HAMPTON — Supporters of the Free the Nipple movement will be seen removing their tops at Hampton Beach for Go Topless Day later this month, and town officials plan to show no opposition to their breast baring.
Go Topless Day is set for Saturday, Aug. 26, when women celebrating the Free the Nipple movement will remove their tops at gatherings around the world. Aug. 26 is also Women’s Equality Day. New Hampshire is one of 33 states where women can legally go topless in public every day of the year.
Hampton Beach Village District Marketing Director John Kane said Go Topless Day has become a “non-event” since the event’s first year at Hampton Beach in 2015 when he and other beach officials expressed outrage over the Free the Nipple movement coming to Hampton. He and local Free the Nipple organizer Kia Sinclair both said demonstrators have generally not had issues with beachgoers harassing participants. Hampton Deputy Police Chief David Hobbs said Go Topless Day does not factor into whether the department increases staffing that day. Several dozen women participated in the 2016 event at Hampton Beach.
Kane said that indifference may indicate Free the Nipple supporters in New Hampshire are accomplishing their goal of normalizing female toplessness.
“I guess, in that way, yeah, they won,” Kane said. “Not a big deal.”
Kane said he does not expect Go Topless Day to affect that day’s Hampton Beach Talent Competition on the Seashell Stage.
Hampton Beach is one of 39 locations around the world listed on the Go Topless Day website, which features a map of the United States with locations where events are taking place marked by images of female breasts. At locations where female toplessness is outlawed, the word “censor” is superimposed.
While topless beachgoers have faced no legal problems in Hampton, Sinclair and two other Free the Nipple supporters received citations in Laconia for removing their tops where an ordinance prohibits female toplessness. A judge ruled last November Laconia has the right to forbid female toplessness, but Sinclair and her fellow supporters have filed to appeal their citation before the New Hampshire Supreme Court.
The Free the Nipple movement originated with a movie of the same name, which centers on women fighting societal norms and laws that prohibit them from going topless. Since then, celebrities including Miley Cyrus and Scout Willis have gone topless publicly in support of the movement.
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