FREE YOUR BREASTS! FREE YOUR MIND!
On Sunday the 28th August a few of us at Subvrt attended the International Go Topless Day rally in New York. As the closest thing to publicly protesting while topless in the publication’s birthplace of Sydney was the Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras, we were sure that this rally would be a chance for women to freely unite in a liberal environment and express their confidence and love for the female form. Unfortunately, we were seriously mistaken.
On August 26th, 1920, American women were granted the right to vote, and almost a century later GoTopless was founded by Rael (spiritual leader of the Raelian Movement) as a means to demand women’s right to go topless on the same gender equality basis. Rael states that “As long as men are allowed to be topless in public, women should have the same constitutional right. Or else, men should have to wear something to hide their chests.” Since 1992 being topless in New York has been legal, so we were excited to see how the public would respond to the seemingly progressive event.
Wow, were we in for a wake-up call. The reality of the day was stripped bare by the profile of the attendees, with a majority of the crowd being fully-clad, ogling alpha males in complete creeper mode – from simple i-phone recording to high-tech professional set-ups, zooming in to their heart’s content. Had these guys never seen a pair of boobs before? The harsh truth lies in the fact that we as a society are not yet ready to accept the desexualisation of the female body, and will continue to restrict empowerment for women so that they are able to maintain their role as an object, a vessel, an artwork designed for viewing pleasure.
What was meant to be a day focused at supporting gender equality and removing the taboo stigma surrounding the female body sadly turned out to be a spectacle – where the female form was not celebrated, but sexualised. Sadly enough, men are not the only guilty party here, with cyber bullying and slut shaming coming from both sides of the fence. A perfect example of this being potential First Lady Melania Trump, who has received backlash and hate from not only men and women around the world, but also prominent celebrities – whatever your own political views are – objectifying her sexually and scrutinising her past as a basis for Donald Trump’s inability to run this country is not okay. A woman is not just an extension of a man, she is her own person. Come on boys and girls, it’s 2016 – FREE YOUR MIND.
Words by Sara Nicolette, photos by Lucy Alcorn.