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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The topless scandal

There’s been talk lately about the New York-ification of Barcelona, but will this entail a certain prudishness, a certain puritan paradigm until now absent in Spain?

Cosmopolitanism may create an almost morbid lust for all things exotic, yet it might also dampen our inner natures. My point is, coming from big cities I’ve been exposed to feminist dogma - as opposed to chauvinist dogma in small towns - which denies certain inherent tendencies in mankind. Such as, women going topless at the beach.

This concerned citizen writes to the editor in yesterday's edition of the Metro:

Top-less [sic]

I went to a beach in Sitges with a friend and, laying down in the sand, at our side was a top-less girl in the company of her [...] partner. Suddenly, he came up to my friend and said to him that if he looked at the breasts of his girl again he would break his face. It is indignant that in a public beach one has to constantly see semi-naked girls in g-strings going topless; more nude beaches should be allowed for those who wish to expose themselves. With this type of indecency the path of the woman to equality has even more obstacles.

"It is indignant that in a public beach one has to constantly see semi-naked girls in g-strings going topless ..."

Fui a una playa de Sitges con un amigo y, al tumbarnos en la arena, a nuestro lado había una chica en top-less en compañía de su compañero sentimental.De pronto, él se dirige a mi amigo y le dijo que si le volvía a mirar los pechos a su chica le romperia la cara. Es indignante que en una playa publica se tenga que ver constantemente a chicas semidesnudas en tanga y top-less; habría que habilitar mas playas nudistas para quien quiera exhibirse. Con este tipo de indecencias se obstaculiza aun mas el camino de la mujer hacia la igualdad.

Fernando B.

Dude, is this guy from Spain? And from Calafell? Isn't that where the Neng is from? Aside from the unpleasant confrontation with the Macho Iberico (who knows what stupidity buzzes in his foggy brain ... who cares?) what the hell is this self-hating man complaining about? What's with the pseudo compassionate line at the end of his letter to the editor? Women going topless is an obstacle to their path to equality? Let's make them have to go to nude beaches? Get out of all public beaches? Funny thing is, another letter to the editor right after this vindicated the woman's right to go topless, and it was written by a woman. And there's this letter in 20minutes, also saying what's the big deal with going topless - also written by a woman.

This flurry of concerned citizens writing into newspapers about the topless issue really surprises me. I thought this was a null issue in Spain – or in Barcelona at least. In the States a woman's bare breasts are shocking to the point where the repression actually makes people more lewd and obsessed. Mardi Graw, for example, where women flash their breasts to receive tokens and encouraging applause from drunken revelers. Countless Spring Break specials, wet t shirt contests, Hooters, whole subcultures centered around breasts. I can go on, but why point out the obvious? The US is probably the most breast-obsessed nation on earth. I know, I lived there. And this, in a place where it's illegal almost everywhere to go topless. A woman showing her breasts has become somewhat of a statement beyond the mere “show your tits!” at a Motley Crüe concert. It's become a stupid obsession and transgressive even.

I've always taken for granted semi-nude or even nude sunbathing in Spain (there are separate beaches for people that want to completely buff it). I never thought it was a big deal. Maybe I'm warped somehow, have somehow moved out of the American puritan paradigm, but really it doesn't faze me. Why should a man's pectorals be more acceptable than a woman's breasts?

This fetishization is what creates secretive behavior - like the obvious tourist I saw last summer absconding behind the porta-potties on Barceloneta, snapping photos of topless women too absorbed in themselves to notice. God. What a pathetic way to spend an afternoon, snapping photos of topless women! Get over it! Live a little! At least get to know the women and get over the natural biological fact that they have breasts, men have pecs and peckers, and that's just the way it's always going to be (unless we drink too much hormone-injected milk ... then we'll all grow man-breasts; become, as they say here, chicas con sorpresa – girls with a surprise. I hope I'm not around).