A ‘topless’ ban in Rio

I’ve picked this story up from the BBC this morning.

It rather appears that a rarely enforced ban on topless sunbathing has been suddenly activated on the beaches of Rio, Brazil, picked up on after Brazilian actress Cristina Flores was approached during a photo shoot and asked to cover up.

And the media appear to be having a field day after an anticipated 200 strong army of protestors failed to materialise, amounted to a dozen or so, and were outnumbered by….male photographers!

The ‘spin’ on this ‘flop’ protest, and how Rio’s women ‘shunned’ it, is interesting in how it’s reported. For one thing, many women who would sunbathe topless would be intimidated by such a throng of photographers. For another, is it perhaps more likely that their ‘protest’ is more likely to amount to them continuing what they do as usual, without needing to fanfare it to any great extent?



If men are permitted to sunbathe topless, why not women? They’re the same nipples, after all, and -occasionally- the man boobs on display are sometimes arguably larger than female breasts. How can you argue one is obscene and the other isn’t?


While this magazine has been criticial of some of Femen’s antics -mainly because we believe it’s possible to desexualise nipples and female breasts in an adult manner, as opposed to conducting childish protests against the Pope (or Catholicism in general), Putin or whoever else- we would be supportive in their aim to forge equality on this issue. We simply disagree with the tactics.


A picture tells a thousand words. Vladimir Putin looks exceptionally perturbed when faced with a Femen protest.

femenFemen members demonstrate a total lack of respect for others.

How does it help ‘our’ -women’s- cause to achive top free equality with men by donning wimples, going topless, and writing gratuitously obsence messages on their chests, in a provocative and simply offensive display? I speak as a non-Catholic, but I find it simply offensive that Femen continue to believe they will achieve anything by deliberately seeking to offend. Respect is a two-way street, and the sooner Femen grow up to grasp that, and to demonstrate they have some respect for the beliefs of millions around the globe, the better for all of us. When they show Catholics some respect, perhaps their campaign for top-free equality can be matched.

I would be fully supportive of women’s rights to be topless in public (with the caveat that there’s a right place for everything, and the Copacabana beach is an entirely suitable setting for top-free sunbathing), but I, and the rest of the staff on SLN take a less sympathetic view to Femen’s antics.

Viewed from outside, it does look more like a storm in a B-cup with regard to Rio, a ludicrous ban that is maybe in advance of 2014’s World Cup, and a desire to present Brazil in a particular way to the rest of the globe. Judging from recent protests in the country, Brazil has more pressing concerns than to be fretting over exposed nipples on the beach.