Women, Men, and Shirts

There is a campaign now to permit women to go around completely topless, i.e., bearing all 100%. I oppose such a campaign with extreme prejudice, but I cannot find a solid argument against it.

The first argument that comes to mind is that exposing the female torso leads people to sin. In other words, it is extremely scandalous. However, exposing the male torso can yield the same effect. Although not to the same degree, women are susceptible to sexual sin, too. A well-toned man walking around shirtless can lead people down the primrose path. (I haven’t even mentioned homosexuality, by the way—for both sexes.)

Despite the risk of scandal, however, men are permitted to go topless. On its face, this appears to be an blatant double standard. There has to exist some substantial reason that men can go topless despite the risk of tempting others. Otherwise, the argument doesn’t stand.

Can anyone explain it to me?

Women of this day are being made into sex objects, and it angers me deeply. Why stop there? Why not campaign to have us…no…force us to go around absolutely naked, top and bottom, bare all, all the time, because, after all, we’re just nothing but sex.

I’m not sure how to take this response, but please let me make it clear: I oppose the movement. I’m simply asking for help to find a solid argument against it. I don’t want women to walk around naked, trust me.

I am not sure that there is any argument against it. After all, even Pope John Paul II said Mass with a topless woman reading from Scripture.

You can’t be serious. Why was the Pope saying Mass with a topless woman reading from scripture? What were the circumstances?

I thought that the campaign was won by the pro-bare breasted women long ago. I know that, in my state, women have the constitutional right to walk around topless (except in strip bars, ironically). But I never see topless women, and I can’t imagine why any woman would want to walk around that way and have a bunch of toothless old men drool at them.

Papua New Guinea, May 8, 1984

At a Mass said by John Paul II , the Epistle is read by a bare-breasted young native woman in paint and native garb.

This is due to Paua New Guinea Tribal custom, Not a campaign to be topless.

There’s a difference.

So does anyone know why there is a male exception? Perhaps it is the case that men going topless is immodest, too. I don’t know.

It is well known that men are more affected by visual stimuli than women are. So men would be tempted to sin by women going topless. Women have slightly more sense, so they would just think shirtless men are weird unless they are at the beach.
Also, considering all the violence against women, inflamed by the media, it would be unwise for women to go topless and incur more risk of assault.

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I disagree with the first part of your reply. The idea that women would simply dismiss shirtless men as weird isn’t true. I understand men are more affected by visual stimuli. That however doesn’t rule out the fact that women can still fall into sexual sin because of immodesty. Perhaps it may not happen as often, but I have yet to see any evidence for that. (Some people would have me believe it is self-evident, which should actually make it easier to demonstrate, not impossible.) At any rate, some women would still stumble.

As for the second part, I think that seems like a pretty good argument. I never considered the risk of sexual assault. Permitting women to go around topless could result in an increase in sexual predation and harassment. I’ll have to remember that. Thanks for pointing it out.

A lot of women want to do this to show that their bodies aren’t sexual objects. They are just boobs, it is just a vagina, etc. I kind of get it. Look how short men’s basketball shorts we’re in the 70s. It’s scandalous for women to wear short shorts, men can show their chest, women can’t. There really shouldn’t be a double standard.
Same for society’s view of sex. Men can have all the sex they want to, but women are labeled for having lots of sex. It’s sick the pressures we put on women and then men get a pass. Boys will be boys, they say.
Nope, I am kind of sick of the double standards. If women need to be covered, so do men. Period.

Women are visual too. I remember drooling watching boys play sports. Shirts vs. Skins drool Especially the cute ones, the fat guy was just…gross. There’s a reason that there are now TWO Magic Mike movies…and it isn’t because of gay men.
Maybe we should teach boys that you don’t sexual ly assault a women, no matter what she has on. Crazy idea, I suppose, not blaming the victim and holding men accountable…

We should return to the good old days and legally compel men to wear blouses as opposed to undershirts with graphic designs on them

Actually I think it’s precisely the same. In Papua New Guinea or at least with the particular people John Paul was with at that time, breasts weren’t (aren’t) sexual objects. They’re just…breasts. Things mothers use to feed babies with. Why should it be impossible to conceive of a society closer to whom which takes a similarly enlightened attitude

The point of the topless movement is to call attention to the unflattering and unwanted (which women can be just as guilty of encouraging, don’t get me wrong) sexualisation of their bodies - primarily by men. I can’t say I walk around my city topless (the Midlands of England isn’t warm or dry enough for a start!) but if I’m not remotely bothered by breasts - as a gay woman no less - I think other people can probably get over it. I certainly wouldn’t seek out opportunities but it wouldn’t bother me if I encountered one, never mind took part. This moves into a broader point in that I don’t really see how someone can be offended by nonsexual nudity. (I went to a nudist camp once, long story but…frankly…most people young and old alike would have benefited in sexiness terms from any kind of clothing at all. Even a hospital gown. But that’s not being offended.). Now there’s a practical reason (the unfortunate effect of gravity!) for many women not going topless, but that’s a different issue.

The sexualisation of particular body parts is entirely cultural. You can find plenty of imagery (representing to a degree the court practice) of say Queen Anne of England/Great Britain, or many of the consorts of the contemporaneous French kings, with happily exposed breasts. Heaven forefend if one shows an ankle, though…

The idea of this movement is to try and move society away from fetishising body parts. I really think people can be grown up enough to well…grow up. I could write a long spiel about this but I’m sure I’d bore plenty of people.

You would still arrested here in the UK if you were female and decided to walk around the town topless. However, you could do that legitimately on many beaches!

I remember going to (I think) the Canaries once, and the beach ran right up level to the promenade. People were almost completely naked on the beach, and that was OK - but if they’d moved a few feet onto the promenade, that wouldn’t have been allowed. I remember thinking how crazy things can be sometimes. Similarly, there were many beaches I recall on the Greek islands where completely naked people sunbathed alongside families who were wearing clothes.

Personally, as a woman I would not want to see topless woman walking around as it’s ridiculous and unnecessary. Likewise, I hate seeing topless men in shops etc when there’s a hint of warm weather. Double standards at present? Yes, there always will be where male and female behaviour is concerned.

Actually I think it’s precisely the same. In Papua New Guinea or at least with the particular people John Paul was with at that time, breasts weren’t (aren’t) sexual objects. They’re just…breasts. Things mothers use to feed babies with. Why should it be impossible to conceive of a society closer to home which takes a similarly enlightened attitude?

The point of the topless movement is to call attention to the unflattering and unwanted (which women can be just as guilty of encouraging, don’t get me wrong) sexualisation of their bodies - primarily by men. I can’t say I walk around my city topless (the Midlands of England isn’t warm or dry enough for a start!) but if I’m not remotely bothered by breasts - as a gay woman no less - I think other people can probably get over it. I certainly wouldn’t seek out opportunities but it wouldn’t bother me if I encountered one, never mind took part.

This moves into a broader point in that I don’t really see how someone can be offended by nonsexual nudity. Children aren’t remotely bothered by toplessness or nakedness. I’m sure we as adults can find it in us. Our view of things like this is entirely culturally conditioned. (I went to a nudist camp once: long story but…frankly…most people young and old alike would have benefited in sexiness terms from any kind of clothing at all. Even a hospital gown).

The sexualisation of particular body parts is entirely cultural. You can find plenty of imagery (representing to a degree the court practice) of say Queen Anne of England/Great Britain, or many of the consorts of the contemporaneous French kings, with happily exposed breasts. (Heaven forefend if one shows an ankle, though). I’ve been to saunas in Sweden (mixed, to boot). Breasts or anything else aren’t really very sexual at all. If anything it’s both rather egalitarian (if you take off your Christian Louboutins and Victoria’s Secret underwear, it turns out everyone is exactly the same underneath) and rather comical (I’m sure the genitalia arrangements of both men and women are some kind of huge practical joke).

The idea of this movement is to try and move society away from fetishising body parts. I really think people can be grown up enough to well…grow up. I could write a long spiel about this but I’m sure I’d bore plenty of people. Point is, how about we stop being so puritan about it? It’s only the modern west that makes such an obsession with sex. If you normalise something, its interest diminishes. We break away from sexualisation by making “sexual” things no longer sexy. They’re just boobs.

Kendra once again the beacon of sense :thumbsup: Although I look at it the opposite way - if men can be uncovered, why can’t women ? (practicalities aside of course; the mere idea of topless tennis sounds painful…)

I do believe that if you normalize it, it won’t be such a big deal. However, if you don’t want to normalize it, then the boys need to cover up. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Most on this forum will be against women going topless, so cover up the boys it is. Lol.
I played fast pitch softball growing up, I’m definitely not doing any sort of sport topless. :smiley:
Also, society tells you that if you don’t have perky, pornstar boobs, something is wrong with yours. If we normalized toplessness, then women and men may change their attitudes about beauty standards. I think my boobs are ugly because they don’t look like the ones on TV, I’m sure normal boobs look more like mine, though.

I think too that it matters that cultures where almost everyone goes around bare-chested are made up of darker skinned people who live close to the equator. It’s easy to point fingers at (historically) white/European/Western cultures and say, “Oh, you guys are so repressed,” but is it any surprise that cultural norms about clothing developed the way they did when the people who lived as part of those cultures had to deal with things like winter and bad sunburn? :stuck_out_tongue:

I also note that whatever is done about tops, almost all cultures cover the genitals, which does serve a practical purpose but also IMO points toward a general human understanding of the importance of modesty.

And over time even in Western cultures showing the breasts has been a bigger “deal” than others. Actually until recently, almost nobody batted an eye over a visible breast - if it was being used to feed an infant.

This is an interesting topic. I can see some merit in the argument that culture and conditioning play a role. I think a strong argument against women being topless is the fact that women do so much to ‘enhance’ their breasts. They wear bras intended to make them seem larger. They wear tops to show just a bit of cleavage. They have surgery to enlarge them. Women clearly see their breast as sexual objects. If women didn’t do such things then I think I’d be more persuaded they can go around topless.

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