Miley Cyrus the Barechested Feminist? Don’t Twerk On It.

17

December 17, 2013 by gregrabidoux2013

Miley Cyrus FTN

Miley self-censors her upper assets to condemn censorship. I think.

Nothing says Merry Christmas quite like the irrepressible and utterly uninhibited Miley Cyrus standing barechested (well with little hearts strategically placed over her nipples) in front of Frosty the Snowman, Reindeer and a Christmas Tree. Like I said, nothing.

But it does, claim Miley and her equally upfront supporters, say something about the larger issue of gender equality when it comes to being able to go topless when and where you want. Especially if you are a woman. And Miley is lending her increasingly well-exposed assets to the cause of a woman’s right to go topless. Or, more accurately, Free the Nipple, which is both a call to action and a soon-to-be in your theater film. If, the producers of the film can raise enough dough for it (the film) to see the light of day.

This docu-drama by LA based filmmaker Lina Esco, is based on the “brave” actions of a group of topless activist women who fought NY laws restricting their right to be “free” and won. In 1992, after several very public displays of support for reform, New York finally legalized the right of women to “go topless” in public so long as it is not for lewd or commercial purposes. Sorry, all you guys at “Hot-Cars” you’ll have to sell your “hot” cars without graphically showing anyone’s exposed chassis in New York.

Lina Esco filmmaker

Actress and filmmaker Lina Esco fighting for topless women everywhere. You go girl.

So far, with the um, exposure, that director Esco’s film and cause-celebre is attracting from Miley and pals like Rumer Willis (you know Demi’s grown up girl) the campaign to fund distribution of this indie film has raised nearly $20,000, not bad but still well short of its goal of $250,000 (calling Halle Berry, Sharon Stone, are you there?).

sharon stone

Topless? Amateurs.

Look, whether this particular cause/film ever reaches a broad (sorry) audience, the issue, really two issues (going topless for the sheer equality of it and breastfeeding in public) have been with us for what seems like forever.

Back in the really open and swinging Renaissance days of the 14th century, going topless and breastfeeding were widely accepted. Apparently, based on ordinances and laws of the time, it was the bare ankles and lascivious legs that were thought to send men (and of course some women) in a tizzy. So, regulations tended to clamp down on those troublesome ankles and legs not the yawn-inspiring upper-torso.

But times and ‘tudes change. Painter Paul Gaugin’s 1899 famous painting of “Two Tahitian Women” who were depicted as (gasp) topless caused more than just raised eyebrows in the artistic and cultural world. He had, some concluded, “Gone Tahitian.” Of course, when it came to going topless for more functional purposes we as a society over the years have generally been more accepting.

Gaugin painting

How scandalous. Gaugin you scoundrel.

Thankfully, except for WVA and IN who do not protect a woman’s right to breastfeed in public the vast majority of states now do, though states like Tennessee restrict it to children 12 months or younger while WY, SD and RI do not affirmatively protect the right but do (wow, thanks folks) exempt it from other public indecency laws. As if.

Though not universally accepting as feminist groups like Go Topless, FTN, and the Topless Front continue to point out. Here in the still relatively prudish states, the good folks in Utah, Indiana and Tennessee bar going topless for the sake of going topless for women while states like Oklahoma, Arizona, Nevada, Florida, Virginia, South Carolina and Minnesota all have local ordinances that if not bar the sans clothing impulse make it arguably an offense under the guise of “disorderly or lewd” conduct. And men, before you show off that Bally-inspired well chiseled chest you may want to pause for a moment and give thanks. It wasn’t until 1936 that most states overturned laws that made it illegal for men (that’s right, men) to bare that torso in public.

Utah

Want to go topless in Utah? Best be doing it behind those rocks friend or else.

But it’s not just the states that continue to be hung-up about a publicly-condoned “nip-slip” or full upper-torso Monty. In Copenhagen (yep, you heard me correctly) it wasn’t until 2008 that after several topless protests by the well-named Topless Front, the good and apparently, less liberal folks than we assumed of Copenhagen made it legal for women to join their men counterparts in topless bathing. And in Sweden (stunned, I am stunned) a year later after similar displays by “Bara Brost” (really, no translation needed here) the city of Malmo also approved topless bathing for women and men. And as their approving committee chair noted, “Many men these days have larger breasts than women, so why not?”

Why not, indeed?

Look, despite the message coming from Miley that little wrecking ball of a feminist, she does have at least one good point. It does seem preposterous that as we close the books on the year 2013 this should even be an issue at all. I also wonder if the equally preposterous and often hazardous choice so many women make to augment their breast size with implants would cease to hold an attraction if well, the whole matter became less of a big deal. More young women becoming more comfortable with who they are naturally and choosing health over an increasingly societal obsession. Now, that would be a welcome change. Thanks Ms. Miley.

Of course, she just did a concert where she twerked a guy dressed as Santa and got her bottom spanked by a dude dressed as a Christmas Tree. Baby steps, Miley, baby steps.

Still, she did get me thinking. It really is the season of miracles.

bengal-tiger-why-matter_7341043

PS: August 25th is International Topless Day and August 26th is Women’s Equality Day.

Want more about celebrities, causes and the Hollywood-White House Connection?

Then go ahead Tiger, and order my book on the subject (Hollywood Politicos, Then and Now) from www.amazon.com.

Hollywood book by Greg R

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17 thoughts on “Miley Cyrus the Barechested Feminist? Don’t Twerk On It.

  1. Stacy Miller says:

    Miley the activist who kind of shows off her assets! Too funny to be true but I guess it is, this is a very funny post. Keep ’em coming!

  2. Paula Crown says:

    Miley as a bare-chested feminist? Why not? As your post makes clear she has an audience, a following and some “stuff” to get off her chest!

  3. Anne Vinton says:

    Funny and revealing (!) post. Miley is definitely her own person and a marketing genius!

  4. Vince Damon says:

    Miley is pretty much talentless BUT she may just make it as a feminist, who knows?

  5. Randi B says:

    As a female and a mother this issue is definitely one that I can see from Miley and the other activists’ viewpoint. What makes it ok for men to be able to walk around in public without shirts on but completely wrong for a female? And definitely as a mother who has the right to tell me where I can and cannot feed my child? I believe it should be a matter of personal choice. Just because I have two extra lumps of tissue on my chest doesn’t mean I should have to cover them in public. I personally wouldn’t run around topless just because I’m more of a shy person but that doesn’t mean I want the right to do so completely taken away from me. As far as breast feeding in public goes I have struggled to juggle a diaper bag and an infant while trying to nurse them in a stall of a public restroom and let me tell you it is definitely not easy and it sure as hell isn’t comfortable. This type of environment while trying to feed a baby is not only pretty unsanitary but the baby can also sense your discomfort and that causes them to be irritable and just adds to the stress and discomfort of the whole situation. Knowing the problems that having to censor the nursing of my child created has made it very easy for me to be able to stand up for a woman’s right to be able to feed her child whenever and wherever she chooses. Breastfeeding is a completely natural part of life and it creates a beautiful bond between mothers and their children and no one should ever have the right to take that away or censor it in any way.

  6. Amber S. says:

    I completely agree with what Miley and others are trying to accomplish here. If she has the self-esteem and confidence to expose her body in a way that society does not agree with, then she has my vote every time. It takes a lot of courage to go against the “norm” that society has made us believe to be. It only seems so far fetched because it is something that you do not see everyday, and these actions do not follow the expectations of women.

    • Karen P W says:

      I just wonder why someone else has the right to violate my rights and MY EYES! You are telling me my husband, young children and I could be enjoying a scenic stroll on a visit to New York City and come face to chest with scenery that was not described in the brochures. That’s not right. I don’t care whose chest it is. C’mon man, and, woman!

  7. Gabrielle R says:

    After reading this article I began to recognize how this issue is being delegated. It was very interesting to see Miley invovled with this movement (even though i am not suprised) She has been one to express how she sees things. In my opinion exposing a woman’s body publicly should not be something that is considered the “norm”. I agree with breastfeeding in public, but i belive that is that only thing that should be allowed. On another note, it is refreshing though that women are speaking there minds freely.

  8. Kay A says:

    I believe Miley should do whatever she wants to do without being criticized for it. Miley has been known to do and speak as she pleases not to mention she didn’t do this just to cause attention to herself. She had an incentive to do it and if it means that more people will look at her and her reason for doing this then so be it. It takes a bold movement to cause attention to issues that aren’t normally addressed.

  9. Camille W says:

    The lengths that Miley goes to market her opinion on various topics is really astonishing. I’ve come to the point that everything she does is outside the character that she used to portray. I am not really a feminist but I do believe that a woman should feed her child anywhere if the baby is hungry. I am one to look at all sides of issues, so I will say that this is great marketing alternatively. Overall, I enjoyed this article.

  10. Karen P W says:

    How about everyone just put on a shirt! ‘Cause I don’t want, nor do I want my children, to see anymore of anyone than we need to!

  11. Casey Holcom says:

    I never thought I’d see the day where I shared the same stance as Miley Cyrus on something.

  12. hlwaits says:

    Do I think anyone should walk around without a shirt on? No thank you. I do understand where Miley is coming from, I do believe that just because some topics are not comfortable to talk about does not mean they do not need to be talked about. I have never been a mother but I am sure that it can be frustrating when your baby is hungry to have to be extra careful about where you can feed them because you do not want to offend anyone. Mothers especially should worry about their children and not worry about what everyone else thinks. Miley is one to say and do ridiculous things and get media time for it. Miley can make a difference. Again, do I think Miley is the best role model for teens? No.

  13. Phil says:

    This entire issue is pretty cut and dry from a 14th amendment equal protection standpoint in abstract theory. But it’s a little cloudier than that when considering that all 50 states will vary by context in statutory law, case law, and judgement-call enforcement decisions on the front lines and in courtrooms in the lack of clear legal standards or guidance.

    Women have the same topless rights as men. Period. No debate necessary. Double standards for the different genders when engaging in the exact same activity are unconstitutional violations of people’s civil liberties. A man can sit motionless on a park bench with no shirt while engaging in no other activities whatsoever, lewd or otherwise? Then so can a woman. Period. There’s a topless rights map produced by GoTopless.org at http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/08/26/topless-rights-movement-sees-womens-equality-on-horizon, but this can be misleading, particularly if any law enforcement officer interprets any given state statute in a way that leads to an arrest and a prosecutor then agrees with the LEO afterward.

    For instance, Virginia’s indecent exposure law simply says that it’s a crime for someone to intentionally make “an obscene display or exposure of his person, or the private parts thereof, in any public place, or in any place where others are present.” How delightfully vague. What exactly constitutes a private part? I’m sure there’s plenty of case law from the Virginia Court of Appeals answering that, but I digress. The statute goes on to say “No person shall be deemed to be in violation of this section for breastfeeding a child in any public place or any place where others are present.” That part of the statute is completely unnecessary, because men’s exposed chests are already not considered “private parts.” But apparently women’s are? Hence the need for the distinction in the statute? So in any of those green states on that map at the link above, there could be some weird, arcane statute that someone could use to enforce a prudish sense of morality on the population and lock up a woman for breast exposure. Legislating morality never works, as proof of Lawrence v. Texas and its eradication of consensual sodomy laws (one such law of which in Virginia used to render specified sexual acts even between married couples a felony offense as a “crime against nature,” but those laws have been “un-stupidfied” very recently.)

    To make sure we get this right as a society from the highest appellate judge to the greenest patrol officer, there needs to be either unambiguous legislation in all 50 states or black letter case law specifically detailing that women DO have the right to go topless just like men. Of course, then again, I still contend that the 14th amendment already does that, but what do I know? It’ll be 20 years before anyone who actually has standing to appeal due to an arrest has an appeal make it all the way to the Supreme Court, and even if that happens they may or may not grant cert, so I’ll not hold my breath. Hopefully such a case is already making its way through the channels. I find it amazing that those who often flout “common sense” over “book learning” often seem to have so little of either, and astonishingly even less of the former than the latter if that were somehow possible.

  14. valdostaphil says:

    This entire issue is pretty cut and dry from a 14th amendment equal protection standpoint in abstract theory. But it’s a little cloudier than that when considering that all 50 states will vary by context in statutory law, case law, and judgement-call enforcement decisions on the front lines and in courtrooms in the lack of clear legal standards or guidance.

    Women have the same topless rights as men. Period. No debate necessary. Double standards for the different genders when engaging in the exact same activity are unconstitutional violations of people’s civil liberties. A man can sit motionless on a park bench with no shirt while engaging in no other activities whatsoever, lewd or otherwise? Then so can a woman. Period. There’s a topless rights map produced by GoTopless.org at http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/08/26/topless-rights-movement-sees-womens-equality-on-horizon, but this can be misleading, particularly if any law enforcement officer interprets any given state statute in a way that leads to an arrest and a prosecutor then agrees with the LEO afterward.

    For instance, Virginia’s indecent exposure law simply says that it’s a crime for someone to intentionally make “an obscene display or exposure of his person, or the private parts thereof, in any public place, or in any place where others are present.” How delightfully vague. What exactly constitutes a private part? I’m sure there’s plenty of case law from the Virginia Court of Appeals answering that, but I digress. The statute goes on to say “No person shall be deemed to be in violation of this section for breastfeeding a child in any public place or any place where others are present.” That part of the statute is completely unnecessary, because men’s exposed chests are already not considered “private parts.” But apparently women’s are? Hence the need for the distinction in the statute? So in any of those green states on that map at the link above, there could be some weird, arcane statute that someone could use to enforce a prudish sense of morality on the population and lock up a woman for breast exposure. Legislating morality never works, as proof of Lawrence v. Texas and its eradication of consensual sodomy laws (one such law of which in Virginia used to render specified sexual acts even between married couples a felony offense as a “crime against nature,” but those laws have been “un-stupidfied” very recently.)

    To make sure we get this right as a society from the highest appellate judge to the greenest patrol officer, there needs to be either unambiguous legislation in all 50 states or black letter case law specifically detailing that women DO have the right to go topless just like men. Of course, then again, I still contend that the 14th amendment already does that, but what do I know? It’ll be 20 years before anyone who actually has standing to appeal due to an arrest has an appeal make it all the way to the Supreme Court, and even if that happens they may or may not grant cert, so I’ll not hold my breath. Hopefully such a case is already making its way through the channels. I find it amazing that those who often flout “common sense” over “book learning” often seem to have so little of either, and astonishingly even less of the former than the latter if that were somehow possible.

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