WOMEN BASHED FOR WALKING TOPLESS …Activists say protest does not promote gender equality

August 31, 2016
AP Participants ride in a convertible car through midtown Manhattan in the Go Topless Pride Parade on Sunday in New York.

... Activists say protest does not promote gender equality

On Sunday, a group of women across the United States participated in an annual event known as 'Go Topless Day', where they paraded the streets topless to promote gender equality and women's right to bare their breasts in public.

Although Jamaica is grappling with a number of gender inequality issues, some local women's activists have rubbished the 'Go Topless' movement, saying there are more important issues crippling female empowerment than the right, or lack thereof, to be naked.

One such activist is gender specialist Glenda Simms, who said women do not need to do everything a man does, like going topless, to be equal.

"I think it's a useless event. We [men and women] are different physically, so when the man walks out, he is a flat-chested human being. Some of these women we see, have breasts hanging down to their knees, so they are going to draw [the wrong kind of] attention to themselves," Simms said.

productive issues

"That's not the essence of gender equality or the freedom of women. Women have to be free in their minds, rather than having their bodies like men."

Instead of protesting for the right to walk without wearing a bra and shirt, Simms believes women should be pursuing more productive issues related to female empowerment and upliftment.

The movement under scrutiny has been in existence for six years, and is celebrated on the Sunday closest to Women's Equality Day, August 26, the same day women in the United States earned the right to vote in 1920.

On Sunday, scores of topless women paraded the streets in multiple cities across the United States including New York, New Hampshire, Denver and Los Angeles.

The movement's president, Nadine Gray, told ABC News that she was protesting discrimination against the female body.

However, local women's rights activist, Nadine Spence, said she believes gender equality speaks to more substantive issues, such as the quality of women's lives. "There was a story of a woman who was walking topless because she lost both her breasts to cancer and she wanted to raise awareness to that reality for women who had to live with that. I think that was important in terms of the message it was bringing," she said.

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