Experiment: Under New York state law, all chests are created equal: both men and women can go topless in public, provided you expose your breasts in a manner "neither lewd nor intended to annoy or harass." On a hot summer day, would going topless in a public park prove empowering, or would I get burned?

Hypothesis: Guys do it all the time, and the law says I have the right to bare breasts. Moving this equal right from theory to practice should be just as relaxing as any other afternoon in Central Park.

Materials:
Breasts (literally)
Public Park
Balls (figuratively)

Method:
Even though I knew the law was on my side, female toplessness still felt like the medical marijuana of the east coast: legal but somehow illicit. I was nervous as hell the morning of my experiment. Even worse, I couldn't decide what to wear. I settled on gym shorts and a tank top, with a nice bra underneath since everyone would be seeing it. It was like getting ready for a hot date: I was apprehensive, flustered and had already decided how naked I'd get by the end of the night.

I promised a day of sunshine and laughs (perhaps at my expense) to two friends/bodyguards, and we arrived at the Sheep's Meadow in Central Park with blankets, books, and my boobs. The clearing was packed with sunbathers; although no one was topless, there were a rainbow of skimpy bikinis and skin across the lawn. We claimed a clear patch of land and, far sooner than I would have liked, it was time to take off my top. "Here," my friend Jim offered, removing his own shirt, "I'll do it too."

Easy for him to say, he's been doing this for decades, I thought as I pulled off my tank top. So far, so good, but still nervous as hell. I thought perhaps I could ease into the public nudity by acting like I was sun-bathing. I lay on my stomach and removed my bra, and rested a moment, thinking feminist and empowered thoughts. We were making progress, but I couldn't hide face-down all day.

So I sat up. My hand instinctively grasped my breasts for modesty, my bosom spilling over my fingertips. I didn't want to let go. "I'm gonna do it. I'm just gonna remove my hand," I said to no one in particular. And then I did.

Results:
There they were in the sunlight, the eyes of God and New York Penal Law 245.01 my boobs out, nipples blazing. The girls sitting on the blanket next to us giggled. Some passersby glanced over, smiles on a couple of the guys' faces. My nipple ring glinted in the sun. Amazingly, I felt relatively calm. Warm. Neither lightning nor cops had struck me down. Furtively looking around, I noticed some guys attempting to be respectful. Maybe they were just thinking be cool or she'll put her top back on, but gentlemen would glance over and grin, but rarely stare. No one cat-called or made lewd comments. So many people were showing skin, and it was so hot, my toplessness didn't feel like a big deal.

Five minutes in, however, my skin was sizzling. The Irish were not made to be a topless people. Rubbing SPF 15 onto my nipples made me feel a little dirty and a little silly for bringing only SPF 15. I tried to chat with my friends, but I found it hard to concentrate. More and more people were looking over at me, and when everyone's staring at you, you can't look anywhere for fear of making awkward eye contact. I may have been topless, but I was still shy. It's not common for me to make eye contact with strangers. It's even less likely if they're staring at my tits or taking pictures with their iPhones.

Three sunscreen applications later, my girlfriend Megan pointed out, "The trouble with sun bathing is I'm already bored. I want to get a hot dog or something." A quick scan revealed a hot-dog stand at the corner of the Sheep's Meadow, just outside the fence marking the lawn's border. I didn't know what would happen if we left the sanctuary. But for hungry, topless women everywhere, I would find out.

FIND MORE:
I Did It For Science: Sex Doll
I Did It For Science: Heterosexuality
Ten Former Child Stars You'd Sleep With Today

 

Commentarium (166 Comments)

Aug 25 09 - 12:20am
c

Very well written. I loved the format, the similies, the descriptions, the humor, and the insights. I felt so nervous and excited with you! Keep these great articles coming, Meghan!

Aug 25 09 - 12:28am
alr

man, you must have gotten a wicked sunburn--exposing skin that's NEVER seen sunlight--SPF15?!?!? What were you THINKING???? You needed some 75+ for that job.

Aug 25 09 - 12:42am
Cok

you describe your topless experiment in such a charming and witty way. i admire your bravery! a really great article!

Aug 25 09 - 12:57am
KG

meh, got my big brown boobs out in the park all summer long. if anywhere in the US, should above the usual puritanical modesty issues, It's New Yorkers. Most would give a sh*t if I had 3 naked tits out.

Aug 24 09 - 1:07pm
ixv

No disrespect: but if you were simply very attractive, you'd find the same kind of reactions from other women daily. It works like this: if men notice you, women hate you.

Aug 24 09 - 1:28pm
hee

you're so adorable, i almost can't stand it.

Aug 24 09 - 1:29pm
get

...just another reason to love redheads!

Aug 24 09 - 1:31pm
lik

@ixv, she's a redhead with nice tits. are you serious?

Aug 24 09 - 1:42pm
nh

boy am i glad to have grown up in a country where exposed breasts aren't such a big fucking deal. nipplegate was a joke to us in 'yurp'.

Aug 24 09 - 3:02pm
AC

French woman have been topless on the beach for decades.

Aug 24 09 - 3:19pm
tj

I was at a festival in NY soon after the law was passed. The announcer at the festival said something about "topless... not just a good idea, it's the law!". A couple of ladies enjoyed their new freedom and were bouncing around. It looked more painful than fun or sexy. I don't understand all the fuss -- it was far easier for me to look at something else than to even think about scolding the ladies who were enjoying themselves.

Aug 24 09 - 3:19pm
AAE

Way to go! Don't let the man (or park employees) keep you down! This article was hilarious and informative. My favorite kind.

Aug 24 09 - 3:34pm
nh

The fear of nakedness, gayness, and stylish clothing in America amazes me. Maybe people need to travel 'back' (meaning forward) in time and evolve. Darwin, are you taking notes on this?

Aug 24 09 - 3:57pm
JHN

Good for you! I'm surprised that you got so much heat from other women. I guess the last 40 years of liberation haven't had the impact we thought. This is yet another reason to support everyday science!

Aug 24 09 - 4:42pm
win

i want to know...would you ever do it again? there must have been something a little delicious about it all. or maybe i just think you're really hot :)

Aug 24 09 - 5:17pm
sfw

Topless for both sexes is legal across Canada (Charter of Rights and Freedoms - s.15), but only the boys show their breasts.

Aug 24 09 - 6:04pm
ZO

You should really go to Burning Man. It's an amazing environment where people can be who they are and do what they want without others judging them. In fact nobody even cares if you're naked or clothed, either way you're just a person.

Aug 24 09 - 6:49pm
KsZ

I'm disappointed that the park official discouraged you. Shouldn't it have been legal?

Aug 24 09 - 7:18pm
MJL

I wonder, if the breast weren't so taboo in this country, would I be as happy when one was exposed in front of me?
It'd be a shame to wreck something that awesome.

Aug 24 09 - 7:52pm
MO

Very perky of you!! (sorry, couldn't resist, my eyes are drawn more to your smile than anywhere else)

Aug 24 09 - 8:53pm
SW

You might be more comfortable someplace less uptight than the east coast.

Aug 24 09 - 9:24pm
twee

i'm no expert, but why can't this girl and and the vibrator girl do this column all by themselves? maybe they can even team up and uh, do things together...okay i just got distracted but the point is, they were both so good, i don't know why nerve keeps throwing other lame ones at us. variety sure, but not at the expense of awesomeness.

Aug 24 09 - 10:27pm
YAC

What a ballsy thing to do! I love how humorous and insightful the piece is, please keep them coming!

Aug 25 09 - 2:19am
JSK

I've never been to Burning Man, but more than one person has mentioned the nudity as a good thing. Maybe it is a better environment, but I think people still do care. Particularly, the guys. :)

Aug 25 09 - 5:14am
rtm

When I look at the picture of you holding the drink and dog, all I can think is "Thank God!", that just looks so normal, finally someone gets it. I have NEVER understood why it is OK to discriminate based on sex when it comes to not wearing a shirt in public. Either it is just as OK for women or it is not OK for men - can't have it both ways and be who we say (think) we are as a society. Kudos for your bravery in pushing your personal boundaries in the name of science and equality!

Aug 25 09 - 5:20am
CDG

Your French passport is on the way.

Aug 25 09 - 6:50am
FGB

Prohibition would be a public morality law. Under Spanish Constitution that kind of laws are not valid. In fact, in Spain it is perfectly legal to go completely nude in public places.

And such beautiful redhead, we need more real redheads in Spain. Please visit some day!

Aug 25 09 - 8:10am
CLY

Wow. Gorgeous body. (I'm a woman.)

Aug 25 09 - 9:53am
FL

Awesome of you to test this, I've experienced the opposite. I, male, was at a rooftop pool party and was asked to leave because I got naked when they routinely let girls get naked. I had already put my clothes back on, but they were still polite and let me say goodbye before kicking me out.

Aug 25 09 - 9:59am
sg

As mentioned: If you feel to oppressed, go the Barcelona beach, the Berlin parks or actually anywhere in Europe. No shame involved there...

Aug 25 09 - 10:40am
SHG

Fantastic! At first I thought that this was going to be some boring story about the American prude rolling over on her towel, exposing the girls for a couple of minutes, and then running off. And then you go for a hot dog and impressed the heck out of me. The bathroom topped it~going topless that is! Reminded me of my first time at a French nudist colony... every time I locked the door to my room to go to the beach I went to put my keys in my pocket and thought "holy crap, I'm not wearing pants-- and I'm in the hallway!"

Aug 25 09 - 11:02am
JH

Nice tits.

Aug 25 09 - 11:05am
ARB

Real courage, and adorably reported. No one seems to have connected the author's reactions to the culture that formed them. i.e. the concensus is that it shouldn't be a big deal, but it was obviously a huge deal to the author, otherwise all the, ahem, tittering by the other women wouldn't have phased her. And in the end, we are to understand it's a one-shot deal--that the author wouldn't do it again..... that she's more comfortable getting back in line, as it were. Which I do not point out in the pejorative, but simply that it seems to be the case. Anyway, quite a titilating story.... and a great medium for as many breast synonyms as one can pack into a piece--one that simultaneously decries our obsession with breasts, and celebrates it. Hm.

Aug 26 09 - 12:03am
mp

I don't see what the problem is with women going topless. People here in the US need to get over their problems with nudity.

Aug 26 09 - 12:47am
JD

In Denmark, it's quite normal for women to walk around with their breasts enjoying the same free air as the men's chests. In fact, sometimes I wish that wasn't so (you die a little inside when you see 75 year old nipples)

Aug 25 09 - 2:55pm
SJ

I'm breastfeeding my baby six times a day all over New York with no discretion whatsoever (except in restaurants; seems like bad table manners) and no one pays any attention. Really, I'd be much more self-conscious in a bikini on the lawn on a Saturday.

Aug 25 09 - 5:08pm
Mari

So funny how Americans make such a big deal out of nudity. In France we expose our tiny little breasts for all to see and it's no big deal.

Aug 25 09 - 5:45pm
MJL

I wonder, if the breast weren't so taboo in this country, would I be as happy when one was exposed in front of me?
It'd be a shame to wreck something that awesome.

Aug 25 09 - 6:20pm
M

@MJL and that's why breasts exist, sir. to excite you once every couple years.

Aug 25 09 - 7:08pm
BM

Great job Meghan!! Keep it up for boobs. *bianca*

Aug 25 09 - 9:49pm
DH

I hope you didn't get too sunburned. Our people are definitely not meant to be in the sun.

Aug 25 09 - 10:32pm
ghf

Did your perky lily white nipples get burned? Because that would be notable.

Aug 25 09 - 11:01pm
DJ

This was adorable --as is the writer. But--direct sun is not good for the breasts--it will destroy the collogen (sp?)which will make them sag later in life. So-sadly, ladies, keep your tops on when out in the sun. The shade now, that's a whole other matter.

Aug 26 09 - 1:16am
CMD

Good for you for trying this! But I'm a pasty white girl too, so ow ow ow for your tender breast skin. Also, I love your Natalie Dee bag!

Aug 26 09 - 5:45am
JRT

Very interesting and funny read. I'm a pretty self conscious guy, so I don't know if I could do that. Thank you for your commitment to science. Plus, I believe the murmuring women were just jealous of how beautiful you are and were able to pull that off! Sorry, had to be said.

Aug 26 09 - 9:03am
WAC

I'm sure the hot dog guy appreciated your ample tips.

Aug 26 09 - 4:06pm
dc

wow, good for you, impressive

Aug 26 09 - 5:08pm
wmg

I recall when the law went into effect. There was a woman riding the subway topless and being interviewed for TV news but they had her breasts blocked out. It made no sense to me that a child could see her on the street or on the subway but the TV had to have a stricter code. America sexuality.

Aug 26 09 - 7:41pm
dar

Maybe for a shy girl Meghan's actions took courage, but honestly, how privileged are you when the most daring thing you can think of doing is to take your top off for an afternoon in a very liberal city in the summer? seriously, if she had ever faced any hardships in her life, she would've passed on this assignment as beneath her. look at how experimental i am! Self-indulgent yuppie. in a world where women are forced to cover themselves from head to toe, and are burned with acid for disobeying a man's wishes, i am not impressed by her audacity. booji, yuppie wuss.

Aug 26 09 - 10:30pm
ps

wow, dar, where in the world did you find such a high horse? and when did the orphanage you run in calcutta get internet access?

Aug 26 09 - 10:51pm
urb

this is a sweet silly piece. science class should be more like this.

Aug 27 09 - 10:19am
jez

hey dar, are you a girl? if so, i suggest you do it and see if it's sooooo easy. if not, i suggest you shut the fuck up.

Aug 27 09 - 11:45am
wwc

Way to go! I've become a big fan of the nude beach... feels good to get the girls out in the sun, without all the giggling & pointing. For future reference... it's all about the spray-on suntan lotion, which spares you having to rub yourself all over ;)

Aug 27 09 - 4:35pm
HC

This is so awesome. I frequently have the dream where I find myself naked in public, or often just topless, and instead of being embarrassed, I'm pissed off at everyone else making such a big deal about it. I don't have the guts to do it in real life, though.

Aug 27 09 - 4:50pm
ces

Ketchup on a hotdog?

Aug 27 09 - 6:43pm
FR

Way to go, pretty Irish girl. Do a sequel, but with more pictures next time.

Aug 27 09 - 6:45pm
rar

I can't see your boobs, there's fast food in the way. Your prudishness with the photo kinda runs counter to the point of the article.

Aug 27 09 - 6:51pm
MS

Big effin' deal.
This county is such a pack of prudes. (Well, maybe as bad as Iran)
Best idea for sunscreening the chest bumps: Have your boyfriend apply the potion.

Aug 27 09 - 6:51pm
MS

Add "not" to that last message. You know where.

Aug 27 09 - 7:47pm
dh

I am 70 years old! First time I went top less was on the Costa Del Sole in Spain and I was 30! Hard to do at first then became very easy and natural. America needs to wake up. There is nothing wrong with going topless or for that matter beeing nude. Dorian

Aug 27 09 - 10:02pm
BRF

You go girl. Keep up the good work. Why hide your nipples on the subway,I love nipples.

Aug 28 09 - 3:07am
ge

is everyone crazy?! boobs are boobs. women have them, men don't. even though it's awesome she had the confidence to do this, it doesn't justify what is clearly beyond normal exposure. it's not about being sexist..it's a simple anatomical fact. keep your privates covered. i can't help how you choose to dress when the law's on your side, but more importantly, i, or anyone else, can't control what they see when they're standing in line at a hot dog stand. a little consideration would be appreciated by more than just me i'm sure.

Aug 28 09 - 3:09am
ks

hey look what you turned yourself into....WALKING PORNOGRAPHY!!!!!!! go get some boots and stand on a street corner.

Aug 28 09 - 8:36pm
IJ

Ok, I live in French Canada, and bare breasts are no big deal for us, first of all, most Montreal woman are tens compared to most Americans, so I am not very impressed. Even here in Montreal its hard to get impressed by all the tens, because it like a buffet so much available. Poor New Yorkers, i guess the smallest thing will create excitement, but here it takes a lot for us to get excited!

Aug 29 09 - 4:09pm
KZ

Seriously guys (I mean Americans) I feel so sorry for you. In Europe women sunbathing hopeless are common view and there is no "funny smiles" from immature, sexually insecure guys. The porn industry in US is thriving but sunbathing naked is an act of feminism? How sad and hypocritical is that? Once again it made me realise that Europe is much more healthy sane mature and tolerant society. Just read those comments "keep your privates hidden", "walking pornography" had sad and funny is that. For me it's simply unthinkable that such a normal, perfectly healthy natural thing as woman sunbathing topless becomes an issue that should be discussed and rises so many different opinions.

Aug 29 09 - 6:29pm
mns

ks's vicious comment does not contribute to the discussion and does not meet the standards that should apply here. There always seem to be some who take advantage of the anonymity of the web to be nasty in ways that they would never be in person.

Aug 30 09 - 3:50am
SWC

Somehow if you were serious, you would not have put such prudish pics in this article.

Hopefully someday this country will move beyond being outraged by public nudity. Alas that day will only come when the last vestiges of Mythology and Superstition (ie. religion) are wiped from its face.

Aug 31 09 - 12:55am
SF

I just wanted to say 'well done' for doing what you did in the park!
In Europe it's a normal thing for women to go topless, especially at the beach.
I like going topless as I don't like those ugly tan lines. Nobody ever stares or harasses anyone and it really shouldn't have been that stressful for you.
The people who gave you strange looks were probably just stunned by, or jealous of your beautiful body.
Having read your article, it seems some Americans are not used to such an environment.
But if it's never done by people again like yourself, maybe society will never change.

Aug 30 09 - 6:46pm
MW

I'm a guy. This is the same type of experience I had the first time I wore a kilt in public.

Aug 31 09 - 5:43am
PMJW

Poor Americans... I just returned from a holiday in R

Sep 01 09 - 12:05am
poh

but why are your nipples covered in all the photos in the (great) article - ok in public but on the internet?

Aug 31 09 - 1:30pm
BDC

Great Job, Meghan. NYC is the perfect place for this experiement and your piece is well-written, interesting and very, very funny.

Aug 31 09 - 5:10pm
AH

Thanks for doing this! One day hopefully us ladies everywhere will enjoy the same freedom guys do. It's stupid that my body has been so sexualized that I cannot even take off my shirt without guys turning into animals. And why should I have to change my behavior just because they cannot control themselves, hum?!

Aug 31 09 - 7:01pm
mca

i'm a guy. stop saying we turn into animals! I dont care if she's topless. I guess most guys would look, but not go crazy. & why do women wear bras? i know i dont cause i'm a man but i also dont wear underwear. underclothes suck.
if u want to be topless then i guess its scary here but many countries they dont give a shit. i actually hate wearing clothes

Jul 02 11 - 11:00am
GJM

Fuck yeah! I'm a lady and I agree- we need to stop saying men can't control themselves. They can, and by saying they can't, by telling them they can't, we create a sexist rape culture where women have to cover themselves in fear, and men feel limited by the stereotype that all they think about is sex. Some amazing philosophers, scientists, and artists have been dudes; obviously they can think about other things.

Sep 01 09 - 9:58am
LP

I would have added one more piece of equipment to the list--a copy of the court decision. If a cop did challenge you it would be a lot easier to show them the law than have to show it to the judge.

Sep 01 09 - 11:47am
RB

Megs you're my hero!

Sep 02 09 - 12:52am
An

Pics or it didn't happen.

Sep 01 09 - 3:44pm
JEM

Not only is she a cutie but she's witty too. Meghan, can I invite you to go out for a day of sunbathing with me?

Sep 02 09 - 2:27am
JRM

Wonderful and brave.

Sep 02 09 - 6:29am
TF

Wonderful story. I'm sure the country needs a whole lot more non-sexual breast exposure to get cured. Perhaps your honesty and bravery will inspire others. =)

Sep 03 09 - 12:02am
JAM

You're cute! Of course, I always did have a weakness for redheads!

Sep 02 09 - 1:30pm
KM

Guys don't have a problem with women going TOPLESS. It is WOMEN that have a problem with other women going TOPLESS. What GUY wouldn't love to have women TOPLESS and BOTTOMLESS!

Sep 02 09 - 2:22pm
TP

If MORE women went TOPLESS then it wouldn't be such a big deal.

Sep 02 09 - 4:22pm
jc

someone said that the covering of your boobs in the pictures runs counter to the article. I disagree. In an article about being topless in a urban environment where it is legal but taboo, showing your nipples online where it is neither illegal nor taboo, makes it less than necessary to the validity of the story. The article was about facing a taboo. posting on the internet isn't. You just want to see nip. lol. But seriously great job meghan! really really well articulated, witty, and ballsy. you should really have your own column or something.

Sep 03 09 - 3:50am
rad

Not a big deal in Berkeley or SF - recently saw two topless women rollerblading in a farmers market.

Sep 03 09 - 3:19pm
JW

Great job Meghan! Don't let the haters get you down.

Sep 05 09 - 9:39am
vpc

I applaud your courage. I also applaud all the politeness and respect demonstrated by the male-half of the population; it feels nice to see validation that not every guy is a ball of raging hormones who loses all sense of etiquette in the face of unexpected publicly displayed flesh. I am not surprised you were scorned by women; it seems in general people are harshest on their own.

I wonder what the reactions would be if you had been in a different park, like one in Brooklyn or The Bronx.

Sep 06 09 - 2:25am
des

why not especially with a nice pair of tits like yours show them of

Sep 08 09 - 1:48am
mgs

very brave. i remember how stressful it was to walk around my college campus in a skirt (i'm a straight dude). i felt like everyone was staring at me and judging me. go you

Sep 09 09 - 12:03pm
Sam

Meghan. I first encountered topless sunbathing in Manhattan the summer of 1975, on top of the building I was staying on CPW. Toplessness is also legal in Austin, Texas where I live now. You can go anywhere topless here. A public county park called Hippie Hollow is completely clothing optional. Only one of the reasons I love living in Austin! Great article, interesting insights. Lovely lady, too. Thanks for your courage.

Sep 09 09 - 12:06pm
Sam

Meghan, I forgot to tell you, put on the SPF 70 in the comfort of your home and wear a loose top out to the sunning area. Then you don't have to feel uncomfortable applying to your naughty bits in public. Cheers.

Sep 09 09 - 12:38pm
sf

Great article! You should get it published in a widely-read periodical. Can't help but think how it will read in say, 20 or 30 years. Reminded me of those recountings by women in the 1930's who wrote of traveling to German nudist clubs. Once sensational, now commonplace.

Sep 09 09 - 2:05am
DS

so what the hell is the real law? Was the park employee correct? If it's a state law then she was wrong. Was it a Park rule? I'm surprised there was no followup on this. The whole article was "being topfree is my right!" and the ending was "oh, only as long as I'm sitting on a towel"

Sep 09 09 - 2:32am
base

Congratulations on exercising your freedom to be topfree. Here's the challenge - to make more people aware of their rights. So many assume it is illegal. There is only one way to achieve this, go topfree more often. Are you ready to spread the word of freedom to all? Make it Topless Tuesdays, every Tuesday. Continue on until at least three friends also join in the cause for freedom.

Sep 10 09 - 4:41am
rlm

I applaud your actions. Thank you. I take issue with the person that called your actions pornographic, the person that referred to your breasts as "naughty bits", the person that thought they would die if they saw 70yr old nipples and those that only think what you did was good because you have "nice Tits" Man we have a screwed up society. Talk about poor body image and ignorance. Nobody has died (or had anything else negative happen) seeing someone naked or topless. Keep up the good work and ignore the neigh sayers.

Sep 11 09 - 8:05am
gwof

Do you know that someone read this story and took your idea a step further? The article is called The science of going topless (thought you might be interested)
http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-17712-Cleveland-Open-Relationships-Ex...

Sep 16 09 - 1:09am
DJ

Good lord but Americans are so silly about boobs.

Sep 18 09 - 3:12am
jhs

Strange that most of the negativity came from women.
What's that mean?

Sep 22 09 - 3:46am
wzrd

Have you ever noticed that nipples outnumber people two to one? I support equal rights for all nipples.

Sep 24 09 - 8:38pm
sk

lady, you have beautiful tatas. glad you got to flaunt them.

Sep 25 09 - 8:00pm
CRK

Just for the record, the difference between SPF 15 and SPF 50 is about 1% of the UV rays. Going higher than SPF 15-20 is a very big waste of money. Do a little research, and you'll probably be amazed and just how many "scams" there are with tiered things like that.

As for the actual experiment, it doesn't matter if you are walking around or sunbathing, it is perfectly legal to be topless. The attendant was wrong, though probably indoctrinated by people who thought any sort of nudity was a sin against whatever god they believed in.

Sep 28 09 - 4:17pm
akef

hey grl i admire your courage! here in vancouver bc canada i have had all sorts of the same treatment, men are kind and respectful (when over the age of 18ish) and women make either a big show or are rude and vulgar with say 30% of women being actually supportive. its ok if they put you down though because they are afraid jealous or uneducated, just don't take it personally and keep on going...its the only way people learn. the advice given regarding having a copy of the legislation is the way to go...i've had cops try and violate my rights to be topless on my own porch for crying out loud! don't let anything jeopardize your freedom...boobs are no big deal but we gotta understand that when we challenge taboo it takes time and determination...we gotta stay together...the suggestion regarding topless day is great....i am planning next summer to do topless bike rides in the city weekly or bi-weekly, it would be cool if we could organize across borders to support one another...we could each take a day of the week-then we could take comfort that every day across the continent there is a group of people representing the freedom to be topless...for those out there who wanna try it but are still afraid:try first with body paint and work your way down till there's nothing but decorative designs till:yay, your topless!!! its a great way of doing it. ps:truth be told i have been a nudist since i could dress myself but i still feel embarrassed and self conscious so don't think its a matter of feeling good about how you look its about accepting how you feel about it. when you walk around realize that most people got hang ups even the "really hott" ones and they have their cloths on! no one really cares how you look except other women with their judgments(that are really about themselves)... men aren't as picky as we are about ourselves...the often love us how we are... so we should too!

Oct 03 09 - 12:53am
tali

the problem is most women are embarrassed to go topless (many men also)
i

Oct 04 09 - 9:20am
hp

Let's gather up our troops and make an official topless day in Central Park. Count me in!

Oct 05 09 - 5:36pm
JJ

Meghan Pleticha, you are awesome.

Oct 12 09 - 12:38am
PB

Thank you for sharing such a well written and honest piece. You rock. I am very interested in your experiment. I think a next step would be to compare the differences in, say 2 or 3 women together exercising their topfreedom rights together. And in different places to compare responses and your feelings What might be the difference in the reactions? The issue of actually having rights legally, but socially or practically the rights are constrained due to closed minded folks needs to be addressed as you do. Hope you and some friends can continue your experiment over time and see some positive changes. Take it on. (or off!) and be free. Way to go!

Oct 22 09 - 7:29am
Boy3

Comments here are moderated. ,

Nov 07 09 - 4:38am
OV

If you don't want sun tan lines on your shoulders, why would you want them on your waist?& why do you care about tan lines, if you're showing anyone that much of your body daily, you're a whore,& being toppless for women is different then men for many reasons, one women have modesty written in our DNA, we're modest by nature,which explains why women dislike others who are showing to much skin, not that they're jealous, I have a lovely bf who adores every inch of me, i love being nude.....in privet. i will never be half nude outside because i will not be a slave to anyone,by slave it means PLEASEING OTHERS, IN ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM, WHOM I DON'T KNOW. did you know back in,eh, around the 40s women were FORCED to do porno? yep, with gun and iron fist, a women who did a famous movie called "Deep Throat" was forced with beatings & even having a gun held to her,she said it and her husband admitted it,she says those who watch that are watching her be raped,& now that movie stared so much today, sad how someones pain and miseray has pleased others.. this is what america wanted for the whole world, women to ONLY care about taking there clothes off, cause your inferior to men,you can't possibly think of anything smart to care about like say, why less women are scientist in america or why a lack of women in america have jobs that take a lot of intelligence in general? Nope. Who gives a fuck about that right? Lets all just care so much about something that does not have any GOOD EFFECTS, & WILL NOT GET ANYONE JOBS...AND LET ALONE, something we are against PEOPLE CARING ABOUT.do you people realize how hypocritical you all are? hating people for making showing nudity a big deal YET YOU, YOUR SELFS MAKE COVERING UP A BIG DEAL. The day when people actually don't care enough to even CARE THAT SOMETHING IS Censored is the day you'd get your freedom, the day you stop caring about exposing your bodies and care about INTELLIGENCE.You also know that sun on boobs= saggy,cisty sweaty boobs, and heat rash under your boobs from the skin rubbing the moisture. clothes and bras, were made with your BENEFIT in mind, with clothes it absorbs the moisture, see even in my wooden fenced backyard i have gotten nude, and i have experienced this, so i defiantly KNOW. i never go out in sun nude again..and even when walking or running around, boobs tend to bounce, and it HURTS. you're different, deal with it, I love being a woman therefore i embrace doing womanly things, like my desire to cover up so my body remains special & secret, people-women, should put there selfs on a pedistol, let only those who DESERVE TO SEE YOU, SEE YOU. do you really love knowing, you walked passed a man,toppless, and pleased him, and he,who could very well go home with you giving him SATISFACTION and then beat his wife's face in and molest his children? would you REALLY feel good about pleasing such a man? You women wanting this so bad proves your inferior to men because one, YOUR DOING THIS TO PLEASE MEN, CAUSE NO WOMAN LIKES YOU DOING IT AND ITS AGAINST YOUR NATURE AND RUINS YOUR WOMANHOOD,and secondly, because all women do is COPY MEN. stop COPYING THEM AND START YOUR OWN THING.god, the biggest problem with the world is that people keep COPYING OTHERS. no ones creative, no one KNOWS HOW TO THINK, no one ever stops to think, well maybe i don't WANT TO BE A MAN, MAYBE I LIKE BEING A WOMAN AND WILL NOT DO THINGS AGAINST MY OWN NATURE.. NO, you all follow blindly & listen to some dyked out masculine woman preach because she deep down wants badly to be a man, you know most lesbians even started feminism? and as i see what feminism really is, i know i can never be a feminist, i actually LOVE being feminine & being a female, so i desire NOT to do anything men do, and first off you women keep going on about men being shirtless a lot in public... uh NO. i never ever see men in public shirtless, i even read many signs on stores and fast food places that say "no shoes no shirt no service" meaning for EVERYONE.i am out of the house a lot and i've been to many places, never once seen a man just walking to a store or down the street shirtless...& where do you people even have the time to waste on your silly protests? I mean I have college & a job,a bf,friends, no time to waste even going to the park to protest, so any of you with this much time to go out & even be toppless means you really have nothing better to do, but people like me, who are studying to actually have power someday, are those who will actually be smart enough to make a difference, make discoveries.. but all in all, women should cover up and if the reasons i stated weren't clear enough as to why, then heres another, women have domestic violence programs & shelters, men do not,is the same reason men can go to a beach shirtless, women can not, and if you want complete equality,then when a man hits you, don't run away, nope, now u can't go to anyone to help you, your just like a man now, so HIT BACK. and lets see who wins. yeah thats right, you'd lose and cry and beg him to stop, so till you are men by nature, keep your clothes on and embrace your femaleness, feel special,be powerful enough to know, you really do control your body for once, who sees it has to be good to you, has to respect you, once u expose your self, your nothing special, men don't need to be nice to you or respect you, they can go see all the naked girls they want now, by not exposing yourself, you have the most important power of all.

Jul 02 11 - 11:04am
GJM

LOL, there's so much wrong and repressed about that that I don't even know where to begin.

Jul 15 11 - 6:25pm
OMG

OV: A few pointers:
1) This experiment was about biological and social equality. But I guess its too hard for you to understand
2) Learn to spell
3) Get a life!
Nuff said..

Nov 08 09 - 7:45pm
BB

OV, is that a psychotic rant you just wrote down? Visit a nudist resort sometime and learn to relax with brothers and sisters-- not predators and victims! God made us and loves us so have a glass of wine and relax. Meghan, thanks for the fun article and for taking a chance. I've enjoyed social nudity for 30 years now.

Nov 16 09 - 3:58am
ed2

Yay you! I love women and everything about them. Would i be rude to admire them?...no. Are you anything but gracious in revealing your assets to those of us who havent earned the honor not at all. I would have looked but only in admiration.

Dec 02 09 - 4:10am
psr

I LOVE the way you handeled the situation, and the cajones you have in baring the top......if MORE women did what you did, boobs wouldn't be such a big deal in this country!

Oh, BTW;

VERY not bad body there, hon!

Dec 06 09 - 6:18pm
GSP

I admire your courage and fortitude. Well done!

Jan 08 10 - 1:37am
MJL

Pah, if you'd've done this in Europe no-one would've batted an eye :)

Jan 19 10 - 3:21am
JAG

i like your style and it is no supprise to me that most guys dont have a problem with girls going topless on hot days. there is nothing wrong with it and there should never be.
-just a guy who respects wemons rights

Jan 25 10 - 7:04pm
sma

Great story. Until you let some idiot who didn't know what they were talking about tell you crap and bull and then you even apologized and let them -- and everyone around you -- going on believing their rubbish. Wow, what a let down! Wow.

I was very disappointed after all the trouble (and nerves) you went thru to go topless, why did you stop when one ignorant park employee told you that you had to put on a top when you know the law says that you don't and that you were completely within your rights to stay topless as long you wanted?!

Why?!!

Seriously, Why?!!

You missed a perfect opportunity to tell her and make it clear to all the women within ear-shot that you were acting perfectly legally.

You should have said, "Huh? I'm sorry but No. That's a common misconception from most people who don't know the law. But New York staute ________, passed in 1992 says, "____________ _______ __ _____ _ _ _______ ______ ___ ____ _______ ____ _____ ____________ _____ ________ ___ __ __ ___ ____ _______ ____ _____ ____________ _____ ________ ____ __ ______ ____________. Here, here's a copy of it. This should help clear it up for you next time you see a topless man ... or woman."

"So no, I won't put a top on. Just like any man would not be talked to like you scolded me and he would be free to go without his shirt, I do understand your misunderstanding. But no, you're wrong because you don't understand the law. The police have no legal reason nor any enforcement power to make any man or woman cover their chest. And so, No, I won't be putting on my top."

But nstead of saying anything like that, you apologized? What the Hell?!! You apologized?!! What for?! As if you were in fact wrong..? Then you put on your top?

OMG. WTF?! So basically, your entire experiment to help open people's eyes to top-free womens' rights in New York and to the law was all for naught.

I am completely puzzled.

So it seems you took the balls with you until you were questioned by a completely ignorant city employee, then you dropped them and let her stomped on them.

Wow, you really missed your opportunity to take your experiment from a first base demonstration to a home run explanation to many women who would have had their eyes opened, minds expanded and perhaps asked you questions ... and maybe even followed suit then next weekend.

Sad. Very sad.

Jul 02 11 - 11:07am
GJM

As much as I agree (and I imagine the author does too, though I cannot say) I think her reaction was very real. Body shame is so deeply ingrained in us, instilled from a young age. I feel ya, grrl, it's nervewracking to stand up for yourself, but ya gotta do it.

Feb 25 10 - 11:11pm
TP

It's quite sad how Body Conscious America is. I'm from south western Ontario and we have a law now saying women can go topless at the beach. Reading this article is now empowering me to get the law expanded. All people are created uniquely! When women jeer at other women for simply accepting their body image and doing a little flaunting here and there makes me feel like being a woman is wrong. SHAME ON YOU!! I LOVE BEING FEMALE! STOP MAKING ME FEEL SHAME FOR MY BODY BY FORCING ME TO STAY COVERED! It's not like a boob is going to kill you. IT'S FAT, MUSCLE , NERVE TISSUE, MILKING GLADS AND FLESH FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!! NOT A DEMON! Boobs were made for a few reasons. 1) to help feed an infant, 2) to help define the physical characteristics of a woman. Why should we cover up something that in the end kept you alive as a baby and is a defining physical feature of the over all physicality of a woman? Next thing you know, vaginas will become more tabboo! Since the early christian times, the female body image has taken a SEVERE beating. IT'S ABOUT DAMNED TIME WE WOMEN RECLAIM THAT POSITIVE BODY IMAGE WE ALL DESERVE REGARDLESS OF ANYTHING!! And for all you feminists out there that say that exposing my brests is a MANS thing: SCREW YOU! YOU ARE ULTIMATELY THINKING LIKE A MAN! Look at paintings and sculptures from history past! there are MANY topless women. Yes It's artistic but also a fact that enevitably It's a part of the female body. IF YOU ARE SO AGAINST SHOWING OFF YOUR BOOBS THE GET THEM CUT OFF! GROW UP AMERICA! THE FEMALE BODY IS EQUAL TO THE MALES AND IS NOT TO BE CONSIDERD A SEXUAL OBJECT 24/7!

Thank you and MEGA kudos for such a .. hehehe tittlating article ^_^

Mar 14 10 - 6:40am
Ken

I'd love to have my wife do that. I'd get turned on seeing all the men staring at her bare chest.

Mar 23 10 - 2:19pm
Ray

Not a damned thing wrong with bare boobs it's the filthy and jealous a-holes out there

Mar 23 10 - 7:36pm
Jenn

Of course women are going to be more embarrassed and shocked than men. Most men are used to (and enjoy) a topless woman. Most women do not. :-)

Apr 30 10 - 8:23pm
Don Thieme

You pushed the envelope. I can only hope to see more women step forward with the same courage to demand equal rights in public spaces.

May 12 10 - 5:21am
BBT

"one women have modesty written in our DNA" quoted from OV.

No they do not. You actually understand not one iota of Neurology do you? Neuro-plasticity gives that at a max, for any portion of the brain, only 50% is possibly genetically predetermined. What you are talking about is, at best, social conditioning.

Sigh.

As for the article. Bravo! The social sciences need more adventurous like you. Far too many are complacent and unable to think outside their work-a-day worlds.

Jun 06 10 - 11:44am
Marcel

Wow, I cannot believe what I am reading - I am German and, well, I knew that Americans are prudish to some extent. But I did not expect that it is such a big deal for a woman to go topless sunbathing in America. Here in Germany or generally in Europe women sunbathing topless is not special at all.

Thank you for your insights!

Jun 15 10 - 10:08am
Lewis B. Sckolnick

Wow she finally discovered that she had breasts under her blouse.

Jul 03 10 - 10:59pm
Name

you are a whore! i hope you get punched in the face.

Nov 23 11 - 4:28pm
Noname

Yeah, you should die.

Nov 23 11 - 4:28pm
Noname

By which I mean you, name of '10.

Jul 06 10 - 6:54am
Al

Thank-you for a most enjoyable read!!
Sorry you had to get the freaks calling you "a whore" and hoping you get assaulted. I wonder what sort of rock they crawled from under.

Jul 10 10 - 12:33am
tom1381

Interesting and brave experiment; however, I believe the intent of the law was, at least in part, to prevent breastfeeding mothers from being slapped with "indecent exposure" charges while nursing in public. Just sayin'.

Jul 31 10 - 8:06pm
Aly

I cannont believe the incredible negativity on here. You are a brave, empowered, beautiful woman who is just trying to make the female body as natural and accepted as the male one - which is good, because ladies are much prettier! :) Kudos for exercising your rights as a NYC resident.

Aug 18 10 - 8:55am
Hm

oh God

Aug 25 10 - 2:58am
Sam

I would've high-fived you. I'm originally from NY but now live in LA and, seriously, so many girls basically go topless but would probably scorn anyone who truly did it. And that's just silly! If I ever go back and see somebody going topless, I will fo' sho' try and make them feel like they shouldn't be ashamed (unless they already seem comfortable anyways, in which case I'll give a simple high-five for support). Good on ya!

Sep 13 10 - 9:30pm
kim

girl you got some balls! you're my hero :-D

Sep 22 10 - 12:52pm
offroadjoe

Just because something is legal doesn't necessarily make it okay, but I don't completely understand the issue people have with nudity. I appreciate modesty and find modest women much more appealing, but you were modest in your toplessness. I think it was a great read of a fun experiment. If you're ever in Ft. Worth, TX I'd love to show you around, I think it would be fun getting to know you and hanging out with you. And you can keep your top on.

Sep 22 10 - 10:46pm
Samantha

It is a womans right to show off her boobs. We women like to wear clothes that show off our busty assetts in every way we can. Its a "girl thing."

Oct 01 10 - 2:32pm
serialcoder

Yes, sure, I like it, Interesting and educational. Please continue to write more interesting post in your website.

Oct 11 10 - 7:43pm
Bill

nice story I like the way you wrote it.

Oct 12 10 - 7:34pm
ronny

I always hate wearing clothes. Yes lets go to National Gotopless equality day 2011 !

As for u commenters on other news stories who say i don't have a brain well i figured out how to prev_ent_forced_inter_net_history at library using code in a comment form

Nov 06 10 - 4:11pm
Sherry

You should have reported the stupid park employee to her company.
Just keep on doinj it!

Dec 20 10 - 5:52pm
Allen

I think you are brave and courageous loke others here
however my wife and I are nudists so it's not that big of a deal for us
however there is a big difference when everyone is naked
you no longer become the center of attention or the focus of someone's scorn

the sad thing about a national topless day is
all of the pervs that show up with cameras
they just can't shut off the teenage boy in themselves
sad really

Jun 09 11 - 6:45pm
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Jun 16 11 - 3:23am
Marc

Nice article but I think you should have reported the people who were taking photos of your breasts with their iPhones. This is not only creepy, it is illegal to take a photo of someone (especially topless) without their permission. They also probably sent the photos they took of you to friends and you boobs may end up on an Internet site. I admire you for trying this out and yes, most of us men will leave you alone and will respect your privacy to bear your breasts in public.

Jun 16 11 - 8:07pm
Marc

Oh, and you should report the behavior of the hot dog vendors too. Your breasts aren't some kind of freak show for all to enjoy and the hot dog vendor should have never invited his buddy to take a peak at your breasts! I didn't read the second page where you mentioned your encounter at the hot dog stand.

Jun 28 11 - 3:55pm
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Jul 15 11 - 6:10pm
Misty

What an insightful article. I love the humor. I guess it is all about what society perceives as sexual. Why should exposing one's breasts (male or female) be such a big deal? But in fact, exposing female breasts IS a big deal in our society. Can we still say we are liberated and modern? There are numerous tribes where the women do not cover their breasts. Is that considered prude/disrespectful/inappropriate? Hell No! Do their men find them attractive? Yes they do. Makes you question who is more liberated. You just opened so many thought gates in my mind, I don't even know where to start. Way to go girl!

Aug 14 11 - 10:26am
Holly Van Voast

Whatever it takes to start someone doing this, it always takes major guts... it just does. I do it alot. I walk all over Manhattan, completely topless. It has gotten alittle easier because now I know more about how to talk to policemen and others... but it's not comfortable... yet it feels so good. You get an amazing range of reactions... and I have even met people who remember seeing me on earlier walks I've done, one man I have seen three times in completely random situations.

Aug 16 11 - 10:04pm
???

Brave and courageous? How deluded do you have to be to believe that bunk? What planet are you people from?

Whatever, you women keep on with your power trips and seeing how far you can push the bar and still play the victim when reality doesnt flow exactly like you want. All i see is a tease hiding behind tired old women's empowerment crap. Don't be surprised when you get the unwanted attention or worse. Cell phone pictures, expect that for sure , you're putting yourself on display afterall cant have it both ways

Men can control themselves, thats them upholding their side of the soical contract but women have a responsiblity in that too and parading round topless is not respecting men & or the amount of sexual teasing they have to deal with in general in an incredibly pornified culture, one that tells them to shut up and stop oppressing women if they feel sexually frustrated by all of this sexual commidification.

God some of you are so selfish and immature.

Aug 16 11 - 10:16pm
No just no

You're just looking for attention. I don't care what kind of ra ra sisterhood justifications some of you are cooking up here, you aren't striking a blow against the Patriarchy, you're attention whoring. Its kind of shocking how naive western women are. At one extreme we have burquas and the other half naked women- can't we have a sane balance here?

Think ladies

Aug 16 11 - 10:42pm
Wrong

A woman is already objectified at large by our materialist porno raunch culture and a young woman walking round with her tits out is an idiot if she thinks she isnt objectifying herself right there and then. Its blind denial, you're already a walking piece of meat by that point.
You are participating in your own objectification, exactly what you claim to despise.
Women enslave themselves with this kind of ego worship

Oct 10 11 - 1:30am
Wrong II

Finally someone with common sense!

Aug 22 11 - 7:29am
rtyecript

I really liked the article, and the very cool blog

Aug 22 11 - 3:21pm
rtyecript

I really liked the article, and the very cool blog

Aug 26 11 - 2:03pm
xyz

On a totally unrelated topic..... I absolutely loved your article 'getting over a guy you never technically dated'. I stumbled upon it and it was a very good read! and yep, the fool that I am, I DID 'really go to every single one of his band’s shows alone!'
Thanks and Keep writing! :)

Aug 28 11 - 10:22pm
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Aug 30 11 - 2:55am
Jobe

If there's no photo evidence, then it didn't happen as far as I'm concerned... who's to say you didn't make all of this up?

Oct 01 11 - 3:55pm
TltF0kker

nice redheaded tits!

Oct 07 11 - 1:23pm
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Oct 13 11 - 3:44am
tandk

Bravo on your bold experiment! We had our first nude-in-public experience at Hedonism in Jamaica. We learned that naked people are friendlier, more polite and actually look you in the eye when you have a conversation. It's so sad that we have to leave the country to enjoy this openness. If you have any desire to try and go further, I recommend Hedo. Best wishes and thanks for your report.

Dec 06 11 - 4:34pm
Postupalka

1982 avtomast.com Трудовой договор с инженером-экологом

Dec 10 11 - 7:08am
Potomuchto

Avril Lavigne todaynotion.com беременность 13-14 недель есть ли угроза выкидыша

Feb 28 12 - 8:21pm
Mojo

For a cute little woman you have some huge balls. Next time, bring better sunscreen, my wife tells me sun-burnt breasts are VERY painful. P.S. I support removal of ALL unnecessary laws, including dress codes. If ya don't wanna see it look the other way, I say.

Mar 13 12 - 4:23am
Grant

Pictures?

Aug 23 12 - 12:17am
alex

why dont we get to see?