TopFreedom And Top Free Rights ! Lets Go Topless !
(Guest Blog By Melissa DejaNude)
Topless Equality - “Free your boobies and free your mind!” “Put the tits back in Constitutional!” These chants ring out loud over and over in my mind in reflection to the recent Go Topless parade held in Venice Beach, California back on August 21, 2011. For months I had planned to experience this rare thrill in my life, the plan to experience the sensation of feeling the wind and sun against my breasts on a public beach in LA County, the plan to experience the feeling of true equality as a woman vs. a man within the physical realm of social expectations. Finally was I given the chance to Go Topless…or shall I say topfree?
The parade began marching promptly at 2 pm near Elm Street as scheduled. I showed up a few minutes late and found myself jumping right on in and scouted out for people who were holding onto the nipple pasties and electrical tape. Before I found someone, that person found me and my top came off quicker than the speed of light.
Even while this was a day of equality, I could not help but feel myself standing out with the other women amidst the crowd mostly populated by men. There were people all around us shoulder to shoulder who were either marching with us or were taking photographs of us. In a way, I felt like a celebrity. Never before had I imagined that marching for freedom would create such a huge spectacle. Generally, I am not one to shine for the spotlight; however, I found myself marching alongside these liberalists with a smile ear to ear. It was a true smile of happiness and liberation while soaking those hot sun rays into the skin of my bosom. I thought to myself that this must be the same sensation that men first felt when liberated from their suppression sometime after the Victorian Era.
In the early 1900’s and prior, Western culture deplored nudity of any degree including bare-chested male swimmers at beaches or swimming facilities. At this time, men took great pains to cover themselves both below and above their waste. Up until the 1960’s men were fined for removing their shirts in Central Park, NY and gradually permissiveness grew towards the acceptance of partial male nudity; however, has yet to fully cross over gender lines with upper female anatomy acceptance.
Interesting enough, an international bill of rights for women was adopted in 1979 by the United Nations General Assembly called The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) which came into force on September 3, 1981. Ironically, the United States, whose national anthem contains the phrase “land of the free and the home of the brave” is the only developed nation that has not ratified the CEDAW. The only laws in place within the United States protecting gender equality are those with regards to employment and politics. There is nothing guaranteeing a women’s freedom to be treated just like our fellow man.
This valuable bit of human rights history is not found taught in school classrooms; however, you may just find the GoTopless movement to one day become a large part of history just as they teach us in textbooks about women suffrage and gender equality in the workforce. The reason our freedom march differs from the men’s freedom march in the early 19th century is simply because we are fighting for equality.
My thoughts suddenly refocus back onto the parade…we pressed forward through the long narrow strip of Venice Beach. Several unexpected bi-standers who were trying to make their way through the crowd ended up finding themselves getting pushed back against the escorting police in front of our banner that shouted “EQUAL TOPLESS RIGHTS FOR ALL OR NONE”. The Huffington Post later reports on this incident that men were pushed away with their hands out hoping to “cop a feel” in altercation to the actual events that took place.
The parade persisted its way to the end on Ocean Blvd where it came to a halt; little did the gawking crowd know that the protest had actually just begun…
Topfree Rights & Go Topless Day los Angeles
Topfree at Go Topless – The parade persisted its way to the end on Ocean Blvd where it came to a halt; little did the gawking crowd know that the protest had actually just begun. A soap box was instantly rigged as a stage where our main speaker, James Rich, shared with the public the reasons why us, women, were celebrating this random radical act of public display for topless freedom. There were several reporters present who recorded the event and held private interviews including a statement from me. I was interviewed by Anna Almendrala, with the Huffington Post and was referenced in an article titled “Go Topless Day Protest at Venice Boardwalk (WARNING: NSFW)”, an article that was not much in favoritism of what we were doing. In a way, I sort of felt as though Anna was setting me up for sabotage to be the latest news laugh. I ended up saying what my heart felt was necessary as an expecting mother, seven months pregnant, which was slightly misinterpreted in the photo caption, “I’m told that at I’ll have to breastfeed at a restroom if it comes down to it, in some places,” she says. Ralph continues: “I don’t want to have to take my child into a dirty restroom when it’s more of a dining room situation. You don’t bring your own food into the bathroom, so why should a child have to feed in the bathroom?”
My purpose was not to promote the Raelian religion, neither was anyone else’s purpose who sacrificed their image to be subjected to who knows what websites our female bodies would be posted on. All we knew and expected was what we wanted…equality.
The energy level of the rally increased the more the speaker spoke into the microphone. A few women found themselves encouraged to share with the crowd both their talents and their minds. One woman wearing nipple pasties did a gypsy dance with her baton. Then without notice, the microphone was handed to me “ Boobies are for Babies ! ” I shouted. The crowd suddenly got silent…it was quiet for a moment followed by a boisterous cheer. To this day, I don’t know if they truly understood what I actually said. All they must have known was that they enjoyed watching me say it.
After the chanting, dancing and ranting, I felt the urge to go up one last time to release to the crowd what I call my “Sublime spiel”. It is a Sublime remix I came up with on behalf of GoTopless.org.
My mission was complete!
Not too long after we collected several signatures for our Go Topless petition, the crowd dispersed along with many of the topless women. Several single men with fancy cameras managed to stick around at the end to take photos of the girls who stayed behind, including myself. This other girl and I stood side by side most of the time and decided we wanted to stick it out as long as we could because we did not want to put our shirts back on.
Men hesitantly approached us in request to take our pictures with them. One man approached me, hands shacking dramatically in apprehension and told me he had never before seen a pregnant woman topless. This reaction I received in response to my action was one of the greatest influences I had ever experienced in my life. I managed to change this man’s impression of not just women, but pregnant women while I stood there as not just an advocate of change but a taboo.
The protest finally ended three hours later. It was at that particular time I was forced to make an extremely radical decision while standing there all by myself with no other topfree women supporting my choice… Should I put my shirt back on?…
Go Topless Parade
2011 Go Topless Parade held in Venice Beach, California. Several men and women march along the strip of Venice to protest the right for women to be equal to men in topless freedoms. Women wish to go topfree wherever a man is a
After the GoTopless Parade
The GoTopless topfree parade and protest finally ended three hours later. It was at that particular time I was forced to make an extremely radical decision while standing there all by myself with no other topfree women supporting my choice… Should I put my shirt back on? My decision ended up being ruled more in favor of myself than the spectators who gazed upon me in disbelief and/or utter astonishment. There was no possible way that I was about to let this moment end. So I proceeded to walk back by myself, down the Venice strip, in the opposite direction that I had previously marched earlier with a large group of other women. If you ask me how I did it, my answer will be…”I just did.” I walked just as though I usually walk with or without a top on, except I found myself still carrying on that ear to ear smile.
Close to half way down the strip, I met up with some good guy friends of mine who showed up way to late to support the cause. They decided to just march along with me while catching the glances and rude statements of onlookers whom I passed on by. It was not until my friends commemorated me for my bravery that I learned people were saying some really mean things about me. I suppose my tunnel vision got the best of me, relieving me of any undue anxiety from others discomfort or offense. I just simply did not care; my intent was not to try to be that “tourist attraction” to the general public clothed or topfree. I was actually doing something for myself no matter what the social consequences were.
Our first stopping point was the public restrooms and I have to tell you these lines make you not want to wait, but I had to go; after all, I am pregnant. I found a single line which I thought to be the fastest and waited patiently. While doing so, I was more observant of my surroundings and noticed that no one was staring at me nor taking photos of me, to my knowledge. It felt completely normal to be standing their topfree, well up until I exited the rest room stall and some women felt compelled to cover her son’s eyes after gazing upon me. There was another reaction I received from a little girl who just looked at me as though I was crazy. She was just as confused as some of the other people I passed on by. At this time of the day, very few people knew about the march for topless equality, while most others assumed it was a special mardi gras event. That suggestion just made me want to run into someone carrying around beads just for fun.
While 7 months pregnant, with or without a top on, it is truly difficult to not stand out with my stomach showing. In fact, I learned that people were more inclined to approach me with questions about my baby than they were to directly question my motives for being topless. Not once before did I ever encounter a random person asking me how far along I was or what I was having until this day that I let it all hang out while walking around proudly as a newbie mom. Those particular people actually seemed interested in me as a human being rather than a public image.
The day was coming close to an end so my friends and I decided to savor this experience with some photo memorabilia. Along the way we came across a random guy who was loitering on the strip topless. We managed to get a snap shot of this “rare occasion” with me standing right beside him. Shortly after, we went shopping for art and apparel. While browsing through the t-shirts, some guy tried to sell me a shirt that was just way too big for me, as if I needed a top. After our shopping expedition, we found a small hole in the wall café to dine in which did not have a sign posted “no shirt, no shoes, no service.” After all, I was seeking equality, not special recognition as a female. There was no possible way I was about to step out of my boundaries and try to get away with walking into an establishment that prohibited such.
The day finally ended and so had my experience in topfreedom. From then on, the closest moment that I came to baring my breasts in a social setting has been at either a public clothing optional beach or a private nudist resort which is just not the same. One day, hopefully sooner than later, I shall find another day like this one. Until then, I plan on breastfeeding my baby boy whenever and wherever I am for his personal well being and a little bit of mine.
Go back: Part 2 of this 3-part series about the Go Topless Parade - Topfree Rights – “Boobies Are For Babies!”