Take your top off

Take your top off

How topless women could heal this nation if only we could get over the whole nipple issue


So warm weather has finally arrived in Portland. What does this mean? It means barbecues, music in the Park Blocks, lying out in the sun in an attempt to get skin cancer, going to the beach and camping. It means taking off your clothes.

Walking around campus lately, I’ve noticed the same thing I always notice around this time of year – the clothes are coming off. Don’t get me wrong ?” I have no problem with the shedding of excess layers, per se. My problem is with the fact that more clothes are coming off one gender than the other.

Now, I’m an observant guy, and while I haven’t done an in-depth observational study on this phenomenon, from my casual observation I can tell you that when it comes to walking around with a shirt off, it is basically all guys.

That’s right. Shocking as it may seem, I’ve not seen a single female walking around PSU campus without a shirt. Oh, sure, they may shed clothes in their own subtle ways ?” wearing short shorts or teeny-tiny tanks or scandalous skirts, but not a single one have I seen walking around without a shirt on.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is inequality, plain and simple.

Now, as an open-minded young metrosexual, trust me when I say that I have no problem with guys shedding their shirts ?” as long as they have something impressive to see underneath, that is. Hairy guys with beer bellies should not be parading around campus sans-top no matter how warm it is. A nice six-pack, on the other hand, goes a long way. It really comes down to aesthetics ?” if some guy has obviously put a lot of work into his body, and it is well-developed and symmetrical, I think he should have every right to show it off.

The problem is, I have the same feelings about women. Got a nice tan with no tan lines? Show it off. A student athlete with a six pack? How are we going to appreciate it if it’s covered up by that massive sweatshirt all the time?

Upon talking to some of my lady friends about this phenomenon, what I learned was that apparently it’s not socially acceptable for women to walk around sans-shirt. In fact, according to one senior girl (who asked to remain unnamed), it’s the nipples.

“Why do you think Janet Jackson’s ‘wardrobe malfunction’ was such a big deal?” she said, “We can show as much cleavage as we want, just not nipple.” (Upon asking this woman why the nipple was so important to hide, she couldn’t tell me).

“It’s not fair,” echoed sophomore girl, also on conditions of anonymity, “Some guys have bigger boobs than I do, so why do they get to walk around showing them off and I don’t?”

“It’s just not socially acceptable,” chirped a freshman.

As hard as I tried to convince these ladies that it would be socially acceptable to me, the removal of their tops was not forthcoming. Apparently, for them to feel totally comfortable walking around with no shirts on, everyone else would have to be comfortable with it.

Which brings us to the next issue. Apparently, in this country a woman’s breasts should only be shown in highly sexualized situations. Therefore, if all the women at PSU started shedding their tops, the entire campus would naturally and inevitably turn into one giant orgy, which would totally lower people’s grades (although it would probably boost enrollment quite a bit). So for the sake of the academic reputation of the institution, it would probably be better if girls left their shirts on.

I called Planned Parenthood and asked them about the other potential results of a massive PSU orgy ?” out of 23,000 people getting it on, what if a lot resulted in pregnancies? Would they be able to handle the influx of teary-eyed PSU girls repeating the same sad mantra, “I just took my top off to cool down, and the next thing I know I’m pregnant!”

A Planned Parenthood employee, also speaking on conditions of anonymity, said, “Even if half of the female student body at PSU got pregnant at once – which is pretty unlikely – that wouldn’t be a terribly significant jump in the number of pregnancies happening in Portland every year.” So no hope of them getting their own generation name, like the Baby Boomers did.

It seems like sort of a silly convention, to me. We see women’s breasts everywhere already – in magazines, on TV, on billboards, in huge posters in clothing stores, on the Internet – why would it be so bad to see them in real life? I mean, apart from the fact that some are less attractive than others, of course ?” but we already deal with that with men. Do we see women spontaneously vomiting in the Park blocks because some 300-pound guy with more hair than Sasquatch and saggy man-boobs is trudging around without a top? No, and I don’t think we’d see guys doing so, either.

Just think of it. Women everywhere, feeling free to take off their tops whenever the situation demanded; men as blase about it as women are currently about men popping their tops. Exploitative? Maybe for the first generation, as men learned how to deal with it. After a few dozen years, though, it would be business as usual ?” lingering gazes and appreciative wolf-whistles here and there for the genetically gifted or extraordinarily well-preserved, but otherwise, no ripples. Think of the burden lifted from nursing mothers.

Eventually, in fact, such a slight change in wardrobe conventions would bring about greater equality between men and women, which would lead to less mental energy lost on sexism, which would in turn mean a more productive, happier nation.

So strike a blow for feminism. Take off your top today.