Hey, you! You with the boobs! You've got those things covered up, right? Because a New Jersey court has ruled that you have no constitutional right to let those babies out. Moreover, you better put them away because they are inherently indecent and immoral — the judge said so. Really, you should be ashamed of yourself, what with those mammaries of yours.
New Yorker Phoenix Feeley — whose boobs have run into the law before — was arrested twice in 2008 after refusing to put on a shirt while sunbathing at a New Jersey beach (in a particularly amusing move, she again took off her shirt as soon as she was released). She appealed the charges, arguing that if a guy can walk around shirtless, a woman should be afforded that same right.
Not so, said the Jersey judges. A lady has no constitutional right to that kind of equality, they ruled. Your sweater puppies must remain inside that sweater because, the judges argued, they are a threat to "the public's moral sensibilities." No, you did not misread that. Breasts are immoral. Turns out those dirty pillows really are dirty!
Honestly. So long as the powers that be dictate that breasts are naughty, lascivious globules that are best left concealed from the public eye (think of the children!), then in the larger culture they will remain as such. And it certainly doesn't help when the people who have the power to maintain this sort of inherently shaming status quo seem to have their own psychosexual issues, such that they speak in terms of morality when talking about breasts. (As if human anatomy can be a moral issue, more so than, say, whether or not you can feed your infant child in public.)
Maybe it's just that breasts are distracting? Is that it? 'Cause I'm pretty distracted when I see someone wearing a crappy t-shirt, and it would seem that one has a constitutional right to wear that shit in public.
There's a whole lot of genuinely fucked-up thinking going on here, but listen: There are not necessarily hordes of women hankering to go grocery shopping with their tits a'blazing. But at the beach, as was the case in this particular situation, where it is absolutely the cultural norm to strip down and wear swimsuits that, in some cases, barely conceal a woman's nipples or a man's testicles, the notion of a woman sunbathing topless is by no means unreasonable. It is fair. If you've ever sunbathed topless where it's permissible, you know this. Once the momentary first-time weirdness passes, it is wonderful.
As soon as you take off that swimsuit top, you realize just how unfair it is that you ever had to wear one at all.
Image via Pixel 4 Images/Shutterstock.com.