The Freedom to Bare Boobs

Topless panhandlers in NYC shouldn't be treated like criminals.

You might have heard about the recent Go Topless Day in NYC to rival Mayor de Blasio and Govenor Cumo’s efforts to kick bare-breasted panhandlers out of Times Square. So who’s right — city officials who want to keep the streets clean or the topless women and their supporters exercising their freedom of speech in NYC — where it’s completely legal to walk around nips out? Well, as a woman who lives in New York, works in Times Square and passes by these topless panhandlers daily, I may be a bit desensitized compared to tourists. However, I don’t see them as being any more harmful than the creepy ol' Cookie Monster and the misogynist men selling comedy tickets on every corner. Literally everyone in Times Square is trying to sell something, so why are we singling out the women?

This “clean up” is almost laughable because I see both male and female tourists taking pics all the time with the topless panhandlers, so to say this is for the benefit of them is arguable. And personally, I feel like these woman are the least offensive out of all the panhandlers in the area. Yes, I’ve seen very aggressive costumed folk and non-costumed folk use extremely hostile tactics to get people to stop, while the topless women simply smile and ask if you’d like to take a picture.

Let’s be real, too, the topless women showed up after the success of the Naked Cowboy and nobody tried to stop him from serenading women in the streets with his junk clearly visible through his tighty whities. I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself a feminist, but come on! This just seems like a double standard.

With all the other more pressing problems concerning the city (i.e. the cost of living, homelessness, the rise of MTA tolls) this seems so superficial. Here’s to hoping that the governor and mayor find something more worthy of bonding over and leave women and their boobs out of it.

The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks. always gives you the latest fashion and beauty trends, tips and news. We are committed to bringing you the best of Black lifestyle and celebrity culture.

(Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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