Women bare all for equality

On August 22, over 200 people paraded down the Venice Beach Boardwalk protesting the law that prohibits women in Los Angeles from going bare-chested in areas where men are allowed. It was the third protest of its kind at Venice Beach, and among the protestors were over two dozen women who decided to march topless. They used red tape and fake latex nipples to cover their own, ultimately following all of the guidelines of the law.

The rally, organized by the group GoTopless, encouraged the public to join in and help lift the ban on topless laws across the country. GoTopless rallies occurred in cities across the country throughout the month of April, including New York, Florida, and Colorado.

According to Nadine Gary, the GoTopless director, Venice Beach had the largest turnout of any rally that has ever occurred. Women of all ages decided to parade freely down the boardwalk, all uniting to fight against the laws that prohibit a woman from revealing her chest in public.

GoTopless is determined to change the law, even if that means going all the way to the Supreme Court to do so. They are blazing the way by using the constitution as a prime example of [their] [women's] given rights as Americans.

"That's what the constitution says, equality to have the option. The constitution is not based purely on morality," says Gary.

She feels strongly that things will be changed in the near future, and the unfair arrests of topless women will come to a screeching halt. "As long as men can be topless, constitutionally women should have the same right, or men should also be forced to wear something hiding their chest" stated Rael Maitreya, founder of GoTopless.org.

They chose the month of August to hold the protest to correlate with the anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which allowed women the right to vote.

"This is like trying to figure out the difference between what is art and what is pornography. It's the same kind of issue. What is decent and what's not decent. I don't know that I personally have enough experience to decide that, but I think in this country democracy will rule out," says first year SMC student Elise Becker. "It is becoming more and more outdated and I think people are going to start pursuing more progressive ways of life."

There were many supporters at the event, including men who decided to wear red bikini tops to show their support. Despite the massive amount of support that was shown at the event, protestors also decided to make an appearance, including a group from the Bible Believers church in Los Angeles.

SMC student Gal Avraham believes that "the difference between men not wearing a shirt and women not wearing a shirt is that for a woman not to be wearing a shirt is not appropriate. There are a lot of kids and people at Venice Beach."

Amidst the attempt to change the law, GoTopless emphasizes that it is important to help women understand that they should not be ashamed of their breasts. They stress the fact that men have the power to control themselves when confronted with the sight of a woman's breasts out in public. "There is something wrong about the way we feel about our bodies. This guilt, it's not fair and it's not good for the mind," says Nadine Gary.

Will the sight of numerous topless women soon be gracing beaches? If Gary has her way, the near future will hold this and much more, for "the freer you feel in your body, the more peace in the world. Because ultimately, oppression leads to aggression."