A group of women walked topless in Los Angeles, New York, and several other cities in the U.S. and throughout the world on Sunday for “Go Topless Day” in order to promote gender equality.
The official GoToplessDay website reported that August 28 was selected as the day for women to bare their breasts because it falls at the Sunday closest to Women’s Equality Day, Aug 26. Moreover, the site states, “[i]t is only logical that GoTopless Day protests (or celebrations depending on the legal status of your city) would fall around Women’s Equality Day since the right to go topless for women is based on gender equality as their right to vote once was.”
According to the Associated Press, a group of about 50 women and men walked topless through Venice Beach in Southern California, behind a giant, inflatable pink breast that had the phrase “equal topless rights” written on it. The AP notes that one marcher carried a sign that said: “My Body Is Not A Crime.”
Dozens also turned up in San Francisco’s Union Square. A Periscope video shows men ogling at the topless women while others appeared to approach the ladies for the purposes of flirting:
— Walter Ian Kaye (@boodlums) August 28, 2016
However, Nadine Gray, president of GoToplessDay, told the AP that she hopes the events will make men more desensitized about seeing bare female breasts on display in public. “This push for women to go topless in the 21st century is as strong as women wanting to vote in the 20th century,” she told the AP. “It may be sensual, but it’s not illegal to be sensual.”
The official GoToplessDay website lists a “BoobMap” marked with women’s bare breasts to mark cities throughout the world where women marched topless. Protest also took place in New Hampshire, Denver, Austin and Chicago.
Some pictures of the protests / celebrations were posted on social media and accompanied by the #FreetheNipple hashtag:
— Jesters Magic Photos (@ajestersmagic) August 28, 2016
— Krista Whitley (@SocialKrista) August 28, 2016
Some women used the day to tweet pornographic images of themselves.
The San Francisco Chronicle notes that GoToplessDay is linked to the Raelian cult, which invented and promotes the day:
Rael used to be a French race car driver and journalist until, he says, he had a close encounter of the third kind in 1973, after which he changed his name from Claude Vorilhon to Rael. He began writing books about his newfound spirituality involving extraterrestrials and cloning as the means of immortality, and toured the world founding the Raelian movement. The religion makes sensuality and feminism part of its core values.
Raelians promote the celebration of Go Topless Day on the Sunday closest to Women’s Equality Day, Aug. 26, acknowledging the date in 1920 that American women earned the right to vote. It’s an officially recognized day for women’s rights. The topless part was Rael’s addition.
Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz