topfree

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Members of the Christopher Street Day demonstration - ColognePride 2006.
Topfreedom is a social movement to accord women and girls the right to be topfree (topless) in public where men and boys have that right. Examples of public spaces at which topfreedom might be exercised include beaches, swimming pools and parks. The reasons include keeping nursing mothers from having to hide for breastfeeding, sun tanning, comfort, and sex equality.

In North America, where resistance to toplessness of women is greater than in mainland Europe or Australia, a small topfree equality movement has grown. In February 2005 in California, attorney Liana Johnsson contended that under Megan's Law, women convicted of indecent exposure (for breastfeeding or sunbathing) could find themselves listed as sex offenders alongside rapists and child molesters. The term "topfree" is used as an alternative to "topless", which may carry negative connotations. Some women prefer the term "shirtfree rights".

Cultural arguments

Western culture generally tends to oppose public female toplessness because of the idea that females breasts are sexual organs, and thus indecent. In contrast, the male chest is not commonly considered to be sexual.

Biologically there is no particular connection between mammary glands and copulation, but breasts have conventionally been regarded by many cultures as sexually arousing, and some zoologists (notably Desmond Morris) believe that through human evolution, female breasts have acquired secondary sexual characteristics as a counterpart of the buttocks in other primates. For more information, see breast.

Some courts in North America have ruled that mammary glands are nurturing organs, not sexual organs, a relevant distinction in light of laws in certain jurisdictions that specifically restrict the public display of sexual organs.

Topfree in North America

Some places in North America have topfree equality by law, although whether such equality is practiced varies. These include: Even where topfree is legal, police might still arrest those practicing it for disorderly conduct or similar charges.

Topfree in other countries

In some European countries and Australia, it is well-established that females may go topfree at places such as beaches, parks and outdoor swimming pools. That might be by law (permitted) or might be by common consent, with the law simply not being applied (tolerated). In other areas with more conservative social norms, women are prohibited from being topfree in any public place.

Topfree Equal Rights Association (TERA)

The Topfree Equal Rights Association (TERA)[4] is a Canadian organization for helping women who have legal troubles exercising their rights to go 'topfree' where men are able to. Their Web site states that they serve both Canada and the United States.

The organisation also aims to inform and educate the public about topfreedom. They campaign to change laws against topfreedom which exist in most North American jurisdictions, which laws they see as sex discrimination and inhibiting to breastfeeding.

See also

Organizations

People

  • Judy Williams: NAC board member, chief advisor of TERA, chair of Wreck Beach Preservation Society (WBPS) in Vancouver, BC
  • Gwen Jacob: test case for topfreedom who won in Ontario, Canada.[1]
  • Linda Meyer: test case for topfreedom for British Columbia. On June 8, 2000, she won in court against Maple Ridge, BC. She had been arrested at the District of Maple Ridge's indoor public swimming pool. That was after she had provoked arrests for many years, and had gone to jail, in order to win in court and thereby stop official harassment for her topfree public activities.
  • Paul Rapoport: topfree activist, writer, editor of Going Natural, a publication of FCN.
  • Sue Richards: Publisher of the topfree, breast health calendar Breast of Canada.
  • Morley Schloss: NAC board member, topfree activist.
  • Nikki Craft: feminist, past shirtfree rights activist, now disaffiliated from the movement.

References

1. ^ Province of Ontario Court of Appeal. Judgment C12668, The Queen vs. Gwen Jacob (1996)
2. ^ http://www.stater.kent.edu/stories_old/98fall/110698/n2a.html Stater.kent.edu
3. ^ http://www.seacoastonline.com/2002news/1_31odd.htm Seacoastonline.com
4. ^ http://www.tera.ca Tera.ca

External links

Social movements are a type of group action. They are large groupings of individuals and/or organizations focused on specific political or social issues, in other words, on carrying out, resisting or undoing a social change.
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Toplessness refers to the state of partial female nudity in which a woman or postpubescent girl has her breasts uncovered, with her areolae and nipples visible. The adjective topless
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A public space or a public place is a place where anyone has a right to come without being excluded because of economic or social conditions, although this may not always be the case in practice. One of the earliest examples of public spaces are commons.
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beach, or strand, is a geological landform consisting of loose rock particles - such as sand, gravel, shingle, pebbles, cobble - or even shell fragments, along the shoreline of a body of water.
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swimming pool(3,000L), swimming bath(500L), or wading pool(30 L) is an artificially enclosed body of water intended for swimming or water-based recreation. There are many standard sizes; the largest and deepest is the Olympic size.
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park is a bounded area of land, usually in its natural or semi-natural (landscaped) state and set aside for some purpose, usually to do with recreation.

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The first parks were land set aside for hunting by the aristocracy in medieval times.
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Breastfeeding is the feeding of an infant or young child with milk from a woman's breasts. Babies have a sucking reflex that enables them to suck and milk.

With few exceptions, human breast milk is the best source of nourishment for human infants.
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Sun tanning describes a darkening of the skin (especially of fair-skinned individuals) in a natural physiological response stimulated by exposure to ultraviolet radiation from sunshine (or a sunbed). With excess exposure to the sun, a suntanned area can also develop sunburn.
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Indecent exposure is the deliberate exposure by a person of a portion or portions of his or her own body under circumstances where such an exposure is likely to be deemed an offense against prevalent standards of decency [1] and may in fact be a violation of law.
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Breastfeeding is the feeding of an infant or young child with milk from a woman's breasts. Babies have a sucking reflex that enables them to suck and milk.

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Sun tanning describes a darkening of the skin (especially of fair-skinned individuals) in a natural physiological response stimulated by exposure to ultraviolet radiation from sunshine (or a sunbed). With excess exposure to the sun, a suntanned area can also develop sunburn.
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Decency is conformity to sociocultural standards of conduct and speech.

Standards of decency vary greatly depending on the cultural context. Most nations have laws against indecency which regulate certain sexual acts, and restrict one's ability to display certain parts of
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Desmond Morris (born 24 January 1928 in the village of Purton, north Wiltshire, UK) is most famous for his work as a zoologist and ethologist. He was educated at Dauntsey's School, a boys' independent school in West Lavington, Wiltshire, and then at the University of Birmingham and
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breast refers to the upper ventral region of an animal’s torso, particularly that of mammals, including human beings. The breasts of a female mammal’s body contain the mammary glands, which secrete milk used to feed infants.
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