Since 2011, Asheville has held Go Topless rallies, annual events meant to promote gender equality and awareness of women’s right to appear topless in Asheville (the event was affiliated, in 2011, with the controversial Raelian religious movement). An unexpected result of the rallies is a new bill from republican state representative Tim Moffitt, which will make exposure of female nipples illegal in North Carolina.
Yes, it’s completely ironic: A rally meant to support existing topless rights is the cause of new legislation to officially ban toplessness in North Carolina.
Here’s the word from GoTopless.org, an organization founded in 2007 by Rael himself, which supports the idea that “women have the same constitutional right that men have to go bare-chested in public.” The organization states that even if the bill becomes law, rallies will continue:
“Moffitt’s bill stems from the topless rallies our organization held in Asheville, North Carolina, in 2011 and 2012,” (GoTopless President Nadine) Gary explained. “But even if it passes, our rallies will continue, with the insistence that men also be jailed for nipple exposure. All we’re insisting upon is equality: either equal rights to go topless or equal punishment for violating a law that’s applied equally to both genders.”
Topless rights are one of the few areas of gender equality that haven’t been addressed at a federal level, and GoTopless is determined to see that it is.
“In a country that now accepts women as frontline soldiers and encourages gay men and women to openly serve in the military, GoTopless members are confident that Representative Moffitt is choosing a battle he can’t win,” she said. “When this case reaches the courts, they’ll have no choice but to see this as a constitutional issue based on gender equality, which is the exact point we’re making.”
Read the full blog post here (contains NSFW image of the 2011 GoTopless rally.)
@Laura – You took the words right out of my mouth.
I watched the way this will “Be Great” for tourism in Asheville first-hand. A very young girl decided to exercise her “right” to go topless on Lexington, at around noon, on a Saturday. I just happened to be walking up the street with my 11-year old daughter, who was in utter shock, might I add. I teach my children about modesty and virtue, and here I was, left trying to “explain” that mess. No. It was wrong, anyway you slice it. Next, I saw other parents with even younger children (clearly out-of-towners, who might I add, pump desperately needed money into this city), and they were infuriated by the spectacle. They stated that, “this place was filthy”, and made it quite obvious that they would NEVER come back.” The argument between she, the two guys walking with the girl (looked like kids themselves) and the parents became *HEATED* and sufficed a call from local law enforcement from a by-stander. Yeah, BIG ACCOMPLISHMENT… I love Asheville, too. I am a native, too. I spend MY money here, too. I have a right to OPPOSE female topless-ness in MY city, too… and I will, if it is the last thing I do.
Note the young leering boys in the background. Was this supposed to be their target audience? Fine, we have rights, what did any of this really accomplish anyhow?
The protestors can start with the mayor’s office and city council.
Smytty, the organizer of the original protest was an Asheville resident at the time she organized it. A later protest was organized by an out-of-state person.
Really? All I ever heard from the media was about some yahoo from Alabama.
I still maintain that the entire protest was nothing more than a magnet for attention-seekers from all sides of the non-controversy to get their 15 minutes of fame.
Thanks for the info, Jen.
Smytty, the organizer of the first event, Livienne Love, was then an Asheville resident. She gave me the strong impression that she sought only to make women in Asheville aware of their rights, and to support women’s right to appear topless. I did not get a chance to ask about her desire to promote Raelism, but I was curious.
Making someone aware of their rights is a curious reason for a protest. But, sounds better than the Raelist feller.
I could have sworn he was the impetus for 2010 as well, but I defer to your knowledge.
Regardless, there’s a very ironic element to the way this has all gone down. I’d like to think that some might have learned something from it, but I’d wager that everyone involved just had all their preconceived notions validated.
What a waste of energy all the way around.
The yahoo from Alabama was in 2012, not 2011, I think.
Congratulations – the out-of-stater’s idiotic “protest” of something that was already legal here in Asheville has led us to ban it.
You must be so proud. Now you really have something to protest.