Believe it or not, women can legally walk around New York City shirtless. The law has been in effect since 1992, but few have dared exercise it. Moira Johnston is one of those few. She has spent the last two weeks wandering around Manhattan without her breasts covered. She is doing so “to raise awareness that it is legal for woman to be topless anywhere a guy can be without a shirt.”
Johnston was arrested once by the police but let go an hour later. She was arrested near a children’s playground because the police thought she might “endanger” the children. After some time to consider the ridiculousness of that idea, the police thought better of it and did not charge her with anything.
It seems that most New Yorkers just continue with their business, although almost all must sneak a glance. Johnston said that some people are offended and want her to cover up. Others cheer their support for her cause. The biggest problem from watching this video is the guys who want to have their pictures taken with Johnston. Some people are offended, but others are just immature.
Johnston has a very good point that men are allowed to go shirtless and that women should have the same right. The interviewer often raises the comparison that a covering up a woman’s breasts is similar to a burqa. His point is also correct. It is all a matter of degree. Islamists are uncomfortable that a woman’s hair, ankle or elbow might show. None of these is a problem for Western men. All this fits with the old principle that women must be protected and treated like chattel. Whether it is the West or the Middle East, men do not have to cover up what women must. That inequality is wrong.
While Johnston has support from several people in the video, she also is criticized. One woman made a comment about Jesus coming because of this scene. The other was a man who wrongly stated that being topless was illegal and a violation of God’s law. His best reasoning that it violated God’s law was stating that Adam and Eve covered themselves up at the Garden of Eden.
I’m not sure America is ready for this, but the time may be coming when it will be looked at no differently than a shirtless man. First, the ogling guys need to get over their fascination.