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women go topless for equal rights

Source: Facebook (Permission granted by

Source: Facebook

In the latest display of equal rights activism, women in the UK, Canada and just a little closer to home in Brisbane have taken to the streets in topless campaigns, each for various reasons, but each losing an item of clothing that only becomes an issue when a woman isn’t wearing it.

The annual event Go Topless, which began in 2007, encourages public rallies where women ditch bras (and some men don them) to fight for gender equality issues across the US and Canada.

‘As long as men are allowed to be topless in public, women should have the same constitutional right. Or else, men should have to wear something to hide their chests,’ says founder of Go Topless, Rael.

Inspired by the work of Go Topless, Boston-based woman Stacey began to work with start-up group, Topless Equality, taking the issue further than a yearly event and into the everyday hypocrisy of shirtless rights.

"Another example of the extreme inequality of chests. His breasts can be shown off all the time, but mine have to be covered. Its discrimination, pure and simple."

“Another example of the extreme inequality of chests. His breasts can be shown off all the time, but mine have to be covered. Its discrimination, pure and simple.”

From dog walking, and gardening to driving around and chillin’ in the park, her topless campaign seeks for acceptance of the same rights for women as there are for men and to end the discrimination. She is now the Massachusetts spokesmodel for the group.

But the motives of Brisbane artist, gay rights activist and self dubbed ‘smart arse’, Illma Gore were slightly different.

With the words ‘my shirt didn’t match my rights’ written on her bare back, Illma braved the winter chill and rode a council funded city-cycle push bike through the sunshine state’s CBD in protest to Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s comment, ‘I am not somebody who wishes to see radical change made on the fashion of the moment.’

Announcing her plans to bare her breasts on Facebook, Illma wrote: ‘For a radical statement, I give you a radical response. Today, as an artist and as a homosexual, I will skate through Brisbane topless and well, I guess today my shirt didn’t match my rights.’

‘I wanted to convey a message that revealed its ignorance,’ she said.

‘What baffles me is how a human any one human but especially one who wishes to lead our country to speak for the people can refer to a large part of our nations rights as a ‘fashion’’.

‘We are not statistics we are human beings.’

Watch Illma Gore’s topless ride here.


Update: An earlier version of this article stated that Stacey was the founder of ‘Go Topless’. This was inaccurate; Stacey is the Massachusetts spokes model. The article has been amended to reflect this.

7 thoughts on “women go topless for equal rights

  1. “What do you think, Lipsters? Is going topless in public a defiant protest or a pointless exercise?” (From the FB link)

    I think if you’re going to ask readers that question, they should be allowed to gauge the author’s opinion first. So what is the author’s opinion? As it stands, this piece seems more like an excerpt from the Daily Feminist News rather than an article in its own right.

  2. If we have any Brisbane girls, women, and men interested in doing the Go Topless Day next year, myself and a friend are looking for somebody to spearhead the campaign. Men are encouraged to take part, but they have to wear bras, bikini tops or band aids over their nipples to signify the ridiculous double-standards society puts onto exposure of the torso.

  3. Chris, I’m not sure that Lip readers need to know someone’s opinion to formulate their own. Siobhan’s article clearly outlines two current events in an unbiased manner. Surely from there, people will find something to say if they feel strongly about it. People usually seem to, on the internet.

    • Hi Amy,
      Indeed they will. My point is that when Lip publish unbiased outlines of current events they go in the ‘news’ section, except this one because(…?)

      • Ah, editorial oversight comes back to haunt me. I didn’t schedule the piece, so didn’t get to tag it as ‘news’. I shall remedy this.

        To be fair, it’s not tagged as ‘opinion’ either 😉

  4. This is a glaring oversight re equality in a nation that has *supposedly* evened the playing field between men and women. Why are women’s breasts hidden? It is not like they aren’t exposed on every magazine stand in the nation. Perhaps if more breasts were out and about, they would be less titillating. I would attend a topless rally if one was organised in Melbourne.

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