In what’s quickly becoming a Team Nobody sort of situation, one of the topless, bodypainted women working for tips in Times Square, known as “desnudas,” told Gothamist that only “ghetto fat women” are offended by their naked forms. We were rooting for you, bare-breasted ladies. We really were.
As we’ve mentioned, the tidal wave of titties in Times Square has crashed against the rocky shores of local government, with Mayor Bill de Blasio speculating that perhaps it’s time to just rip up the area’s pedestrian plazas and cede the whole thing back to traffic and subterranean Ninja Turtles. In a lengthy email to Gothamist’s Nathan Tempey, one of the desnudas, using the alias Kara James, defended the livelihood, first by lashing out at the mayor (reasonable), the lack of attention being paid to more serious issues, like homelessness (right there with you), sensationalist, tittering reportage of women’s breasts (amen) and then “overweight” women. Dammit, Kara.
In the newspaper, instead of reporting the nice things that people say about us, despite the fact that maybe 95 out of 100 people that walk past me smile at me or look happy or start laughing, or say hello, no, there’s just one or two people that say, “Oh, it’s disgusting” or “It’s horrible.” It’s usually—and I hate to be rude about this—overweight women. They’re the ones that are rude to us the whole day. To be honest, men don’t harass us that often. I feel like men are a little bit nervous about us.
It’s the women that come past who are overweight and have their kids around and they’re perpetuating this negative view that their children should be afraid of their own bodies. It makes me really angry because I feel like the naked human body is a beautiful thing and nobody should be afraid of it. These ghetto fat women walk past us with their children and go, “That’s disgusting. Put some clothes on.” I feel like saying to them, “Stop feeding your children McDonalds. Tell your girls that they have beautiful bodies and raise them as strong women to understand that their body is their body and they have control over it. They don’t have to be afraid of being harassed or feeling belittled because they have a beautiful woman’s body.”
And hey, what says “women’s bodies are beautiful” like describing other women as “ghetto” and “overweight”?
As obnoxious as Kara’s digs are, let’s all remember once again that toplessness—and even being fully nude in public for a performance—is legal in New York and this is only a “controversy” because the New York Post made it into one, because it allows them to demonize women and a mostly-Latina worker base in one convenient swoop. Avoid Times Square because it’s terrible, not because scheming painted ladies are going to force their breasts upon you.
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A Times Square desnuda poses with a tourist. Photo via Getty Images