This past weekend, I delighted in taking part in the annual Go Topless parade, in which dozens of women and men gathered to commemorate and celebrate NYC’s anniversary of topless equality, while advocating for the same privilege to be available on a national scale.
This was an incredible tee up to Women’s Equality Day, which happens to fall on the same day as, and get far less attention than, National Dog Day. Huh.
If that didn’t hurt to realize, hold onto your topless titties, ladies:
Despite the fact that nearly ten million more women comprised voter turnout in the last election, women make up just over 20% of office-holders, and just 14% of executive positions. That’s right: 95 years after gaining the right to vote, women still severely lag behind in leadership roles spanning from the political representation to leadership roles in the workforce.
When I arrived at the parade on Saturday, the reporters and smartphone-wielding oglers, pervs, and tourists easily outnumbered those marching. The very thing we were out there to de-stigmatize was being captured on camera as somehow being news-worthy, despite far more pressing issues at hand.
More encouraging was the wide range of feminists who turned out. I found myself walking beside a bare-chested, retired lawyer who was facilitating conversations between those marching and those watching about the right to choose. Later, I walked with a taste-of-your-own-medicine vigilante snapping pictures of photographers, in a radical, albeit conversation-halting act.
I also spoke with two reporters, one male and one female, both topless while conducting interviews. And a bullhorn-touting parade leader shouting “Put the ‘tit’ back in constitutional,” as women with chests covered in glitter took pictures with tourists and high-fived the police officers standing by.
It was incredible to see so many people gathered for the same cause, although our reasons were as varied as our bra sizes.
Personally, I marched to honor the women who fought for my right to vote, my right to choose, and my right to feel the breeze on my chest. And for the women still fighting for equal pay, equal rights, and the truly news-worthy, noteworthy, and inspiring rather than the simply provoking, shocking, and titillating.
**Originally published on TwentysomethingNYC.com on August 26, 2015**