Last week two topless female protesters at a Bernie Sanders rally in Koreatown were arrested for “indecent exposure.” I think this is a silly ruse, and frankly a topic that the Santa Monica City Council should tackle with alacrity.
As a father’s rights lawyer, I’m often misunderstood as being anti-women – which is patently false as I’ve been on the record for years saying that women should be allowed to go topless anywhere a man is. You’d think that such an argument, coming from a gay man, would be easily supported by the hordes of straight men and all women, straight and gay. You’d be wrong.
Oddly, this quirky position of mine, in support of women, is not actually supported by many women, and evidently by even fewer men. How do I know this? Because if all the women supported it, and even if none of the men supported it, there would be enough votes to force the issue. If the men supported the issue, given the historically powerful position that men have had in this country it would be a done deal, even if their wives and girlfriends disagreed.
It is proof that the prudish conservative majority of our country is not actually in favor of equal rights, and that the vocal minority of women who demand equal rights have not been able to rally their sisters to the cause.
I find it all quite curious. As we head in to the heart of spring and those bathing suits come out, and men begin to strut around town shirtless, I wonder how many women would like to be able to just pop into the local corner market, grab a bag of chips and a coffee while topless and head to the park for a bit of sunning themselves.
The local municipal codes don’t allow a woman to be topless at the beach, or anywhere for that matter that a man can be, and I find it a grossly discriminatory fact that a woman can be arrested for something that any man can do with impunity. Given some of the time wasters, (and money wasting efforts) of our City Council, you’d think they would take up a cause such as this, which is based in so much equality, fairness, and, if it were properly handled with yet another of those expensive PR campaigns, could really pack the tourists in.
Some will say that I am crazy for such a suggestion. Others will scream that I am waging war on the family and infringing on a person’s right to enjoy polite society without being accosted by some “perverted sexuality.” Hogwash I say.
If we want to truly bring back the value to the family it once had, if we want to build a society that is stable and where the citizenry has a lower incidence of emotional abuse, physical abuse and a stable society, we should strive for greater equality and practicality. We could easily have a topless law that allows women to enjoy the freedom of being shirtless, and set reasonable safeguards in place for a modicum of decorum.
We are not living in an age when a woman should be shamed for her body, or prevented from sharing it with the world. We live in a time of relative peace and prosperity, and we should modify our social mores and actions based on it.
Will this work? Yes, we have the knowledge to do it if we wanted to do it. Will it ever happen? No. We’re not ready as a society to address the reality that women are people too. That women should be allowed to enjoy the beach, or any other place that is appropriate, shirtless. Politicians are elected based on their “tough on crime” and “family values” and “being good Christians,” and none of that will allow for the reality that women have breasts and should have equal rights.
I’m appalled that the protesters at the Sanders rally were arrested for what seems to be the flimsiest of excuses to shut down what appeared to be a non-violent protest. But I’m equally appalled by the lax efforts of our City Council to move forward on an issue of equality, that would cost nothing, garner us huge worldwide positive free publicity and would merely brand them as the progressives they so often claim to be, but so often fall short of actually being.
David Pisarra is a Los Angeles Divorce and Child Custody Lawyer specializing in Father’s and Men’s Rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He welcomes your questions and comments. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 310/664-9969. You can follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra.