If you’ve ever been to a public beach and wondered if it’s fair that the males in attendance are free to roam the sandy grounds with their upper halves exposed while the women were forced to cover up, wonder no more. The United States Federal Court has ruled that females are now free, of their own accord, to follow in men’s footsteps and walk around in the public eye with their breasts exposed, and not just at the beach.
The decision by the federal court will come as a surprise to many, no doubt dividing the population. The decision will empower some and infuriate others.
The laws regarding what skin can and can’t be shown in public have represented somewhat of a slippery slope in years past. One organization by the name of Free the Nipple has fought hard in recent years to desexualize the female nipple and fought for women’s rights to expose their breasts wherever they see fit. It’s been an uphill climb for the organization, but the federal courts’ decision will no doubt come as a major victory for the group.
The decision pushes the United States as a nation one step closer toward adopting some of the cultures and mannerisms that a select number of countries scattered throughout Europe have been operating under for decades. In Europe, there are multiple nations where women could walk around completely in the nude, and not a single onlooker would bat an eye at sight. That being said, there still far more strict locales, such as Africa, where a woman is engaging in such an act would be abruptly punished, whereas a man in the same region engaging in a similar act would face no such torment.
The judge’s decision represents one more step towards equality.
The case was brought before the judge because of a specific law that had been passed back in the year 2015 in the township of Fort Collins, Colorado. That law determined that it was unacceptable for any woman to expose their breasts in public, aside from those breastfeeding newborns or any female under the age of 9.
After taking that law and the debate against it into heavy consideration, district judge R. Brooke Jackson determined that not only was such a law discriminatory against the female population, but that it cemented the idea that female breasts should be seen as sexual in nature, the exact mindset activist groups such as Free the Nipple have been fighting to oppose. Furthermore, Jackson ruled that the only real and measurable difference between male and female nipples is women having the ability to breastfeed a child and that such a detail should not be substantial enough to discriminate against one party.
“I find that the ordinance discriminates against women based on the generalized notion that, regardless of a woman’s intent, the exposure of her breasts in public (or even in her private home if viewable by the public) is necessarily a sexualized act. Thus, it perpetuates a stereotype ingrained in our society that female breasts are primarily objects of sexual desire whereas male breasts are not,”
While the debate will no doubt rage on as it has for quite some time, and there are still hurdles to be cleared for true and unblemished equality, this no doubt represents a step in the right direction for females fighting for their rights.