On August 24, 2014 about 20 spunky and high-spirited Oahuans gathered at Kaimana Beach in Waikiki to celebrate National Go Topless Day. The event was organized by a group called “Free Your Coconuts Hawaii” which was founded just a few weeks prior by Ruth Stoddard, Rebecca Corby and yours truly. When we found out it was legal to bare your breasts in public in Hawaii, we were appalled that more women weren’t taking advantage of this right. I mean, who doesn’t hate tan lines? Besides, when men won the right to go topless in 1934, they went for it, to the max, 100%! So why shouldn’t we?
We formed Free Your Coconuts Hawaii to organize monthly beach events to simply promote awareness around the law permitting “toplessness” in Hawaii. There are laws against indecent exposure and open lewdness, both petty misdemeanors, but they don’t cover women’s breasts. Pun intended! Under Hawaii Revised Statutes 707-734, it says, “A person commits the offense of indecent exposure if the person intentionally exposes the person’s genitals to a person to whom the person is not married under circumstances in which the actor’s conduct is likely to cause affront.” Breasts are not genitals, which are defined as the reproductive or external sex organs. So there!
As we did our due diligence for this new group we found out that National Go Topless Day was right around the corner! How serendipitous! We decided to keep it simple and not plan anything too extravagant or “protest-y”. The event was to be just a beach day for fun and “top optional” awareness. It turned out to be a great kick start for our new interest in promoting this healthy and harmless way of upping the enjoyment of Hawaii’s sun, sand and ocean. It was a really good time!
We were extremely fortunate to experience nothing but aloha from the other beach goers that day. Thankfully, no one complained, asked us to put our tops on or called the police. We even had a few who decided to take off their tops and join us! The worst thing we had to deal with was a very excited elderly man who insisted on taking pictures and drawing lots of attention to us. We tried to deal with him the way a rock band might deal with a die hard fan. We love you but please keep your distance! You can see him below creeping into our photo.
When asked why they came out to celebrate, here’s what some participants had to say:
Davey Kay: I am a strong believer in the free the nipple movement, men bare chest, therefore women should be able to too. Pro-Choice!
Rebecca Corby: We want to have a world where men and women can be topless in public and it does not make people think they need to call the police simply for someone baring their chest peacefully at a beach or park.
Alexander Ocasio: I came out because like most things, this is only an issue because we make it into one. The only way to make it a non issue is to just live it like it’s the norm. And we did just that.
Sarah Daigle: Our bodies are temples of light that should not be suffocated by unnecessary energy blocking pieces of clothing. Respecting Free Will, men and woman alike should be able to free their natural gifts forever and always, right here, right now.
For me personally, it’s just a way to remove yet another taboo around sex and bodies. I believe that when people are afraid of nudity and sexuality they misunderstand it and abuse it. Breasts are nothing to be ashamed of and they become more sexualized by western cultures that cover them up than by others that recognize they are just fatty tissue intended to make milk for babies. Yes they are sexy and beautiful, but so are lips, hips, legs and every other part of us!