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Topless women in public not breaking the law, says NYPD

Police memo says breast exposure is not considered public lewdness, indecent exposure or disorderly conduct.

By Charyn Pfeuffer - MSN Living Editor May 17, 2013 7:26PM

Women of New York, it’s OK to let the girls loose.

In February, New York City’s 34,000 police officers received a rather unusual memo: For “simply exposing their breasts in public,” women are guilty of no crime, reports The New York Times.

Photo: Still of the 2012 Go Topless Day Rally In New York City (JoseKickaha1 via YouTube) The police officers were ordered that, should they encounter a bare-bosomed woman walking in public, they should not arrest her. In fact, should a crowd form around a topless woman, officers are to “give a lawful order to disperse the entire crowd and take enforcement action” against those who do not comply, says an official memorandum included in a federal lawsuit filed this week by Holly Van Voast. Van Voast, a Bronx photographer and performing artist, is known for stripping naked in Times Square, Grand Central Station and outside a Hooters restaurant in Midtown.

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The decision that it’s perfectly legal for both a woman and a man to bare one’s chest in public comes after more than two decades of proceedings and protests fighting for equal rights to be shirtless.

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No one bats an eye at a bare-chested guy, so why is a topless woman in public so scandalous?

Read the complete story at The New York Times here.

Tell us: What do you think about this decision?

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Photo: Still of the 2012 Go Topless Day Rally in New York City (JoseKickaha1 via YouTube)

3 hours ago
Well, as long as they do not plan to stop somewhere for lunch that requires shirts and shoes,  if they want to flaunt their floppies, that is their privilege. 
4 hours ago
If this was more the norm than it wouldn't be such a big deal.
I love topless women in public, like the site and love the nipples showing.Maybe panty-less next.
Tue 6:49 PM

I am a woman and am soooo tired of these women libbers going around saying anything a man can do I can do.    REALLY???????      To the men of the world.  Please accept my apology.  Now I understand why so many of you are confused as what what role yall really play.  I would be confused too.      Just my opinion.   

Sun 4:19 AM
Well I guess my visits to NY are out.  I love women who say, "breasts are not sexual" when they are indeed very sexual--hello!!  Ads, movies, porn??  Boobs boobs boobs...yes they are sex baby-when my husband goes crazy on me there--I am turned on.  When I was nursing they were definitely milk bottles to me, but still, to the rest of the world--breasts!  and Big Breasts at that.  puleeeeze, I'm so sick of feminist women.
Jul 24, 2014 10:14PM

Only a hundred and fifty years or so ago it was scandalous if a lady happened to expose so much as her ankle.  Now our social mores have changed and women's breasts are exposed somewhere daily in public venues all over the country.  If it is not the so called "wardrobe malfunctions" and "nip slips" that garner so much free publicity all one has to do is turn on their pay TV service to HBO or Showtime and they will see way more than a bare breast.

The selfies that many celebrity ladies are posting are far more scandalous than a lady who happens to be walking through Central Park topless or perhaps nursing her child on a bench by the water front somewhere.  I am a seventy year old nudist and for me the human body is nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about at any age so I have always had a kind of contempt for the so called moral objections to nudity. 

To be completely honest people who dress in very provocative attire that is designed to tease and titillate are clearly sending a sexual message that comes across very blatantly whereas someone who happens to be totally nude is just totally nude.  There is really very little sexuality attributed to it.  When old time burlesque succumbed to the completely nude strip places many complained that it had lost its seductiveness and charm.  To some extent I have to agree.

Jul 23, 2014 5:38PM
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