NYC's Topless Women Expose Our Huge Double Standard on Nipples


The New York Post has found a new thing to have an aneurysm over: women's bodies.

The right-wing tabloid, which has never found itself short of things to work itself into a self-righteous outrage over, ran an article Wednesday accusing topless women who pose for photos with minors in Times Square of producing "child pornography":

The article read, in part:

New York Post

Yeah, whatever, New York Post: For all of the paper's pious histrionics, this is an argument women settled over two decades ago when they won the right to go topless in New York in 1992. A woman's right to enjoy the same privileges as men who go shirtless in public is an important step toward gender equality because it breaks down double standards between the sexes. Go ahead and #FreetheNipple.

And to be clear, "child pornography" this is not. Technically, with the body paint, these ladies are more covered up than Times Square's famous Naked Cowboy, the 44-year-old street performer named Robert Burck who roams the area in nothing but white boots, a cowboy hat and tight-fitting underwear. Burck regularly poses with tourists of all ages in a similarly suggestive manner:

It's just not a big deal: No one stops to accuse the Naked Cowboy of being a sexual predator, not even the New York Post, which has run articles jokingly covering his fears of winter "shrinkage." Since no one has credibly accused the ladies of touching anyone inappropriately or non-consensually, whether on camera or not, this is much ado about nothing. You might as well complain about how the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue is ruining American youth.

But to add to the double standard, almost every time there's a pro-topless protest, the New York Post runs a photo essay supposedly celebrating the rights of women to go shirtless in what's essentially an excuse to use photos of half-naked ladies to sell papers. One headline proudly proclaims "Go-Topless Day 'the best Sunday ever'."

New York Post

Perhaps the publication knows how weak this argument is. Halfway through the article, the focus shifts to problems of aggressive Times Square performers and their highly questionable photo tactics. Nevertheless, it's strange that the New York Post seemingly is only worried about this onslaught of people in bad costumes demanding $5 for photos with tourists when women are involved.

While it may seem like a guileless ploy to sell more papers, the double standard is nothing to laugh about. Besides the fact that women have the law on their side, this anti-women narrative is unfortunately not dying down. Despite growing movements like #FreeTheNipple, women continue to face an unfair double standard that serves as a microcosm for the general misogyny women face every day, whether in the form of catcalling, pink tax or the wage gap, among countless others.

Accusing women of targeting children and inciting child pornography while excusing the actions of the Naked Cowboy is simply unacceptable.