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Topless beaches are shaking up traditional Nantucket. Divisions are exposed.

NANTUCKET, Massachusetts – At this year’s annual Nantucket Town Meeting in May, islanders debated everyday issues such as fertilizers, solar panels, short-term rentals and the right to carry small plastic containers of alcohol, or “nips.” On the second day, nips were overwhelmingly banned, and the group turned to a more acrimonious issue: a civic article proposing topless beaches. “Nipple-to-nipple dashing,” quipped the meeting’s moderator, attorney Sarah F. Alger.

Dorothy Stover, a sex educator and seventh-generation Nantucket resident, introduced her civic article to the community: “To promote equal rights for all people, every person may be topless on any beach, public or private, in the city of Nantucket. ” After a raucous deliberation that pitted traditionalists against progressive townspeople, young and old, the article went from 327 to 242.

While the article must be approved by the Massachusetts Attorney General before it can be enacted, some on the island are already blushing a shade lighter than the Nantucket red of their crumpled chinos at the prospect.

On an island with a historic district that carefully patrols its fence heights and paint colors (Quaker Gray and Hamilton Blue are among its 12 favorite shades), topless beaches are for many year-round and weekend vacationers who gather for picnics with their extended family , unimaginable spots like Jetties Beach and Sconset Beach.

Matt Tara, a Boston and Nantucket-based investor, spoke out against the proposal at the meeting, citing architectural parallels. He said: “We’re talking about conservation, we’re talking about making sure the clapboards are the right grey, we’re talking about the right colors on our doors, but we’re going to do something that would unduly attract this island for the wrong reasons.” .”

Eve D. Messing, one of the article’s proponents, countered, “I don’t like being compared to shingles. My boobs are not shingles.”

Ms. Messing was one of several people from multiple generations who defended the article at the meeting. Another was Bee Gonnella, who said, “Nantucket women have always practiced equality.” It might be time, she said, “to go out and buy Banana Boat stock [sunscreen].”

Linda Williams, a land use consultant who has served on Nantucket City Council for decades and has attended nearly every annual city meeting since 1974, said she was outraged by the citizen article. Ms Williams, who said she was the first female gas pump on the island, asked: “Why do I have to go topless to prove I’m as good or better than a man?”

The Nantucket bard herself, bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand, said that while she loves that residents are open-minded enough to get the article through the town meeting, as a mother of a teenager, she believed it was for young women not sure about going topless and then possibly being photographed. She didn’t think it was right for the island either.

“We’re not the winery,” she said, referring to neighboring Martha’s Vineyard, where people sunbathe naked in spots. There, she said, “It’s more free-roaming, hippie, crunchy granola … They’re a little more free love over there, and Nantucket is a little more buttoned-up.” (One beach in Nantucket has long quietly allowed topless sunbathing.)

While she doesn’t see it working at Nantucket, Ms. Hilderbrand sees the narrative potential in the output. “I love ‘The Nude Beach’ as ​​the title of one of my future Nantucket novels,” she said, toying with the idea that it might be set in the 1970s and involve a spouse swap.

However, nudist beaches are not on the table. Ms. Stover was careful to distinguish between full nudity and the topless posture her article suggests. The idea for her marriage proposal first came to her when she saw a comic that showed a man and a woman, both topless, with similar bodies, with the man telling the woman she was “naughty”. That felt unfair to her.

In this sense, the Citizen Article is consistent with the Topfreedom movement, which aims to allow women to be topless in the same places as men. In the United States, topless laws are currently patchy and contested in various regions. A 2019 federal court ruling made it essentially legal for women to be topless in the same places as men in Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, Kansas and Oklahoma.

The Massachusetts Attorney General has 90 days to rule on Nantucket’s statute. Ms Stover said she had received more support for it than she expected and hailed the dissent as a healthy part of democracy.

“I definitely had a few people close to me who said they didn’t agree with that, which is nice, right?” she said. “This is democracy, this is people being together and knowing that we will not agree.”

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Source: Crypto News Deutsch

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