Boulder City Council members Macon Cowles and Lisa Morzel
deserve praise for speaking out against the provision in a proposed public
nudity ordinance that would have criminalized toplessness for women but not for
You might ask why public nudity needs to be criminalized at
all, provided it’s not part of a sex crime. That’s a valid question, one that
Morzel had the courage to ask. But apparently some local residents don’t know
we’re past the age of fig leaves and shame when it comes to nudity and
complained to police about naked folks riding bikes or running down the mall
with pumpkins on their heads. It doesn’t matter that these events — the Naked
Pumpkin Run and the World Naked Bike Ride Day — are well publicized, enabling
those who are upset or overcome by the site of pee-pees and wee-wees to avoid
them. The constipated prudes of Boulder demanded action.
Rather than suggesting they increase their fiber intake,
police obligingly made some arrests, and people who’d committed no crime greater
than making mischief faced fines and the stigma of having to register as a sex
The public nudity ordinance is the city’s attempt to provide
legal penalties for those who engage in harmless public nudity so that they’re
not prosecuted under more stringent laws that turn naked pumpkin runners and
bike riders into sex offenders.
But instead of sticking with the current restriction on
nudity, which criminalizes the public exposure of genitals, they got
%uFFFDber-zealous and decided to make it illegal for women, but not men, to bare
their breasts in public.
When Boulder Weekly confronted city staff about this attempt
to make the law more restrictive for women, we were told that an exception was
written in for breastfeeding. Well, how generous of them! Women can feed their
babies. What a progressive town Boulder is!
The gist of our question to city staff was this: Why is it
wrong for a woman to have bare breasts in public but not for men?
It seems our city staff — together with Council members Ken
Wilson, Geroge Karakehian and Susie Ageton — still consider the female breast
to be a sexual organ that’s indecent unless stuck in a baby’s mouth, while the
male breast is just “chest.” Perhaps they still think that male sexuality is so
potent a force that bare-breasted women will cause social chaos, perhaps even
violence, while women, sedate and less lustful than men, don’t feel anything at
the sight of a nice set of pecs.
Wrong on both counts.
Apart from women whose sexuality has been stifled by archaic
social customs or religion, women are every bit as lustful as men. If you think
women don’t ogle those bare-chested guys playing a game of disc in the park,
you’re just plain ignorant. And watching women drag down the g-string of a
stripper at a male strip show with their teeth will relieve you of any illusion as to women’s sexual
If female breasts are just too sexy for public perusal, then
so are men’s. Any ordinance barring female nipples must, to be fair, also bare
male nipples. Women don’t yet make use of their ability to go topless the way
their European cousins do, but it’s only a matter of time before shirts and jog bras start coming off.
Fortunately, Cowles and Morzel moved to have the nipple bit
of the proposed ordinance removed, and Mayor Susan Osborne, Matt Appelbaum and
K.C. Becker agreed with them.
Now we can drop this nipple nonsense and go back to a sane
discussion on what to do about people who with no ill intent make their