Board hears complaints about topless march

FARMINGTON — As town officials and police received calls seeking to stop a scheduled topless march planned for April 30, the student planning the event strolled topless through downtown streets Wednesday.

Topless Promo
Amber Waterman/Sun Journal

Andrea Simoneau, 22, of Brooks, a University of Maine at Farmington student, walks topless on the street in Farmington on Wednesday. Bob Bartone, far right, said he wasn't expecting to see a topless woman on the street, "but it doesn't surprise me in a college town." Simoneau was promoting her Female Bodies Topless March to be held at 1 p.m. on April 30.

Andrea Simoneau, 22, left her post at the corner of Broadway and Main Street and nonchalantly walked down Main across South Street and up High Street wearing only a long skirt and the words “Freedom” written across her chest. The date, time and place of the march were written in pink across her back.

Simoneau and some friends attended a similar march in Portland earlier this month where she said she felt empowered and wanted to extend that to women in Farmington. She said she wanted to accomplish two things: to let women know it's not illegal to go topless in Maine and to expose the double standard applied to women who want to appear bare-chested in public.

The University of Maine at Farmington senior was also downtown topless on Saturday passing out fliers to promoting the march. Some people were supportive, Simoneau said. But police got numerous calls from motorists and people on the street who were offended by the demonstration.

Town officials and legislative leaders have since received calls, many from people who were upset and angry, seeking a stop to the march.

Although not listed as an item on the selectmen meeting agenda Tuesday night, three residents waited through a lengthy meeting to voice their concerns about the event.

“I'm concerned with this going on in our town," Max Yates told the board. "I'm concerned for children and families. It's a family-value issue and it is inappropriate.”

He said he was worried that the 1 p.m. march was near the time for school buses to appear.

Yates went on to urge the board to adopt a nudity ordinance similar to those adopted in other towns. He passed out copies of Rumford's nudity ordinance adopted in 1996 to “define what constitutes public nudity, regulate where it may occur, establish enforcement procedures for violating where it may occur and provide civil penalties for said violations.”

Board members said the measure could not be adopted prior to the April 30 event, and there would be a potential legal liability if they tried to deny people's rights of expression.

Selectmen voted unanimously Tuesday to defer to state legislative action, as suggested by Rep. Lance Harvell and Sen. Walter Gooley, both Farmington Republicans. With the Legislature adjourned, it's not likely any action will be taken before the march.

Although Harvell couldn't attend the meeting, Selectman Ryan Morgan said he had called and was looking into what could be done at the state level. Gooley, who is not seeking re-election and will not be in Augusta next January, told the board he would work on the issue with Harvell.

abryant@sunjournal.com

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Comments

Kevin Saisi's picture

Did the sight of a topless

Did the sight of a topless woman cause your son any trauma?? My guess is "no".

Kevin Saisi's picture

That is your opinion. I am

That is your opinion.

I am not offended by the human body in any state of dress or undress. In Vermont, complete nudity is acceptable in many places. I respect your right to your opinion, but do not force your value system on me.

Richard Begin's picture

What would Gloria & Betty

What would Gloria & Betty think about these 'Girls'gone wild' Please what is Their Point?

How does 'sporting about displaying your Wares accomplish anything but 'Surplus' Backlash' and since when did Maine become the 'Host' Site for "New York Based' Display of Modern Post Modern Art' Finally if one of these 'Broads' want to Parade around the Down Town Common at least Let the Paraders be worth checking out.

 

 

Richard Begin's picture

That's why I'm Going to

That's why I'm Going to Katmandu'

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Nice puns, Tman

Nice puns, Tman

we should go bottomless......

we should go bottomless......

Audrey Alcala's picture

If you look around John

If you look around John quest....you'll see alot of a$$es hanging out of peoples pants already. And it ain't a purty sight!!

Peter Blake's picture

The Human Body

Humorously or not, if we were all naked, weather permitting, and people had to show their disgusting bodies and there would be a lot more of us losing weight.  Perhaps this can lead us all in that direction.  If you want to be thin, be naked... Reason laughs ...

RONALD RIML's picture

So tell us -mainerunr

Where exactly, we should worry about seeing "women walking around everywhere topless" as you are mimiking Chicken Little about....

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

South Beach, Miami works for

South Beach, Miami works for the Pirate

Kevin Saisi's picture

Where I live there is a 50+

Where I live there is a 50+ year old guy who walks all around town shirtless all summer long.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

And I have a real friendly

And I have a real friendly pit bull; his name is Skippy

Kevin Saisi's picture

In the English Gardens in

In the English Gardens in Munich, worker sunbathe completely nude on their lunch breaks. The gardens are in the middle of the city.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

I have it from a pretty

I have it from a pretty reliable source that that actually takes place at the German Gardens in London.

RONALD RIML's picture

Spring has Sprung

And Skin to the Wind!!!!

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

If she were REALLY trying to

If she were REALLY trying to make a statement, the parrot sez she wouldn't be wearing the skirt.

Audrey Alcala's picture

Question?

It states this woman is a UMF student....is she walking around town topless because she isn't allowed in class this way? Has she made her point on campus and in her classes as well? I'm curious as to whether she has been banned from doing this on campus because it's not allowed and this is why she is walking downtown. Personally, there are much more important causes to be fighting in this world then whether I can hang my bare hooties to the world or not.

Jonathan Albrecht's picture

Perversity

We have to understand that some people like Mr. Yates have a perverse and twisted sense of morality. This demostration is not for shock value; its educational. Every child over the age of 6 should be required to attend. Those under 6 should already have seen their mothers nude and there is absolutely nothing wrong or improper about it.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Like the Pirate said in a

Like the Pirate said in a previous post; tit for tat?

Heather Costa's picture

Tact, Modesty, Integrity,

Tact, Modesty, Integrity, appropriate behavior are all lost on these demonstrators.  I really beleive if everyone ignored them then they would go away.  Its not illegal as it stands right now.  Just inappropriate.  The more they demonstrate the more it will make people want to outlaw it.  DUMB

Carrie LaRoche's picture

Funny......

Another thought....

Anyone that has every watched a National Geographic program knows other societies don't sexualize a woman's body the way we do. 

Good for this young woman! She's got everyone talking ! 

THAT IS HER POINT NANCY - because you can't wrap YOUR mind around what the point it here...... People like you are part of the problem. 

My body isn't perfectly sexy by our society's standards ... was once..... but I'm older now.

BUT... it's PERFECT in God's eyes

Carrie LaRoche's picture

What's good for the geese......

well said  KNSAISI. Couldn't have said it better myself.

Only in our country it is frowned upon for a woman to feed her child. The most natural act in the world and it offends some

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Yeah, but this chick ain't

Yeah, but this chick ain't breast-feeding; she's flaunting.

big deal.....

If she wants to walk around half nude... let her...but it's not about adults...it's about teens having those feelings....teens learning how to deal with it in a society, long time based on certain moralities

Kevin Saisi's picture

The human body comes in two

The human body comes in two basic varieties, male and female. Most people on this earth are either one or the other. Why do we feel the need to hide certain parts? Just because some people are uncomfortable with their bodies, or become aroused at the sight of another, laws are made to prevent other people from being seen in the basic human state.

People with certain religious convictions will tell you that being nude is sinful. But nowhere in the Bible does it outright state that thou shalt not be nude. Nudity is not a sin. When someone sees another nude, the only sin that may occur is lust, and that is on behalf of the person seeing not the person who is nude. God created everything in his own image, and nothing God created can be bad.

Laws prohibiting nudity are actually legislated morality. Where do we draw the line between religion and the law? In certain beliefs it is sinful for women to show their faces. The only body parts that are allowed to remain uncovered is their hands. Is this where we are heading?

Studies have shown that children who grow up with a healthy understanding of the human body, are more likely to have a positive body image, and less likely to participate in promiscuity in their teen years. Teen pregnancy at nudist resorts is almost non-existent. Perhaps we should learn from our textile resistant brothers and sisters. When you hide something from a child, it only makes it more attractive for them to try and see it. If we can take the stigma out of "being human", the lust will eventually become a non-issue.

What harm comes to a child who sees a human breast? Many get a close up and personal exposure on a regular basis until they are old enough for solid food. Older children are only titillated by the sight because of the way we adults react. We actually train our children to think that exposure of a breast is shameful. If left to their own conclusion, humans would think nothing more of a breast than they do an elbow. When was the last time you were arouse by an elbow??

Children do not become sexually aware prior to puberty unless trained by caregivers. This training takes on many forms, but is quite effective. It all starts when they are infants. Infants are natural nudists, but the necessity of diapers cause a need for them to cover up. But as they grow, they are constantly instructed as to where they are allowed to be nude, and where they must be dressed. On a hot summer day, they are not allowed to enjoy a pool without adorning a bathing suit that quickly becomes a soggy heavy nuisance.When they bathe, they are usually told that they must get dressed before leaving the bathroom. They may ask why, and be told that it is not proper for them to be in their own home undressed, even though there is nobody else in the house. This creates a body shame; if seeing a body is bad, then maybe the body is bad. It also creates a curiosity as to what other bodies look like. But when they walk into mom's room while she is dressing, they may be greeted by a shrill scream and scolded for doing so.

These are examples of subliminal training. The more obvious training methods come from the examples set by adults. When Uncle Phinneus starts talking about "hooters", he is passing his juvenille attitude to all of the children within earshot. When he makes lustful comments such as "I'd like to get inside her pants" he is training another generation of insensitive lust-driven perverts of every child who is within ear shot. If not corrected, such behavior is seen as acceptable.

We need to develop a respect for others, including a respect for the human body. Laws restricting people from being human are not the solution, but only contribute to the problem.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Are you suggesting we should

Are you suggesting we should all be walking around naked so that we will not be contributing to the problem of human restriction? I'll bet you are pro-choice, but you are against the death penalty, too.

Kevin Saisi's picture

I agree that toplessness by

I agree that toplessness by anyone is not appropriate in the business district on a regular basis. However, this woman is attempting to convey a message, and to do that, you sometimes have to push the envelope a bit. If she were to do the same thing on a remote country road, it probably wouldn't have been noticed, and her message wouldn't reach as many people. I am suggesting that if society had a more mature approach nudity, there would be no reason for anyone to be traumatized by what they saw.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

The parrot sez the situation

The parrot sez the situation adds a whole new meaning to tit for tat.

Kevin Saisi's picture

Not for shock

The way I read it, she is not doing it for excitement, she is trying to send a message. Obviously, you just don't get it.

Kevin Saisi's picture

<blockquote>I stand by my

<blockquote>I stand by my opinion that a woman who is barebreasted in public is doing it for shock value.  Whether she has lofty motives or not, she IS trying to shock people.</blockquote>

Well, does your sweeping generalization apply to ALL women everywhere? What about the African tribes where toplessness in public is commonplace? What about the legally sanctioned nude beaches where women sunbathe? What about breastfeeding moms? Your comment makes them all seem to be exhibitionistic perverts. Looking to draw attention is not the same as wanting to shock people. She is trying to convey a message, so she obviously wants to draw attention, but she may not be looking to shock anyone. There are those who will be shocked, but the more mature and self righteous will just smile.

 

Kevin Saisi's picture

"Again I support your

"Again I support your argument and I wouldn't want kids to be exposed to the female or male body in such a way, it is your responsibility to keep kids away."   

 

Away from what? What actual harm is caused by a child seeing a naked breast?? Please site clinical studies. :)

 

Kevin Saisi's picture

So, it is okay from birth to

So, it is okay from birth to (what age?), but not again until (what age?).  It is sexualized because people like you reinforce the sexuality. I refer you to the comments I made previously.

Victoria Fimiani's picture

With all the problems that

With all the problems that exist in this state, I believe this woman could put her time and mental energy to better use...stupid.

Steve Bulger's picture

Legality vs Propriety

While the young woman was well within her rights to appear topless in public, she certainly is not exhibiting good taste...the same as any male who strolls topless in a commercial or business environment - it's not appropriate conduct.   For xyz and others, I wonder how you would feel if your wife, daughter, sister or mother decided to follow this behavior.

On the lighter side, it certainly gives a whole new meaning to the businesses that post signs saying, "No shirt, no shoes, no service". 

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