Friday, April 30, 2010
In Maine, women blow their tops over inequality: why can't women expose breasts and nipples in public they way men do, it's not fair!
PHOTO CAPTION: University of Maine at Farmington student Andrea Simoneau shrugs her shoulders as Elaine Graham holds a blanket to prevent Simoneau from showing her breasts during a topless protest Friday, April 30, 2010, in Farmington, Maine. The demonstration called attention to the double-standard that it's acceptable for men, but not women, to go bare chested. When it comes to state law, though, there's no discrimination. It's perfectly legal for women to go topless in public. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
By Glenn Adams
Associated Press Writer / April 30, 2010
FARMINGTON, Maine—A forecast of sunny skies in April seems like the perfect time to put the top down. But a drive in a convertible isn't what some Maine women had in mind Friday.
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Nearly two dozen of them marched topless through this college town to protest what they call a double standard that allows men to take off their shirts on a hot summer day. Many men joined the women, taking off their shirts and marching side by side. Joining the scrum were gawkers snapping photos.
It's already legal under state law for women to go topless in public in Maine. But the protesters in Farmington want it to become socially acceptable, too.
"It's about gender equality," said Tia Jacques of West Gardiner, joined by husband Charles Jacques, as a mob of people moved through downtown Farmington, causing a traffic backup.
Added Charles: "Whether you choose to do this or not, I want you to be free to do this." He also offered some advice: "Keep making a big deal about it until it's not a big deal."
Friday's event was organized by 22-year-old Andrea Simoneau, a student at the University of Maine at Farmington who was inspired by her participation in a topless march April 3 in Portland. She'd been going topless downtown and near campus for the past couple of weeks to drum up interest in the march.
Thanks to the back-to-back events and ensuing Internet buzz, Maine is fast earning a reputation as a place where women can let down their hair -- and their tops.
Not everyone is happy with the display of skin.
"Men shouldn't be half-naked in public, either," said Heidi Marshall of Weld, who held a sign that said "Tops for All" as the mass of people marched past.
And Al Thurlow of New Vineyard cautioned that the tactic could backfire by causing towns to consider restrictive ordinances. "It's going to open up a can of worms," he said.
Simoneau, for one, had no regrets. She encouraged other women to take up the cause. And she said she wasn't going to let camera-toting men ruin her day, either.
"Unfortunately, there's no way to deal with people taking pictures for prurient interest, but I feel the best way to deal with that is to just ignore it," she said.
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what a sight that must have been. I've always noticed that the people with the least reason to do so are the first to take off their clothes.
4/30/2010 2:49 PM EDT Recommend Report abuse Permalink
Need more photos.
4/30/2010 5:40 PM EDT Recommend (14) Report abuse Permalink
The transfer rate to UMF just skyrocketed. Perhaps this is the state's secret weapon to curb the exodus out of Maine of its' young people!
4/30/2010 5:42 PM EDT Recommend (6) Report abuse Permalink
What a joke. I guess next these people will make sure they can sign up for the draft too right?
Some of these people just need something to complain about. Since there is no gender equality they have to go after silly stuff like that.
4/30/2010 5:44 PM EDT Recommend (2) Report abuse Permalink
For those in the know, there were some women that burned their bras and/or went topless in the 60s and 70s. Those were the good old days.
4/30/2010 5:45 PM EDT Recommend (6) Report abuse Permalink
Hey, any time women want to make it more socially acceptable to be topless in public, I'm a happy guy.
4/30/2010 5:49 PM EDT Recommend (8) Report abuse Permalink
Breasts are evil. We must protect children from them, especially the young, hungry ones. We must make sure our children know that women must be controlled, and failing to control our women is the root of all evil. Put a veil on that radical.
4/30/2010 5:52 PM EDT Recommend (14) Report abuse Permalink
The woman in the photo is a student? She looks like a Holstein.
4/30/2010 5:56 PM EDT Recommend Report abuse Permalink
damn neo-hippies ;)
4/30/2010 5:56 PM EDT Recommend (3) Report abuse Permalink
Get to class hippies!
4/30/2010 6:04 PM EDT Recommend (4) Report abuse Permalink
Oh great - now they'll be another Earthquake somewhere...
4/30/2010 6:09 PM EDT Recommend (15) Report abuse Permalink
' "Men shouldn't be half-naked in public, either," said Heidi Marshall of Weld, who held a sign that said "Tops for All" as the mass of people marched past.'
This is an interesting comment, while it may be true in certain cases/locations (e.g. shirts and shoes may be required regardless of gender in eating establishments, court houses, etc.) it is, and has been for MANY years, considered socially acceptable and normal for men to be shirtless at beaches, swimming pools and water parks, etc., however the social/cultural norm in the US (whether right or wrong) is that women are expected to have at least the areolas covered (though a full shirt is not expected in these locations).
4/30/2010 6:11 PM EDT Recommend (2) Report abuse Permalink
*groan* Stupid hippie wannabes. Sorry, no, it's not about "gender equality", it's about being provocative and voyeuristic.
Go back to class and get a life, eedjits.
4/30/2010 6:18 PM EDT Recommend (4) Report abuse Permalink
Another interesting thing to note, the Boston Globe would not hesitate to publish a photo of a bare-chested guy (at a beach, marathon, etc.) but yet it would never run the same photo of a woman.
Massachusetts is liberal and progressive? Yeah right.
4/30/2010 6:19 PM EDT Recommend (4) Report abuse Permalink
@Seebell - Extra points for that reference.
This lady sounds like she just wants an excuse to walk around topless. What's she protesting if there's no law against women going shirtless in Maine? Making it socially acceptable? Really? Good luck with that.
4/30/2010 6:19 PM EDT Recommend (5) Report abuse Permalink
We removed kaya's comment.
Finally, a feel-good story.
Must be something she wanted to get off her chest, obviously.
Too many boobs hanging around taking pictures, however.
4/30/2010 6:39 PM EDT Recommend (4) Report abuse Permalink
Jesus was crucified nude.
4/30/2010 7:21 PM EDT Recommend Report abuse Permalink
I agree with the women. Yes, American men would find it sexually exiting to view women's nude breasts, but at least give women the option to wear tops or not. If men are allowed to do so, so should they. If people find that offensive, tough!
4/30/2010 7:24 PM EDT Recommend (4) Report abuse Permalink
Parts is Parts
4/30/2010 8:05 PM EDT Recommend Report abuse Permalink
Tops for all. At least in towns/cities/public ways. Beaches, and the like can be excluded.
However, I must ask...if you carry any type of weight in your chest, what is the appeal to going topless? Its uncomfortable at best.
4/30/2010 8:06 PM EDT
Posted by DANIELBLOOM at 6:11 PM