The response to the decision by Oklahoma lawmakers has been less than satisfactory.
A federal court ruling in September made it legal for women in Oklahoma to go topless in public, but a lot of controversy surrounds the case. On Sept. 30, however, a ruling at the state level sustained that it was still illegal for women to go topless, and Attorney General Mike Hunter stated that other courts have looked at the case and decided to deny it and uphold “prohibiting public nudity as traditionally defined.”
Many people disagree with this statement and want to go topless despite their gender. It’s 2019 and people’s ideas have changed: women want the same right as men to go topless in public. The oversexualisation of female breasts has been fought for decades by women, and the Colorado ruling shows that the fight isn’t useless. The law of what constitutes public nudity is old and outdated.
Some women don’t want to wear a shirt, some do. People should have the right to do what they want, and the push for women to go topless represents that. Gender equality doesn’t just mean that women get treated equally in the workplace, it means that they have the same control over their bodies.
After the Colorado ruling was passed and it was declared that women in Oklahoma can go topless, many women took it upon themselves to exercise that right by hosting a topless roller skating party. This is something that women want, and it is a choice that they should be able to have. Men can go without a shirt but many choose not to, the same should go for women.
For years society has told women that part of their anatomy is something they should be ashamed of and they need to keep it hidden. Many feel that it isn’t necessary anymore. There has been a movement of body positivity and acceptance, and the law should change to show that we as a society have progressed.
Many feel that allowing women to go topless would show an increase in sexual assault. Sgt. Jillian Phippen stated, “What’s to stop them if you don’t have a shirt on and are exposing yourself?” This is a valid point to bring up. There is a rape culture in modern day America, but any woman willing to go against societal standards by going topless will not have any problem punching someone in the face.
If anything, a ruling allowing women to go topless would force society to shift away from a rape culture and towards one that allows women the bodily autonomy that men have. By forcing women to cover up, society only pushes the idea that the female body is inherently sexual even further. It’s the same argument against overly strict dress codes. Instead of forcing women to cover their bodies, it should be men that are taught to not rape them.
Women deserve bodily autonomy. Making it legal for a woman to show her nipple won’t make the world collapse into flames. Local establishments can still enforce the “no shoes, no shirt, no service” rule to ensure that those establishments are kept family friendly and clean. The ruling wasn’t forcing anybody to go topless, it just allowed them to have the right to and showed that society was progressing. Oklahoma’s decision to keep enforcing a centuries old definition of nudity just shows that needs to listen to the women that live in it.