Where Is It Legal To Go Topless? Research Shows That In Some Countries, Bare Breasts Are More Offensive Than Guns

Despite the increasing popularity of movements like #FreeTheNipple, laws regarding bare breasts vary from country to country; if you're a resident of the United States, they even change from state to state. As a result, many women are stuck wondering where it's legal to go topless — and, more importantly, where it isn't. Forgoing a shirt may seem like a relatively innocuous act, especially considering men get to walk around bare-chested pretty much everywhere, but the consequences of violating public decency laws can be serious: Even in 2015, women have been fined, arrested, jailed, and beaten within an inch of their lives for daring to bare their breasts in public. Next time someone says women don't need feminism anymore, feel free to cite those examples loudly and often.

If you're thinking that the obsession with censoring women's nipples is an overreaction at best and totally insane at worst, you're hardly the only one. Critics often cite the double standards inherent in censorship laws, namely that men are allowed to doff their shirts willy-nilly while women are expected to cover up for Reasons, aka society's sexualization of secondary sexual characteristics. To highlight the absurdity of this double standard, researchers at ClinicCompare compared laws regarding female nudity to legislation of firearms around the world. Although guns are much more likely to kill someone than the sight of a nipple, the study found that many countries uphold laws making breasts a criminal offence. 

"Many countries on this list have had a long history of gun crime and yet going topless is considered a far greater misdemeanor and bears a significantly harsher punishment, despite the fact that the presence of breasts has caused very few deaths in recent years," Sheena Patel said in a press release provided to Bustle. Can we also take a second to appreciate that impressive display of sarcasm? Amazing.  

The study listed ten countries in which it is totally legal to carry a firearm, but baring your breasts is a criminal offence worthy of all kinds of penalties. Take a look at the list below:

1. Iraq

Penalty: Imprisoned, beaten, humiliated, and fined, and their husbands might be punished. 

2. Syria

Penalty: Imprisoned, beaten, humiliated, and fined, and their husbands might be punished. 

3. Sudan

Penalty: Up to 50 lashings (if a woman wears trousers or doesn't wear a headscarf).

4. Morocco

Penalty: Up to two years imprisonment or expulsion.

5. United Arab Emirates

Penalty: No less than six months imprisonment.

6. Pakistan

Penalty: Imprisonment for up to six months and/or fine up to 200 rupees. 

7. Iceland

Penalty: Six month imprisonment or fine.

(Et tu, Iceland??)

8. Ireland

Penalty: Ireland A fine of up to €634.87 or six months imprisonment.

9. Singapore

Penalty: Up to 90 days in jail or $2,000 (SGD $934.31) in fines.

10. Brazil

Penalty: Imprisonment from three months up to a year or a fine. 

Luckily, women aren't just sitting around accepting their fate. Projects like #FreeTheNipple, the Ta Ta Top, and my personal favorite, Do I Have Boobs Now?, all call for an end to the censorship of women's bodies. Clearly, we have a long road ahead of us — but considering the ever-growing support for the cause, the end might come sooner than we think. 

Images: bilbord99/Flickr; Giphy (2)

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