Friday, June 22, 2012

Don't Alarm the Public

Ahh! I've been blinded by breasts!
When you think about it, its so silly how we (i.e. governments and authorities) try to avoid disturbing the public's ever so sensitive sensibilities.  Well, maybe that's just the symptom of the fact that the public's sensibilities are so sensitive.

Like breasts.

We go to such great lengths to ensure that the human body is covered up in sometimes arbitrary ways to the extent that it has become institutionalized in society that to not cover up certain parts is offensive.  It seems so crazy that we are so ashamed of our anatomy that when others don't share that irrational shame, they are indeed shamed by everyone else.

What is the actual impact to society - except for the fact that the most sensitive will lose their collective heads over it - of public nudity?  Why isn't this considered a personal choice as would be the choice to wear a hat or not (there are probably some cultures where wearing a hat (or not) is taboo)?  And don't tell me that some people can't control themselves, therefore cover up.  Its the same bad argument as saying we shouldn't draw Mohammed because it will cause certain people to go on a killing spree.  Its victim-blaming, a capitulation to the heckler's veto, and orthogonal to free-expression.

I got thinking about this absurdity of modern culture from a news story where a woman who had breast cancer wanted to swim topless in a public pool because apparently wearing a top caused searing pain and that warm water on her chest would soothe the pain.

After initially being denied access to the pool bathing topless, the Parks and Recreation Superintendent decided that the self-described androgynous woman - with the physique of a young man without nipples as a result of the double mastectomy - would be allowed to bathe topless because "[i]n this case I see nothing that might alarm the public."

Which begs the question, what would otherwise alarm the public.  And we all know the answer: bare breasts.

Sound the alarms!!1!

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