The Atlantic

The Social and Legal Arguments for Allowing Women to Go Topless in Public

Advocates of female toplessness say current laws enforce damaging views of women's bodies.
Source: Jonathan Alcorn / Reuters

In early August, 33-year-old Phoenix Feeley began a 16-day jail sentence in New Jersey for refusing to pay fines from 2008 when she was arrested for sunbathing topless at a Spring Lake beach. She spent nine days on a hunger strike before being released early from Monmouth County Jail on August 14.

Feeley is part of Go Topless, an organization that advocates for women’s right to go topless on the basis of gender equality. The group says its objective is not to push for a world where everyone goes sans shirt, but rather to push back against what they see as an infringement of women’s constitutional right not to be discriminated against on the basis of gender. The question is: Why should women be barred from going topless where men are not? It’s a question that quickly takes its

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