I am writing in response to Gail McKellar’s letter “Topless march in poor taste” (Pique, Aug. 29).
Whether you’ve seen this or not, men have the right to take off their shirts at any time, anywhere, except in businesses as otherwise posted for sanitary reasons. Women do not have this right, as power structures and organizations prevent them from doing so. Why? Because breasts are sexual? Who made them that way? Not the infants that feed from them. Not the women that have them.
Toplessness and nudity are not inherently sexual. However, when it is socially acceptable for a man to be topless, but not for a woman, the message becomes that the female body is different and deserves to be sexualised. In 1920, the women who marched were told they were the equivalent of prostitutes to display themselves in such a way in public. Those women were fully clothed but were sexualized in an attempt to diminish and demonize their message.
This march and these types of protests are designed to help us question the beliefs that keep oppressive power structures and ideas in place in our society. There is definitely a great deal of pressure on youth today of all genders to share sexually explicit images of themselves. However, to be clear, it’s not nudity (think getting in your shower) that’s the issue. It’s the sexualization of nudity that is the problem. This social construct has also taught our youth that sexuality is the only way to intimacy, driving them to share provocative images with one another.
Original publication 11 September, 2019
Posted on NatCorn 14th September 2020
Reference to an article does not infer endorsement of any views expressed.