This marks the (unofficial) start of summer, and with it the start of street fair season, when New Yorkers — if they don’t flee the city entirely on weekends — spend their weekends at these migratory festivals full of guilty-pleasure food (crepes! zeppoles! mozzarepas!) and miscellaneous tchotchkes (dental tools! chopstick art! old LPs!). The weather is invariably hot, usually humid, often stifling, and any man in the crowd can walk without his shirt on. But you never see women doing it. Never. And how is that fair?
So we took matters into our hands.
We visited the annual fair held on Broadway, up on the Upper West Side. There were half a dozen of us and hundreds of other pedestrians, and yes, we got our share of stares and double takes. But overall people were indifferent or at least trying to appear so. A few nasty remarks floated our way, but we chose to ignore them. We’re not out to pick fights; we’re out to set an example. (And eat some crepes and buy some dental tools.)
The most satisfying moment came when we passed a young mother nursing her baby. She looked at us passing along the pavement, a smile bloomed on her face, and she let her nipple fall from her son’s lips. She had no reason to cover up, and she didn’t. The open-air exposure of her breast was nothing at all, not with the six of us strolling along the same block.
We’d like to think she’d have been equally brave with or without us there. And maybe she would. But we’re also proud as hell to have provided another example of women unafraid to exercise our legal rights and unashamed of our bodies.
If you’re unafraid and unashamed too — or would like to be — we’d love for you to join us sometime this summer. Just send email to firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us a little about yourself, and we’ll get back in touch.
Together we can fulfill our mission: making the street a little more fair.