Protest – Did I miss the point?

I read online that there was going to be a GoTopless event in Asheville, NC to help bring awareness to gender inequality.

My first thought was why would I want to go topless in public. My second thought was is it illegal in Asheville?  From there I wondered what educational material would be distributed, and how big the crowds would be.  So the long and short of it was I decided to go.  So on Sunday, Pete and I headed to Asheville to meet up with friends of ours from Hickory and see what this whole thing was about and what it turned out to be.

This event was held in Pack Square Park on Sunday, August 21st and kicked off about 1pm.  Most of the topless women and men wearing bras or bikini tops were on top of the fountain.  There was a crowd that seemed to be well over 2000 by 2:30pm.  I thought about joining in until the organizer who seemed to be in her early to mid 20’s kept asking the crowd, “Do you support gender equality?” (Golf Claps) “The show me some boobies.” (roaring applause).  Every guy in the crowd had cameras and could have cared less about the message these women (and men) were trying to convey.

So here’s the catch – It’s not illegal to walk around Asheville topless.  What is illegal is to be naked from the waist down, not the waist up. While I understand what these women were trying to say, they missed an opportunity to truly educate the crowd.  There was no one walking through the crowd (that I met anyway) handing out literature or speaking to how to help with the problem of gender inequality. It was more for shock value.  The one thing it did prove to me was that on-lookers–both men and women–could have cared less about why the women and some men were standing in the fountain.

The women I admired were the ones who didn’t jump up in the fountain, but the ones who were just walking around with their friends topless and when asked about why they were doing so replied, “because I can.” They made the statement louder than the woman in the fountain shouting, “If you believe in gender equality show me your boobies.”

What is

We are a U.S.-based organization founded in 2007 by spiritual leader Rael and we claim that women have the same constitutional right that men have to go bare-chested in public.

“As long as men are allowed to be topless in public, women should have the same constitutional right. Or else, men should have to wear something to hide their chests” Rael, founder of and spiritual leader of the Raelian Movement (

~From the Website (Link may be NSFW)

Maybe I missed the point, maybe I didn’t.  I just know that if a woman wants to walk around topless nothing says she can’t in Asheville, NC. I thought the leering, the inappropriate remarks, all the picture taking was well wrong.   I also noticed there was a church group at the other end of the park.  There were parents shielding their kid’s eyes from the women who were walking around topless, and others who were pointing out the topless women as a teaching moment using those women as an example of “what not to do or how to act.”  It was a unique experience.  I’m all for gender equality, but I don’t think I’ll be taking my top off or encouraging my husband to walk around in my bra anytime soon though.  However, more power to those of you who do.


2 Responses to “ Protest – Did I miss the point?

  • I think the point is similar to Free Software. You don’t have to use it. It’s there if you want to. Similarly, women don’t have to go topless. But if they want to, they shouldn’t be penalized purely on the basis of gender.


  • Seems like an issue to work on once all more important gender problems are solved. Five or six millenia from now, if we’re lucky.

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