Feminism Facts : The Price We Pay for Having Tits

Here’s a sad feminist fact: There are 3.7 billion women in the world. So at least 3.7 billion people have breasts.The sad part? These 3.7 billion people can be prosecuted by laws around the world simply because of their tits.

 Image Source:  Anthropologies.es

Image Source: Anthropologies.es

Breasts, boobs, tits, nugga-nuggas or bazoongas, (whatever you call the two lumps of glandular and fatty tissue that dangle from a woman’s chest) are often central to debates about women’s bodies. They’ve caused an unbelievable amount of chaos and uproar, from outcries against public breastfeeding to laws inhibiting women from going topless in public. However, as soon as bare breasts are plastered all over magazines, art or porn (essentially in contexts intended for the male gaze), they’re suddenly socially acceptable parts of the body that shouldn’t be banned.

In the 15th Century, it was more risqué for women to show their legs or ankles than their boobs. In fact, it was common for women to be waltzing around in floor length skirts with their tits hanging out (slight exaggeration). Meanwhile, in many non-western cultures breasts are seen as natural non-sexualised parts of the body. They’re feeding mechanisms for our offspring, or just any other part of the body, like an arm, or a leg. Breasts have become so politicised and sexualised to the point that people were horrified when Lorraine Kelly included a segment with a topless model showing women how to properly examine their breasts for abnormalities on morning TV. Breasts have been transformed into a taboo, they’re seen as sexual objects that will corrupt young children, leave men incapable of self-control or cause riots. Thus they must be covered up.

Feminism Facts Boobs not Bombs

While laws allow men to flaunt their chests out in public, as soon as a woman does the same thing, it’s seen as an obscene act of public disorder. Women around the world can be fined, arrested and sent to prison just for having their tits out in public.


FRANCE

Although French beaches are often seen as a top destination for topless sunbathing, French laws are surprisingly harsh towards baring breasts in public places. Any sign of nudity in France is automatically associated with “sexual exhibitionism”, which means that going topless in any non-designated areas could cost you up to €15,000 and up to a year in prison. So if you’re nowhere near a “bathing zone”, you have to keep the tatas all wrapped up. Even more surprisingly, French attitudes towards breastfeeding in public are worse than in the UK and the US. 40% of French  women believe that it’s generally unacceptable to breastfeed in public.


THE UK

In the UK, having your breasts out isn’t illegal… until someone decides it’s illegal.

The sexual offenses act of 2003 says:

A person commits an offence if (a) he intentionally exposes his genitals, and (b) he intends that someone will see them and be caused alarm or distress.

Meanwhile the public order act (1986) affirms that:

“It is illegal to do anything “threatening, abusive, or insulting within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress”.

There is no concrete law against having your tits out, but if the presence of your breasts causes someone distress or is seen as threatening, you can be prosecuted. It’s all wishy-washy and depends on how your intentions are perceived, who you’re around and how other people react to your breasts. But it’s not all doom and gloom...women who are breastfeeding cannot be shamed, discriminated or asked to cover up since the the Equality Act was passed in 2010.


THE USA

The price you pay for getting your tits out in America depends on the State that you’re in. Here’s a handy map by the Go Topless movement that shows which states (in red) completely ban women from showing their breasts in public:

 Image Source:  Go Topless

Image Source: Go Topless

However, even if you’re in a ‘topless State’, the disorderly conduct law means that you can still be prosecuted for showing your breasts in public if someone complains.
 

THE MIDDLE EAST

If you were thinking of getting your breasts out in public while in the Middle East, don’t do it. In Qatar, penal code punishes and forbids “indecent” clothes that don’t cover shoulders or knees, meanwhile in the United Arab Emirates, signs have recently been placed on tourist beaches warning women against topless sunbathing and changing clothes in public. If you have your breasts out, it can lead to arrest and a possible jail sentence.


Women continue to be punished for trivial matters like having tits, simply because society has decided that allowing women to be topless in public spaces will probably lead to World War 3. It’s perfectly fine if you don’t want to get your tits out in public. But if a man can do it, it should also be fine for women to go topless in public without the threat of arrest or hefty penalties. It’s a matter of equality. A woman’s body belongs to her. The law needs to stop enabling the sexualisation and stigmatisation of breasts.


Article by Chanju Mwanza