November 2nd, Massachusetts voters of the Third Berkshire District will consider a nonbinding question to change the legal definition of nudity to allow women to wear nothing but bikini bottoms in public.
UPDATE 11/4/10: Voters choose to keep their shirts on - nonbinding question fails
-- From "A twist on equality laws" by Brian MacQuarrie, Boston Globe Staff 10/15/10
Public nudity has caused controversy elsewhere in New England. While the state of Vermont permits the [topless] practice so long as it does not include lewdness, such as flashing, town officials in Brattleboro voted to ban public nudity in 2007. The decision was reached after a small group of young people began to gather downtown in the buff in 2006 because no local or state ordinance prohibited nudity. After out-of-state visitors began arriving to glimpse the scene, and at least one tourist strolled through downtown without clothing, town officials put a stop to it.
Under Massachusetts law, running afoul of the state’s definition of nudity is considered indecent exposure . . .
The ballot question, if approved, would ask the district’s state representative to support legislation — not yet introduced — to amend the nudity definition, “so that no part of the female breast is included.’’
To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.
From "Vote against nudity double standard" Letter to the Editor by Katherine Gundelfinger (author of ballot question) 10/03/2010
We need to end the double standards in Massachusetts' nudity law. There should be parity and equality, but there is not. It should be the purpose of the law to recognize equal treatment as fundamental. Instead women are penalized and an equality liberty withheld; the freedom to walk, swim and sun without shirts, because of body shape.
This double standard is also unfair to teenagers. Right now, if a teen boy receives and shares an e-mail from a girl showing her own breast in a photo, he may be charged with possession of child pornography. But if a teen girl forwards an e-mail of a boy showing his breast, she faces no such consequence. Girls should have the same freedom to remove their shirts for the sun or for the camera without reproach. Instead, girls are made to feel dirty and immoral to expose the very same part of their bodies that boys do. This is not equal and it is not right. Equal treatment means the right to act equally, to play equally, and to dress equally, regardless of body shape.
Women walking publicly without shirts should be as acceptable as men walking this way. It should be as acceptable as women holding positions in all areas of the workplace, including the military. This fight is fundamentally about holding men and women as equals. People may react against equality, as did Gov. George Wallace in his 1963 "stand in the schoolhouse door" to stop racially integrated schools. But today, there is no one who would stand for segregation would even remotely be taken seriously .
To read the entire letter above, CLICK HERE.