The Fort Collins City Council agreed earlier this month to remove language from its public nudity code barring girls and women over the age of 10 from going topless in the Colorado city.
A 2015 policy prohibited women and girls over the age of 10 from exposing their breasts in public. But the ban officially disappeared from the city code on Tuesday, The Coloradoan reported.
The City Council’s decision came in the wake of a $322,000 lawsuit filed by members of the feminist Free the Nipple movement, according to The Coloradoan.
Samantha Six and Brit Hoagland sued the city three years ago.
A district court judge ruled in Feb. 2017 that the ban violated the 14th Amendment because it applied only to women.
After losing the initial case, the city appealed to the federal 10th Circuit of Appeals, which also ruled in favor of Hoagland and Six.
Fort Collins eventually opted against taking the case to the United States Supreme Court. In a 4-3 ruling, the City Council voted in May to stop defending the ban in court. On July 24, a court order permanently closed off any possibility of the city enforcing the topless ban.
Tyler Marr, deputy director of information for the city of Fort Collins, told CBS affiliate KMTV that the city’s decision not to pursue the case at the highest level was likely motivated by a cost-benefit analysis.
“I think the council as they articulated in their 4-3 vote, really just thought as a matter of priority, no guarantee of success or that the supreme court would even take it up, that the money was just better spent on other city priorities,” said Marr.
Andy McNulty, Hoagland and Six’s attorney, said Fort Collins’ now-defunct ordinance against female nudity was unconstitutional.
“Any law that says, ‘Women are prohibited from,’ is unconstitutional and really just intolerable in a society that should treat women as equal to men,” McNulty told KMTV in an interview aired on Tuesday.
“The idea that women’s bodies are purely sexual is something that, it was perpetuated by this law. By getting rid of this law, we are saying women are more than just a sexual object and their bodies are more than just a sexual object. They’re human beings just like men,” he added.
Meanwhile, Hoagland told KMTV that “addressing small parts of inequality can make a big difference in how people are treated on a day to day basis.”
Six and Hoagland’s legal victory means that all six states in the 10th District – Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico, Kansas and Oklahoma – will no longer be able to enforce bans on female toplessness, KMTV reported.
Free the Nipple feminism
Spearheaded by feminists, the sex-positivity movement has gone well beyond combatting “slut shaming” to celebrating overt displays of female sexuality. And in the culture at large, celebrities such as twerk superstars Iggy Azalea and Cardi B exhort women to celebrate their raunchiness as a form of liberation and empowerment.
However, conservative critics have bemoaned the weakening of traditional gender norms, including female modesty. And some feminists have agreed, warning that their lascivious counterparts are playing into the hands of the patriarchy.