IMG_1256We meet outdoors. Why? Because it’s warm outdoors; it’s pleasant; it’s sunny, and it won’t always be this warm. New York is a beautiful city in the winter too, we love New York at Christmastime, but summer in New York is something special, and we want to enjoy every last bit of it.

IMG_1462We meet in the park. Why? Because it’s a touch of nature in a city that has all too little of it. We love tall buildings too, we love the rumble of a subway train, the rattle of the taxis, but grass is lovely, it feels nice underfoot, and you can lie down on it and roll around in it and do backbends and bridges and handstands in it.

IMG_1541IMG_1556We meet in a group. Why? Because our friends are important to us, because we enjoy their company, because reading books is more fun when you can tell your friends about them; but also because there safety in numbers, and support in numbers too. There’s comfort in knowing you’re not the only one who enjoys what you enjoy and confidence in doing something together with other likeminded folk. Because a harasser is more likely to target a solitary woman than a group of women, and because that’s true even if the solitary woman is fully clothed and the group is topless.

IMG_1476IMG_1593We meet topless. Why? Because it feels good; because we can; because the law permits us to. Because men do it without anyone asking why, and have for eighty years, but once upon a time people thought male nipples were scandalous too. Because eighty years from now, people will think it’s equally ridiculous that people once thought female nipples were scandalous — but only if we start normalizing ours now. Because a beautiful chest is no sexier, and no more inherently sexual, than a beautiful pair of legs or lips or eyes, or beautiful hair, or a beautiful back, and we don’t require either women or men to cover up any of those things, or shame them if they choose not to. Because a beautiful chest is no sexier, and no more inherently sexual, if it’s a woman’s than if it’s a man’s. Because our daughters need to learn this, and our sons too. Because our bodies are all we have, ultimately, and we can’t shed them, and if you criminalize them, you criminalize us. If you shame them, you shame us. If you hide them, you hide us.

IMG_1227IMG_1406IMG_1312We photograph ourselves, and we post the photos here. Why? Because what we do in New York can benefit women all across the world. We’re fortunate to live somewhere where it’s legal to do what we do. But not all women are so fortunate. Most women are not. And we want to show women everywhere — and men, men everywhere too — that a bare breast will not cause the downfall of civilization, that exposed nipples need not be met with outrage, that sane, normal women can enjoy a day in the sun with no top on just as sane, normal men can. Because we are proud of what we do and want you to know we are. Because we choose not to hide.

IMG_1412IMG_1381IMG_1388We want you to write to us at Why? Because you’re a woman, because you love books and the sun, because you have a body, and you choose not to hide either.