I’m weighing in on the ruckus created by those (now) infamous, bare-breasted women in Times Square who ask for tips after taking pictures with families. Toplessness in NYC is legal, and the pictures I’ve seen of these women show them to have made efforts to transform their bodies into artistic expressions that add to the flavor and culture of our diverse city.
What I see at the heart of the matter is irrational fear that viewing naked breasts is inherently corrupting and salacious. I would argue that seeing more, not less of topless women would help our prudish culture to desensitize itself away from the anxiety we collectively seem to experience when women’s bodies are on display. I understand that general objectification of women often has misogyny at it’s root, and how these women’s choice can appear to be a part of this; but I disagree that, in fact, they are adding to any negative reinforcement of the perception of women. For centuries, in art as in life, women’s bodies have been visually appreciated and celebrated.
Are we secretly terrified that painted, naked breasts have the power to dismantle our morality in one fell swoop? The real issue is how disconnected and fearful we are about our sexuality and women’s great beauty, strength and power. Really, what’s the fuss?