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Today my friend took her top off in a public place - to 'make a stand against all the men doing it' - and got told off! AIBU to think... I'm a total hypocrite/shit friend?

(86 Posts)
WhistlingNun Fri 19-Jul-13 23:09:24

I was out shopping with my friend today and we got ranting chatting about all the topless men walking around, and how annoyed i was that i got berated the other day by a complete stranger for letting 5yo dd take her top off (another story) - when my friend suddenly declared she'd had enough of it.

We stopped to get some ice cream and went to sit on a bench so she could feed her baby ds, too. Anyway, she took her whole top off, and she wanted me to bet with her how long it would take for someone to pull her up for fully exposing herself. She knew it was going to happen, and sort of seemed to be looking forward to it.

Anyway, I'm ashamed to say i was mortified. We were getting tons of looks. She stopped feeding her ds, put him back in his pram and sat for a few minutes with her top still off. She started waving at people who were looking at her and asking them if they wanted a picture.

Again, i was mortified and wanted the ground to swallow me whole. The more i asked her to put her top back on/cover up a bit, the more she laughed and seemed to determined to keep it off. She suggested we get up and continue shopping - i told her no chance until she puts her boobs away.

Anyway, we sat for a while longer and a man wearing a fluorescent coat came up (think he was a council worker as i could see his name badge a little) and said my friend ought to 'get dressed before she gets into trouble'.

Anyway, i found myself apologising. And i then pleaded with my friend to do what he said as she was really embarrassing me (still waving to everyone looking at her).

She accused me of having double standards. Why is it okay for the men to waltz about with their nipples showing, but not her? Why would i let my dd walk around with no top on the other day without embarrassment, but cringe when friend does it? etc etc. She said she's shocked by my attitude and that i'm not the confident person she thought i was.

Anyway, on reflection i feel i was being entirely unreasonable. I should have supported her. Especially after the humiliation of getting pulled up the other day because i'd let my daughter take her top off.

She had a huge rant about the council worker on FB and got lots of support from other women that she should have got up and carried on shopping with no top on. But then some people are saying she could have gotten 'done' for indecent exposure.

Anyway... i feel i ought to go round tomorrow and apologise. But at the same time, i think she was doing the waving and saying hello to the starers because she knew it was making me squirm.

Should we both apologise? Am i just a big fat hypocrite?

RealAleandOpenFires Sun 21-Jul-13 02:21:02

Ok...a compromise then, I won't go topless wink I'm Male btw, but you Ladies have to agree to really embarrass men (with saggy moobs*) by talking loudly, laughing, pointing & guessing what cup size they are, then offering your old spare bras/bikini tops for them to use as they seem to be in need of them than you do. grin

*I really hate that word grrrr

AnnieLobeseder Sun 21-Jul-13 02:02:15

Hooray for your friend!

I hate it that women's breasts are seen as sexualised, shameful and need to be covered in public while men can wander about topless. Either everyone covers up or no-one has to!

FWIW, those saying that women's breasts are sex organs and erogenous - um, so are men's. I think most men find having their nipples played with as sexually stimulating as women do. But that doesn't stop them whipping them out in public.

BrianTheMole Sun 21-Jul-13 01:55:55

Good for her, she sounds fab!

emmelinelucas Sun 21-Jul-13 01:51:57

Give her a grip, OP.
She's been rumbled.
Thankyou for reading x

EvaM Sun 21-Jul-13 01:31:59

Can't stop giggling about the notion that breasts were 'designed'.

And that it's SOCIETY who decides what we find sexually attractive. Nature doesn't do agendas (that doesn't mean you can't have any, though).

TimeofChange Sat 20-Jul-13 15:34:21

Most of us go along with convention. In general the following are the norm:

Women wear dresses and skirts.
Men don't.

Women wear high heels.
Men don't.

Women wear makeup.
Men don't.

Men's chests can be uncovered in public.
Women cover their nipples in public.

It's just the way it is.

Some men buck the trend - thinking of Grayson Perry.

I used to go to festivals in the 70s and quite a lot of women would be topless and a few men and women nude (depending on the weather).
But they would cover up to drive home!

The 70s was also the time when body hair was acceptable.
Many women had all their body hair intact.

BlingBang Sat 20-Jul-13 15:09:29

But men can go topless and women can't. Men's chests are deemed fine, healthy etc. Women are forced to cover theirs - why?

TimeofChange Sat 20-Jul-13 14:54:05

Bling: I don't think we are taught that our breasts are shameful.

But I think we are taught that they are private.

If we walk round with breasts out, we will be walking round with out fannys on display next and blokes have their bits hanging out.

Covering our bodies does not equate with being ashamed of them.

BlingBang Sat 20-Jul-13 14:19:27

I prefer both sexes to wear tops in public areas. But hate that women are forced and made to feel their breasts are shameful and to be hidden away (unless the men decide it suits them like in mags and strip clubs). YANBU to feel uncomfortable I can't help admire your friend for challenging the status quo. Why can a man look at a women's breasts and more in a paper in public but the sight of actual breast in a non sexual setting is taboo. Crazy and time it was challenged.

Morloth Sat 20-Jul-13 13:53:52

If it is OK for men to do something then it is OK for women.

Either both are OK or neither.

Personally I prefer shirts on for both but hey why should people dress how I want them to?

It doesn't harm in anyway to see a bare chest so why does it matter?

ImperialBlether Sat 20-Jul-13 13:34:25

I can't believe all these people saying the topless friend was great for doing that. She sounds unhinged to me. If she'd gone topless on a beach, that's one thing but to breastfeed your baby then take your top off on a bench in a shopping centre? I wouldn't be going shopping with her again!

ALovelyBunchOfCoconuts Sat 20-Jul-13 13:13:04

And I also should have said there that I don't think your embarrassment was misplaced. You had every right to feel uncomfortable but I think you are mixing up the discomfort with the breasts and with the shoulting, iykwim.

ALovelyBunchOfCoconuts Sat 20-Jul-13 13:11:52

I think your friend is awesome! Fair play to her, I say! If she has the body confidence to do this to make a stand then why shouldn't she.

I think you need to apologise for your 'double standards' and just say you were embarrassed by the shouting and exhibition-ism. Perhaps if she'd sat still and carried on and not attracted the attention by shouting at the gawpers maybe you wouldn't have felt so humiliated. Men don't walk round without their tops on shouting and cajoling passers-by, do they?

I wish I had the body confidence and a good set of tits to do this. It would make a great point. I could even carry a sign around with me stating what I was doing to stop people asking.

ChunkyPickle Sat 20-Jul-13 13:05:45

Women's chests are sexual, and mens aren't? Am I the only one that sees half naked men used to advertise to women then? Plenty of people find mens chests attractive!

Personally I'd prefer that neither men nor women wander around town with their tops off (too much sweaty skin), but if men can, I don't see why women can't.

Your friend was very brave - even if it was just for attention - and embarrassment on your part was a completely normal reaction, which is what her taking her top off was challenging.

digerd Sat 20-Jul-13 12:59:48


digerd Sat 20-Jul-13 12:59:19

In hot weather, it is cooler to go braless but wear a top that is loose and wafts in the breeze which cools the ski , as I have been doing smile
< not a see through top though>. Nipples with sunburn, no thank you!

Sallyingforth Sat 20-Jul-13 12:32:11

Breasts are designed for one purpose only - feeding babies. The sexual thing is purely cultural, and not universal.

In Victorian times it was considered sexual to show womens' legs, but we laugh at that now. Again it was purely cultural, and cultures change.

Not so long ago it was considered outrageous for British women to bare their breasts on beaches at home or abroad, now it's commonplace and rightly so. I hope it will soon be the case that we can walk topless down the High Street if we choose - in the current weather I resent having to put a shirt on to go down to the corner shop.

FeckOffCup Sat 20-Jul-13 12:17:45

In your position it's difficult, because she was being antagonistic, and who needs that? I don't think you need to apologise for not wanting to be cast in her big production

I agree with this, it sounds like your friend was enjoying making you squirm more than making her actual point about double standards (which I agree with but in the sense that I don't think men or women should be allowed to walk round shopping centres topless).

MamaMary Sat 20-Jul-13 11:53:17

In parts of Africa, where I've been, many women of all ages go around in public topless. Interestingly, the men don't.

Which proves it's purely a cultural thing.

GobblersKnob Sat 20-Jul-13 11:47:04

Agree floatyflo, though tbh would be happier if it were just decreed that all should be covered.

Am more than happy for anyone to have anything they like out on the beach or similar, but don't think anyone should be walking topless around a town or supermarket, it's just grim.

Morloth Sat 20-Jul-13 11:07:00

She sounds excellent.

I am socially conditioned enough that I probably would have felt uncomfortable as well. But that is the problem not her breasts.

Is stupid that it is OK for men and not women. It can't be law surely?

neunundneunzigluftballons Sat 20-Jul-13 10:53:45

*Breasts are breast-shaped because apes began walking on two legs buttocks stopped being a conveniently-placed sexual stimulus.

I won't say anything about breastfeeding in public because all of mn can't be wrong but breasts are the way they are because of sex.

I'll send a postcard from Argentina...*

Where breastfeeding is the norm particularily into childhood this tends not to be the case me thinks it was probably a non breast feeding exposed scientist who came up with that theory plus lots of breast feeding mammals from apes species have larger breasts when feeding.

NachoAddict Sat 20-Jul-13 09:57:30

I agree with your friend but I would have been embarrassed too.

Can't breasts be both sexual and for making milk. One doesn't exclude the other.

floatyflo Sat 20-Jul-13 09:49:13

Hear hear to your friend. I highly admire her!

I believe men and women should both have to cover up or both be allowed to walk around topless. Not one rule for one, and another for the other!

I'm disappointed in myself for not having the balls to be as brave as her!

specialsubject Sat 20-Jul-13 09:41:03

There's nothing wrong with any part of any human body - but convention in this country is covered nipples except in bed, bath, beach or pool.

As a matter of interest does anyone know the actual legal position in the UK?

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