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Meet the Woman Fighting to Normalize Toplessness

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  • Meet the Woman Fighting to Normalize Toplessness

    On Wednesday, the New Hampshire House of Representatives is scheduled to debate a bill that would allow towns in the state to "regulate attire" in public areas as a way of criminalizing female toplessness. The legislation was proposed after another New Hampshire bill, which would have banned exposed female breasts outright, was shot down in March.

    http://www.vice.com/read/meet-the-wo...ze-toplessness

  • #2
    The bill has been killed.

    New Hampshire has a strange legislative system. The state has around 1.3 million in population but the legislature - a part time legislature - has 400 members.

    When you have that many - a lot of legislation gets filed. A lot of it gets reviewed in committee. And what happens with a lot of these bills - some called "hobby horses" because they are so dumb they have no chance of passage - or other reasons (read below) the committee deems it "inexpedient to legislate" and the bill is read, and killed by voice vote and a gavel.

    The issues that came up with this bill, and the prior "topfree" bill which suffered the same fate - not so much "women's rights", "protect the children", "family values", "equality of the sexes", etc. but pure pragmatism.

    If these bills passed into law, they would be challenged, and the various cities, towns, counties and the state would have to spend money.

    THUS - as I see it - three things come out of this rejection.

    1) Yeah, women can go topfree in areas, like the state parks, but towns are still free to pass ordinances, which COULD be challenged, I guess. But in places where topfreedom is permitted by law - you don't see a lot of it anyway. It's been legal in Maine for a number of years, also New York, and it has not become part of the culture. A few years back there was a "topfree march" and the irony of it - the marchers complained about people looking at them (DUH - the purpose of a public demonstration is to draw that attention).

    2) New Hampshire has been subject to a lot of frivolous cases. As I said, those cost money.

    3) The state is calling the bluff of those who wish to fight for top-free rights. They are saying "go ahead" - perhaps with the view "if you're here to pick a fight, you're not going to get one here." New Hampshire will not allow itself to become a battleground.

    Money talks in New Hampshire. The state has no income tax, no general sales taxes. Major forms of income for the state are federal funds, taxes from sales of cheap whiskey and tobacco, corporate income taxes (that's why the JOBS are in Massachusetts!) , and the state lottery. There is no casino gambling and there won't be - also out of pragmatism. Conversely - property taxes are the highest in the nation. A $400,000 home may cost $8000 a year in property taxes, with restricted services to boot.

    And if your job is in Massachusetts and you live in New Hampshire, you are subject to paying state income tax to Massachusetts, and the exorbitant property taxes in New Hampshire.

    So - this bill was killed out of pragmatism. #3 - main reason.

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    • #3
      'Lurk, Did you read the bill that just died in the house? That is exactly what the bill would have done. Allow towns and cities to create "dress code" ordinances. Without this bill towns are NOT allowed to. Laconia's ordinance is now confirmed not legal. Gilford's is confirmed NOT legal. If either town harasses a woman for being bare-chested, they open themselves to major damage awards. There are LARGE FB groups planning to be very active across NH this summer.
      Gingerbread has been helpful in many states including NH. Her blog is amazing in the level-headed, logical approach. She has a wonderful way of de-escalating conflicts and helping would-be opponents become supporters.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by natureboy1776 View Post
        'Lurk, Did you read the bill that just died in the house? That is exactly what the bill would have done. Allow towns and cities to create "dress code" ordinances. Without this bill towns are NOT allowed to. Laconia's ordinance is now confirmed not legal. Gilford's is confirmed NOT legal. If either town harasses a woman for being bare-chested, they open themselves to major damage awards. There are LARGE FB groups planning to be very active across NH this summer.
        In your legal opinion. Towns will continue to create ordinances, and enforce existing ones. And if those get into the court system, anything can happen.

        The state house rejecting it doesn't mean that towns can't try to do that, and they no doubt will. This was not a court ruling legalizing toplessness. It just means that the state will not get involved in the process with state-wide law. There still will be challenges ahead.

        This reminds me of the Oklahoma couple who were charged with "placing a minor in need of supervision" by allowing teen girls to skinny-dip in their pool. Some declared it a "victory for nudism" when the charges were dismissed. Well, actually, the couple's case was continued without a finding, they had a pre-trial probationary period where they were required to report periodically (monthly) and the charges were dropped. Not a "victory". Not exactly.

        Gingerbread has been helpful in many states including NH. Her blog is amazing in the level-headed, logical approach. She has a wonderful way of de-escalating conflicts and helping would-be opponents become supporters.
        I don't know who "Gingerbread" (obviously a pseudonym) is, but there are many blogs and Facebook pages, and even web sites -- and while I'm sure it's a good blog, people often incorrectly assess the effect of social media, one way or another. I have not seen her blog. Can you point us to it?

        I might add - pseudonyms are OK on computer BBSes but if you are engaging in a public political process, names like these don't help your cause. Now, I'm not sure if "Gingerbread" is a real name - but frankly, it sounds nutty, and if she's trying to impress the public, you can guess as to how that comes across.

        What the folks in Concord are saying is = "If you're here to pick a fight, you're not going to get one. We are not wasting our time and money on you. And, by not getting into a high-profile fight with you, we're not giving you the attention you're seeking. Good luck on Main Street - you can do your battles at the local level."

        Last but not least, just because something is legal, or that "the system" turns a blind eye or nonchalance toward it , doesn't give it widespread acceptance. With toplessness legal in Maine for some time, you don't see it on the streets, even in liberal beach communities like Ogunquit.

        Last edited by usuallylurk; 05-13-2016, 06:53 AM.

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        • #5
          Gingerbread is the woman in the article in the original post. That is the name she goes by in the blog. In the article she has used her real name Chelsea.
          'Lurk, did you go to any of the hearings on these bills? Because I did. The picture you paint is the exact OPPOSITE of what happened. Bills were proposed to limit top-freedom because yes if there is not a law against something, it is in fact legal. The committees decided that the bills (against top-freedom) were picking fights that they did not want get involved in. The ruling is equality is more important than prudish eyes, and female breasts are not sexual organs so legal to be exposed anywhere (in NH) a man can bare his chest.
          I was there. These were very positive hearings, very much in the favor of the womens rights.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by natureboy1776 View Post
            Gingerbread is the woman in the article in the original post. That is the name she goes by in the blog. In the article she has used her real name Chelsea.
            '.....The picture you paint is the exact OPPOSITE of what happened. Bills were proposed to limit top-freedom because yes if there is not a law against something, it is in fact legal.at
            And some town is going to pass an ordinance and arrest someone - and then YOU stiil have a fight... just saying that....

            I did watch the first hearing. The state didn't want to get involved, yes, there are equal protection issues, too, etc.

            A quote from a state rep - Manchester Union-Leader =

            "Democratic Rep. Amanda Bouldin of Manchester warned that lawmakers could unintentionally promote more topless protests by passing the legislation. “If you give them a reason to fight, you are going to encourage more toplessness in the form of civil disobedience,” she said.

            In other words, the state doesn't want to get involved in your fight. They view it as = you're trying to pick a fight with them. They're not interested in catering to that.

            But - that still isn't going to stop some town council from passing their own local ordinance. Be careful. Next door, in Vermont, there are no statewide laws against nudity. BUT there are MANY town ordinances against it, depending on where you go. Yes, there are civil rights issues. But ... you still can get into trouble.

            If you have any understanding of how the legal system works - a state, or city or town, can put something into law.

            Then LEO must enforce it.

            Then , they let the courts work it out. By the state not acting, that doesn't mean a town can't pass an ordinance. And towns will. Local control is a big issue in New Hampshire.

            You may get the publicity you're seeking. You won't get any money. And if you want to fight something through the court system, you'll spend it.

            Other than that, keep fighting. If you want "acceptance" - and if that's what you're trying to do - Encourage the activity to take place at the state parks where it's legal.

            If your objective is publicity only - for yourselves, then I guess you can keep up a "fight" where you'll get a fight.

            If you can't convince women to drop their tops there (and I don't think you will) then doing the fight on Main Street won't help advance your cause. Yes, you'll get in the papers - but -- it's probably better to work in those public places - like the state parks - where you know you have the law on your side.
            Last edited by usuallylurk; 05-15-2016, 09:36 AM.

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