Equality shedding light on double standards was the point as Art Walkers in Springfield, Missouri, Friday, August 7th, were shocked and entertained by the first ever “Free the Nipple Ralley” part of a national movement to get the law to relax when it comes to what can and cant be done in public. The protest didn’t lead to any arrest but added to the event’s memoirs with over 50 women showing up topless as part of a national movement to allow women the right to go bare-chested in public.
“In foreign countries where it’s never seen as an issue, it’s not. They [women] were never meant to be a sexual thing and that’s what kind of sucks about it,” said Alysa Berrer, who organized the local rally.
According to KY3 News in Springfield, supporters argued the campaign is an equality movement to raise the consciousness of the double standards regarding men and women. Those in favor also pointed to other countries where going topless is a non-issue; they said Americans would eventually stop sexualizing women if nudity was commonplace.
On the other hand, critics said the issue does nothing to help the progression of women’s rights or equality and should have been left out of the Art Walk even though it did boost attendance.
“I can’t imagine how that would boost or give them any benefit at all–career wise, education wise, personal relationship wise,” said one onlooker. She added that the mere act of the women going shirtless only increases the likelihood of being objectified.
With black tape covering their nipples, the female protesters were in compliance with Springfield’s indecent exposure ordinance yet mere feet from where the protesters gathered, several kids in a band–consisting of 12- to -15-year olds–were playing music for their families, friends, and spectators. Men, women, and children–many of whom happened to be downtown for the First Friday Art Walk–packed into the square to catch a glimpse of the protest.