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Women Bare All In Support Of Toplessness In Rio

posted 21 Dec 2013, 10:56 by Mpelembe   [ updated 21 Dec 2013, 10:56 ]

Women peel off their bikini tops in Rio de Janeiro in support of the legal right for women to sunbathe topless on the beach.

RIO DE JANEIROBRAZIL (DECEMBER 21, 2013) (REUTERS) -  While flaunting a dental floss bikini might not garner a second look in famously sexy Rio de Janeiro, sunbathing topless could land you in the slammer.

Saturday (December 21), topless demonstrators and supporters rallied against Brazil's current law which forbids women from stripping off their tops if they so choose.

Sadly for those supporting a change to the long-standing public obscenity law, few women actually went through with peeling off their tops in the face of potential criminal charges.

The first to do so however, filmmaker Ana Paula Nogueira was quickly surrounded by dozens of photographers, as the protest had been heavily hyped through social media.

Nogueira said that Rio's attitude towards going topless is out of tune with the way things are done in the rest of the world.

"Everyone does it elsewhere, outside of Brazil. Everyone travels the entire world and then you get here in your city, that is beautiful, one that everyone says is amazing and you love, but you can do nothing you can do elsewhere? Here people throw trash on the ground but you can't go topless. It makes no sense. We have to change this a little," Nogueira said.

The event, which had been dubbed "Toplessaco" by organizers and promoted through Facebook, had over 8,000 confirmed attendees out over 50,000 invited.

However, calling the turnout even "slim" would be perhaps generous.

One of the few participating women brave enough to deal with the swirling mob of photographers,Natalia Lorenzo said that she was genuinely afraid she might get arrested.

"Not being able to come to the beach and enjoy your own body freely is crazy. It's a frenzy right now. Regardless, I am afraid a guard is going to come arrest me or something like that. Really I'm afraid," Lorenzo said.

Dating back to the 1940s, Brazil's penal code explicitly considers female toplessness a jailable offence.

Psychologist Rosangela Montalvao said that she isn't necessarily against toplessness but there needs to be a reserved spot for it.

"There needs to be an environment conducive to this. If you had a place where she can do this, I think it's appropriate. You can't have this in just any place. For people to coexist in society there has to exist a set of rules and norms. But I believe the beach, in a reserved place, I think it's reasonable," Montalvao said.

The organizers responsible for Saturday's event reportedly got the idea for Toplessaco during July's Slut Walk, a demonstration which protested for equal rights between men and women.

Francisco Ottoni, a male massage therapist who wore a bikini top in support of the movement, said that this issue not an issue of nakedness but rather an issue of having respect for each other's rights to be free and spontaneous.

"It's not necessary that we need to be naked on the beach to feel free, but being in a bikini, okay. We are about being joyful and spontaneous. What is important is that everyone respects each other; above everything is respect and the ability to take advantage of the beach, to be happy," Ottoni said.

Earlier this month Rio's city government did begin discussing a proposed change to the law which would allow female toplessness as long as it stays between the beach sidewalk and the sea.

So far no changes to the law have been made.