A Brief History
On July 7, 1992, the New York Court of Appeals, the highest state court in New York, ruled that women in that state have every bit as much a right to go bare breasted as men do.
The United States is a country that prides itself on individual and group freedoms, as well as equal treatment under the law regardless of race, creed, color, or gender, but laws against public toplessness by women have been a common factor among the various states.
As of 2019, only six states have decided that women are free to go topless, and that list may surprise you. Far from a roll call of the most liberal leaning states, the states that allow female toplessness include Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas, and Oklahoma, mostly conservative states!
Many states have ambiguous laws or laws that allow toplessness in limited circumstances, while two states, Indiana and Tennessee, outlaw the practice entirely. There is no Federal law banning topless women.
Question for students (and subscribers): Should American women be allowed to go topless anywhere men can? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
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For more information, please see…
Allyn, David. Make Love, Not War: The Sexual Revolution: An Unfettered History. Little, Brown and Company, 2000.
Schrank, Sarah. Free and Natural: Nudity and the American Cult of the Body. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019.
The featured image in this article, the Seal of the New York Court of Appeals, is in the public domain in the United States. This applies to U.S. works where the copyright has expired, often because its first publication occurred prior to January 1, 1928, and if not then due to lack of notice or renewal. See this page for further explanation.
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