As Fall Beckons, Let's Celebrate 25 Years of the Right to Go Topless in New York

This year marked the 25th anniversary of a woman’s right to go topless in the state of New York. As a lifelong resident of New York, and a 25-year-old myself, I grew up with this law, but only learned of its existence this year. The reason for that is pretty obvious to anyone with boobs—if bare breasts in public are legal then so are the unwarranted public reactions to them.

According to Splinter there are 28 states where a man or woman can feel comfortable being topless in the eyes of the law. But, the over sexualization of the female breast prevents women from enjoying this right. No one blinks an eye at a topless man—no matter his cup size. Yet, women who can legally bare all choose not to in fear of the creepy onlooker who leers at their chest while they sunbathe. Sometimes it’s just easier to just keep the girls covered than to deal with the headache of other people’s problems.


After centuries of fighting for equity it seems that top-free laws, at least in states like New York, have done as much leg work as they can muster. That’s where International Go Topless Day, Free the Nipple movement, and fearless women nation wide come into play. They know the rest of the fight is convincing the world that a little extra adipose tissue isn’t anything to blink an eye at.



I’m trying to think of collective action that could change the “leer” factor. Maybe if they carried out large topless protests for weeks on end, so that it became normalized in public? Photograph and name-and-shame any leering assholes who show up with cameras?