makes a lot of money with his product. Now imagine if someone came by and said I have an orange. A real orange and you don’t have to pay to see it. The profits of the marketeer would be undermined and he would have to fight by enforcing the taboo law. Also people who have grown used to paying to see artificial oranges, with no substance or nutritional value, might find the real and nutritious orange to look unpleasing. They might even find the real orange to be downright small and ugly, even though it is a perfectly normal, real orange. The economy surrounding the opposing forces of keeping females covered only to sell it all back to us has created a significant and I believe malignant societal and legal imbalance in regards to female bodies which translates into many other areas, including sexual assault, human trafficking, shaming, and victim blaming. It is also negatively affecting how people view real oranges… That is real females. I’m not claiming topfreedom solves these large and complex problems, but it is clearly a means of bringing forward the conversation. If you read the articles on my blog written by the women sharing their experiences going barechested for the first time you will find some common threads. They feel empowered and unencumbered, some in their own words for the first time in their lives. It is no small thing.

                Liked by 2 people

                1. That’s a really good explanation. It didn’t quite hit the depth of the taboo among generations of women who have been taught that it’s immoral to show their oranges. That’s pretty deeply ingrained. But otherwise really spot on.

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    1. Thank you. We have to listen to each other, openly. We won’t get anywhere if we don’t. And we have to honor peoples’ fears and anxieties. We don’t have to bow to those anxieties, but we do have to understand them. Thanks again, be well.

      Liked by 3 people

  9. Thanks for sharing your experiences and advice on how to express the equal right to be bare chested just as men are. I admire your patience and how you reply to the negative comments.
    I live in Ca. I have introduced a few of my female friends to your site as they are of like mind about the topfree equality issue. Your blogs are an inspiration to the girls who want to be as comfortable as the men in the hot weather.
    Joe P.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Problems with this argument that aren’t that difficult to resolve, but reduce credibility:

    1. Name Calling. I’m not a hater or uninformed or intolerant because I disagree with you. Name calling, or allowing others to do it on your behalf weakens your position.

    2. Hypocrisy. Your hypothesis is that your desire to be free to do what you want to do should be respected no matter how it impacts the freedoms of others. Why is it then totally invalid that someone would want to have the freedom to enjoy a day at the beach without being exposed to your breast? You cast yourself as the misunderstood victim whose feelings are disregarded as you disregard the feelings of others.

    3. The Slippery Slope. Not everyone likes it, although most use it, and in this general area it’s been proven true. It wasn’t that long ago (in the grand scheme of things) that people at public beaches were VERY covered up when swimming. Now we’re down to covering only the nipples (for now) and the penis and vagina. So it’s not unreasonable to conclude that once the top is gone at EVERY beach, soon the bottom will follow. After that, it’s not really out of the realm of inevitability that sexual activity will follow, as it often does at nude beaches now. Breasts ARE healthy, as is a penis or vagina, as is sex between consenting adults…but that doesn’t make it unreasonable that I don’t want to see them everywhere I go.

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      1. That’s all you got you’re argument is men don’t wear a shirt women shouldn’t have too either men may have nipples but they don’t have breasts sorry you gotta do better then that come on

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        1. Hi Jay. Thank you for writing. Actually, men do have breasts. That is how people in transition can increase their breasts size by takin by hormones. The structures are there, the hormones vary from person to person. A simple Google search will show you that men get breast cancer. Also, many women don’t have significant breast tissue and many men do have significant breast tissue. It is disconcerting to some to realize their is no sharp line between male and female but it is true. There are a lot of people born with the sexual traits of males and females, folks referred to as intersexed. This is how they are born. Some feel uncomfortable with the fact that the genders are not so obvious, but the medical fact is that the genders have a soft border, not a sharp line. Thank you.

          Liked by 4 people

          1. And even if there were a sharp, clear-cut distinction between only two sexes, how does it work to say that some people are legally allowed to have their shirts off but not others? That’s the problem, that rather than the same freedom for all people, that women are being singled out for engaging in the exact same behaviors as people of other genders… that the freedom to be in public with or without a top is only given to some people.

            It’s discrimination. Yes, some folks are insisting that women’s breasts are always sexual (as opposed to men’s breasts, and as Chelsea already pointed out, men do indeed have breasts) — but that’s simply not the case, and the fact that there are plenty of folks who make the direct leap from “women’s breasts” to “sex” doesn’t make those people correct!

            All we’re asking for is the same rights as other people. It’s not women asking for equal rights who “gotta do better,” it’s the legal structures enforcing that discrimination who need to improve.

            Liked by 4 people

          2. A case in point: I am an older male. Over the past 3 years my breasts have been swelling, filling out enough so they are easily cupped in my palms. Nipples are perky.
            My granddaughter, age 25 is smaller breasted than I, hardly puffy at all.
            We can go to the beach, where I am bare chested and she must wear a bikini top.
            Yes men do have breasts ! The whole situation is so unfair. Why don’t the mothers complain that they don’t want their children to see my breasts?

            Liked by 2 people

              1. I’m not the previous poster, and don’t have a granddaughter, so I can’t speak for him. But I can say, if I had a 25 year okd granddaughter, she would be a grown adult who should be able to make that decision herself. She shouldn’t beed to be infantilized because others are so uncomfortable with the human body that they feel the need to legislate the presence or absence of a small piece of wet fabric to hide (and at the same time draw attention to) a part that we all have and we all know is there.

                I would not be uncomfortable with a grown person sitting next to me in her chosen state of dress for swimming or sunbathing, whether she was related to me or not. If I were, that would be my problem, not hers.

                I admit that my child, and likely my grand children when they come, may very well be uncomfortable around me if my older and flabby body is exposed on the beach. Yet I am free to go shirtless if I choose. Why should women not have the same choice that I do?

                Liked by 1 person

  11. Chelsea, seeing these comments and thoughts of yours just inspires me more and more to continue the ongoing battle here in NH. You continually amaze me. Perhaps this summer I will try to make a trip to OC and spend a day on the beach with you and your dear partner. Big love to you both.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Heidi. It will be a tumultuous summer here I believe. OC is holding a special council work session to have a first reading for an ordinance to ban female barechestedness. Nothing unexpected, we’ve been having this conversation for a year. They have shown no interest in discussing issues, they are in a winner take all mindset. Time will tell…I’ve done my homework 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. By my count, this is your 65th blog post. I know I have read every post, most of them several times, and every comment, both by you and by supporters and critics. But even I have trouble finding the best response for a given question.

    You responded to one above that you “have written articles on all the questions you pose here.” I’m thinking it might be time to summarize all the usual criticisms, and either write a short response, link to a more descriptive response, or both, and post that as a separate post.

    An FAQ page, so to speak. It would help you, and it would help those who support the cause. This might not be yours to do. You have a helper base who could do much of this for you, I bet. Though it would have to have your OK, and of course you would have to be enough OK with it to post it.

    Thoughts?

    Liked by 4 people

  13. To say a man with his shirt off is equal to a woman with her top off is just plain stupid I’m sorry sweetheart but woman breasts are sexualized although I personally don’t care if there is women topless on beach I mind my own business and worry about myself not what others are doing. There is a lot of people who have a issue with it and majority rules and when the attorney general issues his ruling that will kill all this nonsense. Ocean City is a family resort atleast they are trying to be. what’s next topless women in Disney world guys walking around with no swimming trunks on the beach

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    1. Hi Gus: thank you for taking the time to share your opinion here on my blog. A couple thoughts… my name is Chelsea. Calling me sweetheart feels like you are trying to demean me and make me feel small or… as you said, stupid. I am not stupid, though, I am quite intelligent. May I ask at what age you yourself begin to feel a girls breasts are sexual? 8? 12? 16? At what age do they cease to be sexual? 50? 60? 70? And why do you feel you get to decide instead of the woman who owns them? Final thought, majority does not rule when it comes to matters of constitutional rights. If 90% of a state decided to segregate schools by race, they still couldn’t do it because the U.S. Constitution and the U.S. Supreme Court forbid it. If 51% of the population decided men no longer have the right to free speech, it wouldn’t matter because the constitution protects free speech for all. I do appreciate your writing to me. I ask you to reconsider your feelings and tone when speaking to and about women. Be well.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. That “sexualization” of which you write, Gus, grows entirely from conditioning. What is conditioned may be reconditioned. This is what Chelsea and others are doing. If you can’t live with it, that’s your problem. Lots of us have begun to see women’s breasts as life — not just sex.

      Liked by 3 people

  14. Thank you so much for doing this! As a mom of two, including one daughter, in Maryland, it is so important that this turns out the right way. The mayor’s reasoning that female toplessness is a problem because it’s a “family beach” is so absurd. These were my children’s first food source.

    Are you planning any sort of bare chested group gathering at the beach? If so, count me in!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I’ve often wondered about the way that “family” gets used as a euphemism for “body-shame and puritanical prudery.”

      I also tend to give extra skepticism to any cause being presented as “but THINK of the CHILDREN!” — because that generally means they’re going for the irrational emotional appeal and have very little else to stand on!

      Liked by 4 people

  15. Chelsea, I would like to e-mail you a few questions to answer for an article I’m planning to write for my blog. Can you send me the best e-mail address for me to use? Thank you.

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  16. Ocean City apparently just passed an “emergency ordinance.” (Today, June 10, 2017)

    It’s vaguely worded, refers only to nudity or partial nudity in public places, and does not purport to specifically cover women or breasts. However, it contains a sentence that says the law is not required to pretend that different people are the same, or that things that are different in fact are the same in law.

    Looks like you might get your legal challenge sooner rather than later. But they’re also trying to be mealy-mouthed, cognizant of the absolute prohibition on gender discrimination in the Maryland Constitution, which you’ve cited elsewhere here on the blog.

    Good luck!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Has anyone seen the actual ordinance? I can’t find it, and Fox is reporting that it is specific to “the female breast in less than opaque cover.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha. The ordinance does not mention female nipples at all, believe it or not. I will post a response tomorrow, when I can get some time to read through it and ponder it. It makes some pretty strange assertions for an ordinance. I have to sit with it. Ocean City’s website has the language on it.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. But it prohibits “nudity,” right? And the official OC definition of nudity is “Nudity. The showing with less than a fully opaque covering of the genitals, pubic hair, buttocks, natal cleft, perineum, anus or anal region of any person other than a child under the age of puberty or any portion of the breast at or below the areola thereof of any female person other than a child under the age of puberty.”

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Without having seen it, your connecting those dots makes sense. And if that’s the way the dots connect up, hinging on this definition of nudity, then it would seem to fit pretty squarely into a challenge based on the Maryland Constitution’s absolute prohibition on gender discrimination.

            BTW that definition would also appear to prohibit thongs. (“buttocks, natal cleft”) I’ve seen the assertion on the blog that thongs, like topfreeness, are legal in MD. OC doesn’t seem to have caught up.

            Liked by 1 person

      1. Like I said the Attorney General just released their findings not in Maryland looks like your gonna have to find another beach to be topless

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    1. Jay,

      I’m curious about the inside info you refer to. Do you have a connection in the attorney general’s office? Was the opinion circulated in Ocean City before it issued?

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Probably worth mentioning my own “Think of the children” blog post from about a year ago, just after Gingerbread and Turtle made history in Pittsburgh. (The Fort Duquesne Bridge crosses the Allegheny River in Pittsburgh.)
    My post: http://bus15237.blogspot.com/2016/05/think-of-children.html

    You’ve heard of “ELI5”? It means “Explain this to me like I’m age 5.” Five-year-olds understand fairness, so indeed, think of how you’d explain Ocean City’s emergency legislation so a child can understand.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Definitely well said. The cries of “think of the children!”: and “but it’s a FAMILY-FRIENDLY beach!” are such obvious red herrings, distracting from the reality that it’s all about ensuring that 1. women continue to be treated as lesser humans, and 2. Ocean City continue to make the most money from tourism as they possibly can, even if that means continuing to discriminate against some beach-goers and supporting outdated, puritanical prudery. As long as the dollars keep flowing, the hypocrisy is all well and good, right?!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I found your blog after reading media coverage of the debate in Ocean City. I think you effectively demonstrate the absurdity of separate legal standards for male and female toplessness.
    You have been remarkably restrained in your responses to some very rude comments. For the record, you are an attractive women. But, as you point out, that isn’t the issue.
    There are cultures around the world where women are discouraged or even legally barred from showing their bare legs, their uncovered hair, or their faces. As a man, I can guarantee that in such a culture I would be highly sensitized to a naked leg or a beautiful face. My sexual response should have nothing to do with the legal debate. The existence of foot fetishists should not force women to wear bulky socks.
    I’m reminded of Ice Cube’s recent comments about the use of the “N” word by the comedian Bill Maher: “You know, it’s a word that has been used against us. It’s like a knife, man. You can use it as a weapon or you can use it as a tool. It’s when you use it as a weapon against us, by white people, and we’re not going to let that happened again … because it’s not cool … That’s our word, and you can’t have it back.”
    Women’s dress has for centuries, and even in this blog, been used as a weapon of social control. Fashion should be an individual’s choice alone, within equitable standards of decency. Inequality before the law is the clearest indication that we’re not not there yet. And, like with the “N” word, these things probably matter more than we realize.
    Women should take control of what they wear, and never let men take it back.
    Thank you for your work.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. As a woman, I want to feel safe and secure. I want to know that men look at me and see me as a human first and never as a sexual object. I respect the right that people have to do what they want, to support what they want, to fight for what they want.
    But this does make people uncomfortable. I know if I was on the beach and saw you, I would just move away, because I want to feel comfortable just like you do. My thoughts for anybody, male or female, is treat people they way you want to be treated. If you see people around you feeling uncomfortable would you be willing to put a shirt on? Or would you continue to make people feel uncomfortable because you want them to get used to what you feel should be the norm? I ask this not in a judgemental tone but in a sincere inquiry.

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    1. Hi Shelly. Thank you for visiting my blog and sharing your question. There are several ways to approach this. The most fundamental respinse, the easiest, is simply to ask, do men concern themselves with the question of people’s comfort when they remove their shirts? I’ve never seen it, not at the beach or at the pool. But there are indeed people who are uncomfortable with male bare-chestedness. As a generality, as a culture we habe normalized to the fact that men can and will remove their shirts and comfort, not exhibitionism, will be their primary motivating factor. But there is a second more subtle layer to your question which deserves respect and thought, which is basically how much are we willing to encroach on other people’s feelings of comfort and security to advance a cause or correct an imbalance. It is a tightrope sometimes. I personally present myself as being neither threatening nor threatened when I go bare-chested. Some people are clearly uncomfortable when they encounter me and my way of honoring their feelings is to limit my boundary pushing to just being and remaining bare-chested. In other words, I don’t stare people down, no middle fingers at cameras, no shouting matches, just minding my business and letting people adjust. I don’t take it personally when people get angry. Anger is fear and so I work very hard to show people that barechested women are not scary. Almost always peopke adjust pretty quickly. This is why I don’t wave signs or carry a bullhorn. That stuff scares people. As far as treating people the way I want to be treated, yes of course, but underlying that is the critical legal question, how does the LAW treat people, and right now the law treats men and women differently and that is wrong. The fact that so many people (not you specifically) find it so difficult to truly accept what it actually looks like for men and women to be treated equally under the law encourages me to continue this work. I once had a New Hampshire state representative tell me to my face, in a quiet lunch conversation, that he was of course for women’s equality, just not TOO MUCH equality, not MORE equality. Direct quote. Ponder what that even means, and the mindset that thinks that way. Equality to me means equality, no asterisks, no exceptions. Because as soon as exceptions exist people use them and build on them. One set of rules for all. Whether it makes people uncomfortable or not. Thoughts?

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I’m reminded of Supreme Court Justice Ginsberg’s comments regarding perceptions of other people about equality for women; speaking about how often she’s asked about when she thinks there will be “enough” women on the Supreme Court, she says “nine,” and that “For most of the country’s history, there were nine and they were all men. Nobody thought that was strange.” (see https://livestream.com/92Y/SupremeCourt for the full interview with that quote.)

        For a very long time, there have been plenty of topless people on beaches, and they’ve all been men… and nobody thought it was strange. It’s time to change that.

        Liked by 1 person

  20. Hi Chelsea, I just wanted to express my support for your efforts. I appreciate how you keep a calm and respectful tone even when people are condescending. Your reply to being called “sweetheart” was a study in emotional maturity. I just have an observation that I wanted to throw out for your reaction. A few years back, I read about a woman who went to the beach bare chested on a beach after have a double, radical mastectomy. In her case, she chose not to have breast reconstruction. Instead, she had a tattoo of a graceful flowering vine on her chest to partially camouflage the scar. She had no nipples. She had no subcutaneous breast tissue. Her lymph nodes were also removed. She mentioned that for her, being bare chested was less painful than having a bikini top rubbing her scars. It was also I think part of her emotional healing. Cancer isn’t just physical, its also emotional….I speak from some experience. This woman was attacked for being topless and obscene, that she was harming children and upsetting families. I wrote a comment in support of her. I received vitriolic comments calling me a fruit cake lefty for my trouble. The emotions were very intense about a human being with scars on her chest. But what was the real basis for this hostility? She did not have protruding structures on her chest. She did not have nipples at all. As I said above there was no breast tissue at all. I have nipples. I have subcutaneous breast tissue. Quite literally, from the rib cage up I have more female characteristics than she does (as long as I shave off my beard). Yet when I go to beach bare chested, no one bats an eye. Many commentators claimed to be disgusted by her chest scars…yet I’ve seen men with heart surgery scars on the beach and they were not accosted. Clearly the fear and anger and distress wasn’t actually about breasts or nipples or visible scars in this case. Clearly it was about the different rules applied to each gender pure and simple. Men with nipples, breasts and scars were accepted bare chested on the beach while a woman with none of those items was still not accepted. My two cents.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you. Yes, this is a vivid, heartbreaking and accurate example of why this double standard needs to end. And we can’t work on correcting social inequality in the presence of legal inequality. I have always felt that this is really why some feel so threatened by topfreedom. It is not that breasts threaten them, it is that true equality feels like a huge threat with ramifications in so many other realms. Great comment. Thank you.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. It is, very much, a double standard. Thank you to John for that succinct and powerful account, and Chelsea — spot-on with your observation that it’s not the breasts themselves that people find threatening,k it’s the upheaval of the comfortable, familiar discrimi9nation that would, indeed, change so much.

        It’d be a change for the better.

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      1. It really is unfortunate.

        Although, as Theodore Parker said (and MLK Jr. referenced): “I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways; I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. And from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice.”

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  21. Delmarva Now has a copy of today’s letter from the OAG office (scroll to the bottom of the story):

    http://www.delmarvanow.com/story/news/local/maryland/2017/06/15/maryland-attorney-general-issues-opinion-toplessness/401330001/

    The letter states that it is legal advice from the OAG to the requesting State’s Attorney office, and that it is NOT an Opinion of the Attorney General. It is not available on the Attorney General’s opinions page.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. My admiration for you and your cause grows with each posting. Keep up the good work. If you are desirous of financial support, please let me know.

    Joe

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, very much. I am weighing several options for proceeding. I will update everyone when I am able. Your offer is generous and appreciated. For the moment, I am not facing any financial hurdles to furthering the cause. I will let you know if this changes. Thank you again.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. But of course, we all realize that it’s got nothing whatsoever to do with actual nipples, and everything to do with keeping women as second-class citizens, filled with shame and easily manipulated…

        But I agree, let’s try and convince them to police men’s nips the same way they freak out over ours, yeah? Show them what a ridiculous spectacle it is!

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Well, banning breasts wouldn’t be discrimination — it’s the fact that they’re attempting to ban only female breasts that makes it discriminatory!

      And a protest wouldn’t be at all uncalled for.

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  23. All this effort civil rights firm really sorry but your gonna lose and I can’t wait when you do I’m gonna be the first one to rub it in your face hahahhahaha

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    1. Are you willing to share with me what about my work upsets you? I am asking for women and men to be treated equally under the law. Does this seem unreasonable to you? Insults don’t have much effect on me… But I am willing to listen and converse with you. If nothing else you can share your criticisms of my position with the readers of my blog. You might change some minds…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve seen your blog your YouTube page your a media seeking junkie your legal argument doesn’t hold water and mark my words the laws in Maryland not just Ocean City will be upheld by a judge believe I know my father is a lawyer and my cousin works for the department of justice they both said long before you hired Mr.Jacobs who loves to sue the police most of his cases never even make it to a judge or jury. They both said a judge would in Maryland would never overturn or change the law in Maryland this is not Colorado

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        1. But beyond all that, what about the idea of equality do you object to? You make it clear that you don’t like me personally… But you haven’t explained yet what about gender equality upsets you. I get that you don’t like me. Let’s move beyond that. Let’s talk about the issue.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. I don’t like you I don’t know you I make no judgements about someone personally if I don’t know them on that level you talk about equal
            rights for women not all women agree about your stance on being bare chested and let’s not forget the 8 million visitors to Ocean City every summer that’s my Stance what about their rights don’t they have a rights too I’ve seen your photos you have great breasts I wouldn’t mind looking at all and it don’t make me uncomfortable the least bit but I’ve talked to other people and it would bother them so I keep their feelings in mind when making decisions so for the record I don’t like what your doing I understand stand you think it’s in your legal right

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            1. Do you feel like all women have to agree before we would be able to ask for something? And it feels like you don’t like me on a personal level.. I feel this way because of the way you laugh at me for example. Plenty of people disagree with me, but I haven’t had too many people just be plain mean. I’m just asking why I make you feel that way, or what about me asking for equal treatment makes you feel that way. Also, you seem very knowledgeable about what is happening behind the scenes… You know more than the reporters and lawyers do, and earlier. I will admit that is impressive. You must know some important people, or work in an important job. I’m enjoying talking to you. Thanks for sticking with the conversation.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. I don’t dislike you and I want everyone to have equal rights and feel comfortable enough to be able to their tops off and not feel like sexual objects I do know a few people in Washington DC and a few higher up in Maryland State government but they have given me information before that turned out be wrong or the outcome was different then what I was lead to believe but it only happened maybe twice maybe their wrong this time I highly doubt it they said this was coming so I was waiting for it to be reported the first call I got was from The Maryland Coast Dispatch.

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                1. Thank you. I know this idea is new and challenging to people. But I am hoping that if we all can remain civil we can at least have meaningful conversations on the hard topics. Contrary to what people believe, I actually would prefer not to have this attention on me, but I believe so deeply in equality that I am willing to go for my walks and have the conversations and listen to the insults so maybe hopefully women after me don’t have to. I appreciate that you value equality, too. That means a lot to me.

                  Liked by 2 people

                  1. That was very impressive. I don’t know many people who could face scorn and prejudice with such reasoned compassion. I doubt I could. I hope I never have to.

                    As I wrote above, the fact that this taboo is maintained by such ugly attitudes is for me the clearest sign that it needs to be reexamined. You are clearly a powerful advocate. I hope you change many more minds.

                    Liked by 2 people

  24. I found information on the website , ACLU.org re Constitutional Rights: Equal Protection. http://www.aclu.org/files/pdfs/rightsofwomen_chapter1pdf It is a very interesting and informative chapter.
    Especially the section starting at the bottom of page 10 “Absolute probition on legal classifications based on gender. High courts in 5 States; Colorado, Maryland, Oregon, Penn. & Wash have ruled that practically ALL gender based classifications are prohibited. The only exception is cases based on physical characteristics.
    Defining the difference in men and women regarding breasts, as we have seen, is quite impossible as the variations in breast development and size is enormous in both sexes.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you. Very astute research. This is the information I presented to the OAG in my brief and that we continue to point out as we go forward. I will try to post an update soon, I am still trying to figure out what I can say and what I can’t.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The ACLU website section I alluded to talks about 3 ways the courts look at the cases. I didn’t quite understand how they choose which way to go, but maybe one of the lawyers replying here could look it over and give you advice on what to say, and what to avoid.

        Liked by 1 person

  25. I see Frosh actually cleverly tip-toed away from the issue by having subordinates do it, blunting the obvious criticism of how on earth a Democrat AG could possibly entertain the idea of discriminating against women. This is so completely discriminatory

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I saw that too–the letter specifically states it is “NOT” an opinion of the Attorney General, and is not posted on the OAG opinion page. It relies principally on a 1991 4th Circuit case that defers to others who are not “ready” yet to see breasts displayed “willy nilly,” without acknowledging that a lot has changed at the Supreme Court since then, in terms of acceptance of outmoded stereotypes based on traditional sex roles. (U.S. v. Virginia, 1995 (single-sex military education); Lawrence, 2000 (no criminalization of gay sex); Obergefell, 2016 (gay marriage)).

      Saying only that there is no directly controlling authority, and that public sensibilities can change quickly, the letter’s adherence to older opinions accepting the traditional view “rightly or wrongly” seems designed to duck the issue while saying and doing as little as possible, hoping to get through one more season before a court can take a serious and up to date look at the issue.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. It’s called advice of legal counsel it doesn’t matter what that jackass thinks what’s gonna matter is what the Maryland Court of Appeals thinks and that’s the legal opinion of the Attorney General lawyers that’s what they do everyday

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  26. Interesting how people bring up nudity and the “slippery slope” without saying just what’s wrong with nudity. I would direct them to any number of naturist websites, publications and forums for a more complete picture and discussion of what nudity is, what it does, and most importantly, what it doesn’t do. It is not the social disruption many fear; it does children good, not harm, to be raised in a nudist family; and as many people who have visited naturist parks can verify, nudists are the most genuinely friendly people on earth.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Chelsea, I have good news not doing with Ocean City. Officials threatened to cancel Comfest Festival over shirtless females. Comfest won the right to have shirtless females in the festival.

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    1. That’s awesome. In Columbus, OH? Columbus Ohio has been through this debate a long time ago and my understanding is that officials accepted top freedom and trained their police officers to not harass or arrest barechested women. Thank you for this update. Good news indeed

      Liked by 1 person

  28. I must admit I cringed several times while reading your responses. What surprised me was the cringing wasn’t coming from a place of disagreement or malice, being as I came to this page expecting you to be some radical, mouthy hippy (sorry, just being honest). Instead, I found myself thinking that what you’re saying actually makes sense. I don’t love all the pomp & circumstance or associated lawsuit that comes with it, but that’s just the way things are.

    What I see from comments here & on Facebook is the emotional component making everything so charged & complicated. Because for whatever age old reason(s), our culture heavily associates breasts with sexual intimacy and sexual intimacy is highly emotional (or at least is supposed to be) so removing that from the equation is a challenge. I also understand that emotions do not dictate the laws of this country, nor should they. So there again, I cringe. I want to disagree with you & tell you to stop this nonsense, but instead I get it. Still doesn’t mean I have to like it… 🙂

    I’ll close with words that undoubtedly resonate uniquely to each of us: Just because you can do something, doesn’t always mean you should.

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    1. Also, for the record, I have worked very hard to avoid where we are regarding social media drama, unconstitutional ordinances and all that goes with it. Ocean City declined my offers to talk it out for years now. I still have never had a conversation with any official. They would have found me willing to have a level headed conversation and discuss issues. They never gave me the chance. For what that is worth to you. It is worth a lot to me that you shared your opinions with me and remained civil. That means a great deal to me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I can see in your responses that you are reasonable & matter-of-fact and honestly that’s the only reason I commented. I’m not one to engage in fussing. Nothing good ever comes from it. You’re very good at keeping productive dialogue going and I respect that very much.

        I’m not surprised that OC has declined offers to talk. People everywhere are so afraid of saying the wrong thing, yet in choosing to say nothing they’re inadvertently escalating the situation. And then there’s social media fanning the flames, sometimes I think it must have been created by the devil himself… I truly believe that 90% of our problems could be resolved with genuine communication. But instead the lawyers get rich off our fear of compromise & a system that is supposed to be working for us gains more power to do as it pleases. The worst part is that no matter what side “wins” once it’s all said & done, we ALL still lose from the damage we inflict while pitted against one another.

        I do think most people are missing the actual underlying issues. All they can think about is boobs, boobs, boobs. They imagine women strutting down the beach trolling for sex and batting their long fake eyelashes at little children. They never bother to think there might actually be something deeper, something that plays a roll in shaping the way women feel about their bodies. Or that it might also have something to do with government over-meddling in all of our lives, both male & female. They aren’t worried about the slippery slope of the rights of the people being infringed because they can’t stop thinking about all the crazy beach orgies that allowing topless women will obviously lead to. 😀

        People are lazy, they don’t like to think. So much easier just get angry & offended. I don’t know, maybe I’m off base. Sometimes I think too much, lol.

        I wasn’t going to share this, but it is such a clear personal example that speaks directly to one of your points so why not..? A couple weekends ago, when I first read about this I was sunbathing in my backyard – topless. It’s not something I’ve done until this year. I’ve always been self conscious & have spent 25’ish years “managing” my eating disorder. But we live in the middle of 5 wooded acres & I’m comfortable here and at the moment with my body. Anyway, now that you know more about me than necessary… So I snapped a photo with my arm across my chest & was going to post it on instagram with a joking caption referencing OC (not nasty words, just something to try & make people smile). Before sending it into the world I showed my fiance – who promptly said he was uncomfortable & asked that I not. I was shocked, I even thought for a minute he was kidding. Then I was angry, then came the hurt feelings, the worry that he thought I looked bad or that he was embarrassed of me. It was all that nonsense we are programmed from childhood to feel about our bodies flooding in. But I didn’t argue or say anything more. I also didn’t post the picture. I wish I had.

        So yea, rock on. Maybe a little change wouldn’t be so bad after all…

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Wow. Thank you for sharing this. I will simply step back and let this beautiful post stand on it’s own. I hope you will keep in touch with me, though. I think you will find value in the articles I just linked in my latest post. They are something to really sit with, as is your post. Your post really means a lot to me. Thank you. Feel free to email me at breastsarehealthy@gmail.com if you ever want to talk “off stage.” Be well.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Your message has stuck with me all day. Thank you again for sharing your experience and feelings on some very raw and personal topics. I am glad you were able to spend a warm day enjoying the feeling of the sun in your body. Take heart… We are making progress. I truly believe this.

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  29. I have a vague memory of thong bikinis not being allowed on the beach in Ocean City in the 1980s. This might be incorrect. But it also might be worth looking into to see what changed and how regarding laws about this.

    One thing I will say is that the culture changed. Back in the old days, thong bikinis were a huge deal. These days, not so much.

    That said, I think people are being hypocritical and/or willfully ignorant about the issue of women and bare breasts. We all know that with two mouse clicks anyone can find bare breasts online. The Internet has radically changed how we view nudity — and a lot of people view it often and think nothing of it. A call to allow women to be shirtless might have been a radical idea in an earlier era. But bare breasts have become commonplace (perhaps even boring?) since the World Wide Web became popular…a quarter century ago.

    It doesn’t matter that “the U.S. isn’t Europe.” With the Web at our fingertips for generations, we all became Europe. It’s ridiculous for people on the one hand to be checking out nude Miley and Gaga on their smart phones, then turn around and claim to be aghast because “OMG! Eek! There’s a topless woman on my beach!”

    Speaking of Europe, don’t kids there grow up in some ways healthier than ours, despite those nude beaches? Anyone think tank or college studied that? Bueller? Anyone?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. Fun fact, in 2006,a Maryland Appeals Court ruled buttocks were not indecent to expose in a mooning case involving a man mooning his neighbor and her small child (he said only an exposed anus would have been indecent). In his opinion he specifically said if buttocks were indecent we would have to cite every woman in a thong in Ocean City… And with that ruling he declared buttocks exposure legal.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Here is a link to an article written by Dr Conrad Manning, MD. the title is “Virtues of Nakedness, Physical & Psychological Health” first published in a magazine by the Naturist Society, “Clothed with the Sun, 7.3, p. 25ff”. It explains many of the myths associated with the preceived connections between simply nudity and sexuality. The link provides a pdf edition of the original article. pastordavidrn.homstead.com/files/VirtuesNakedness-Manning.pdf.

      I will keep looking for more scientific studies on this subject.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you. I do want to reiterate my constant reminder that bare-chested women are no more or less “naked” or “nude” than bare-chested men. I sometimes hear female bare-chestedness referred to as “partial nudity” but I have never heard that term used to describe male bare-chestedness. My goal is to establish equality, not to further naturism or nudism. I have written articles elsewhere on my blog about this. I certainly appreciate the support of the naturist community if that support is because people want to establish equality, correct an imbalance and allow women the choice to feel the benefits of going bare-chested as men have done for nearly a century. If the support of the naturist community is because topfreedom is seen as a step toward social nudity, I again ask that the two issues be kept separate and that male naturists in particular not fall into that trap where we say oh, a woman get something, now men get something more. It is a concern I hear sometimes, “WHAT NEXT? MEN WITH THEIR PENISES WALKING AROUND…??” I am not advocating for full social nudity. I am advocating for equal rules, and currently men enjoy the ability to go bare-chested everywhere, women do not. With that said, I’m all for science haha. Even, yes, when it doesn’t agree with my opinion. Thank you. As you were…

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hi Chelsea,
          I know your focus is on equality not social nudism. I will keep my posts in line with that goal in the future. Thanks for reminding me. The reference to Dr. Manning was posted in reply to the question posed by DAYS OF BROKEN ARROWS “Speaking of Europe, don’t kids there grow up in some ways healthier than ours, despite those nude beaches? …Anyone?”

          Liked by 1 person

          1. MYJOYOFLIVINGSITE: Europe is not a homogeneous continent. In some parts of Europe there is more hysteria over nudity than in the American Bible Belt. Even the internet is feared as the devil’s work. Freedom of speech is a new-fangled and unwelcome idea. Don’t believe what some people claim is the “lower age of consent” in Italy. The age of consent here is actually 35.

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              1. MARK, that’s exactly the false claim I’m talking about. Read the Italian Penal Code, not some web site in English. (Obviously I’m exaggerating when I say the AOC in Italy is 35.) But this is off-topic. My point is that Europe is not homogeneously in favor of even public breastfeeding, let alone top freedom in general.

                Like

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