Archives for category: testimonial

Over the years, our group has been the subject of lots of media coverage — the New York Times came out with us to Prospect Park once to shoot a terrific video story; Salon did so twice, once reporting on our ordinary activities and once about our all-female, all-nude production of Shakespeare in Central Park (though the actual videos seem to have gone missing); NBC News has a video still up about our Tempest; and 60 Second Docs ran a minute-long tribute to our events and their raison d’etre.

To this august company you can now add our friends at Naked News. Naked News is a Canadian outfit that began years ago just by reporting everyday news events but having the anchors and reporters doing so be unclothed. But over the years they’ve expanded their coverage to include stories that are about social nudity and the body-freedom movement. (Yes, we know a lot of their subscribers are probably male and are watching out of a motive that has less to do with liberation and equal rights than Ooh, boobies! But even the ‘ooh, boobies’ crowd can learn something about freedom and equality if they’re exposed to the message often enough and persuasively enough.)

Anyway: we’ve known Naked News for years and years now, but somehow never managed to get together with them in the flesh (ha ha), until NN news anchor and all-around fabulous human being Laura Desiree told us she was going to be in NYC for other reasons anyway, and could we finally do this thing?

And our answer was yes. Yes, we could finally do this thing. And we did. You can see the result here.

To shoot a pair of live interviews, we met on our favorite rooftop sundeck, where we could be fully naked if we wanted rather than only topless. (Also, we could count on it being quiet, which is handy when you’re recording audio.) Two of our eloquent members came out to talk about our history and goals, offer testimonials about what it feels like to go shirtless in public, and explain why the freedom to do so matters.

While we were there, we even got some reading done, thanks to a selection of delicious pulp goodness from our friends at Hard Case Crime. (Yes, we have a lot of friends. Life is better that way.)

And Laura filled us in about some of her upcoming projects, including a clothes-free cruise up the Danube. The woman travels a lot! Though she once called New York her home, she’s here only rarely these days.

But she promised to join us again the next time she’s back — not for another news story, just for the pleasure of being naked with other smart, interesting, like-minded women. And if that idea appeals to you too…well, you’re welcome to join us as well. Just email toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com or DM us on Insta or Twitter. We’re getting naked all winter long (though mostly indoors!). And when the summer comes — well, just you wait.

We recently launched an Instagram account (@ToplessPulp, for any of you who’d like to check it out), and the result has been staggering in terms of hearing from dozens and dozens of women who never knew about us before and are telling us they would like to take part in what we do.

One woman told us the story of how she recently went topless outdoors for the first time, on the roof of her building in Brooklyn, not even 100% sure whether what she was doing was legal, but hugely enjoying the feeling of freedom and comfort. She even wrote a note to her mother about the experience — but when she tried to post on her own Instagram page photos of that note plus the selfie you see above, the post was deleted because Instagram (like Facebook, their corporate owner) still forbids the exposure of female nipples.

So we stepped in and promised her we would publish her deleted post here, on our blog, which as of today has been viewed nearly 25 million times by people all over the world — giving her a far larger audience than would ever have seen the post on Instagram. We are doing this because we believe her experience is worth sharing. It touched us, and we think it will touch you too.

Mom (she writes) did you ever go topless in public? I’m suddenly so unsure of what opinion you’d have on freeing the nipple? I feel that if I ask sincerely and without laughing it off, I can’t picture why you could sensibly say no. And because I view you as sensible and probably right, it’s blowing my mind.

I’ve always been pro Free the Nipple on a subconscious and political level, but felt as if I couldn’t truly promote it because of family, and a certain level of appropriateness. Did I make that level up? Did you and Dad?

Or maybe you truly think it’s not right for us to be shirtless on hot days, It’s not illegal. I know it seems an insignificant issue and that many women might never choose to go topless anyway. But it’s just a thread unravelling from a whole rule book of life. Do we see the same rules?

Love you.

That’s a fine description of the mission we’ve taken on in this group and have carried out for the past eight years: unravelling threads from a rule book that no longer makes sense (let’s be honest, it never did). We’re talking about the “rule book of life” that said women are second-class citizens, with bodies that are inherently sexual and need to be covered up and hidden away at all times (even as men are allowed to walk around half-naked without anyone worrying about their inflaming lust or offending sensibilities). The rule book that said it’s okay for men to have rights that are denied to women, that it’s okay to allow men to enjoy comfort while requiring women to endure discomfort. Well, those are yesterday’s rules. Our mothers’ and fathers’ rules, not our rules. Today, we can go topless on our rooftop — or in the park, or in the streets. It’s a small thing, but it symbolizes something much larger.

It feels like, by launching our Instagram account, we’ve opened a floodgate, and we are so very glad we did. We look forward to welcoming our enthusiastic new members to our upcoming events — and to the liberated future we are all going to build together.

Would you like to join us too? It’s simple — just email us at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com…or message us on Insta. You have nothing to lose but your bra. 🙂

IMG_9959Our group’s name notwithstanding, we read all sorts of books, not just pulp fiction. (Not even just fiction.) But when we do read pulp fiction, it’s often from a line called Hard Case Crime, which was founded by a friend of our group who kindly gives us advance peeks into what they’re going to be publishing months and months before anyone else gets to see.

IMG_1708IMG_1765IMG_5166IMG_3593This summer, that meant getting an early look at a first novel called Charlesgate Confidential by film critic Scott Von Doviak. And what a great read it is. An art heist in 1946 leads to a hunt for the missing art in 1986 and then to a series of murders related to the still missing art in the present day, and it’s all woven together in a twisty, satisfying way, all over Boston (even though we read it all over New York).

IMG_4059IMG_7788IMG_1724IMG_7785IMG_7623IMG_7680And we’d offer to lend you one of our ragged, dog-eared copies,

IMG_0074except now we don’t have to because this coming Tuesday the book’s finally being published and you’ll be able to get a copy for yourself!

IMG_9929We don’t generally shill for books, even ones published by our friends, but this one is pretty terrific. Don’t believe us? Here’s what a random guy named Stephen King said about it on Twitter back in June: “Get this book, campers. It’s a fun machine…the white-knuckle kind.”

How did Stephen King get his hands on a copy? Are we saying that Stephen King came to one of our events and stole one of our precious copies of Charlesgate Confidential?? We are so, so, so totally not saying that. Because it wouldn’t be true.

But we do love us some Stephen King too. 🙂

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img_4025Two summers ago, we met a funny, smart, beautiful woman named Mara Altman, who said she was writing a book about women’s bodies in general and her body in particular. She wanted to see what our events were like in preparation for writing the chapter about breasts. We were delighted to have her join us.

img_3582Now, after a gestation period that would do an elephant proud, Mara has published that book: GROSS ANATOMY, subtitled “Dispatches From the Front (and Back).” And sure enough, it has a chapter about breasts, and the baring thereof in public, focused on a topless bicycle tour we did in downtown Manhattan. It is thoughtful, eye-opening, and laugh-out-loud funny, and we commend both it and the rest of the book to your attention.

img_3587“When I’d thought about participating,” Mara writes, “the possible pitfalls had seemed huge. What if I changed careers? Say someday I want to be a politician. I’m running on a ticket of universal health care and weekly pizza parties for all, but then, during opposition research, a picture of my bare tits bobbling above a bicycle is revealed. I am no longer fit to serve. Keeping fabric less than a millimeter thick between your body and the world somehow preserves your integrity and makes you honorable, respectable, and capable of deep thoughts. Taking that little swatch of material away makes you a hussy.”

img_3607But of course she goes ahead and joins us anyway. “We rode through Battery Park and stopped in view of the Statue of Liberty, where one of the girls — one of the ones who had breasts that I wouldn’t mind having (it was something about the perkiness, the lightheartedness of the pair, like they were tulips reaching for the light in the sky) — read Emma Lazarus’s sonnet ‘The New Colossus.’ ”

img_3683“We made a quick stop at the New York Stock Exchange, which was filled with men in suits, but what really stood out were the many tourists aiming their cameras at us. Our meaningful movement, to them, was merely a stunt to document on their Instagram feed.”

img_3701img_3694“I saw interest, shock, disdain, adoration, and curiosity on the faces that flashed past. Many, hordes in fact, turned their phones toward us and began recording. I got it; usually, viewing this kind of stuff costs money and endless viruses on one’s computer. I tried to be chill…But every time a camera pointed in our direction, one of the girls, the one who had grandiose breasts, large and pillowlike, the type I’d decided would be perfect to rest my face in for a quick respite from the world, would yell, ‘Fuck you, you have to ask!’…I didn’t share her sentiment. Going outside topless would be like going out with a pair of parrots chanting ‘I like big butts and I cannot lie’ while fornicating on your shoulder, and expecting witnesses not to snap a picture. It wasn’t realistic.”

IMG_4092She writes about the experience of shopping for a sandwich in a shop whose staff isn’t receptive; she writes about eating lunch in the park, with a break for kickball with some kids.

img_3827IMG_3955img_3891Finally when a brief rain shower breaks out, she has an epiphany: “As little droplets pinged pleasingly all over my body, I finally realized an interesting change — my breasts, in that moment , weren’t for anyone but me. I hadn’t really dwelled on it before, but since my beginning, my breasts have always been for someone else. When I was a teenager, I wanted my breasts to grow so I’d be attractive to boys. When my breasts turned out small, I felt it was my duty to warn boys before they went under my half-filled bra cups so they wouldn’t be disappointed by what they found. For doctors, my breasts were something that could potentially turn lethal. For the babies I may have one day, they would be a source of food…Being topless is always a stop on the way to somewhere else — to a shower, to a breast exam, to sex — but it is rarely the destination in and of itself. By exposing my breasts to everything and everyone in one of the largest cities in this nation, paradoxically I finally got a taste of what it was like to relish them for myself.”

IMG_4055We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Hell, we couldn’t have said it half as well.

Check out what else this eloquent topless bicyclist has to say  here — and let us be the first to say this: Mara Altman for President in 2020.

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IMG_9607We recently received an email message from a woman in Turkey that broke our heart, but also filled us with gratitude and hope. With her permission, we’re sharing her message here (but not her name).

Hi! I am a 31 year old woman from Istanbul, Turkey and I have been following your blog for a few years now. I just wanted to say that you are very, VERY fortunate sisters of mine that happen to live far, far away from me. I cannot imagine sunbathing topless here in Istanbul. I would be sexually harrassed and then arrested within an hour. Plus, I would have photos of me circulating to shame and harrass me forever.

Despite living in this reality, reading the blog and looking at the photos make me feel at peace, knowing that there are some places in the world where I could live the way I want to. I deserve like-minded sisters to read with, and my boobs deserve sunlight!

I hope to visit New York City someday, and if that day ever comes, I would LOVE to come spend an afternoon at the park with you people if it is OK. I love scifi books and comics ❤

Thank you so much for making the world a better place! Maybe someday the whole world will see that female nipples are not the worst of the planet’s problems.

Hope to meet you someday,

Love,
[NAME REDACTED]

Some people ask, why do we make such a big deal about the freedom to go topless when it’s already legal where we live? This is why.

IMG_9900IMG_87xxBAnd yes, we told her we would love to meet her if she ever comes to New York. And we would love to meet you, too, whether you live in New York or are just visiting (we’re meeting a fan from Belgium today, and one from France tomorrow!), whether you’ve never bared your breasts outdoors or have been doing it since you were a child, whether you’re nervous about it or elated, and no matter how young or old you are or what you look like. All women are welcome; all women deserve to be free.

Just email us at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com.

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IMG_2872cThe law in New York says that women have the same right as men do to go bare-chested in public places. Not some women — all women.

IMG_2737Accordingly, we invite all women to join us at our events, regardless of race, age, shape, size, sexuality, religion, or any other attribute. If you’re female,  we welcome you. And you have the same rights as any male.

IMG_2791But not every female feels like she has the same rights, or the same freedom to exercise those rights. So we sometimes take extra pains to encourage those who might feel unsure if the law applies to them, too.

IMG_2751cTo give one example: we’ve been contacted repeatedly over the years by students — still in school or on summer break — who’ve written things like, “I love and support what your group does, and someday I hope to be able to take part in it.” And when we ask, What’s stopping you? they answer, “I can’t yet…can I?”

IMG_2623Of course they can — if (for instance) a high school senior or college freshman who happens to be male can take his shirt off to play frisbee in Central Park, the law says his classmate who happens to be female can do the same thing. Equal rights for all means equal rights for all. But while male students stride easily around Sheep Meadow with a confidence born of never having questioned their body’s suitability for public display (privilege, anyone?), female students hide and agonize and wish the world were different — or don’t even think to wish that, since they’ve been taught from childhood that their bodies must be covered. The more progressive among them might have a vague sense that at some point it becomes okay for them to take their shirts off too…but when, exactly, they don’t know. When they turn 18? When they turn 20? 21? When they graduate from college? When they’re no longer living under their parents’ roof…?

Our answer: when you want to. And no time like the present.

IMG_2733c2So a few weeks ago we held a special event. We invited two dozen students from schools all around the city to join us for a picnic near the Great Hill in Central Park.  They were joined by a few members of our group who aren’t too far removed from that age group themselves, to help introduce all the first-timers to what we do. It was perfect picnic weather and everyone came prepared to relax and enjoy some time outdoors.

IMG_2440IMG_2459IMG_2671There were books to read–

IMG_2742IMG_2538There were snacks to eat.

IMG_2695-rIMG_2726We all introduced ourselves, and discovered just how much we had in common. (This despite the group randomly being one of the most diverse we’ve ever assembled.)

IMG_2857IMG_2883IMG_2663IMG_2889And we did all of this bare from the waist up. Not one passer-by complained or gave us a hard time or did anything to make us uncomfortable. In that regard, it was no different from most of the other events we’ve held in parks around town over the past seven summers. But what made it different was that almost everyone there was bare-chested in public for the first time — and that many of the participants, if you’d asked them a few weeks earlier, would probably have said they weren’t even sure they were allowed to do it. This was liberation in a very literal sense.

IMG_2534cIMG_2539After the event, we asked everyone who took part if they wanted to share any thoughts about what the experience was like. Here are some examples of what people said:

The event was amazing. To me going topless outside in a public place felt wonderful. I’ve never felt more at peace with myself. It was so relaxing to be in a judgment-free zone where everyone can be comfortable with their bodies and not feel ashamed….I love the fact that it’s legal for a female to walk around topless just like men. It sucks that not as many girls are aware that it is legal and most girls are “embarrassed” about their bodies. Overall girls should be able to do the same things boys do, like being topless without caring what people think/say. 

IMG_2842It was my first time going completely shirtless today and at first i was really nervous but i wanted to do this because girls should have the right to. So many people making a big deal about it. It seems like the norm is to sexualize everything that’s natural. I would love to do this again because it made me feel confident. 

IMG_2720It was definitely a fun and new experience for me! Overall I was surprised by how normal it all felt. I just hung out with my friends in the park like I always do and I enjoyed the freedom of it. I do think it’s important for women to know their rights on this issue especially considering how hot and humid it can get in New York, and how ultimately it is really not a big deal.

IMG_2796I was so pleasantly surprised at how natural it felt to be in a park, topless. Being surrounded by so many other beautiful smiling women helped ease the initial shock of showing up alone to a topless picnic in the park. I’ve gone topless on beaches in parts of Europe, but never in the United States so it felt good to apply the NY law to reality and take my top off! I very much look forward to doing it again!

IMG_2562The girls were very sweet and I really liked the event. Although girls in general can be very competitive and judgmental, these women were very accepting towards each other’s different body types and were able to have great conversations regardless of them meeting a few hours ago! Everyone was so comfortable and open amongst each other. They were topless for non-sexual reasons which made it empowering and I think more women should try it. 

IMG_2876It was so nice being able to let loose with my fellow ladies; definitely took me out of my comfort zone for a little bit, but still a great time! 

IMG_2646I was initially really nervous about this event. I wasn’t sure how comfortable I’d feel being topless or if the experience would be awkward or not. When I arrived, however, I felt welcomed by the group and soon I didn’t feel awkward at all. Everyone was very kind and the good conversation quickly took my mind off of the fact that I was topless. By the end of the first half hour, I felt quite comfortable and I was no longer self conscious. I honestly believe that every woman should experience being topless at least once, to dispel any concern or apprehension about it. This event marked my first time going topless, but I very well may do it again in the future. 

IMG_2868Listen to what they’re saying: It felt natural, normal, non-judgmental. It made me feel confident. How can anyone hear these women’s voices and not recognize that this is an unambiguously good thing, a healthy thing, a healing thing?

IMG_2556In our opinion, a topless field trip to Central Park should be part of the curriculum of every school in the city. This is how you raise well-adjusted, healthy girls and self-confident young women, ones who respect their own bodies and each others’.

But until the School Chancellor shares our point view (and we’re not holding our breath), we’re proud to do our part.

IMG_2551And so we say to the female students of New York (as we do to every other group of women in the city): the law does apply to you. Women’s rights are your rights. Be smart, be safe — but be confident too, and don’t let anyone tell you your body is one iota less prideworthy than your brothers’.

And if you need help taking the leap for the first time, we’re here for you. Just email us at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com. You’ll be out in nature in no time — and you’ll wonder what took you so long.

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img_4541Summer has, at last and alas, come to an end — but that has never stopped us before and won’t stop us this year. There may yet be a warm day or two in October and November (one year we even met in the park in December!), and if not, we’ll find indoor spots to enjoy while waiting for the Spring. In the meantime, though, a colder, damper season has replaced sun-streaked days.

img_4338Before it settled in in earnest, on the last 90-degree day of the year (technically one of the first days of autumn), we enjoyed a valedictory visit to our favorite rooftop sundeck, where we devoured French pastries, California strawberries, and Caribbean rum.

img_4322The event was also a debut of sorts, since we had not one, not two, but half a dozen first-timers in attendance — people who’d not only never come to one of our events before but who, in some cases, had never gone nude outdoors before, or in front of strangers. We asked if any of them would like to share their experience with you, and two of them took us up on it:

To be completely and openly honest (wrote the first), I was slightly terrified of attending my first time with the Topless Pulp Fiction crew. When I would scroll through the blog I felt excited and for lack of a better word, empowered, by their message and ideas that directly coincided with my own. Packing a towel and book before coming, I felt this same wave of excitement. But the minutes walking from the train, leading up to meeting the group, was a moment of panic.

Meeting new people is always abstractly scary in some way, but meeting new people with the known fact that the group celebrates, de-sexualizes, and normalizes women’s bodies; well that’s a whole new level of scary.

But somewhere between slipping off my shoes and feeling the last proper summer warmth in my feet, I opened up.

That isn’t to say I immediately shed my clothes, but the walls I put up in normal conversation, just didn’t show up. I’ve never felt like I knew a group of people so well, with barely even knowing their names.

I think what makes the experience special and emotionally rewarding is that suddenly all the physical barriers society has created and rudely placed upon us, have been stripped away. I was no longer making small talk about my job, I was having a critical discussion about my industry with someone who I had known for 5 minutes. I felt a strong emotional connection to women (and men, shockingly) who didn’t come to ogle my body, but to make friends and truly indulge in the human experience. 

I really thought this Mercury Retrograde was going to fuck with me, but it directed me right into the hands of new friends, new experiences, and brought an action to my politics. Well played, Topless Pulp Fiction.

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And here’s what the second had to say, in a piece she titled “Eden”:

I was naked in the middle of New York City. Outside on a rooftop, with a crowd of people I’d never met, there I was with my bare butt in a soft chair, eating a chocolate chip cookie and drinking a bottle of water. And everyone around me, including my husband, was similarly naked.

No, it was not some weird dream. It was real. And weirder still, to some at least, might be the fact that I identify as a Modern Orthodox Jew. Yes – it was a Friday, and my husband and I stayed for about an hour before heading home so we could make it on time to prepare for Shabbas (the Jewish Sabbath).

To many, this makes no sense – I’m a contradiction! Isn’t my religion incompatible with such an activity? Shouldn’t my body be only for the eyes of my husband? If I’m so religious, then where’s my modesty?

Modesty. What does it mean?

When nakedness is discussed in Genesis in the Bible, it is associated with shame. Adam and Eve had just eaten the apple, realized they were naked, and felt ashamed.

Shame. What does it mean?

Modesty, to me, means having something to be proud of, something beautiful, yet not bragging about it or showing it off. Shame, to me, means having something to be guilty of, something ugly, and therefore hiding it.

I am a contradiction because the body is a contradiction.

So what is the body? Should we be proud of it? Ashamed of it? And should we hide it either way?

To me, the body is nothing to be ashamed of, and I chose to come to our naked rooftop gathering because it is my way of spitting out a piece of the apple – a way of seeing what it might have been like in the beginning in Eden.

I agree that the body is beautiful, because God created it. Like any gift of God, it can be misused and lusted after. So to protect it from such misuse and lust, we hide it. But it is only misused and lusted after when it is seen as a solely sexual object.

There is a fear of who we might become if we were let loose from law: William Golding, author of Lord of the Flies, comes to mind. Civilization equals protection; it is how we save us from ourselves. The moment we return to our natural state, we risk turning into “beasts” that have no control over ourselves. No, we must hide from our nakedness, under masks that disguise our true nature – beasts temporarily restrained by the cage of civilization, who would no sooner come out of our clothes than we would jump on the next naked member of our species we see.  

But at our rooftop event, I was surrounded by people who, I feel very sure, recognize that the body is more than a sexual object. And as we recognize that the body is more than sexual, we recognize that humans are more than we can imagine.

img_4329It may not be warm outdoors anymore — at least not in the narrow sense captured by thermometers. But in the ways that count, there’s no shortage of warmth to be had. We want to thank our newest members for so powerfully demonstrating that.

img_4512Won’t you join us too? Email us at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com, tell us a little about yourself, and perhaps together we’ll  discover what naked pleasures we can unlock while the rest of the world is jack o’lanterning, turkeying, caroling, and hibernating.

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