Men, Keep Your Shirts On

Men, keep your shirts on.

Listen, I know this sort of ideology really makes lots of people groan, even so-called “liberals” who can often be heard to say “I’m all for (fill in the blank) but enough is enough!”  But usually, when you find yourself saying enough is enough, that usually means you might actually be approaching the line of what is right and just.

When you were growing up, did you ever think to yourself, Isn’t it weird that men or boys can walk around with their shirts off and women can’t?  I’m willing to wager you did think that, probably sometime between the ages of five and ten.  You thought it because it’s OBVIOUS that it’s strange; like so many other oddities you thought of as a child (“Isn’t it weird for humans to drink the milk of a cow?” and “If people of other races are just like me, why do we treat them differently?” and maybe even “If police are here to protect me why do they scare me?”) our culture has a buffet of fictions it has produced that you are fed with such alarming regularity that, after you are a fully acculturated pre-teen, you take these oddities to be self-evident normalcies.  Men can go topless, women can’t.  That’s just the way it is.

Of course, this isn’t about shirts or nipples; not really.  It’s about living in a land where, even with all the strides we’ve made toward gender equality over the past 50 years, the most basic “stories” of our culture still seek to control the woman and set the man free.  We can work toward pay equality, and make superhero movies about women, and all these wonderful things that truly are wonderful, but until we change the most basic tenets of our culture (practically our entire language is about men, women’s clothes aren’t functional or comfortable, women are judged on their appearance to a degree beyond male comprehension, and on and on and on and on) any man who is even moderately awoke to this fact is absolutely obligated to do everything they can to combat it.  And it is absolutely imperative that we not do something that our female counterparts would be forbidden by law to do simply because of their gender.

To walk out of your house without a shirt on is to take part in systemic inequality of the most deeply-rooted, insidious sort.  Who do you think you are, walking around bare chested?  My fiance is not able to do it–so how dare YOU?

I don’t care if you have six pack abs or a beer belly.  I don’t care if you are working out or sunbathing.  It’s not OK.  Once you are “woke” to this fact, a man walking around shirtless can seem, in fact, downright sinister. (I must admit here a caveat: I swim shirtless at our apartment complex because it’s an actual rule there, but I’m working up the courage to stop doing that).

I understand many people I know, after reading this very simple, straightforward statement will still want to argue with it.  This is natural, because the fiction you’ve been told has strong sway on you (even when you are the oppressed class). All I ask is that you let it sit within you for awhile, before pushing back.  Think about it when you see a shirtless man go running past you.  If he were running with a woman, she’d have to be shirted–and hotter and less comfortable.  Let it stew.

One Response to “Men, Keep Your Shirts On”

  1. Kyle Sundgren Says:

    What is the punishment for a woman going topless in public? I imagine it varies by state or city and how and where it’s done. I have a friend that lives in Oregon and their nudity laws are very lax. I believe the only limits are against men (your penis can’t be erect). It could possibly be a Portland only thing.

    I say the better protest/answer to this is for women to go topless rather than men never do the same. Obviously the amount of women that want to go topless but can’t are vastly outnumbered by men who want to go topless and do. No one would notice a bunch of dudes wearing shirts, even if it were at a pool or a beach, but a bunch of ladies going topless sure would raise some attention.

    Then in the grand scheme of things is this REALLY the big thing we should be starting a hoopla about?! I’m just typing out everything that pops in the old noggin :)

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