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Free the TaTas rally hits Foster Avenue Beach in August

  • Sarah Constantin, an activist from the women's rights group FEMEN, holds up a sign during a topless protest June 20 at Times Square in New York.
Sarah Constantin, an activist from the women's rights group FEMEN,… (Reuters )
July 17, 2013|By Adam Lukach, @lucheezy | RedEye

Don't be surprised to see a unique kind of flash mob around Foster Avenue Beach in a few weeks--not a flash mob with coordinated dances or music, but literally a large group of women flashing everyone else. It's a Topless Equality rally called Free the TaTas, advocating for equal treatment under indecent exposure laws for women, who will be taking to the beaches topless in protest.

The Topless Equality organization began last fall, and although it is not alone in this fight, project coordinator Bret Moore wrote in an email that the cause is "starting to gain some real momentum," pointing to successes like stymieing a proposed bill in North Carolina that could have given women jail time for an exposed nipple.

"If men are allowed to be top-free in public and woman can be fined or arrested for the same act ... then that is discrimination," Moore wrote.

These types of laws are inherently unfair, said Tom Mulhall, the public relations director for the American Association for Nude Recreation and owner of a clothing-optional resort in California.  Mulhall works with some topless equality groups and has blogged for Huffington Post about nudism. He pointed to older laws that used to prohibit men from being shirtless too.

"The sight of a man's bare chest was supposed to be a terrible thing for women and children to see," he said. "That's the same B.S. that is being used as to why women have to wear bathing-suit tops today. It was not true then, and it is not true nowadays."

Mulhall mentioned not only to the success of topless and nude beaches in different European countries, but similar plans in Miami, where the clothing-optional Haulover Beach is one of the most popular beaches.

The tatas will be taking over Chicago's Foster Avenue Beach from 1 to 3 p.m. Aug. 17, featuring "food, fun and togetherness." Come on down, and let it all hang out for freedom.

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