Topless in Portland

So cheesy it should have been sponsored by Kraft (courtesy of TriStar Pictures)

If you’re a fan of the 1993 Tom HanksMeg Ryan “rom-com” Sleepless in Seattlesaw the title of this post and thought it might be referencing some impending sequel—albeit one with a rather misguided title—think again.

The title refers to a practice growing in popularity among panhandlers in Portland, Oregon. At least the female panhandlers.

In what could easily classify as an homage to Mel Brooks‘ 1968 film The Producers—most specifically the line “if you’ve got it, flaunt it”—a woman in Portland was recently spotted on the corner of Clay Street and SW 7th Avenue panhandling topless.

Okay. She was wearing pasties over her nipples, but she still flashed her boobs for money. From what I understand, she earned some, too. And she didn’t even get arrested for it. You know why?

Because Oregon is awesome!

I wasn’t aware of this, but Oregon has a public indecency law that is stated as follows—thanks to OregonLaws.org for the information:

A person commits the crime of public indecency if, while in or in view of a public place, the person performs (a) an act of sexual intercourse; (b) an act of deviant sexual intercourse; or (c) an act exposing the genitals of the person with the intent of arousing the sexual desire of the person of another person.

That last one is the kicker. And it’s also one of the reasons I may have to eventually relocate to Oregon.

Showing your junk in public is obviously a no-no in Portland, but we all know that breasts are not genitals. And since the only part of the breast considered to be “arousing” is the nipple—at least in the eyes of the law—women are free to let it all hang out as long as their “nipular regions” are covered.

Pasties seem to do the trick. At least they did for this begging exhibitionist. What’s funny, though, is that in Portland, she didn’t even need them.

You see, Portland is one of the few cities in America where women are free to go completely topless… nipples and all. And no, it’s not because the city is male-dominated or populated by perverts.

It’s about freedom of expression, as well as gender equality.

The logic behind this wonderful law—and I fully support it, in case you didn’t notice—is that if men can walk around bare-chested, then women should be permitted to do the same.

Will flash for food (property of KOIN Local 6)

And why not? Just the other day I found myself wishing there were more topless women in the grocery store. I just didn’t know said grocery store was in Portland!

The law also distinguishes between public breasts and sexy breasts, for lack of better terms. When a woman goes topless in public, it isn’t considered an act of sexuality; it’s an act of expression. And since we value freedom of expression so much in America, a topless woman in Portland is protected by the same laws that protect Marilyn Manson, white supremacists and anyone else who wants to express who they are or what they believe.

It breaks down like this: since exposed breasts in public are not sexual and are not genitals—and since both genders deserve equal treatment—Portland’s topless ordinance does not violate Oregon’s public indecency law.

All of this leaves me with one thing to say, and I mean this from the bottom of my heart: God bless America!

And God bless Portland for showing us that in the struggle for gender equality, even topless women can do their part!

Posted on April 3, 2013, in Perspectives and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Oregon definitely seems like the place to be!…

  2. Ok, let me see if I have this correct, my wife can wear a see thru top, nipples clearly visible in a bar and not have anything to worry about?

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