A group of Maine women recently marched topless through downtown Portland to bring attention to the double standard allowing men—but not women—to go out in public bare-chested.
From the Portland Press Herald:
The women, preceded and followed by several hundred boisterous and mostly male onlookers, many of them carrying cameras, stayed on the sidewalk because they hadn’t obtained a demonstration permit to walk in the street. About a thousand people gathered as the march passed through Monument Square, a mix of demonstrators, supporters, onlookers and those just out enjoying a warm and sunny early-spring day.
Okay, I hate this particular double standard. I do. Last weekend, when I was cutting down trees and lugging branches in my backyard in 85 degree weather, you’d better believe I would have liked to take my shirt off (as it was, it got covered with pine pitch and sweat and had to be thrown away … brand new shirt, too, but I’m not bitter).
So my best friend is a guy. We were watching a movie at his house a few days after the story broke,
drinking beer hanging out, and I said rather casually, “Did you hear about the topless march thingie in Portland?” (He and I have fond remembrances of Portland—we spent our 21st New Year’s Eve wandering around downtown with underwear on our head) He responded that he hadn’t, but quickly paused the movie and almost panted, “Is there video?”
Actually, there was a lot of video (my buddy was pretty excited). I’m glad there was, too, because I found something I never would have otherwise and something perhaps even more disturbing than the ogling men (or even the unfairness of bare chest-ism).
If you watched the video through to the end (surviving moobs and beer bellies along the way), it was probably impossible to miss the woman
acting like she was at a photo shoot posing in the tree. I found myself quite angry with this woman, who clearly used a gathering of men drawn out for a feminist cause to flaunt her sexuality. Pretty sickening, actually.
The march’s organizer, Ty McDowell, is also visibly upset and angry about “the show.” According to the Press Herald,
Ty McDowell, who organized the march, said she was “enraged” by the turnout of men attracted to the demonstration. The purpose, she said, was for society to have the same reaction to a woman walking around topless as it does to men without shirts on.
However, McDowell said she plans to organize similar demonstrations in the future and said she would be more “aggressive” in discouraging oglers.
Okay, the thing is, breasts are there. Even though their intended purpose—scientifically speaking—involves the nourishment of children, they are also unquestionably related to sex. What would make Ms. McDowell think that trying to prove a point about the inequality of being seen topless by walking around bare-breasted makes any sense at all? It seems obvious to me that men would flock to the event upon hearing “topless” and “women.”
I live an hour away from where this took place. I asked myself if I would have participated in this protest—the answer, by the way, was yes, if I’d known about it—and then if I would have been offended by the male … uh, attention. To that, the answer was no. I’m not proud of that, but it’s the truth—I would have been kind of excited to have a thousand men checking me out. I would not have gotten up in a tree and my intentions would have been pure in terms of the cause, but being honest with myself (and y’all) about that is bothering me more than I care to admit since the conclusions I’m forced to draw are not exactly pretty.
So. Would you have participated? Also, do you think the protest was successful? Is it a worthwhile cause to bring to the forefront? Other thoughts?
You Might Also Like ...