Why do we care if women sunbathe topless?

Why do people take issue at the sight of a topless woman on the beach? (iStock)
Why do people take issue at the sight of a topless woman on the beach? (iStock)

BOOBS. What is it about them that conjure so many mixed emotions?

Especially boobs out in public places. I can understand the concern if bare breasted women were walking the streets or sipping latte in cafes - society's just not there yet. Frankly, I'm not even really there with men doing this.

But a post on a public forum for Bondi Beach regulars this week called for women to cover up while sunbathing.

Honestly, what's wrong with bare breasts on beaches - a place where most people in attendance are practically naked anyway?

Ladies have been freeing their nipples on our coastlines for as long as I can remember - admittedly, my mammary memories only span back to the 90s but it definitely didn't seem a big deal then. Are we getting more prudish, not less?

I just don't see the problem with women ditching their tops at the beach if they want to. Especially if they're being sunsafe and applying sufficient protection. It's completely natural and on par with what the blokes have been doing.

Do other people have the right to object to the sight of bare breasts on the beach? (Pic: Geoff McLachlan)
Do other people have the right to object to the sight of bare breasts on the beach? (Pic: Geoff McLachlan)

The post on the Bondi Beach forum pointed the finger at tourists.

"For all the European backpackers, we don't need to see your tits. You're not in a beach in the Mediterranean.

"Be polite and respect for the local rules. And please note there are kids and dogs around. Thank you" the since deleted post read.

And this really got me thinking.

Firstly, how the hell do dogs fit into this picture? Are they in the offended party or is there something I'm missing here?

But mostly, why are women's breasts - those with a very legitimate life-supporting purpose - considered impolite and disrespectful, while mens' - sorry guys but yours really are useless - are completely acceptable?

I'm not the first to raise the question. There's a worldwide movement aiming to desexualise women's breasts and bring "equality, empowerment and freedom".

Free the Nipple or, if you're a social media user, #freethenipple, is a global platform for change in the world.

FREE THE NIPPLE 💋 #freethenipple

A post shared by Cara Delevingne (@caradelevingne) on

"We believe that as human beings we should all be treated equally," their mission statement boasts. Their aim "is to raise awareness, and affect change, in the areas of the inequality of men and women that are still being experienced in the world today".

And all power to them, we should always challenge our norms and question our motivations.

The woman requesting beachgoers to cover up also made reference to kids, as though the sight of breasts would cause them damage.

The only way children would even be bothered by such a sight is if their parents tell them it's wrong. Think about it, if their mothers were fortunate enough to be able to produce milk after their births, it wasn't that long ago that they were sucking on them for nutrition.

Judging by the response to the woman's post, it would seem she is in the minority. Most people I know don't seem to have a problem whatsoever with such sights, just as they don't take issue with sights of people fully covered head-to-toe in sunsmart outfits.

But can you imagine a day no one even notices… not even the dogs?

Topics:  beach boobs editors picks sunbathe topless

News Corp Australia

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Sisters seek new scratching post

Moo is part of a bonded pair at AWLQ Bracken Ridge.

Roo and Moo are a bonded pair at Bracken Ridge

Christmas is already here for Courtney

The cast of Brisbane Junior Theatre's Elf the Musical Jr includes Courtney Mackay from Taigum (front left).

Young Taigum actress performs in Elf the Musical Jr

Adults help scouts get to Jamboree

Bridget Galway, Aaliyah Barge, Charlie Blagden are already getting excited about the 2019 Australian Scout Jamboree.

Sandgate Scouts hold trivia night and mini cent auction

Local Partners