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Are Your Breasts Loud and Bossy?
Or are they just big dumb boobs? This question came up recently in the legal arena, thanks to the Breasts Not Bombs ladies. Lynda Gledhill and Greg Lucas tell the tale 'o the pups in the SF Chron:

A federal judge denied on Friday a request from a group of Mendocino women who wanted to protest topless on the grounds of the state Capitol.

U.S. District Judge Garland Burrell said the group made no compelling argument that showing their breasts constitutes free speech.

"Being topless is not inherently expressive" speech, Burrell said. The group, Breasts Not Bombs, had scheduled a protest for noon Monday. The California Highway Patrol threatened to arrest anyone who went topless.

Sherry Glaser, a leader of the group, said the protest may take place without bare breasts.

"All we really have is the power of ourselves," she said. "Our bodies bring attention."

Group members, whose protest on the west steps of the Capitol is intended to contrast the "indecent" initiatives backed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on the November ballot with their "natural and decent" breasts, sought a temporary restraining order prohibiting CHP officers from arresting women who protest topless.

The First Amendment protects their right to protest bare breasted, the group argued. "The very act is a dynamic and fully expressive statement worthy of constitutional protection," their brief asserts.

But Burrell didn't buy that argument.

"Do you think the founding fathers had this in mind when they drafted the First Amendment?" he asked Matthew Kumin, the lawyer representing Breasts Not Bombs.

Cohen v. California, 1971 (the case of the guy with the "Fuck The Draft" jacket) said that one man's profanity is another man's lyric statement, and sometimes the wrong words are precisely the right words to communicate a message. While I don't get all worked up about nudity, and in fact, generally like it when the naked people are 26-year-old movie stars, what, exactly, does a naked boob communicate? In words, I mean. If you can answer that, maybe the judge is wrong. On a cynical note, it's generally the people whose tits should be extremely well-covered (like, by tarps and such) who feel most compelled to let them flap around in the wind.

Posted by aalkon at November 7, 2005 9:11 AM

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My own thought is, if men can go topless in public, it is gender discrimination to say women can't. It can't be that some extra adipose tissue and active mammary glands makes breasts somehow unfit to be seen in public, else there would be laws against men with gynecomastia going topless. Be that as it may, who cares? I'm a little unclear as to what this group is protesting.

Posted by: Patrick at November 7, 2005 5:36 AM

Well as we all know Patrick, children can't handle the sight of breasts.

...little children especially.

Posted by: Ken Shultz at November 7, 2005 6:20 PM

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