GoTopless responds to Asheville City Council letter

Response from Lara Terstenjak of the GoTopless rally to a letter from Asheville City Council members asking the public to stay away from the event:

Dear Mayor, Vice-Mayor, good Asheville City Council members,

I once again find myself explaining to you and your fine state the true purpose of our demonstration which you continue to denounce, apparently upon “moral” grounds.

First and foremost, this is a constitutional issue, not a moral issue – and morality is not a constitutional matter. I could imagine that eighty or so years ago, when a small group of men decided they would not wear bathing suits which covered their chest, that this might have been a moral issue. It was, after all, against the law at that time for a man to be topless. But since men won that legal right, women should – and DO have the same right according to the US Constitution.

Similarly, it was considered wrong and immoral for women to vote less than one hundred years ago. But the constitution disagreed and that took priority over “morality” once again. Women finally won a right they deserved all along which was denied them (by men) until women had to create demonstrations, rallies, petitions in order to claim their rights back. It sounds to me that if you and the City Council members were in office at that time, you would have voted to make sure women would still not have the right to vote. It seems ironic that the current Mayor, Vice-Mayor and some members of the City Council are women yet you are against constitutional equality. Of course that means that not only would you not be able to vote 100 years ago, you would certainly not have been considered for your current jobs!

The fact that the City of Asheville is not supporting the GoTopless rally means either you don’t understand the constitutional point we are making – which might be the case since you say you will take the matter up with Raleigh in hopes of being able to take away this constitutional right for women, or, you are just covering your political butts so when reelection time comes, you don’t get voted out because your opponent will surely claim you allow immoral activity in your fair city. We hope it’s the latter reason, Ms. Bellamy because surely you wouldn’t be against Constitutional Rights, would you? But then again, since you state in your open letter to Asheville residents that you “do not endorse” this activity, then you apparently “do not endorse” constitutional rights. So maybe you should not be in a political post after all?

Would you be against an NRA rally? Gun rights are a constitutional right as well. Elections are even won or lost on this issue – and might very well be won or lost on the topless issue one day soon.

Maybe worst of all, many women are ashamed to be without a shirt for no other reason than they were raised in a society which sees the woman’s body as merely something sexual. Now that is, to me and millions of women, quite immoral! It’s exactly that mindset which will change within a generation, Ms. Bellamy, just as it did for the generation which grew up after those brave men decided to remove their shirts at the beach about eighty years ago.

Ms. Bellamy and good City Council members, your North Carolina predecessors voted to keep slavery. What could be more immoral than the buying and selling of human beings? Yet in 2012 you oppose women being topless on moral grounds. North Carolina contributed more soldiers (with gun rights) to the Confederate cause than any other state. I hope you do not continue to make the same relative mistake regarding women’s rights.

The change will happen with or without your resistance because it is our constitutional right.

Lara Terstenjak


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0 thoughts on “GoTopless responds to Asheville City Council letter

  1. TJ

    I find the rally offensive and presumptuous. While I have been involved in many Occupy protests and activities, this is something I find to be paradoxical and is not something I would support. We talk about equity, for example, with men. Whether we say it is or not, breasts are for sexual pleasure by men AND women, as well as a source or nourishment. If a man walked shortless, he would be arrested, yet, women should have “special treatment?”
    I also wonder how it is legal for a women to go topless, yet, if my 15 yo son or 7 yo daughter were with me tomorrow, the person could be charged with acts related to a minor. Of course, I will not take them, so, it can continue? I would have to an uncaring parent to expose them, just to get it stopped. Or, if I simply wandered downtown to have fun sightseeing, I could be charged with endangering the welfare of my children?
    I understand “keep Asheville weird,” but, come on, REALLY?!

    There is no excuse for rape, we all know. Yet, with all the victimization and sexualization of women, you have to push the envelop? What it SHOULD be, is not, and, exposing ourselves will not change that. Personally, I have not had the urge to go shirtless. I can understand the temptation on a hot day, or, even to go braless, but, I can do that at home, should I choose, without having to deal with all the staring of god knows who and why.

    I think I’ll save my activism to reduce corporate power in politics and our culture in general. But, hey, if you want to distract the corporate mogals by going topless, maybe I can get into the next shareholder’s meeting with less notice.

    By the way, I find it VERY odd indeed for “” to tell folks avoid this rally, yet, they might take pics to put on the website to “embarrass” the women.
    1. If they were embarrassed, they wouldn’t be doing it publicly, to begin with.
    2. Don’t pretend to do me any public service to support your vicarious pleasure.
    3. Putting something on a website to show what you think is wrong with this? Seriously?! Who do you think YOU are kidding? Time for your prayer service-for you, I think. Get over yourself, soon, please.

  2. mat catastrophe

    The blurb on the front page inre: this letter is misleading.

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