If you have one of these, you don’t need to wear a top at the beach

Apparently, in public beaches in the US, if you have a penis, you don’t have to wear a shirt. No kidding. That is the law in Delaware:

Police there were called to the beach after lifeguards requested that the sunbathers replace their tops. “Passers-by came up to the lifeguard and said they were alarmed and unhappy with the females showing their breasts,” Police Chief Keith Banks said. “The lifeguard responded and saw that they were males.”

Banks said police were called because the men originally refused to put their tops back on, but had consented before police arrived. Officers made sure the situation was under control, and no citations were issued.

Banks said it could have been difficult to issue a citation because Rehoboth law defines indecent exposure two ways: “A male is guilty of indecent exposure if he exposes his genitals or buttocks under circumstances which he knows his conduct is likely to cause affront or alarm to another person.

“A female is guilty of indecent exposure if she exposes her genitals, breasts or buttocks under circumstances which she knows her conduct is likely to cause affront or alarm to another person.”

So the men’s behavior may have been upsetting, but it was not illegal. “It is important to say that under Rehoboth law this was not against the law,” Banks said. “In this case, they had male genitalia; therefore, they are not guilty of a crime.”

What are your thoughts on this? Is this a feminist issue? Do men have more freedom? Should people be forced to say, upon entering a beach, what gender they identify with the most? (ha!)

Who needs oil spills, immigration reform, or health care news when you have Delaware beach goers!

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About shenpa warrior

"Patience is not learned in safety." View all posts by shenpa warrior

16 responses to “If you have one of these, you don’t need to wear a top at the beach

  • Megan

    What unfortunate wording: “In this case, they had male genitalia; therefore, they are not guilty of a crime.” I can see that he’s refering to the law, but the idea is problematic: that transgendered breasts don’t count as breaking the law, but female breasts do. Hmmmm…yes, obviously men have more freedom with their bodies than women do.

  • AdamF

    A friend of mine remarked on this story that this is one of those times that you have to laugh at this country a little. HOW we still have laws that allow for all kinds of stuff, but demand that female nipples must be covered, but male nipples are okay because men have male genitalia is beyond me. Hilarious. 🙂

  • Megan

    It is hilarious in a sad way. I grew up in Africa, and it is very, very common to see women walking around topless 1) because it is so hot and 2) to give their babies instant access to food. Breasts are not regarded the same way in Africa. Africans – well west and central Africans – do not regard breasts as sexual objects. They are strictly functional as a food source for babies. So I never realized how different it was in the ‘States until I was maybe 8, and we showed some pictures to two missionaries who were visiting my grandparents. One of them started spluttering, and I looked up to see his face turning an alarming shade of red. “What’s the matter?” asked my innocent 8-year-old self. “She’s NAKED!” he squawked. I couldn’t understand what the problem was. Now, of course, I’m fully cognizant of the American view of breasts. But it’s still funny.

    • adamf

      I’m still not totally settled on how I’m going to raise my kids on this, but for now (the oldest is still very young) we are pretty open and frank about everything. I’m only worried that I probably won’t be able to prevent the development of the “American view of breasts.”

  • alice

    I think there is some feminist issues here, but also general cultural problems. We’re so focused on appearance, and if you don’t fit the accepted standard of what is attractive, there is something wrong with you. So it’s only bad for men to go topless if they don’t have a nice chest. 🙂 With that logic, you’d think that it would be okay for women with perky breasts to go topless.

    As far as raising kids, I think the most important thing we can do is try really hard to put aside our own cultural conditioning. My kids sometimes walk in on me in the tub, and it’s really hard to overcome the instinct to yell at them to get out and to grab a towel. Instead I just sit there, and answer whatever question they have. I think the freaking out does more damage than them seeing me in the tub does. My oldest is getting to the point where I’ve talked with him about how sometimes mom wants some privacy, and how he might want privacy at some point too. I also don’t hide from them when I’m nursing a baby. This time around, I’ll talk with them about why I use a blanket in public and not at home- how some people are uncomfortable seeing a mom feed her baby, and so out of politeness, I use a blanket if I think people might be uncomfortable, but that our bodies are pretty neat and can do amazing things, mom’s feeding their babies being one of them.

    For me really, the hardest thing is getting over my own conditioning- I’m trying really hard to find a balance between what I’m comfortable with and not passing on any idea that there is something wrong with our bodies that we need to hide.

    • AdamF

      Personally, I think either ALL men should be covering up as well, or women and men should both be “free” so to speak to go as they please. I don’t really buy the “female breasts are sexual” argument, because gosh, how many women/girls scream when Jacob from Twilight takes his shirt off? I can guarantee that part of that is due to lust for his amazing pecs. 🙂

      Re: kids, I think that’s a good way to go – we generally take the same stance as well – all body parts are equal, and we don’t make anything of nudity at home.

  • alice

    I’ve been debating about letting my 8-year-old wear his basketball jersey as an every-day shirt. If I had a little girl, I wouldn’t have a problem with tank tops, but since I don’t, and the only little girl we interact with regularly is the neighbor, and she doesn’t wear tank tops, it doesn’t seem fair to let J. So I told him that his basketball jersey is for playing basketball, not for every-day wear.

    I’m debating whether to explain why I don’t think it’s fair for him to wear tank tops, because then I have to go into what I think about certain standards of modesty and I’m not quite ready to do that yet.

    • adamf

      Yeah, I wouldn’t know what to say either… I don’t think I’ll have a problem with tank tops for girls or boys, but at the same time, it depends on the situation and the activity.

  • Anonymous

    Clothes should be outlawed. They cause so many problems. The only good they do are protect us (white folk) from the sun, and keep us warm. Culture shock would be gone in a few generations. Let’s do it.

    • adamf

      Um, really? Outlawed? As in “against the law?” What problems do they cause? I can think of a few more things other than UV rays and cold that clothes protect against… what about snake bites? Poison ivy? Little rabbits with huge teeth?

  • Steve

    Hey, I’ve very late to the party on this one, but hey, it’s my favorite subject, haha. But seriously, I have to second Megan’s comments. Here in Africa (yes, I’m here now) out in the villages, breasts are common and trust me, the feelings I had were not sexual! haha. Gravity and breast feeding children over several years is not kind to any woman! But I digress since that brings me to the whole point! Breasts are not meant for men, but babies! So I don’t see why American culture (and other socially conservative countries *cough-Taliban-cough* view women’s bodies as threats against society. Like, OMG! Breasts, let’s riot and over throw the government and faster pussycat, kill, kill, kill! That’s why I don’t get the whole modesty point. Be modest because you want to, not because “it is right” or “society says so”. I’m all for a perky top-free, future!

  • Steve

    Well, I should be back more often, provided you post more often. Ah, touche’, eh? haha. I had work outside the office for six months, then moved to Africa, and have been in transition ever since. I promise to be a better commentor in the future.

  • Justin

    This topic really is about the Luciferian concept of body modesty. Such ideas really have no place in the gospel.

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