It’s been legal in New York for 27 years for women to go topless in any public place where men are allowed to do so. We’ve been doing it for the past 8 years, educating people about this legal right and giving women in New York the chance to exercise and enjoy it in peace and comfort. More than 400 women have participated in our events, and we felt good about the number of people we’d managed to reach.

Who knew that there were still hundreds or thousands more we hadn’t reached, eager to go topless but not sure how to go about it?

Well, there were. Just a few weeks ago, one of the founders of our group decided we needed to have an Instagram account (she’d previously created our Twitter account and this very blog, so we’re inclined to trust her judgment on these things).

So we started one, and within days we’d topped 1,000 followers. What’s more, the vast majority of those followers were women, in New York, and hundreds of them wrote to us to say they’d like to come to one of our events.

We invited a few dozen to join us at Summit Rock in Central Park, the park’s highest point and consequently one of its more private spots. More than twenty people showed up, mostly ones we’d never met before. Everyone was unbelievably nice and warm and open and friendly and supportive — all the things our group has always been, and it was so great to see it continue when new members came into the fold.

We brought reading material for anyone who came without — books by Stephen King and Joyce Carol Oates and Christa Faust and Naomi Novik

— but our members also brought their own, ranging from schoolwork…

…to beloved fantasy novels…

…to YA classics…

…to good old-fashioned newsprint.

People came solo…

…and they came in pairs.

We climbed trees (Shh! I don’t think you’re supposed to, in Central Park!)–

We ate strawberries —

And we just fucking relaxed.

And we did all this with our breasts bare, and not one person — not one — gave us so much as a dirty look or complained or stood and stared.

On the contrary, one man passing by recognized us and stopped by to say he’d seen our all-female production of The Tempest on that very spot a few years earlier and had brought his daughter (then 7, now going on 10), to open her eyes to the fact that the female body is nothing to be ashamed of. A woman passing by with a fluffy white dog kindly allowed us to ooh and ahh and pet the gorgeous creature. And that was the sum total of our interactions with passersby. Nothing but positive.

You can do this too. You can do it with us (just email us at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com — or message us on Insta, @ToplessPulp), or you can do it on your own. We’re equally happy either way! One of the best messages we got recently was from a new Insta friend who wrote to say she couldn’t make it to our event but, “I mustered up the courage to take off my top alone in Central Park last week. Mega empowering so thanks!”

We’re changing the world, ladies. By the simplest act in the world: being free. Joyfully, blissfully, happily, wonderfully free.

On this Independence Day and every day, we hope you’ll join us in pulling off that shirt, that bra, that bikini top and enjoying your body as nature made it. Be bold, be open, be a woman, be proud, be free.