April 3, 2010

Women march topless in Portland without incident

The marchers want to call attention to the double standard in society's attitudes toward male and female nudity.

By Edward D. Murphy emurphy@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

PORTLAND – About two dozen women marched topless from Longfellow Square to Tommy's Park this afternoon in an effort to erase what they see as a double standard on male and female nudity.

click image to enlarge

A group of women and men who had shed their tops march down a Congress Street sidewalk from Longfellow Square to Tommy's Park. They were promoting the freedom of women to be topless in public. The group attracted many amateur and professional photographers.

Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer

The women, preceded and followed by several hundred boisterous and mostly male onlookers, many of them carrying cameras, stayed on the sidewalk because they hadn't obtained a demonstration permit to walk in the street. About a thousand people gathered as the march passed through Monument Square, a mix of demonstrators, supporters, onlookers and those just out enjoying a warm and sunny early-spring day.

After the marchers reached Tommy's Park in the Old Port, some turned around and walked back to Longfellow Square, but most stayed and mingled in the park. Some happily posed for pictures.

Police said there were no incidents and no arrests – nudity is illegal in Maine only if genitals are displayed.

Ty McDowell, who organized the march, said she was "enraged" by the turnout of men attracted to the demonstration. The purpose, she said, was for society to have the same reaction to a woman walking around topless as it does to men without shirts on.

However, McDowell said she plans to organize similar demonstrations in the future and said she would be more "aggressive" in discouraging oglers.

 

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