“A woman’s body is just as decent as a man’s.” This is one of the governing tenets of the Topfreedom movement, which uses women’s public toplessness as a form of political protest. Helese Smauldon, a singer, model, and writer in New York, is singlehandedly taking on the cause there, going topless in Union Square and near the Brooklyn Heights promenade. By her own account, it’s an exercise that has led to open communication about women’s rights and personal freedom, as well as a run-in or two with the NYPD. Though she’s never been arrested for going topless in public squares, the police have asserted that her bared breasts are harming children.
In a blog entry at her site, Helese Talks, she addresses the intent of her mission:
This one is about my breasts and my right the bare them, and what it means for my personal liberation at this time in my life. One of my purposes for the movement is to bring up a few points: I think it says a lot about our society and culture when we: