Last Friday, U.S. District Judge Garland Burrell denied a request from a group of Mendocino County women who wanted the go-ahead and bear their goods on the steps of the state Capitol as part of their anti-war, anti-election protest.
Burrell claimed that the act of going bare-chested, even as a means of protest, was not backed by the First Amendment’s right to free speech. He also claimed that no nudity is allowed at the state Capitol, especially since it is a very popular tourist attraction.
I’m with Burrell on this one. I know that the last thing I want to see when
I’m visiting the state Capitol is a bunch of saggy-hippie-bazooms, even if they are in the name of free speech.
But Burrell’s denial did not stop this group of protesters, cleverly known as Breasts Not Bombs, from shedding their shirts on Monday at the state Capitol all for the sake of protesting Gov. Arnold Schwarzeneggar’s special election that took place Tuesday.
Many of the women were arrested for indecent exposure and if convicted, the women would have to register as sex offenders; a bit of a dramatic punishment, don’t you think? Sure, the sight of this protest could be deemed offensive but forcing them to register as sex offenders is a bit too over-the-top. But, I digress; that’s an entirely different column.
The group claims that their protest was against Schwarzeneggar’s “indecent” initiatives on the ballot, which they say are a waste of time and money. How do these women intend to spread their message and make things right? By going topless, of course! By using what they claim is the only power they have: that of their attention grabbing bodies, which they claim are “natural and decent,” the protesters are taking a topless stand against the election.
I’ll admit it. I agree with these women on one count. This election was a waste of time and money. Our state could have saved a pretty penny if Schwarzeneggar would have waited just a few months to pass off his agenda.
But what I’m confused about is the message behind the Breasts Not Bombs movement. What exactly are these women trying to say, other than, “Hey, check these out?”
I’m sure this group believes they are making a statement, and maybe I’m just not understanding this right, but what do baring one’s boobs have to do with a special election? What do a pair of knockers have to say about our situation in Iraq?
I know that I’m not exactly the strongest feminist radical on the block. I have never had a thing for hippies and frankly, hairy women give me the willies, but even if I weren’t a wee bit set in my ways, I would still say that this protest is just a smidge too ridiculous.
I’m sure that when this bunch of bra burning, hairy-legged, women libbers were sitting around their commune passing around their supply of doobies, going topless for the sake of protest seemed like a kick-butt idea. But now that it has actually happened, what did it accomplish?
Sure, it got the group a bit of exposure on national television. Their message, whatever it was, is in the spotlight now. I’m going to have a hell of a time burning the image of an unsightly women clad in nothing more than a skirt fashioned from an American flag from my memory.
But when I think of their protest, I’m not going to find their fight remarkable or their message powerful. I’m going to still be as confused as I am now, wondering why these women couldn’t burn an effigy or play an acoustic guitar like everyone else. Come on, ladies. Keep the goods tucked away when you’re in public. Trust me. Your message lacked support and so did your melons.
Valerie Rojas, a senior journalism major, is editor in chief of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.