But what made it different was that almost everyone there was bare-chested in public for the first time — and that many of the participants, if you’d asked them a few weeks earlier, would probably have said they weren’t even sure they were allowed to do it. After the event, we asked everyone who took part if they wanted to share any thoughts about what the experience was like.
In that regard, it was no different from most of the other events we’ve held in parks around town over the past seven summers.
It was my first time going completely shirtless today and at first i was really nervous but i wanted to do this because girls should have the right to. It seems like the norm is to sexualize everything that’s natural. I just hung out with my friends in the park like I always do and I enjoyed the freedom of it.
I would love to do this again because it made me feel confident. I do think it’s important for women to know their rights on this issue especially considering how hot and humid it can get in New York, and how ultimately it is really not a big deal.
In New York, we have the law on our side and are merely exercising our rights. To give one example: we’ve been contacted repeatedly over the years by students — still in school or on summer break — who’ve written things like, “I love and support what your group does, and someday I hope to be able to take part in it.” And when we ask, they answer, “I can’t yet…can I? When they’re no longer living under their parents’ roof…? It was perfect picnic weather and everyone came prepared to relax and enjoy some time outdoors.
” Of course they can — if (for instance) a high school senior or college freshman who happens to be male can take his shirt off to play frisbee in Central Park, the law says his classmate who happens to be female can do the same thing. But while male students stride easily around Sheep Meadow with a confidence born of never having questioned their body’s suitability for public display (privilege, anyone? There were books to read– There were snacks to eat.