Today’s post is, fittingly, a tribute to New York.
Since 1992, it’s been legal in New York City for women to go topless. But Moira
Johnson (and several other women) have been arrested and otherwise punished for
doing so. So this summer, Johnson took to the streets, breasts bared, to
make a point.
Ok, it’s a little wacky, and I don’t believe the right to go
topless is at the top of the list of things we should be shouting about. But
I’m fascinated by this story for another reason; How I reacted to it.
My first thought, and probably that of a lot of people, was
something like, “wow, what a bad/stupid/dangerous idea.” What’s
bad/stupid/dangerous about it? She’s asking to be assaulted. That’s what I
thought. That’s what a LOT of people would think.
But here’s the thing – that’s victim-blaming. It makes her
responsible for other people’s behavior. I don’t think it’s less wrong to
assault someone who’s topless. I believe every person is responsible for
following the law, even when it would be easy or tempting not to. If she were
to be assaulted, it would be no more her fault than if it happened to a
fully-dressed women, because crime is the fault of the criminal. ALWAYS.
So I’m going continue to question my reactions to things,
because rape culture (and other forms of institutionalized discrimination) is
I do think going topless in New York City TODAY would be
bad/stupid/dangerous. Because the weather isn’t sentient. Big difference. Stay
safe, East Coast Vagina Newsies.