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Lawmakers are obsessed with naked nipples

by Jim Longworth

The North Carolina General Assembly is back in session, so you’d think they’d be tackling really serious issues, like setting tax policies that would penalize greedy corporations who lay off people here and open plants in slave-wage countries. Or standing up to health-insurance monopolies and enforcing a cap on premiums. Or making mental healthcare a priority. Or banning assault weapons. Or compensating victims of state-sponsored forced sterilization. No, our lawmakers are too busy to do such trivial things. Instead they are waging war on the most dangerous enemy we’ve ever faced: bare breasts.

That’s right. Last week, Rep. Rayne Brown, a Republican female lawmaker from Davidson County, introduced a bill that would make public display of bare breasts a felony. Brown, a member of the judiciary committee, told the Associated Press that her constituents “are concerned about topless rallies promoting women’s equality which were held the past two weeks in Asheville.” But as the AP pointed out, Asheville is 130 miles from Davidson County. So I guess Brown is afraid that topless women will swarm into Lexington (much like killer bees from South America), and infect unsuspecting citizens with the nudity virus.

The Asheville rallies to which Brown alludes are part of a movement that is sweeping the nation, where protesters rail against discriminatory laws that allow only men to go bare-chested in public. Brown and other right-wing Republicans are hoping that the proposed law will end public displays of partial nudity by narrowing the definition of our existing state law, which only recognizes reproductive organs as indecent when exposed for all to see. The new bill expands that definition to include “the nipple, or any portion of the areola, or the female breast.”

A quick google of “areola” reveals that it is, “any small, circular area on the body colored differently from the surrounding tissue.” But that means areola can also apply to the area around a pimple. So if Brown’s Breast Bill passes, every teenager in North Carolina will have to wear a bag over his head or else face prison time. I can just see the headlines: “Pimple police round up gang of teenage felons with exposed areolas.”

The bare breast law is absurd and juvenile, but I can’t help but wonder why right wingers are so frightened of the female anatomy. A Canadian group known as “TERA” (“Topfree Equal Rights Association”) provides us with possible insight into the problem. On their website, TERA lists some of the asinine statements that have been made by opponents of bare breasts:

“My right to go to the beach has been taken away.”

“I don’t want to be hassled and perverted by these topless women.”

“This will lead to bottomless women and group sex in the streets.”

“We are on the slippery slope of moral decay.” Moral decay? Are you kidding? Women have been bearing their breasts in public since the beginning of time, and still do in many countries. Moreover, a recent online poll reveals (pardon the expression) that most nations are accepting of topless sunbathing on public beaches. Comsider that 99 percent of Germans, 93 percent of Brits, 92 percent of Swedes and 91 percent of Italians are okay with women going naked from the waist up. But not here in hypocritical Prudeville where, every day, kids and adults watch movies which feature partial nudity, view free sex videos on the internet and can see topless women in National Geographic if they really want to.

America is not in moral decay because of nude nipples. We’re in decay because we allow corporate pirates and trade loopholes to decimate our workforce. We’re in decay because health-insurance monopolies keep going up on rates while the No. 1 reason for bankruptcy in North Carolina is medical bills. We’re in decay because animal abusers go free, and drunk drivers get to keep driving. We’re in decay because people who have never lost a loved one to violence don’t see a problem with the unabated sale of assault weapons. And we’re in decay because we keep electing politicians who don’t understand cause and effect, and can’t see the forest for the trees.

Let’s face it. We’re just dealing with a bunch of boobs.

JIM LONGWORTH is the host of “Triad Today,” airing on Saturdays at 7:30 a.m. on ABC45 (cable channel 7) and Sundays at 11am on WMYV (cable channel 15).

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