Ah, Berkeley! What would we do without you?
A proposal pending before the City Council in what is arguably California’s most ridiculous municipality – and that’s an accomplishment – would create gender equality by allowing women to go topless on the streets.
Yeah. Well. Some of you are probably saying, “Woo-hoo!” even though you’re about as likely to set foot in Berkeley and lay eyes on that flagrant boobage as I am to see burqas in Tehran. But, dudes and uber-liberated or lesbian ladies, seriously?
OK, fine. Let’s have people of both sexes (and all genders) be free to walk around topless all the time. Fine by me. As a libertarian-leaning Republican, I honestly don’t care. Seriously. Flap your breasticles in the wind, and it’s no skin off my nose, butt, whatever. I’m not easily offended. To frame this as a gender-equality issue, however, is just kind of silly.
We are all born with physical traits that not only define us, but restrict us. My friend Todd cannot drive a car because of an innate disability that confines him to a wheelchair. My friend Marshall will be forever “overqualified” for a job at Walgreen’s because of his inborn intellect and education. I will never be a professional tennis player because of a badly curved spine that came along with being merely alive (and having been born in a military hospital). As a man, I can wear a skirt if I want but I can’t do so without taking certain steps to protect my junk from injury, mosquitoes, whatever. My large-breasted sister can’t move about without a bra, lest she injure her back more than three pregnancies already have. My bald brother has to wear a hat in the sun.
Biology is a thing.
If we accept it, if we accept inborn biology as liberals demand that we do, if we embrace that we are born straight or gay, cis-gendered or transgender – hell, even male or female – we must also accept the limitations that come with such ascribed traits, along with their benefits. We must also accept that with every ascribed trait there are both benefits and limitations.
I have white privilege. I have male privilege. I get that. Really, I do. I didn’t choose either, so I can moderate my behavior in sensitivity to both. I can also, should I choose, walk about shirtless without drawing the attention of the police – not that anyone would enjoy seeing me in such an unclothed state.
If the Berkeley City Council votes to allow women to be shirtless in public, that’s fine. I honestly don’t care. I’m not likely to ever be there anyway. If they try to supersede California state obscenity law, however, they may have a costly and time-consuming rumble on their hands – and for what? Will it be worth the fight? Will the dozen or so women who actually WANT to walk about bare-chested benefit from this? Will they feel more “equal?”
If they do, God help them. There are far more worthy concerns, for them and for all of us.