Berkeley may soon legalize public display of female nipples

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Berkeley is considering an ordinance to legalize the display of female breasts in all public places in an attempt to equalize gender nudity laws.

City Council will discuss the ordinance at its regular Tuesday meeting Sept. 12. Authored by Councilmember Kriss Worthington, the ordinance recommends that the council eliminate a section of city municipal code to permit the public display of “any portion of the breast at or below the areola thereof of any female person.”

In the item description, Worthington wrote that the current law prohibiting public nudity specifically discriminates against women without placing the same restrictions on men. Since female nipples serve a working purpose for babies and toddlers that is “not erotic in the slightest,” Worthington wrote, nipples are not inherently sexual or more sexual than male nipples.

The difference between female and male nipples, Worthington added, can sometimes be trivial.

“Some men naturally have a high amount of breast tissue or prominent areoles, which can be nearly identical to mammaries,” Worthington wrote. “Yet, male nipples are still deemed fit for public exposure.”

Worthington added that the current law makes shirtlessness complicated for transgender men — individuals who were assigned female at birth who identify as male — who have not yet had a male chest reconstruction. In these situations, Worthington wrote, the city would either have to invalidate the individual’s gender identity and arrest them for public female toplessness or arbitrarily allow the display of biological female breasts.

Several cities in the United States have already legalized female toplessness in public, such as Portland, New York City, Asheville, Columbus and Washington, D.C.

Although 28 states in the United States have legalized public displays of female breasts, many local ordinances in cities within those states still ban female toplessness. For instance, public female toplessness is legal in the state of California, but is banned in Venice Beach, Los Angeles.

City Council first adopted an anti-nudity ordinance in July 1993 during a meeting in which former UC Berkeley student Andrew Martinez, more commonly known as “The Naked Guy,” appeared without clothes before the council. The council voted to impose the ban with six in favor and three opposed.

The law as it currently stands outlaws the public display of nipples only for females, making no such restrictions for male nipples. The revised law would define nudity as publicly showing “genitals, pubic hair, buttocks, perineum, anus or anal region of any person.”

“Implying that the display of a woman’s chest is inherently vulgar enough to warrant illegality needlessly objectifies her as a sexual object,” Worthington said in the ordinance text.

Worthington could not be reached for comment as of press time.

Contact Harini Shyamsundar and Ashley Wong at [email protected].

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  • lspanker

    Demand to go topless one minute, decry the sexual objectification of women the next…

  • Dave Doleshal

    If men are allowed to be shirtless in public, I see no justification for this same behavior to be a criminal offense for women.

  • California Defender

    “Worthington added that the current law makes shirtlessness complicated for transgender men.”

    Interesting. Couldn’t a transgendered person with their original biological female breasts walk around topless prior to this law?

    Berkeley needs to spend MUCH more time contemplating these sorts of pressing issues rather than their regular pastime of silencing free speech.

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  • FreeThoughtGuy

    It wasn’t until I went to Europe did I realize the extent of how behind the times America is, this is but one example… decades too late.

    • FreedomFan

      Yes, backward America a decade behind Europe in marxist “progressivism”, islamic dhimmitude and nipple oppression.

      • FreeThoughtGuy

        I think more than a decade considering there are non-english countries in Europe with many who can form more coherent and intelligent english sentences than that… I’ve actually been there.

        • FreedomFan

          I’m happy for you, Einstein. Please stay there and enjoy your erudite nipple-watching.

    • California Defender

      I agree. America has long been held back by religious influence over the body. Where Europe rapidly shed the cloak of religion and thus has far more bodily freedoms. Although, this is now starting to change due to the influx of non-European migrants.

      Other than that, can you identify any other issues where America is behind Europe?

      • FreeThoughtGuy

        Education, healthcare, public transportation, homicide, teen pregnancies, overall quality of life, happiness, etc… just off the top of my head.

        • California Defender

          Education? The top universities in the world are in America and there is still a flood of Europeans coming here to take advantage of it. While few Americans do the reverse. I think you’re looking at cost. But does free make it better? Quite the opposite.

          Healthcare? Oh please. Universal healthcare has some big issues like wait time, reduced quality, and lack of innovation. Have you ever been to a European hospital? I have and I don’t ever want to go back. They do well with preventative care, primarily because its mandatory, but when you have a problem, its a nightmare. Again, does free make it better? Nope.

          Transportation? In small nations with dense population centers, public transportation is necessary. Not so in most of America.

          Quality of life? Are Europeans really happier or are they more easily satisfied? I’ve lived in Europe. I’m MUCH happier here for a wide variety of reasons. So are my European friends who have moved here and had their eyes opened as a result.

          • FreeThoughtGuy

            Actually many Americans go to Europe for school, which is much more affordable without getting into crushing debt, a concept that doesn’t exist in over there. They prefer to view education as an investment rather than a for profit commodity. The public school system in America is also a disaster compared to Europe.

            The WHO ranks America’s healthcare system 37th, most European countries ahead. No system is perfect but investing in preventive care means less emergency care, which you end up paying for anyway, usually more. America pays almost double for healthcare with much of the same or worse outcomes:

            America has large cities with dense populations, NYC has as many people as London, no reason to not invest substantially in public transit.

            Sure, it depends on your values. If you were raised to primarily value just yourself and your own wellbeing over other’s its understandable how one may not be happy in Europe. Though if you are raised to value the wellbeing, health, education, etc of society as a whole, as is generally the case in Europe, people thrive there.

          • California Defender

            There’s just under a million foreign students in the US while less than 250,000 Americans study abroad. It’s a massive deficit and that’s a good thing and for good reason.

            Yes, Europeans pay little upfront for their degrees if they can even get into college which is quite difficult, unlike the US. They will eventually pay via substantially higher taxes excepting a handful of very blue states like CA, NY, and VT. One doesn’t need to go into crushing debt in the US for a degree. Many choose to in order to obtain that fancy name on the diploma and hope it pays off.

            As for healthcare, I mentioned preventative care. It’s mandatory in Europe. Not so here. I’ve long argued that if we have universal healthcare, we must have mandates on preventative care along with a host of regulations on what you can and can’t eat or do. I eat well and exercise yet I have to pay for some slob who doesn’t?

            Sure NY can invest in public transportation and they have. Europe’s population is 4 times as dense as the US. Obviously they need it more than we do.

            Your last paragraph is nonsense. We’ve saved Europe from its own messes three times. With a fourth likely on the way. How about charitable giving? The US tops the world at a whopping 1.44% of GDP. The top European (soon not to be) nation is the UK at 0.54% How about Germany? Just 0.17%. But go ahead, ignore the data and continue that lie.

          • FreeThoughtGuy

            Yeah, well when you run your higher education like an elite business you can spend lots on on marketing and attract a lot more people than you can with public funds. Why people aren’t scurrying over to take advantage of k-12. Higher education is just one aspect of a country’s education system. According to the WEF the US doesn’t make the top 10:

            It’s not more difficult into college in Europe, some countries (like Denmark) even pay students to attend. Yes, everyone pays a little more taxes but when more people have skills to secure better paying jobs taxes are easier to manage. Especially when it means not having to deal with uneducated people as often. Also, many would see it preferable than having the average student be nearly 40 grand in debt, which can be seen as “crushing”.

            Yes, there should be more effort into preventative care. That also comes with better education. I agree that paying for other people’s bad habits is unfortunate but that sort of already happens with private insurance. Government healthcare is just a vastly larger pool and thus you’re paying significantly less for other people’s bad habits. Plus money is saved in cutting out the middle man.

            LA is pretty damn dense too and their public transit system sucks. Better public transit helps everybody, including drivers, especially in major urban centres, which there are plenty of in America.

            Well when one insists on spending on one’s military (literally more than next 8 nations combined) rather than one’s people there is some capability other nations don’t have, by themselves anyway. Charity is nice, though when you have a government that works for people less charity is needed.

  • Theo Beave

    It sounds good until you realize it’s only the nipples you don’t want to see that will be free.

    • FreeThoughtGuy

      That’s mostly the case with men as it is now anyway…

      • FreedomFan

        C’mon Michael Moore is a hottie.

  • BunnyRabbit

    I showered with the naked guy at the RSF one xmas break. He ended up dying in the Santa Clara County jail.

  • Nunya Beeswax

    Once this is accomplished, the same people who wanted this ordinance passed will be shrieking with outrage because others are actually looking. You just can’t win.

    • FreeThoughtGuy

      relax, most of those who want to use this freedom aren’t the ones most people look at anyway. By the time those that are feel comfortable enough it probably will be normalized to a point hardly anyone will care…

      • California Defender

        Very true. But why would those who use this freedom be those that nobody wants to look at anyway? The answer is mostly instinct with a little culture.

        And how does one “normalize” sexual attraction to those we actually are? I think you mean “ignore” and that goes against 600 million years of hard-wired instinct. Good luck with that.

        • FreeThoughtGuy

          It’s all about culture, really. Its not about normalizing sexual attraction but sexual obsession. People are sexually attracted to faces but nobody goes crazy over them. In Saudi Arabia on the other hand exposed female faces in parts where they are normally covered would cause quite a stir. Its all about the level of taboo…

          • California Defender

            Most men have the same impulses, or obsession as you put it, but the laws of society place controls on it. Therefor men tend to employ impulse control if they believe the consequences are unfavorable. If not, they do what instinct tells them to do.

            As in many Islamic nations, there are few consequences for men who act on impulse IF the woman violated any laws or acted provocatively.

          • FreeThoughtGuy

            Many men have similar reactions in America, just the laws and what is considered provocative is a little different. All the more reason for the laws to change to equally apply to both genders and thereby change the perception of what is provocative to be more equal as well.

          • California Defender

            Yes, that is exactly what I said.

            And I’m all for applying the same laws to both genders. But as you said, the ones who will take advantage of this new freedom will be those nobody cares to look at. We ALL know why and that won’t change.

          • FreeThoughtGuy

            It won’t change because the average person doesn’t have a body that fits the conventional ideas of attractiveness. Its the same with shirtless men today…

          • California Defender

            Huh? Lots of men who fit the conventional idea of attractiveness go shirtless every day, everywhere. In fact, those who do fit that idea are far more likely to go “topless” than those who don’t. The exact opposite would be true for women.

          • FreeThoughtGuy

            The average man has some degree of beer belly or at least is not in peak physical shape and thus do not exactly fit conventional ideas for attraction. Yes, the more in shape people are the more confident they tend to be, male and female. Once the hysteria dies down over topless women it would be true for them as it is for topless men. Much like the bikini is now.

          • California Defender

            Hysteria as in media attention or attacks upon topless women?

            As for the bikini, yes acceptable clothing has diminished in coverage and will continue to do so, but it is still clothing. Now we’re talking about none. Different game.

          • FreeThoughtGuy

            Hysteria as in people making a fuss over it, and I’ve yet to hear any attack on a topless woman. Even in countries where its normalized.

            We’re talking about as much clothing for women as men currently must have. The difference in the presence of an inch or two of fabric compared to lack thereof is much less significant than the progress we’ve already made. Considering women had to cover right up to their ankles a century ago, this is hardly a change compared to going from that to bikinis.

    • Adina Pernell

      Spoken like a guy. You mean I actually have to be polite and not stare at people like they’re zoo animals??? Oh the outrage!

      • Nunya Beeswax

        I know, Adina. It’s a terrible thing to have to deal with the dissonance between the world as you wish it were and the world as it is.

        • Adina Pernell

          I deal with and am aware of this dissonance daily. I’m a woman and I’m Black. It’s apparent in my paycheck and it’s apparent here.

          • FreedomFan

            Yes all your problems in life are due to rampant “white supremacy” and eevil “patriarchy”…I’m pretty sure.

          • California Defender

            Are non-blacks who are unhappy with their paychecks aware of such dissonance, too?

            A few years back I was unhappy with my paycheck. So I worked harder and smarter. Now I’m not.

          • lspanker

            How is it “apparent in your paycheck”? Does your employer make out your check to “Black Woman” or what?

      • California Defender

        Technically we’re all animals and if the location is Berkeley, zoo is a fitting metaphor.

        Being animals, we’re subject to the same instinct for reproduction as the rest are and your comment “spoken like a guy” is true for a real evolutionary purpose. Our species, and most others on this planet, wouldn’t exist if we didn’t.

        • Adina Pernell

          Look at the statistics. It is a known fact that woman get paid less than men and that Black women get less then their White counterparts. It’s a fact. At my job during a company roundtable it when our supervisor was dumb enough to let everything see what everyone else was making, it was clear that me and another employee of color were making less than all of the White women despite the fact that we both came highly recommended and are excellent in our fields and the White women were angered to find that they were making less than the men. That supervisor has since been fired and I have relocated to a new place of employment. So yes I know firsthand about racial and gender disparities. As far as male personal evolutionary development, if they would prefer to stay in an ape-like state, that is their choice. Just like it is my choice to speak out should I encounter a person with a devolved state of mental emotional and psychological growth

          • California Defender

            So you have alluded to mysterious statistics in an unidentified field. Let’s, for the sake of argument, say they’re correct. Now you have identified the what but not the why. And using subjective terms like “highly recommended” and “excellent in our fields” does not make your case. We can just as easily assume the white men and women are, too.

            I, however, have faced real concrete discrimination against my race and gender. In fact, it’s right on many job applications that list preferential treatment for certain races and genders. It’s even more prevalent in college admissions, setting up an uneven playing field, and also reinforced via government departments like the EEOC.

            And your understanding of evolution is quite limited and horribly anthropocentric. We are all in an ape-like state because we’re all primates! This includes you, me, and every other human. It is not a choice. To be frank, your emotional outlook on this topic is a product of evolution and I find that both enlightening and amusing to observe.

  • svendlarose

    Why don’t they just go to court and strike down ALL such laws under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment?

    • FreeThoughtGuy

      It is already being done I believe, this is just a much faster process.

  • FreedomFan

    Stop the oppression!!! Teach the patriarchy a lesson!!! Free the nipple!!!

    I’m old enough to remember the hysteria over the “rape culture” sweeping America…